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Saparmurat Niyazov's Speech at Meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

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21 October 2005, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan


Niyazov: Turkmenistan has attached great significance to this meeting – with apparatus of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You are making policy – in cultural, economic, political spheres. In the period of joint-being in UUSR, Turkmenistan was highly appreciated by the Russian people and Russia. We had relations between the republics and centers. All these were directed at development of economy and culture of Turkmenistan.

Those were difficult times. After the war ..after the earthquake. And now we appreciate the brotherly assistance of Russian people. And we never were offended by Russian people. We never said that Russian people oppress us. We had disagreement with some political decisions of USSR Heads. Some economic spheres and agriculture were underdeveloped. 

The rights of Russian populations have been never violated. In 1985-1990 years according to the law the penalty was imposed to the sum of 3000 rubles for infringement of rights. Afterwards, we adopted the law on criminal responsibility for infringement of rights. We have introduced three languages for study at schools. We never infringed the rights of other nationalities [ethnic groups]. Other people say about oppression of rights of other peoples. But you will never find that [here in
Turkmenistan]. In 1985 Russian population in Turkmenistan was 19%. At that time Russian military was present here in Turkmenistan -- 19 % - they [and their] families. After the collapse of USSR we created common army. We signed agreement on that with Yeltsin. Then they [Russian troops] were withdrawn.

Now the matter of military base in Krasnovodsk --- It was a crazy base. We didn’t force them out. They were withdrawn according to the order from the center [
Moscow]. We regretted that they have left. That time the situation in Baku alerted all of us. Yeltsin asked me to permit the families of military staff to live temporary here until the officers find living places in Russia. And we agreed. Within 2-3 years they continued the service in Russia and then took their families. In that way the population of Russian people has decreased in Turkmenistan.

In the period of collapse [of the
USSR] the international strife began in many republics. We were spared from that here. Many old people stayed here. That time it was 5 % of Russian population. And nowadays just 1.5-2 % of Russian people live here. Now, 34000 of Russian-speaking live in Turkmenistan. These people have started to send their children to Turkmen kindergartens. They want that their children should know Turkmen language. They are free. No international distrust -- here is trust and freedom.

Today you will visit Turkmen-Russian school. There children sing songs in Turkmen. They are children of Russian people. Turkmen children sing songs in Russian. We have received intellectual assistance form Russian. If we were not in the
USSR, the same situation as in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan would have happened here. You didn’t create economy for us. You created development of our nation in humanitarian sphere. It is invaluable contribution. There is no family here that doesn’t know Pushkin. We have monument of Lenin. We are not going to demolish it. We had anti-communist movements after collapse.

You know the
Turkmenistan only through the mass media. Can you show me one or a couple of oppressed persons? We will hold amnesty. Some Russian will be amnestied and sent to Russia. We have no one imprisoned for dissidence.

We have directed our efforts for self-development in economic sphere. We remained behind in economic sphere. In 1991 during collapse the per capita income was 7 USD. Now it is 7500 USD. Now it is a developed country, though not like in European countries. But it is great achievement for us. 

We never produced grain. Now we produce 3.2 million tons of wheat.  1.5 million tons is eaten by the population. We constructed plants and factories in leading branch – oil and gas. Most of the people think that we exist on account of gas only.

In 1991 we produced just 2.5 million tons of oil. Now we produce 10.5 million tons. The entire infrastructure is directed at the social security of the population. Till 2020 we will continue to give free gas and water, electricity and payment for dwelling houses. We construct dwelling houses and in villages we give for leasing the plots of lands free of cost, with 50% discount for technical service. We have created farmers associations. Agriculture is developed. The cattle- farming has developed now. In 1991 we had 2 million cattle. Now we have 17 million of sheep. We have removed the taxes. The main condition is sale on internal market. We fully supply ourselves with milk and butter. Our republic is self-sufficient.

I want to explain why the economic relations with Russian are not so developed. We do not invite to
Turkmenistan anybody. We organize tenders. Turkish, Iranian companies participate in them. Russian companies do no come. They think that they are not invited. But Russian businessmen now purchase polypropylene, light industry products, wool here.  We do not conclude contracts with countries. Everything except gas can be purchased through the Exchange.

We developed the manufacture of LPG. Till the end of year we will produce 500 thousand tons of LPG.

Russia delivers us vodka and cigarettes. But we have a small part of smoking population.

[. . . .]

A lot of shortcomings were there after the collapse. We were blamed for violence of human rights. I do not accept this criticism --- Because you have no evidences. We love Russian population not less than Russian love themselves.

We hate thieves. For example, former minister of water economy - - - We gave him 40 million USD to purchase the equipment for development of water economy from
Ukraine. He sold all the equipment, made profit for himself and ran away. Now he is in Moscow and says that his rights were violated. There is no sense.

National interest is tied with interest of our states. For example if we will cause troubles on
Caspian Sea, you will be alerted. So, dear Russians, don’t worry. In all aspect we will take into consideration your interests as well. We do not try to please you. It is just necessary for mutually equitable cooperation and trust. 

[. . . .]

[Niyazov presenting gold replica of the head of a bull to Lavrov] :The head of bull was found in the suburbs of Ashgabat. It symbolizes Oguz – primary Turkmen. It was kept in Hermitage [in
Leningrad]. Then we asked it from Leningrad. Now Sergei Viktorovich I present you this head of bull and wolf to you.

I finish my speech and wish you health, success and prosperity. We will cooperate with you and help you.


Translation by nCa