Vremya novostei: “Ashgabat shifts the focus from Europe to America”
© Reflections on the Ruhnama
By Steve in Wisconsin
Publication date: June 22, 2009
Russian news agency Feghana.ru reports today that Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister, Rashid Meredov, is making an urgent trip to Washington, D.C. The purpose of the trip is to “awake the interest of such American energy companies as Shell, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron in accessing [the] Turkmen market with their investment and technologies. Ashgabat hopes that Americans will help Turkmenistan sign the agreement on division of the Caspian Sea as well as provide support at the negotiations on financial conditions of Turkmen participation in Nabucco project and construction of TransCaspian gas pipeline.”
Ferghana.ru quotes Russian newspaper Vremya novostei noting that “Ashgabat shifts the focus from Europe to America” because of new “cash inflow transparency requirements” in Europe that require gas revenues be redistributed within Turkmenistan’s budget. This European action is in response to information that former Turkmen president, Saparmyrat Niyazov (Turkmenbashy the Great), diverted a sizeable amount of gas revenue into a personal account at Deutsche-Bank. The Ferghana.ru article states that Arkadiy Dubnov, who monitors Vremya novostei, writes that “the conditions, set up by the European Commission, threatened the main secrets of Turkmen regime. The point is that [the] defunct ‘father of all Turkmens’ explained [to] his Turkmen children that all gas revenues will be safer in his own treasure rather than state treasury due to protective reasons…”
Needless to say, the global media had a field day when this bank account came to light.
But the phrase “protective reasons” should not be construed as dishonest motives. I find no evidence that Turkmenbashy used any of these funds to buy or maintain personal properties in foreign lands. Rather, the Deutsche-Bank account appears to have been ‘insurance’ against a future coup by placing significant funds outside the reach of whomever assumed power under such circumstances. Turkmenbashy’s suspicious death, which I believe was assassination by poison, was, of course, unexpected and thus the funds remained at Deutsche-Bank. After his death, however, it is my understanding that none of his family attempted to withdraw any of these funds – thereby supporting my assertion that this money was banked in Germany mostly to keep it out of Turkmenistan.
The point of my blog post today is to comment that this “urgent trip to the United States” by Rashid Meredov – for the purpose of toadying up to U.S. oil companies – is yet one more example of Turkmenistan’s shift into the Western orbit. It is abandonment of Turkmenbashy’s neutral policies as written in Ruhnama.
See my earlier post:
Is Turkmenistan shifting to the West?, Jan. 16, 2009