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27.01.04á11:06

"I DREAM ABOUT ASHGABAT EVERY NIGHT..."
Many of those who earlier left Turkmenistan come back

The letters that our editorial office keeps receiving from former citizens of Turkmenistan who left the republic and today try to come back not only make us think over the harsh realities of present times of market relations but also give thought to the value of words spoken by politicians...

Let us make things clear from the beginning: the point is about letters of hopeless people. Therefore, their observations are as much categorical as the stalemate they think they got into. Nevertheless, their stories can be useful to many of us, both to those who make hard or, sometimes, hasty decisions to emigrate and those who often tries to play a "Russian" card to influence events in the former Soviet republics, nowadays independent states. It also concerns those who play on this delicate problem to gain political popularity.

"I left Ashgabat three months ago, but I have already realized what a mistake I made, Ekaterina Armayeva from Maloyarsk of Kaluga region writes. I had lived for 48 years in my beloved Turkmenistan, but it was Devil's trick that I believed gossips that we were to be forcefully ejected from our homes. I sold my one-room flat, but it was not enough to buy a house my friends promised me. The money was spent for food, house renting, and winter clothes. I was not granted Russian citizenship. I have no job and I have three children. I don't know what to do next. Please, help me to come back to Turkmenistan. Don't let me die in foreign land where everybody says that I should go back home. I would gladly do so. I want to go back home. I think I am going crazy - every night I dream about Ashgabat."

Of course, one can say that everybody is a master of his own fate and that we make decisions ourselves, and it is only we who are responsible for making them. But let us recall last year's hysteria raised by some of Russian parliamentarians that later was spread by some mass media that Russians' rights were allegedly abused in Turkmenistan, that they were being ejected from their homes. Not much time has since passed, but no singe fact has been cited in support of the unleashed hoopla. It is paradox: there are tens of publications about Russians' rights abuse in Turkmenistan in press, but in practice not a single fact is confirmed.

Undoubtedly, there is a problem with adaptation of the Russian population to life conditions in the already independent state called Turkmenistan, with difficulties in learning the Turkmen language. But only after having left the places they spent most of their lives in people realize that these problems are not so important. Of course, they are important. But what is more important is having your own home, good job, good neighbors, and peace in your neighborhood and in the street.

"I and my husband have lived for 43 years in Ashgabat, Nelly Timoshina from the village of Dedovichi of Pskov region writes. We have spent our working life there. When we retired we decided to move to Russia, a decision that we bitterly regret today. Life is different here. Laws are different. But the main thing is that we live beyond the poverty level. We used to have the maximal pension rate in Ashgabat, which was enough to live a worthy life. But in Russia we got a minimal one. We urgently ask your advise on how we can go back to Turkmenistan and what we should do."

Andreyeva Maftukha Gilimrakhmanovna from Ulyanovsk who lived in Turkmenistan from 1934 to 2003 asks the same question. "Although I am old and sick woman, she writes, I would like to return to Turkmenistan. I had a privatized 4-room comfortable flat with good furniture and 1480000 manats worth of pension there. But here, without Russian citizenship, I cannot get residence permit and was cut of pension..."

In the Turkmen consulate in Moscow that we readdressed these letters to they said that the diplomatic representation received plenty of such kind of letters. According to the consulate's officers there is an upward trend in the number of former citizens of Turkmenistan returning or wishing to return back to Turkmenistan. May be, there are not only social problems and hardships of life behind it? Besides, people tend to return to places where they were treated like equals...

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Igor SOLOVYEV

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