Turkmenistan has bestowed a prestigious state award – the Ruhubelent Order -- on the wife of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, saying she has helped improve ties between the two countries.
In a ceremony in Ashgabat, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov said Svetlana Medvedeva was being recognized for inspiring spirituality and morality among young people.
Medvedeva is not known for showing any particular interest in Turkmenistan.
Ties between the two countries have been strained since 2009 when Russia abruptly halted imports of natural gas from Turkmenistan.
Based on reporting by AP, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service, and Turkmen state TV