Mass cleansing in the Public Prosecutor's office, dismissal of the chief of the Presidential staff, dismissal of the Deputy Prime Minister, relieving the chief of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs from his post� All of these have taken place recently.
What is behind these events? Distribution of power or distribution of money? It is obvious that under Turkmen conditions one does not exclude the other.
Corruption, of which many high-ranking officials in the Public Prosecutor's office are accused, comes as no surprise. It cannot be a genuine reason behind dismissals and arrests.
In August 2013 the son of Prosecutor General Yaranmurat Yazmuradov knocked down and killed a woman and her child with his car. At the request of the Prosecutor General, the Ashgabat Prosecutor Movlamberdy Garaev called off the investigation of the accident.
Neither the deaths of the woman and her child nor the outrageous conduct of the high-ranking official's son, or corruption in the Public Prosecutor's office worried the Turkmen President. It is not a big deal. He was more concerned with the fact that people in the upper echelons of power managed to come to an agreement (regardless of the subject) without the President's involvement. Under the managerial system built by S. Niyazov this is unacceptable. A prompt and severe punishment followed. Otherwise, according to the leader's logic, the next time high-ranking law enforcement officials would agree on more serious things which may pose a threat to the head of the state. The punishment was a large-scale warning to others. Many people, who are totally unconnected with this case, are still under investigation.
Niyazov left to the incumbent President not only the managerial system, but also some of his aides. It is they who, according to informed sources, "ousted" the chief of the Presidential staff Khodjamukhammet Mukhammedov.
After two and a half years in office, the chief of the Presidential staff Mukhammedov became quite influential not only in government agencies but also in business circles. According to some sources, he owns a chain of shopping malls "Byash yildiz" (Five stars"), which are currently closed.
A son's misbehaviour was the reason behind another dismissal story. Indeed, Shamurat, the son of Mukhammedov, has a wild temper and, taking advantage of his impunity, he has committed actions which can be considered as criminal offences. However, this is not the first riot initiated by Shamurat. But some people, interested in Kh. Mukhammedov's dismissal, could relay the facts to the President in such a way that was beneficial to them. For instance, they informed the country's leader about Mukhammedov's business and friendly ties between the khyakim of the Akhal velayat Mammetnyyaz Nurmukhammedov and some other high-ranking officials. These could reportedly generate some conspiracy. High-ranking officials believe that the fate of the khyakim of the Turkmen central province is in the balance. Mukhammedov and Nurmukhammedov know each other as they are both natives of the Ashgabat district "Khitrovka". Their long-standing acquaintance, however, does not mean that they were conspiring.
Recently an episode that occurred in April 2009 is being recalled when after a series of intrigues the previous chief of the Presidential staff and Berdymukhammedov's fellow classmate Yusup Ishangulyev was dismissed. It was obvious then that low-profile aides rather than executives and ministers could exert influence on the President.
Aleksandr Dadaev, Board Chairman of Turkmenistan's Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, has also fallen into disgrace. For many years Dadaev was close to the President and was reportedly running the President's business.
In the meantime the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs is designing and constructing over 20 various sites, including residential property, a multi-storey car park in the capital and cottages in the suburbs, cattle farms and sturgeon breeding farms in the Balkan velayat.
Dadaev himself, under the patronage of the head of state, took over several confectionary factories in Ashgabat.
However, at some point his interests overlapped with those of one of the President's sisters, Gulnabat. Now Dadaev has been placed under house arrest. On the other hand, as one of the high-ranking Turkmen officials, Dadaev seemed to have had business relations not only with the President but with those who have now fallen into disgrace.
In a nutshell, such a tangle of complicated and mysterious events has been evolving under the carpet that it is going to take the President a long time to unravel it. Berdymukhammedov may apply Niyazov's experience. The latter, when he sensed conspiracy, initiated cleansing of his own staff and in law enforcement agencies. Thus the National Security Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the Ministry of the Interior will be next to be subjected to cleansings. It remains to be seen in what sequence it will happen and how long it is going to take.
By Rakhman Otuzov
Specially for "Chronicles of Turkmenistan"