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A very respected newspaper that, in recent times, has been extremely aggressive in terms of its style and materials towards the Turkmen government has published the article meaningfully titled "The protocols of sages".

The leading article of today's issue (apparently, no serious problems but stirring up the passions over the Russian-speaking population of Turkmenistan exist nowadays for this newspaper) deals with the first round of bilateral dual citizenship commission's meeting that concluded its work in Ashgabat yesterday. The paper referring to some politicians concludes the outcome of the Turkmen-Russian talks is trivial. Therefore, it is necessary to intensify "the pressure on Turkmenbashi" rather than listening to diplomats.

In general, the desire of Russian journalists to protect the rights of compatriots wherever they live, whether it is the Tver Province or the Mary velayat of Turkmenistan, is worth being praised. The matter is if the goal justifies the means. For, among the latter there are not only rude disinformation but constant, from one issue of the newspaper to the other, hints that in this case it would be helpful to use the USA's experience towards Iraq. Such a hint is made against the background of instability in today's Iraq, and against the background of the Chechnya problems with the repercussions in the form of blust in the very heart of Russia...

However, it won't do for us to liken ourselves to some Russian politicians and journalists offering our regulations to alien monasteries. The more so the stance of Vladimir Putin who called for not speculating on the matter of the compatriots protection abroad with a view to advertise oneself inspires optimism. So, there is a hope that problems present in the bilateral cooperation will be solved. The problem is if the mutual trust undermined substantially in recent weeks remains at the same level. There are big doubts that Russian politicians or Moscow journalists will enjoy former respect in Turkmenistan.

The editorial of Turkmenistan.Ru online newspaper receives, literary in batches, indignant letters of inhabitants of the republic, mostly, Russians. The essence of these letters is the call to those taking care of their well-being: "Do not cause a panic, do not interfere in domestic affairs of our country, do not play this card in your own interests, and your PR-assistance may do harm, and what is most terrible, generate the inter-ethnic discord"!
According to our information, similar letters are sent to the central newspapers as well. But who cares for the opinion of a common man from Turkmenistan if he isn't opposing to the rule someone here doesn't like? It's better to present rumors from a foreign radio as a piece of truth. It is, apparently, the result of the Soviet mentality.

A story with an online joke appears to be very indicative. A wit, right after the State Duma adopted the resolution on the situation with the Russian-speaking population in Turkmenistan, has published the text in one of the forums referring to existing no longer Turkmen Press Agency, as follows:

"Members of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan have considered today the issue "On protection of the Turkmen citizens rights in the Russian Federation".
The adopted resolution contains a request to the President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Turkmenbashi, to demand from President Vladimir Putin of Russia that he takes immediate measures on the social protection of Turkmen people and representatives of other nationalities with origins from Turkmenistan residing in the territory of the Russian Federation, many of whom live in poverty due to low wages and benefits. The greatest concern has been expressed in connection with the poor situation of the Stavropol Krai Turkmen Region's rural population where delays in payment of wages are observed, and because of teachers getting low payment education of the Turkmen children is affected, high mortality and low health care rates are recorded.

It has been recognized necessary to demand that the Russian leadership take urgent measures to stop Russian police taking bribes from and infringing on other rights of citizens of Turkmenistan arriving in the Russian Federation as well as measures against humiliation of the national dignity of the Turkmen whom representatives of law enforcing agencies in Moscow often call "lumps with eyes", by analogy with Uzbeks.

The members of the parliament have also requested Saparmurat Turkmenbashi to appeal to Vladimir Putin to take measures against owners of the Russian TV channels allowing spread of pornography and programs propagating the cult of violence among the Russian population, the Turkmen and Russian speaking settlers from Turkmenistan including.

The Mejlis members have asked the Great Leader of the Turkmen people to consider the possibility of economic sanctions against Russia, which Parliament, by adopting the Statement of June 20, 2003, interfered rudely in the internal affairs of Turkmenistan.
In connection with the difficult criminal situation in the Russian Federation and numerous sponsored murders of deputies and other state activists as well as biased treatment of citizens arriving from the Central Asia and Caucasus, the Mejlis of Turkmenistan has listed Russia among three states of the world traveling to which is not recommended to the Turkmen citizens on security considerations. The source in the Mejlis refused to name other two states from the list noting only that there wasn't Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and other neighboring states of Turkmenistan among them in the list".

Such was a text that could have been taken on trust only by people either lacking a sense of humor or having no knowledge of the situation in Turkmenistan, and having no idea of the principles according to which the Turkmen state bodies work. They never use blunt statements.

Humor is humor. But a self-respecting journalist, prior to using this humorous text in his article, as it seems, must have checked the existence of such a statement at all. Alas, the error has been made. And this is far from being funny.

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Charygeldi AMANOV

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