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Russian Politician Criticizes New Turkmen Pension Law --> Dmitry Rogozin (file photo) (AFP) MOSCOW, 8 February 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A Russian politician today criticized Turkmenistan's new pension laws, saying they could lead to a humanitarian disaster.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia's nationalist Rodina (Motherland) party, made his remarks today at a parliamentary session in Moscow. He said that under Turkmenistan's new pension laws -- which have cut pension payments to more than 100,000 senior citizens -- thousands of people will face serious humanitarian problems. He expressed concern that ethnic Russians living in Turkmenistan will be affected.

Rogozin said the cuts are unjustified because pensioners in Turkmenistan were provided for under Soviet rule.

After his speech, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service contacted Rogozin, who said his party calls on the international community to intervene. "In fact, we're talking about the beginning of a humanitarian catastrophe, so we demand that not only Russia and parliaments which we are going to appeal to, but also the whole international community should interfere in the humanitarian and political situation in Turkmenistan," he said.

On 25 January, Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov announced the cuts, linking the decision to statistical errors in the eligible number of Turkmen pensioners. Others have linked the decision to shortcomings in the state pension fund.

Rights advocates say the move will create severe problems for Turkmen families that had been relying on a single pension.

(RFE/RL's Turkmen Service/Interfax)

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