Thursday, October 27, 2011

Turkmen Wedding Plans

Early this past summer, I speculated that Turkmenistan might be moving decisively to a more open society, though in Turkmenistan that isn't saying much. Since then, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has made moves eerily reminiscent of life under his predecessor, such as writing a new national guidebook. The most recent is his requirements for newlyweds:
"Register marriage: check. Plant trees with the president in special wedding center park: check. Visit earthquake memorial: check. Visit Monument to the Constitution: check. Visit Monument to Independence: check. Visit...

"And the list goes on, part of new lengthy requirements laid out for newlyweds by the Turkmen ruler in remarks anticipating the October 28 grand opening of the 'Palace of Happiness' hotel complex.

"The detailed list of instructions has couples visiting a total of four memorials the day of their registration, far more than the one obligatory visit customary for newlyweds in the region...

"The new requirements are clearly meant to coincide with events celebrating the nation's 20th anniversary of independence on October 27 as well. The tree-planting ritual 'could start a new tradition to build family life and strengthen family values,' Berdymukhammedov was quoted as saying in an October 21 Turkmen State News Agency report."

The Turkmen were better off under the Soviets than in their first twenty years of independence.



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