Askar Abdrakhmanov, Expert, Institute of World Economics and Politics under the RK First President Foundation (Almaty, Kazakhstan)

It is extremely hard to obtain reliable information of any sort about the political developments in Turkmenistan. The ruling regime is too closed to be studied in any detail. The latest events, however, revealed hitherto concealed aspects of Turkmenian policy.

President Niyazovs death created an absolutely new political situation in the country. This was the first time in post-Soviet history that the military and law-enforcement structures represented by the Security Council assumed responsibility for the future of the country and the nation. It acquired its leading role and the right to remove the president and/or chairman of the Peoples CouncilKhalk Maslakhaty (KM), the parliamentunder the constitutional amendments. The changes in the ruling elite that began when KM Speaker O. Ataev was removed from his post to make it possible to nominate G. Berdymukhammedov as presidential candidate were successfully completed when he was elected president; the country also acquired a new Cabinet. On 30 March, the results were confirmed by the election of the new president as chairman of the Khalk Maslakhaty.

To legitimize their power in the eyes of the nation and the international community, the new leaders eased up on the pressure imposed by the regime and outlined measures designed to improve the peoples standard of living. The new rulers did not hesitate to prevent any form of anti-government activity and took pains to ensure that political emigrants remained abroad in order to

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