Turkmenistan: President Sacks Russian Daily Editor
The editor of Turkmenistan's Russian-language daily, Neitral'nyi Turkmenistan has been fired by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the Russian wire service Interfax reported.
Vladimir Gubanov, who was both the editor of Neitral'nyi Turkmenistan and the chairman of the Mejlis (parliamentary) committee on science, education, and culture, was dismissed on December 27. No reason was provided.
A search through recent weeks of the newspaper didn't yield any indication of articles that may have been controversial. They are the usual boiler-plate state-approved pieces extolling Berdymukhamedov's various initiatives in construction, agriculture and foreign policy, discussing trade with Turkey, and enthusiastically covering the heavily-controlled elections campaign.
The president's chronic unhappiness with media has often led to sudden firings in the past.
The dismissal comes several days after the Turkmen leader's visit to Moscow, where he discussed the situation of Russians in Turkmenistan, pressured now to give up their dual citizenship and opt for Turkmen passports or be forced to leave the country.
Irina Stolbunova, the deputy editor, has now been made the acting editor.
The newspaper, published since 1924, has a circulation of about 50,000, and comes out daily except Sundays .