Turkmenistan leaders tighten control after Kazakhstan unrest

Turkmenistan’s authoritarian leader has ordered the government to tighten its grip on the former Soviet Central Asian country after massive protests in neighbouring Kazakhstan


ASHGABAD, Turkmenistan — Turkmenistan’s authoritarian leader on Thursday ordered the government to tighten its grip on the former Soviet Central Asian country after massive protests in neighboring Kazakhstan.


In a televised address, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov told officials to tighten control over the internet to “expose and restrict resources (online) for spreading disinformation and undermining the country’s constitutional order.”

He also ordered local authorities to step up oversight of internal migration flows and ensure they register everyone who moves from one area to another.

The President of Turkmenistan has directed the Ministry of State Security to strengthen the protection of the country’s citizens from foreign militant and extremist groups.


Berdymukhamedov, 64, has ruled the gas-rich desert country since 2006 through an all-encompassing cult of personality that dubs him the “arkadaq” or protector of Turkmenistan.

His statement comes after massive protests that rocked neighboring former Soviet state Kazakhstan this month.

Demonstrations sparked by public anger over the sharp rise in fuel prices quickly swept the country and plunged into violence within days, killing dozens of people in clashes, attacking and burning government buildings and looting shops.


Kazakhstan’s President Kassim-Jomart Tokayev has blamed foreign-backed “terrorists” for the unrest and asked for aid from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led group of six former Soviet states military alliance. The group sent more than 2,000 troops last week and began withdrawing from Kazakhstan on Thursday after Tokayev declared the mission complete.

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