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The assassination attempt on President Niyazov on November 25 was an assault on democracy. I can foresee many smiles full of irony alleging that Turkmenistan is not quite a standard of democracy, at least, from the western point of view. May be. Yet, today none of the states in the world could, in general, be taken one hundred percent as a standard of democracy. As is known the world is not perfect. Nevertheless, on November 25, the very meaning of "democracy" could have been forgotten should the conspirators had succeeded, because there might be set His Highness "precedent", the point of which was that from now on any problem (as it might look!) could be resolved by violence. All you need is a dozen of well-paid "cool" guys. And this precedent could momentarily become a self-sufficient and dominating criterion of the perception of political struggle in the society that would define its substance, methods and philosophy for many grim years ahead. There are plenty of examples. Over 200 years of its independence there were 350 military coups, one and a half time per year in average, in Bolivia. Another Army Colonel would declare himself a savior of the nation and the only mouthpiece of her interests, who would boast of building true democracy "this time for sure"... until the next "savior" would take over. In some African states corporals handled the matter. What kind of a democracy they got as a result is not worth reminding here.
Democracy is quite a simple and, to a large extend, routine procedure. There is a room for emotions but no place for intolerance. There can exist a conviction of self-rightness but no right to deprive an opponent of such a conviction. "I don't agree with your opinion but I am ready to sacrifice my life for your right to have one", - Voltaire (forgive me if my quotation is not precise). It is alpha and omega of political culture as the prime conditions for the drive towards democracy. Such conditions are just being established in Turkmenistan. A process is under way, not easy process of self-identification of the nation in the completely new environment, searching for a mechanism of the acceptable balance between authorities and people, establishing a ground for the institutions of democracy along with the assistance of international organizations. And, finally, there is a process of searching by the newly independent state for its place and role in the world. This is natural for the people who entered a path of independent development not long ago, three generation of which lived in the system of completely different political dimensions during the past 70 years. The parliamentary procedures in the country are not ideal, but these are real and working procedures. The mechanism of people's representation is complicated but it exists. And instead of "money bags" kind of men and imbeciles wearing traditional skullcaps on their heads, there are respectable and recognizable people in the People's Council and the Council of Elders.

Democracy is a dialog. It is a dialog from different positions and different points of view. That is what it is praised for. Killing an opponent not with a word but with a gun bullet means killing the faith of the people that democracy could exist at all and live on the Turkmen soil (somewhere away but not here). This is designed to discredit the essence of democracy and the right for a choice inseparable of it. "The dialog with Niyazov is a lot for talkers and demagogues", - describes B.Shikhmuradov his "vision" of democracy, unleashing hysteria in the Internet on the eve of assassination attempt. He does not understand (or does not want to) that starting "democratization" in the country by virtue of terror is to pour out the water with a baby. The kind of a law culture that could have been established then in Turkmenistan, in the minds of people would not be difficult to predict. This is a culture of force, the culture of "achieving goals by all means". As for the "talkers and demagogues" they would quickly be driven under the benches but not under parliament's benches. Dear people, don't make delusions. "The rifle gives birth to a power" and not to debates in a parliament.

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By Serdar Muradov

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