Saturday, January 26, 2008

Opera relegalized in Turkmenistan: good thing or bad thing?

On the plus side, it looks like the autocratic government continues to at least restore a semblance of normality. Opera, the circus, ballet and other such pernicious foreign cultural influences are now legal again after being illegalized during the Years of the Rukhnama. (For other examples of the weirdness of Saparmurat Niyazov, Father of the Turkmen, I recommend checking out the archives of the Turkmenistan Project, which have weekly news summaries up through 2007).

The downside, of course, is that some people will have to listen to opera.

More seriously, it's also being reported that the Turkmen government will actually permit an international auditing of the country's gas reserves. To see, you know, if they really exist. Niyazov said they did, but depending on Niyazov's sanity was always inadvisable.

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