Following the well-known events that occurred in Russia on January 23, Ashgabat is taking preventative measures for the possibility of unrest in Turkmenistan. We have been informed that Ashgabat sent a request to Russia to expel all Turkmens who participated in the demonstrations that took place all over the Russian Federation on January 23, 2021. That it is to say, if there are Turkmen citizens among those who were arrested, the Russian authorities should send them to Turkmenistan, regardless of the law, their human rights, and COVID-19. There is even an airline, “S-7,” which would transport them to Turkmenistan.
According to an inside source, the authorities are afraid that Turkmens who participated in the demonstrations will gain experience with this type of activity, and, upon their return, could pose a threat to the authoritarian Turkmen regime.
Furthermore, it is reported that the more active “returnees” should be labeled “terrorists” and punished severely in order to frighten the population and discourage them from asserting their rights.
We remind our readers that on January 23, 2021 protests were held in over 100 cities in Russia in support of Aleksey Navalny, who was arrested immediately upon his return from Germany, where he underwent medical treatment.
Our compatriots are asking for detailed information about the results of the protests. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs stated that in Moscow 4,000 people attended the protests, but Reuters counted 40,000. The number of those detained throughout all of Russia is 3,324; 1,320 in Moscow and 490 in St. Petersburg. There is information that 96 individuals were detained in Novosibirsk, 92 in Voronezh, and 90 in Nizhniy Novgorod, etc.
It is unknown whether any of our compatriots are among them. Regardless, we hope that Russia will not send a single person to the one of the most authoritarian countries in the world—Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.