Aug 9, 2007

Bold Moves in Turkmenistan

Berdymukhammedov has been in power for less than a year and he has been very busy. Not only has Turkmenistan recently signed agreements to provide natural gas to China, Iran and Turkey - agreements that have the potential to upset Turkmenistan's relations with Russia - the President is taking swift action against any possible domestic opposition.

John C.K. Daly writing for the Eurasia Daily Monitor covered how former head of the Turkmen secret police, Lieutenant-General Akumra Redzhepov and his son have been arrested and sentenced to prison. RFE/RL today reports that Former Turkmen Agriculture Minister Paizygeldy Meredov has also been arrested. Listed among the missing is Alexander Zhadan, former head of Niyazov's finances, who disappeared right before the death of his boss was made public in December.

It is speculated that Zhadan, Meredov and Redzhepov all have massive bank accounts, padded with natural gas and cotton revenues siphoned off throughout Niyazov's reign. Berdymukhammedov, it appears, wants to both get this money back and remove any potential opposition. He is moving quickly and boldly to do so. But how secure is he? Secure enough to disrupt relations with Russia? Secure enough purge domestic political elites?


Pirates&Diplomats said...

"Massive bank accounts" may be understating their size. =)

Vika said...

I think they're compensating.