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Turkmenistan Honors St. Petersburg Governor

Valentina Matvienko (right) with regional governor Valery Serdyukov
ASHGABAT -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has bestowed an honorable order upon St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matvienko during her visit to the Turkmen capital Ashgabat, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Berdymukhammedov presented Matvienko with the order "For great love of independent Turkmenistan" for her contribution to the strengthening of relations between the two countries.

Matvienko is visiting Ashgabat as a member of a Russian delegation that includes St. Petersburg business and industrial officials.

Friendly relations between St. Petersburg and the Turkmen government date back to the rule of late President Saparmurat Niyazov, who studied in St. Petersburg when it was known as Leningrad.

Matvienko, 60, is the only woman governor in Russia. She has been the governor of St. Petersburg since 2003.