Turkmenistan. At the beginning of the year, the opposition’s political pressure against the regime continued. Turkmenistan’s ambassador to Turkey, Nurmuhammet Hanamov, stated that he stood on the opposition’s side, which led to his dismissal by President Nijazov. Shortly thereafter, the country’s former governor also joined the opposition, claiming that the economic situation in Turkmenistan was critical.
According to Countryaah website, national day of Turkmenistan is every September 27. Speculation about plans for a coup against Nijazov took off in the spring, since the president dismissed both the defense minister and the head of the security police. The two were forced to make humiliating confessions of failure in their tasks, and according to Nijazov, corruption and other criminal activities were behind. Nijazov appointed substitutes who were loyal to him, but who were not as well qualified for his posts. The fired security chief Muhammed Nazarov, considered the country’s second most powerful man, was singled out in foreign press as a possible initiator of a coup attempt against Nijazov.
The president’s hardships increased when international media accused him of participating in drug smuggling originating in the Afghan opium culture. The data fueled the opposition’s campaign against Nijazov. Former Foreign Minister Boris Sjichmuradov, who led the opposition in exile from Moscow, said that Nijazov should be investigated before an international court. Turkmenist oppositionists met in exile during the summer and agreed on a political plan for, among other things. free and fair elections, freedom of speech and assembly, as well as the release of political prisoners. In August, the National Democratic Movement conducted a series of demonstrations at home, in the capital Ashgabat.
President Nijazov decided in August to rename the months and days of the year. January is henceforth called “Turkmenbasji”, one of Nijazov’s titles, while April is named after the president’s deceased mother. Nijazov also redefined man’s age, explaining that adolescence lasts until you are 37 years old.
Hundreds of people were arrested following an attack on Nijazov in November. One of them was Boris Sjichmuradov, who was allegedly voluntarily returned from exile. He was sentenced to life imprisonment after publicly pleading guilty. Critics said that Sjichmuradov had been pressed and that the attack was actually arranged by Nijazov himself.