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Turkmenistan's Call, Or Rather Order, To Get Healthy

The Great Leader says all Turkmen will be active!

For those of you who might not have heard, this is fitness-and-happiness month in Turkmenistan.

Actually I didn't remember either. The good people at RFE/RL's Turkmen Service, known locally as Azatlyk, reminded me.

Fitness-and-happiness month is a state-sponsored campaign and it's not just some good advice from the authorities, it's an order.

The state-run Altyn Asyr (Golden Age) television station is hammering that message home this month with clips that remind citizens to get out and get active.

Whether it's the workers at the state oil and gas company, the employees at the Ashgabat mayor's office, or the bus and taxi drivers out there to serve the public, everybody seems to be joining in the campaign to be healthy.

Turkmenistan has been compared to North Korea and this short, chilling, clip from state television shows why.

NOTE: "Arkadaga Sohrati" translates as "Glory to Arkadag" and "Arkadag" is President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov's chosen nickname. It means "protector."

-- Bruce Pannier

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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.


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