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The authorities still fear freedom of expression

The 100th anniversary of People's Artist of the USSR, a prominent dramatic artist Bazar Amanov has caused much turmoil in Ashgabat.

On the last day of April the State Children's library named after the prominent artist organized the event devoted to the memory of Bazar Amanov and invited the representatives of the Turkmen intelligentsia and artists.

Amongst those invited was People's Artist of Turkmenistan, a well-known painter Aman Amangeldyev, who made an outstanding portrait of Bazar Amanov when he was alive. Now this portrait is owned by the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

The painter started his speech by criticizing the present-day authorities: "The culture has been destroyed. People speak about science, which is non-existent. Talented youth can emerge if the creative environment is fostered. Individuals like Bazar Amanov are needed ..."

However, his speech was cut short. Vigilant and pervasive special services officers switched off his microphone.

Observers say that a 78-year Aman Amangeldyev is used to encounter such reactions. He has gained prominence as a renowned artist not only for his commitment to the historic genre paintings, but his civic engagement, individual opinion and disobedience to the regime. Under Niyazov's rule, as a professor at the State Academy of Arts he opposed the rector's eccentric behavior, who gave an order to hang a Rukhnama poster instead of artistic paintings. As a result, Amangeldyev was recommended to submit a letter of resignation, which he did.

It should be noted that many participants of the event got frightened unlike the courageous artist. In Turkmenistan it is still frightening not only to make comments unpleasant to the authorities, but even to listen to them.

Source: TIHR