At the end of 2004, parliamentary elections were held in Tajikistan, after which Saparmurad Niyazov (Turkmenbashi) declared that “we will never elect members of the Mejlis (parliament) through parties and factions. If we start to create groups and vote on the lists, it is possible that the interests of any group will be infringed. Therefore, until 2020, elections to the Turkmen Mejlis will not be held on party lists. ” But despite this, already on April 7 of this year, he declared that by 2009 the country would not only switch to a system of free elections along the entire vertical of power, but would also choose an alternative president from 3-4 candidates. Moreover, in fact, disavowing his statement 4 months ago regarding a multi-party system in Turkmenistan, Niyazov said: “It is possible to create private independent parties, which ... through elections and their people, will be able to represent their interests in districts, provinces and parliament. Almost the whole world lives on a multiparty basis, and we will not shy away from this, ”Reuters quotes Niyazov.
Some observers were quick to associate Niyazov’s initiative with events in Kyrgyzstan and other countries with “color” revolutions. However, drawing any analogies with events, both in Kyrgyzstan and in other countries, seems very inappropriate. Despite the dissatisfaction of the majority of the population with the social and economic policies of the authorities, things are not moving beyond spontaneous rallies, and, as a rule, women mostly go to rallies. There is no opposition that could really unite and lead popular demonstrations in Turkmenistan. And the majority of former nomenklatura, positioning themselves as opposition leaders, are either in detention or in immigration in the countries of Western Europe. Moreover, by virtue of their nomenklatura past, none of these leaders have significant authority among the population. In addition, the system of total control over the entire public and private life of the citizens of Turkmenistan allows the authorities to eliminate any manifestations of discontent in time. It should also be noted the almost complete absence in the country of foreign funds and organizations that have played an important role in the development of a civil society, such as, for example, in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. There are no independent media, one of the main components of the success of past revolutions.
Although still one of the factors that have played their role in all other revolutions has always been relevant for Turkmenistan. These are events outside the country that, one way or another, could play a negative role for the image of the existing regime or pose a direct or hidden threat to it. So, in 1996, when it became obvious in Russia, if not the complete victory of the communists in the elections to the State Duma, then the serious demands for power by the communist-stateists fighting for the restoration of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen authorities invented "the status of permanent and positive neutrality ”, Notifying the UN and securing itself from any encroachments by the reenactors of the USSR. Similarly, after the adoption of several resolutions of the UN, the EU, and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, expressing concern about the massive violations of human rights in Turkmenistan, the president launched an initiative to create a UN Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Turkmenistan. That is, the authorities of Turkmenistan either prevented a potential or hypothetical criticism or threat against themselves or gave an “adequate” response to the designated position of international organizations by means of a “diversion” maneuver.
So what prompted Turkmenbashi to such “serious initiatives” this time? In January of this year, a report was published by the US State Department on the human rights situation in Turkmenistan. It criticized not only such traditional violations of human rights as believers' rights, freedom of movement, etc., but also the inability to change power as a result of elections. But the most revealing for the authorities of Turkmenistan and President Niyazov was the criticism by the State Department of the excessive role in the life of the state of President Niyazov’s book “Ruhnama”, allegedly let down by Allah himself. This fact could not pass by the attention of Turkmenbashi, for the “Ruhnama” is the “sacred cow” on the basis of which it builds all its state activities. The last straw for Niyazov was the decision of the UN Commission on Human Rights not to consider the Turkmen issue at the last session, but to transfer it to the jurisdiction of the UN General Assembly. As a case that deserves special attention, because all previous resolutions were left without a response and comments from the Turkmen side, and all international observers ascertain the absence of any progress in the field of human rights. Another project came into being - the organization of elections and the "creation" of a multiparty system as another mimicry for democracy.
However, Turkmenbashi has already taken care of everything. According to the new wording of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, it is he (not as the President of Turkmenistan) who holds the post at the head of the People’s Council (Halk Maskhaty). This body, in turn, not only eliminates presidential candidates and approves them in this position, but also has all the supreme power in the country, besides, it is endowed with such powers that reduce the role of the president to a purely technical one. Not without reason, after the proclamation of the idea of elections, he said: “At the same time, I will not stand aside from public and state affairs, I will work. But if we do not elect another president, we will suffer from this. ” Turkmenbashi is even more calm about the fact that the second person in the Halk Maslakhaty is the head of the presidential administration.
With the same calm, Niyazov also declared to the OSCE delegation headed by OSCE Chairman-in-Office Dimitriy Rupel, who visited Turkmenistan on April 19-20, that "he would not run for the next elections to be held in 2009." And once again, Turkmenbashi considered that his maneuver was a success and the world community, having received yet another promise of the next changes in the distant future, will calm down for a while, as it was before. But it happened otherwise.
The OSCE Chairman-in-Office not only repeated the well-known points of concern for the OSCE with human rights in Turkmenistan, but also pointed to specific cases of human rights violations, specific deficiencies in legislation and in the domestic policy of the authorities of Turkmenistan, and also outlined a specific expectation of solving these and other problems.
Niyazov was told of a discriminatory law restricting the right of citizens of Turkmenistan to enter into marriage with foreigners. The existence of blacklists, including persons banned from traveling outside Turkmenistan, the lack of access to prisons by independent observers, especially prisoners in the case of an attempt on President Niyazov in 2002, the degradation of education and its extreme ideology. Moreover, Mr. Rupel did not confine himself to a conversation with Turkmenbashi, but voiced all his claims to the authorities of Turkmenistan at a separate press conference.
And here Turkmenbashi was already really nervous, because he had encountered such serious pressure from the OSCE for the first time. The very next day, at the initiative of Niyazov, a conversation was held with the US ambassador to Turkmenistan to check whether the OSCE and the United States had consolidated their views on Turkmenistan. At the meeting, Niyazov spoke about his initiative in conducting elections and his retirement from the presidency after four years. But it turned out that this was not enough for the American ambassador. Niyazov was again invited to return to the list of specific cases from which he so diligently left.
Interestingly, the main lobbyist of Turkmen interests in the corridors of the Russian government already - Gazprom has also changed its relations with Ashgabad. This time, the Russian energy sector abandoned all the opaque nuances of transactions for the supply of Turkmen gas to Russia and switched to paying for gas in “hard” currency, completely eliminating all opportunities for speculative maneuvers from Niyazov, which had happened more than once.
All this, including reports of OSCE contacts with members of the Turkmen opposition during the Vienna conference “Central Asia and Elections”, led to the final determination of Turkmenbashi.
For example, individual decrees pardoned all the "refusers" from military service - members of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious organization, urgently removed articles from the family code that discriminated against the possibility of Turkmen citizens to marry foreigners, the Ministry of Justice also stated register urgently religious communities that were previously persecuted. An order was given to urgently prepare foreign prisoners for visiting several prisons. However, regarding visits to those convicted of “attempted assassination”, Niyazov again expressed himself vaguely: “let us go, but after five years of serving the sentence.” In line with the condemnation of discrimination against national minorities, propaganda “about the friendship of nations” was launched in the mass media of Turkmenistan, since the reason turned out to be worthy - the threshold of victory in the Great Patriotic War. The Ministry of Education is tasked to consider increasing the “Russian” classes in schools.
But how far Niyazov is prepared to go in concessions of this kind is unknown. The obvious milestone is the deideologization of society, and first of all education. But the basis of ideology is the cult of the personality of Turkmenbashi himself, his family and his book “Ruhnama”, which is revered in Turkmenistan along with the Koran. And it is precisely the dominance of ideology in the entire state that is the subject of criticism from the United States and the OSCE. How far Niyazov will go will be shown by the time and sequence of his opponents, but now he again has room for maneuver.
Some notes on the article Great maneuvers by Enebay Redzhepov "At the end of 2004 parliamentary elections were held in Tajikistan, after which Saparmurad Niyazov (Turkmenbashi) declared that" we will never elect members of the Mejlis (parliament) through parties and factions. " Instead of the word Tajikistan, write Turkmenistan! you are welcome...