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Turkmenistan: Russian Politician Attacks Turkmen Government

Moscow, 23 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The head of the Russian State Duma's Foreign Relations Committee has issued tough criticism of Turkmenistan, accusing the country's leadership of violating the rights of Russians living in Turkmenistan and other misdeeds. The criticism from Dmitrii Rogozin comes amid strained ties between Russia and Turkmenistan following Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov's decision last month to cancel the ability of people in Turkmenistan to have dual Russian citizenship.

In his criticism, Rogozin accused the Turkmen leadership of having links to Afghanistan's Taliban and of also being involved in narcotics trafficking and supporting terrorism. Rogozin offered no evidence to support his claims.

No response from Turkmen authorities was immediately available.

Turkmenistan's decision to cancel dual citizenship with Russia followed Turkmen accusations that Russia harbored suspects with dual citizenship who were involved in last November's reported assassination attempt on Niyazov.