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18.05.04á12:28

MONUMENTS TO TURKMENBASHI
Their number increases virtually in no time...

"The lack of dream is detrimental for the people" - the 35th president of the United States of America, John Kennedy, was once heard as saying. The first president of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, to all appearances, is of the same opinion. In any case, his idea about "Golden age" for the Turkmen people lies exactly within the frame of consolidation of the society to achieve lofty and, at the first sight, rather unattainable goals.

But the practice of the past 12 years of independence has proved that the head of Turkmenistan can overturn pessimistic forecasts of skeptics.

That was the case when Turkmenbashi set a task: to make the republic self-sufficient in bread in a very short period of time. Even some of his closest friends doubted the practicability of President's "Grain" program referring to shallow waters, aridity and the lack of skills of grain-growers that they lost during years of cotton-mania as an obstacle. However, the Turkmen leader should be paid a tribute for he could persuade skeptics and, what is more important, to set a wheat conveyer to work, attract peasants, purchase foreign equipment, build modern elevators and processing plants. Certainly, behind it stands daily and sometime heroic work of thousands of people, but even Niyazov's critics concede that without permanent control of the head of state it would have been hard to meet this task.

Turkmenistan has been sufficient in domestically made bread already for a number of years. And the president of state has concentrated on achieving other, no less important, objectives. For example, a paper mill, the firstborn of the absolutely new for Turkmenistan industry, with the annual capacity totaling 55,000 tons of paper has been launched the other day in the village of Yashlyk in Gaurs district. It was not long ago that many of Turkmen citizens seemed to believe that it was far distant prospect that the national currency could be made of paper produced inside the county. Nevertheless, it came true.

It would be appropriate to recall here the rest of large-scale programs either implemented or under way in Turkmenistan.

These examples include:

The establishment of a textile industry that has grown practically from a zero ground and is capable of processing up to a half of the amount of cotton produced in the republic. And not simply to process but also manufacture products that are in demand in the world market!

A major overhaul of the largest in the republic Turkmenbashi (former Krasnovodsk) complex of oil refineries. It was not just the modernization of the oil refinery worth $1,5 bln but the reconstruction carried out according to the world standards. It is not by chance that lubricants, gasoline, polypropylene made by the refinery are exported not only to neighboring countries but also European states.

A program on the establishment of the world-class highways.

The large-scale construction of railways: it was exactly Niyazov who initiated construction of the Tejen-Serakhs-Meshhed railway that became a "golden link" of the Trans-Asian rail main. And today the Ashgabat-Dashoguz railway is being built under his control in Karakum desert.

The full gasification of rural areas that provided the houses of peasants with free fuel and led to the reduction in cutting over saksaul forests that are so valuable in the desert environment.

The development of power engineering that made Turkmenistan one of the main regional exporters.

And finally, the implementation of a dozen of projects for the social-cultural purposes and the construction boom in Ashgabat. This direction alone consumed billions of dollars worth of investments.

Here, by the way, we come closer to the issue that critics of Niyzov's policy use to throw a stone in his face. "Is the construction boom worth such big amount of money, while the most part of the society carries on from pay to pay and not every family's standard of living is worth the start of the XXI century?"

There is nothing new in this question. It was put before Saparmurat Niyazov in the early years of independence when today's scale of construction seemed fantastic at all. Indeed, we could build less and guzzle away oil dollars, but in this case we would continue staying on the sidelines of the world civilization - that was roughly how the Turkmen leader replied to this question and his credo has not changed over 12 years. Moreover, it seems that his belief in the rightfulness of his choice has grown even stronger for the last years. As before, he stakes on state-of-the-art technologies, uniqueness of the implemented projects and European standards with the elements of Oriental luxury. Everything is done here, as they use to say, for ages. And who knows, may be these construction sites are, in fact, the monuments to Turkmenashi that will stand for years to come. And one can only feel happy that they grow in number despite the attempts to degrade their significance by certain critics. Let us not forget that with each new project more new jobs are set up. In fact, some 500 local residents, many of whom studied abroad, will work at the recently commissioned paper mill.

As for the discussion about proportions of the state budget spending, it is as old as the world, and it is only up to history to judge who was closer to the truth in this dispute.

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Charygeldy AMANOV

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