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Tightened control, or life in the crypt

The executives of the organizations and companies in Turkmenistan often go to extremes in an attempt to exercise tight control over their subordinates.

In April the National Library named after Saparmurat Niyazov marked the first anniversary of moving its facility to a new "state-of-the-art", as referred to by local mass media, building in the National Cultural Centre of Turkmenistan in Ashgabat. Since that time the work, which brought job satisfaction to the library staff, has turned into hard labour.

The National Cultural Centre of Turkmenistan incorporates three organizations – the concert hall, the main country's library and the museum of gifts presented to Turkmenbashi. Each organization is managed by its own director, whereas Tuvakbibi Kurbanovna Durdyeva was appointed the chief executive officer of the entire National Cultural Centre of Turkmenistan. For many years she was running the carpet museum. However, she has no professional qualifications in carpet weaving or library science. Durdyeva is a classical party functionary, who started her career in the Komsomol organization and improved her managerial methods during Turkmenbashi's presidency.

If, according to a notorious dictator, cadres are all important, then in this context it would be appropriate to make another conclusion – bad personnel is all destructive.

Let us illustrate this with examples.

When entering the building, one can feel the atmosphere of the state-of the-art facility. The surveillance camera installed in the entrance records the arrival and departure of each employee along with the visitors. However, to be on the safe side, an inspector with a computer has been assigned by the administration of the Cultural centre. Upon entering the building, an employee is required to tell his or her ID number, which is registered in the daily updated database.Yet, the checks go beyond and a specially-assigned employee keeps a register making manual entries of his colleagues' arrival and departure time. And, finally, the secretary of the chief executive officer – the unsleeping eye of higher ranking officials - meets all employees at the entrance.

"Every working day starts with stress", - say the librarians, - "if you come to work at 9:00 precise, you are considered to be late, therefore all employees try to arrive 10 minutes before and hurry to register in the book. It is next to impossible to come earlier as the new building is located in the outskirts of the capital. In the morning the queue lines up at the entrance as there are about 400 staff members. Everybody gets nervous in the fear of being registered after 9 a.m.".

Thus, "the registration ceremony" takes place on a daily basis. All procedures are introduced to keep the chief executive officer informed of which of the staff members was late and how many minutes. Later, if needed, a "feckless" employee can be dismissed based on the register's entry, computer time tracking, the camera surveillance shots, or in the worst case scenario, the evidence of an eye-witness, the secretary.

Surprisingly, such managers are in demand. On March 8, the chief executive officer of the Cultural centre was awarded with the golden chain presented personally by the President.

In the meantime, the books in the main library are being destroyed. The new building has become the real crypt for the books and the curators as well. There is a shortage of shelves and the temperature conditions are not properly maintained. The building is not suitable for storage of books. Nobody is concerned about renewing the book stocks. The key priority lies in excising control over subordinates.

Source: TIHR