The way "sensations" are made
The recent waves of criticism addressed to the Government of Turkmenistan are spreading according to the already used scheme. At first some internet-newspapers and radio stations "inject" a certain compromise introduced by Moscow's human-rights defenders specializing on Turkmenistan and former high-ranking Turkmen officials offended with the regime. There is always a reference to some secret but nevertheless "informed" and "reliable" sources. So, why do they hide under the mask of anonymity? The answer is very simple. They are afraid of being pressed by authorities and so on. Why did not they find out what those authorities think? The reason is that they don't want to talk to people that used to expose their falsifications on the daily basis.
The following day the compromise is published by the number of newspapers, which regard themselves to be in the forefront of the fight for democracy. The fact that printed mass-media contributing to the cause of defense of the "oppressed Turkmen people" rights do not hesitate sometimes to earn some amount of money stolen from the same "oppressed people" by the same ex-officials and nowadays convinced opponents of Turkmenbashi does not, of course, mean anything. Those indignant men are advised to look around and see what world we live in. It is not only the time of information technologies and news but is also a peak of independent newspapers market.
Afterwards, very much edited and seasoned with new evidence, the product takes its place in the in-depth reports of international organizations or even State Department under the headline "The truth about Turkmenistan". And nobody asks a sacramental question: "was there a boy at all?" and the same internet-newspapers reprint those reports based on the information from "reliable" sources made by themselves. But this time they refer to the experts of respectable world institutions. The chain finishes where it starts.
An example of Vladimir Putin's portraits allegedly burnt in Ahgabat is very significant in this respect. In order to show in a more convincing way of how Russian-speaking citizens take a denunciation of the dual-citizenship agreement some of the human-rights defenders added a "tasty detail" in the text - that one or two portraits of the Russian President with his words addressed to Turkmenbashi (apparently praising words) were burnt by angered people.
The news was immediately published by some unscrupulous agencies and transformed into the article pretending to become a sensation in the "Kommersant" newspaper. It is interesting to note that in the beginning of the article they tell about several burnt "posters with the portraits of Putin in the city center" but in the end they mention only one "night incident with burning of the Putin portrait in the center of a densely populated district".
"This mixture could easily be explained - said Larisa Skachkova, director of TPS advertising agency specializing on the exterior advertising in the interview with the Ashgabat corr. of Turkmenistan.ru. - The thing is that "Kommersant" swallowed the canard of those who did not like the Russian-Turkmen documents signed lately and further rapprochement of our states. As the head of company making that kind of advertisement I can state with full responsibility that none of the portraits of esteemed Vladimir Putin was posted in Ashgabat since his last visit to our country to attend the Caspian Summit that took place in April last year. In the end of the Summit all portraits of the participants were removed".
The chief painter of Ahgabat Batir Karov confirmed it as well. He said to a corr. of Turkmenistan.ru that "according to current protocol the portraits of foreign heads of states are posted in the streets exceptionally in case of their arrival in Turkmenistan on a visit and stay posted for the period of the visit". "This rule has never been broken", - the chief painter noted.
So, as we see the only truth in the article were the names of the Russian and Turkmenistan Presidents and also geographical names of the two states and their capitals. The remaining part of the material is false. But the train has already got its high speed and it can happen that we will soon hear a harrowing story about burning portraits of Putin in the streets of Ahgabat in a report of one authoritarian international organization. And nobody will ask: "was there a portrait at all"?
Furthermore, we have a fresh "sensation" made known to the world by a Mr. Oraz Sariev whom "Deutsche Welle" identifies as its correspondent in Turkmenistan. The reason for radio broadcasting was the Day of press celebrated worldwide. What did Mr. Oraz Sariev tell European radio listeners? Let us quote his full report here: "The Day of press did not differ from all other days in Turkmenistan. All central and regional newspapers were founded by President Saparmurat Niyazov. His companion in arms heads the Journalists Association. The morning starts with swearing to the President on TV. In the corner of blue screens appears his profile. The list of journalists who disappeared under unclear circumstances is getting filled with dozens of new names".
That is it. The job is done and the canard flew away. And it does not matter whether Journalists Association no longer exists; the rights of workers are defended by labor union. It does not matter whether the oath starts with the words "Turkmenistan, my beloved Motherland, my beloved Homeland, you are always with me, in my thoughts and in my heart" and only then it is followed by the name of the President. It does not matter whether we know only one incident of a journalist disappearance. It is true that deputy chief of the economy department of "Turkmenskaya iskra" newspaper Natalia Sosnina disappeared without a trace in early 90th. Obviously this tragedy has the social nature because (if at all) that time Natalia could criticize people taking no higher than deputy minister positions. And if we had in reality the "lists" of disappeared journalists then the same "Deutsche Welle" would have made a stir all over the world on their fate. And it would be good...
...Undoubtedly, any of the existing governments in the world is not ideal. Any of them deserves and even needs criticism. But there is a big difference between constructive, precise criticism and sweeping one of no evidences. Unfortunately the second choice prevails when it comes to Turkmenistan in the recent time. And it is as twice sad that such an approach benefits nobody - neither the world community nor the Turkmen countrymen.