The recent opening of the Center of Turkmen culture in Moscow was surely a significant or, as they say today, landmark event. For the first time in many decades Turkmenistan has "made its presence known" on the permanent basis in the cultural life of the multiethnic Russia. From now on not only Turkmens living in Russia that want to keep cultural ties with their historic Motherland but everybody taking interest in Turkmenistan will be able to get acquainted right "on the spot" with its history, culture and today's life.
What is for certain is that there is no need to search for a political motive for the opening of the "Turkmen house" as it was soon nicknamed. Everything is just fine there. The two states have established strong and trustworthy partnership relations over 13 years of independent existence. Trade and economic relations grow fast. Trade turnover between the two countries is steadily increasing, reaching over $500 mln this year. A 25-year gas contract signed last year - one of the world largest contracts in this field - brings Turkmen-Russian economic relations to a level of strategic importance. And as for the cultural component of the bilateral cooperation over all these years, they, to say the least, did not correspond to the available potential. Sporadic visits of pop stars, of commercial nature as a rule, official jubilee honoring of classics of Turkmen and Russian literatures in both capitals are the stuff that is surely important but clearly not up to the vast mutual potential. And as a result, one has to confess, we often have a distorted picture of cultural lives in our countries. In this regard, the opening of the Center will undoubtedly contribute to more adequate comprehension by the Russian general public of the modern cultural realities in Turkmenistan, efforts made by the countries leadership on reviving and popularization of the century old historic heritage of the Turkmen people.
There is another important aspect, the humanitarian one. As is known, President S.A.Niyazov established by his decree the Humanitarian Association of World Turkmens 12 years ago that was tasked, as a priority direction of its activity, with reestablishment of spiritual ties of Turkmens that by the will of fortune live abroad with their historic Motherland. At the same time, addressing his compatriots, President Niyazov called on them to be, first of all, good citizens of their states, to abide by laws of a state of residence, to bar any exercises of nationalism and ethnic distinction and etc. Russian Turkmens - both historically living in Stavropol and Astrakhan regions, or the Soviet period's immigrants to Russia and ordinary visitors from Turkmenistan are an example in this regard of the respectful treatment of representatives of other peoples, tolerance and law-abidance. It is extremely rare that one can hear a Turkmen name or a holder of a Turkmen passport in reports of criminal accidents in Moscow and other Russian cities. It is not about a natural "character of a humane being". It is clear that present healthy and moral atmosphere in Turkmenistan based on the social solidarity, mutual assistance, inter ethnic accord, strong traditional and conservative, in the positive sense, foundations has a positive effect on the way of living of Turkmens in foreign countries, including the multiethnic Russian Federation. It is believed that the very fact of existence of the "Turkmen house" in Moscow will only help further improve that kind of Turkmen "national distinction".
...I recall how we, Moscow's Turkmen students of 80th of the last century, envied our Georgian fellow student that proudly invited us to just opened in the then prestigious Old Arbat "Georgian house" with its mini museums, souvenir shops and famous water "Lagidze". "It is a piece of Georgia for us", they would say. And we knew that this "piece" was very dear to them. And we have simply to thank the leadership of Turkmenistan, representatives of Russian culture, public activists, the Turkmen Embassy in Moscow and every one who helped realize the idea of establishing the "Turkmen house" in the very heart of the Russian capital, the house that was intended not only for Turkmens...