These days, Turkmenistan’s strongman, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, would prefer it if Ukraine didn't exist. But try as he might, his government can't keep Turkmen citizens completely in the dark about Ukrainian events.
State-controlled media in Turkmenistan -- one of the most repressive states in the world, according to human rights organizations – has maintained steadfast silence on events in Ukraine since the start of the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv last November. The news blackout not only has covered the downfall of Viktor Yanukovych’s administration, but also Russia’s annexation of Crimea and, most recently, the upheaval in eastern Ukraine.
Similarly, the Turkmen government has not issued any official statements concerning Ukrainian developments. The evident fear guiding government policy is that news of an uprising against incumbent authorities in another formerly Soviet state might inspire Turkmenistan’s own beleaguered population to follow suit.
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Aisha Berdyeva is a psuedonym for a reporter who follows Turkmen affairs.