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Saparmurad Ovezberdiev Dies Aged 71

A veteran correspondent in RFE/RL's Turkmen Service passed away on June 19.

Turkmen writer and poet Saparmurad Ovezberdiev died after a long battle with cancer. He was 71.

He was born on February 21, 1939 in the western Turkmen town of Baharden. He graduated from the Moscow Institute of Literature in 1962 and began his journalistic career as a correspondent at the youth newspaper “Mydam Tayyar.”

He worked at RFE/RL's Turkmen Service from 1992, first as a freelancer reporting from Ashgabat. He was also a translator of foreign literature, mostly from Baltic writers, and was a member of the Writers Union of the former USSR.

In 2003, Turkmen National Security Ministry (MNB) officials in Ashgabat threatened to kill him if he continued his work with RFERL. Under constant persecution, he bravely carried on working.

In 2004, he left Turkmenistan to live in the United States with his three sons. He continued as an RFE/RL contributor from Washington.

But Ovezberdiev never forgot his motherland. While exiled in the United States, he continued writing his poetry. He wrote about Turkmenistan: its beauty, and courageous people. What he wanted most of all was to see his motherland free and prosperous.

Or as he once wrote just "to see one more time/My homeland and its blossom fields."

-- Turkmen Service

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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