Turkmenistan. At the New Year, Turkmenistan signed a new agreement with Ukraine on gas deliveries, which meant significantly increased revenue for Turkmenistan. The deal came after a price dispute that threatened Ukraine’s economy since Turkmenistan closed in mid-winter by deliveries to the heavily gas-dependent country. Turkmenistan is the world’s second largest gas producer.
According to countryaah, Ashgabat is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Turkmenistan. President Saparmurat Nijazov declared in January that he intended to ban child labor in Turkmenistan. According to the US State Department, more than half a million children were estimated to be working in Turkmenistan in 2000.
The dictatorial and self-indulgent Nijazov, who was appointed president for life, surprisingly announced in April that it could become presidential election in 2009. The statement came a few weeks after Kyrgyzstan’s president was forced to resign as a result of popular protests. However, because of the censorship in Turkmenistan, few residents knew about what had happened in Kyrgyzstan. In the fall, Nijazov withdrew his proposal for presidential elections after the Turkmen People’s Council declared that he was “interchangeable”.
Turkmenistan, one of the most isolated countries in the world, cut additional channels in April by stopping operations for international courier companies such as DHL. Many companies and embassies had been dependent on these companies for the postal service. No motive was given for the government’s decision.
A British study presented in June showed that Turkmenistan had the lowest life expectancy in Europe and Central Asia, 62 years. The British experts who examined the health situation in Turkmenistan said that the country’s health care system has deteriorated systematically over the past five years. President Nijazov had closed almost all colleges and stopped, among other things. the training of doctors and nurses. He had also made sure to close all hospitals outside the capital Ashgabat, abolished the free health care and dismissed about 15,000 health care workers who were replaced by conscripts. According to the British survey, in contrast to official statistics, there is a high proportion of tuberculosis cases and HIV-infected, as well as growing drug abuse, increasing numbers of suicides and increasing prostitution.
In August, President Nijazov issued another one of his notorious bans. It meant stopping for recorded music at all public events, on TV and at weddings. The reason, according to the president, was the need to protect the Turkmenist culture from “negative influences”.
Nijazov also decided to send his own writing, “The Book of the Soul,” into space with Japanese research satellites. Along with the book was placed the Turkmenistan flag and the presidential standard. The book that has now conquered space is already mandatory reading for all Turkmenists.