KYRGYZ RULING PARTY TO SPLIT?  Talk of defections follows death of key player 
in Ak Jol.  By Anara Yusupova in Bishkek (RCA No. 571, 30-Mar-09)

KAZAK OPPOSITION BAULKS AT “NO PROTEST” PACT  Government allies pledge to work 
together on economic crisis, but concerted action will have limited impact 
since opposition is not on board.  By Marik Koshabaev in Almaty (RCA No. 571, 

reluctant to relax controls on a group they suspect of mixed loyalties.  By 
IWPR staff in Central Asia (RCA No. 571, 31-Mar-09)


finances remain far from transparent, and gas export money may be held in 
foreign accounts.  By IWPR staff (RCA No. 571, 29-Mar-09)

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Talk of defections follows death of key player in Ak Jol. 

By Anara Yusupova in Bishkek (RCA No. 571, 30-Mar-09)

The death of Medet Sadyrkulov, one of the architects of the governing Ak Jol 
party in Kyrgyzstan, has sown confusion among members, and could lead to a 
split, say local analysts. 

Some politicians are predicting that Sadyrkulov’s allies will leave Ak Jol and 
go over to the opposition. 

Sadyrkulov was President Kurmanbek Bakiev’s chief of staff until January, when 
he resigned as part of a larger reshuffle. 

The authorities have not yet formally confirmed that Sadyrkulov was among those 
who died in a car accident on March 13. They were awaiting definitive results 
from DNA testing conducted in Russia. However, citing a source in the Kyrgyz 
prosecution service, the 24.kg news site reported on March 30 that the test 
results had come in and confirmed that one of the dead was indeed Sadyrkulov, 
the others being the former head of the International Institute for Strategic 
Studies, Sergei Slepchenko, and the driver of the car they were in when it was 
hit by another vehicle, Kubat Sulaymanov. 

Opposition politicians have alleged that Sadyrkulov was assassinated for 
political reasons, although there is no real evidence to support this. The 
interior ministry is treating the matter as a traffic accident, and is not 
looking at it as a possible murder case. (For more on this, see Kyrgyz 
Politician’s Death Widens Opposition-Government Gulf, RCA No. 570, 16-Mar-09.) 

Ak Jol was set up in October 2007 with Bakiev as its leader, and just two 
months it won a landslide election victory, taking 71 of the 90 seats in 
parliament. As a result, government initiatives have had an easy ride through 
the legislature since then. 

The party was forged out a number of major political groups like Sadyrkulov’s 
Moya Strana and the Party of Labour and Unity, set up by two brothers of the 
president, Janysh and Jusup Bakiev, as well as several smaller ones, and now 
numbers over 100,000 members. 

Appointed to head the then newly-elected president’s administration in 2007, 
Sadyrkulov was seen as a key ally of Bakiev, helping him weather a series of 
anti-government demonstrations, and later weakening the opposition by coopting 
several of its members. 

It is unclear how many of his supporters Sadyrkulov brought to the new party, 
but an anonymous source in Ak Jol says they include 15 current members of 

When the party was established, experts predicted that things would not go 
smoothly since it was effectively a coalition of diverse elite groupings 
representing the north and south of Kyrgyzstan, an important political divide 
in this country. 

The January reshuffle was seen by analysts as a power-struggle among rival 
elite factions, in which Sadyrkulov found himself on the losing side. 

After leaving office, Sadyrkulov is said by opposition members to have been 
manoeuvring to reposition himself on the political landscape. 

“I have heard from several opposition leaders that the? had meetings with 
Sadyrkulov,” said Bakyt Beshimov, who heads the tiny Social Democrat faction in 

“Furthermore, he disagreed with Bakiev’s actions and felt guilty for being 
involved in such negative policies. Some opposition politicians say he wanted 
to make amends for his past actions.” 

Sadyrkulov’s death seems to have brought these divisions out into the open. An 
anonymous source in parliament told IWPR that several Ak Jol legislators fear 
not only that they will lose their posts, but that their own lives may be at 

The source said these members of parliament believe that after the accident, 
“something like that could happen to anyone”. 

“Although many people are upset, no one can speak out for fear of losing their 
[parliamentary] posts,” said the source. 

Elmira Ibraimova, a key ally of Sadyrkulov, stepped down as deputy prime 
minister after he departed from the presidential office. She too says the 
politician was working to build up new political support. 

“He said he couldn’t remain a bystander and watch how arbitrary rule gained 
strength and a tribal form of government was revived,” said Ibraimova. 

The clearest evidence of a rift in Ak Jol came when Ibraimova was removed from 
the party leadership – she was its deputy chair – after suggesting that what 
happened on March 13 was “nothing other than a political murder”. 

Ibraimova says she is so disappointed that she is thinking of resigning from 
the party altogether. 

“Most of Ak Jol’s members are good people who joined it because they believed 
in the idea of a people’s party, just as I did,” she said. “The party has 
failed to achieve all its aims.” 

Some Ak Jol legislators insisted to IWPR that there were no divisions in their 
ranks. But Ulugbek Ormonov, who heads the party in parliament, admitted that 
there was some turbulence. 

“Ak Jol is made up of members from several parties. Of course, each of them 
used to have its own political agenda, and there was some talk that these 
parties would face certain difficulties if they were brought together,” he 
said. “Following Sadyrkulov’s death, many members of parliament now have 
questions and doubts. I think the investigation will be able to assuage these.” 

Ormonov was critical of Ibraimova for attending a public meeting held by the 
main opposition coalition, the United People’s Movement, UPM, the day after the 
accident in which Sadyrkulov died. 

“The fact that she attended a meeting of the UPM, which calls for the 
resignation of Bakiev, Ak Jol’s leader, shows that she has made her choice,” he 
said. “Anyone who has any doubts should decide what to do, return their 
membership card and leave the party.” 

Ak Jol legislator Alisher Mamasaliyev told IWPR that “there have been no 
changes in the [parliamentary party] faction’s activities”. 

“I do not see any discord within the party, and I do not think Sadyrkulov’s 
supporters are going to be squeezed out of the party,” he said. “That would 
only weaken the party, and would benefit no one. The only people talking about 
a rift are those who want it to happen, who want to fragment the party and to 
disband parliament altogether.” 

Mamasaliev was referring to opposition parties and human rights groups which 
say the current parliament is not legitimate because the December 2007 ballot 
results were, in their view, rigged. 

At the same time, Joomart Saparbayev of Ata Meken, which is the most powerful 
of the opposition parties but is not represented in parliament, does not 
believe Ak Jol is about to split quite yet, although he predicts this will 
happen later on, albeit for different reasons. 

“Sadyrkulov’s people have been passive on the issue of the accident 
investigation,” he said, explaining why he thought these members were not about 
to storm out of the party. 

“There will be a rift, but not in the near future. I am certain the party as a 
whole will turn its back on Bakiev when the situation becomes shaky. First of 
all, it isn’t a party, it’s a group of people who got together to lobby their 
interests in parliament. Secondly, they don’t have ideological values in 
common, and thirdly…. if they speak up, they will lose their seats.” 

Political analyst Mars Sariev says the death of Sadyrkulov has stirred up Ak 
Jol’s internal politics and left northerners feeling vulnerable. 

“Sadyrkulov represented the interests of the northern elite and brought some 
balance to Bakiev’s team,” he explained. It was heightened tensions between 
[different elite] different groups… that led to a presidential election being 
called for this summer.” 

After a ruling by Kyrgyzstan’s Constitutional Court that the next presidential 
election must take place before the end of October this year, rather than in 
2010 as many had anticipated, parliament set a much earlier date of July 23. 
(See our report on this, Surprise Early Polls for Kyrgyzstan, RCA No. 570, 

As the UPM began the first in a series of planned anti-government rallies all 
around the country on March 27, analysts were watching to see whether any 
potential defectors from Ak Jol would make an appearance. No leading figures 

Anara Yusupova is a pseudonym for an independent journalist in Bishkek. 


Government allies pledge to work together on economic crisis, but concerted 
action will have limited impact since opposition is not on board.

By Marik Koshabaev in Almaty (RCA No. 571, 27-Mar-09)

Opposition groups in Kazakstan has criticised a move by the ruling Nur Otan 
party to get them to sign up to an agreement intended to contain public 
protests as long as the current economic crisis continues. 

Three opposition leaders – Bulat Abilov of the Azat party, Serikbolsyn Abdildin 
of the Communist Party of Kazakstan and Jarmakhan Tuyakbay of the National 
Social Democratic Party – issued a statement condemning Nur Otan’s initiative 
on March 17, saying the real aim of Nur Otan’s “memorandum on maintaining 
political stability” was to avert public protests against the government. This, 
they said, was an unrealistic aim. 

They were responding to a ceremony two days earlier at which five 
pro-government groups – the Party of Patriots, Ruhaniat, Auyl, Adilet and the 
Communist People’s Party – joined Nur Otan in signing the memorandum. 

This national pact was the culmination of a campaign that has seen Nur Otan 
entering into similar agreements with party branches, trade unions and 
non-government groups on a region-by-region basis. 

The document says signatories have a common understanding that they should 
support efforts to overcome the current economic crisis, and create a “space 
for dialogue” on these issues. 

Darkhan Kaletaev, Nur Otan’s first deputy chairman – the party is chaired by 
President Nursultan Nazarbaev – said the deal marked a “historic moment” at 
which all political forces needed to “unite for the sake of the people”. 

He underlined that other parties were welcome to sign up to the agreement, 
saying, “This memorandum is open to all political parties and political 

In a thinly-veiled hint to the opposition, Nur Otan’s representative in Almaty, 
Gulnara Samenbekova, said, “This is not the time to voice criticism or come out 
with destructive initiatives.” Samenbekova was in no doubt that Nur Otan was 
the right group to lead the consolidation effort. 

“In a society with a multi-party system, it is normal that there should be 
different views – that’s a normal sign of democracy – but we are the ruling 
party and we are responsible for preserving stability,” she said. 

The 2007 legislative election left Nur Otan the only one of Kazakstan’s ten 
parties represented in parliament. 

Nur Otan’s campaign to forge a national alliance was given the green light by 
President Nazarbaev, who told a February 12 meeting to mark the party’s tenth 
anniversary that it should act as a driving force to bring all political 
parties together during a difficult times. 

Kazakstan has suffered badly in the global financial crisis. Its over-extended 
banks have drastically curtailed lending, cutting off the lifeblood of local 
businesses and construction firms. Meanwhile, falling prices for oil and metals 
have hit export revenues. 

Officials say thousands of people have been put out of work by the closure of 
businesses across the country. The revaluation of the Kazak currency last 
month, intended to restore the economy’s competitiveness on international 
markets, has led to a jump in the prices of imported foodstuffs and consumer 

Critics of the initiative say Nur Otan is simply trying to neutralise possible 
protests. They argue that it is not in any political party’s gift to halt 
demonstrations and other expressions of anger by members of the public. 

They see the Nur Otan-led pact as an attempt to coopt support in order to get 
the Nazarbaev administration through a difficult period, and believe the 
dialogue the memorandum proposes will be a far from equal one. 

“Nothing good will come of the current attempts by the authorities to solve 
this problem [potential instability] by forcing public organisations to 
consolidate, imposing discipline on them, and threatening repressive action if 
they do not comply,” said the open letter sent by opposition leaders Abilov, 
Abdildin and Tuyakbay. 

“Public outrage is driven not by calls [to action] from the opposition, but by 
growing unemployment, fast-rising prices, gloomy prospects, and the ever more 
apparent inability of the authorities to handle the crisis.” 

Analysts say the authorities have made a mistake by reverting to the usual 
top-down approach to policymaking. 

Political analyst Andrei Chebotarev told IWPR that Nur Otan would have done 
better to choose a more inclusive, consultative approach. 

“They devised [the memorandum] and then made a statement in the media,” he 
said, “whereas they should have gathered the leaders of political parties 
together to discuss the need for this kind of document.” 

Chebotarev agrees with the point the opposition leaders made in their letter – 
that the pact will not succeed in stifling public discontent. 

“The idea of temporarily refraining from public meetings was wrong from the 
outset,” he said. “Right now, the situation is that various protest actions are 
being organised by ordinary people who are not linked to any party. [They 
include] small investors who have lost money in failed construction firms, 
people struggling to pay their mortgages, and factory workers whose wages are 
being delayed. 

“So you can negotiate with the parties, but it isn’t possible to sign a 
memorandum with the people.” 

Amirjan Kosanov of the National Social Democrats suggested that the memorandum 
had been conceived after all else had failed. 

“Initially, the president’s administration probably decided to use its own 
channels and tried to get [local-level agreements] signed by enlisting the 
provincial governors.” 

In recent weeks there has been a series of announcements about “no protest” 
agreements signed by local party offices, NGOs and others at provincial level. 
(For a report on a local action that went against one of these deals, see 
Kazakstan: Small Show of Defiance Against Protest “Ban”, RCA No. 569, 

Many critics of the scheme doubt whether it has anything more than symbolic 

Ninel Fokina from Almaty Helsinki Committee, a human rights group, was 
dismissive of the memorandum, saying it was not binding and there was no way of 
legally enforcing it. 

Kosanov said the fact that the opposition parties had abstained meant the pact 
carried little force. 

“Predictably, [the document] was signed by organisations and parties loyal to 
the authorities,” he said. 

Nur Otan may now be able to report back to the president that it has fulfilled 
the task he set it, but that will not stave off protests, said Kosanov. 

“What’s of real importance to the public is not this memorandum, but shop 
prices and utility bills,” he added. 

Marik Koshabaev is an IWPR-trained journalist in Almaty. 


Turkmen authorities reluctant to relax controls on a group they suspect of 
mixed loyalties. 

By IWPR staff in Central Asia (RCA No. 571, 31-Mar-09)

People who hold Russian as well as Turkmen nationality were hoping that 
President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov’s visit to Moscow last week would leave 
them feeling in a more secure position. 

Analysts say the reason why Turkmen and Russian leaders summit failed to agree 
a visa relaxation which would resolve the uncertain status of dual passport 
holders stems from the Turkmen authorities’ continuing suspicion of anyone able 
to travel freely in and out of the country. 

The Turkmen leader’s visit to Russia on March 24 and 25 ended with the signing 
of a number of agreements ranging from mutual recognition of educational 
qualifications to cooperation between their respective security forces. 

People who hold dual Turkmen-Russian nationality were hoping for a fresh start, 
where the government in Ashgabat would no longer suspect them of disloyalty 
simply because – unlike those who only have Turkmen passports – they are able 
to travel to Russia and other former Soviet states without first obtaining a 

Their hopes had been raised by remarks which Russian deputy prime minister 
Viktor Zubkov made during a March 23 meeting of an inter-governmental 
commission, suggesting that visa requirements between the two states might be 
relaxed and subsequently abolished altogether. 

If the visa requirement was removed, the dual passport holders would no longer 
represent an annoying anomaly for the Turkmen authorities. 

Since the dual nationality arrangement was introduced in 1993, an estimated 
100,000 people – of Turkmen as well as Russian ethnicity – have obtained the 
prized second passport. 

Possession of the document not only opens the door to visa-free visits to 
Russia and its immediate neighbours, but also makes it a lot easier to obtain 
visas for western states. 

For example, one ethnic Russian from western Turkmenistan says his second 
passport allows him to visit relatives abroad without problems, unlike his 
elderly neighbour who is also of Russian origin, but only has a Turkmen 

“She had to wait six weeks before she could obtain a [Russian] visa, while all 
I have to do is buy a ticket and go,” he said. 

The reciprocal agreement was annulled unilaterally by Turkmenistan when a 
failed assassination attempt in late 2002 prompted the then president 
Saparmurat Niazov to tighten border controls. 

Despite this, people with dual citizenship have continued using their Russian 
passports for foreign travel to avoid having to apply for visas. 

Sources in local government say officials quietly approved new applications for 
the right to hold dual nationality even after the arrangement was formally 

“Over these years [since 2003], about 150 people have paid large bribes and 
secretly obtained Russian passports,” said a local government official, who 
spoke on condition of anonymity. 

Apart from ease of travel, people say having a second passport makes you feel a 
little more secure – and you are treated with greater respect. 

“Officials from law enforcement and the Ministry for National Security treat 
them [dual passport holders] with more caution,” said one commentator in 
Ashgabat. “If you hold dual nationality, they will treat you differently”. 

Another observer added, “Dual nationality gives you some security and the sense 
that you are not alone, that you could seek protection in Moscow.” 

After the Turkmen authorities started issuing new-style passports last summer, 
however, people began reporting warnings from officials that they would not get 
the new documents unless they renounced their Russian citizenship. (For a 
report on this trend, see Dual Nationality Holders Face Obstructions, News 
Briefing Central Asia, 07-Mar-09.) 

This policy suggests that the authorities harbour a lingering suspicion of 
people who appear to have an allegiance other than to Turkmenistan, and may 
explain why the recent summit did not result in a breakthrough on the visa 

Analysts say the Turkmen government is still reluctant to allow people to 
travel unhindered to Russia and further afield. 

“The dual nationality held by some Turkmen makes it difficult to control and 
pressure them,” said Vyacheslav Mamedov, head of the Civil Democratic Union, a 
Turkmen émigré group based in the Netherlands. “The Turkmen authorities resent 
the idea that such citizens enjoy the legal protection of another country.” 

A journalist working on a state-run national newspaper said the authorities 
viewed dual passport holders as “a real threat”. The reason was simply that 
these people “enjoy more freedom of action”, he added – they can go abroad and 
describe conditions in Turkmenistan, and while they are outside the country 
they can read things that are forbidden and unavailable at home. 

A journalist in the northern province of Dashoguz suggested the government 
wanted one set of rules to fit all. 

“The authorities want to make everyone equal,” he said. “Dual nationality 
holders are a thorn in their side because they enjoy greater freedom.” 

Within Turkmenistan, holding a Russian passport is grounds for discrimination 
rather than privilege, and people often conceal their special status for fear 
of being dismissed from work or expelled from university. 

A journalist with state television recalled a colleague who used her second 
passport to spend some time working in Russia. On her return, she found her job 
had been filled and no one was willing to take her on. 

“Her application was rejected by the foreign ministry,” said the journalist. 
“It was stamped with the word ‘Denied’. The authorities do not trust people 
with dual nationality.” 

The pressure to apply for new Turkmen passports, coupled with Moscow’s apparent 
inability to support the Russian citizens, leaves many facing a difficult 

“My old Turkmen passport expires in 2013, and then I’ll have to apply for a new 
one and become a citizen of just one country,” said a woman from northern 
Turkmenistan. “It’s a tremendous strain.” 

An ethnic Tatar who has had two passports for the last decade, is pessimistic 
about the prospects of a change in Turkmen government policy. 

“Judging by the outcome of the meeting between the Turkmen and Russian 
presidents, the Turkmen authorities can do whatever they want,” he said. “So 
they will insist that people with dual nationality renounce one of their 

(The names of interviewees in Turkmenistan have been withheld for security 



Pressure group believes state finances remain far from transparent, and gas 
export money may be held in foreign accounts. 

By IWPR staff (RCA No. 571, 29-Mar-09)

More than two years after the death of President Saparmurat Niazov, the 
anti-corruption pressure group Global Witness believes Turkmenistan may still 
be placing large amounts of natural gas revenues in off-budget accounts abroad. 

In an interview for IWPR, Tom Mayne, a campaigner with Global Witness, noted 
that Turkmenistan was now earning far more from gas exports than it did under 
Niazov, who is alleged to have exercised sole control of this money in accounts 
with Deutsche Bank in Germany. 

Although Niazov’s successor Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov, elected in February 
2007, indicated early on that he planned to change this system of opaque 
accounting for the state finances, Global Witness believes the Turkmen 
leadership may be continuing to use foreign accounts. 

The group’s latest report, entitled “Undue Diligence: How banks do business 
with corrupt regimes” and released on March 11, looks at Turkmenistan as one of 
a number of resource-rich states whose leaders used western banks to deposit 
foreign currency earnings belonging to the state, and in some cases used their 
access to these accounts to embezzle and fritter away these funds. 

Under Niazov, who was Turkmen president from independence in 1991 until his 
death in late 2006, the report says, “Turkmenistan is the only country that 
Global Witness has ever come across where none of the natural resource wealth 
appeared to be making it on the government’s budget.” 

On the role of Niazov’s German bankers, the report said, “Deutsche Bank held 
the central bank accounts for gas-rich Turkmenistan for 15 years, despite the 
fact that the money was being kept out of the national budget and was 
effectively under the personal control of Niayzov.” 

To show the scale of the revenues that were diverted, the report says 
Turkmenistan earned five billion US dollars from gas exports in 2007, around 
half the country’s entire gross domestic product the previous year. 

Tom Mayne told IWPR what Global Witness was trying to achieve. 

Question: Can you introduce Global Witness and why it carries out 
investigations of this kind? 

Answer: Global Witness is a non-governmental organisation based in London and 
Washington. We work to demonstrate the links between natural resources and 
corruption and conflict, and try to break those links by getting governments to 
change their policies. 

Q: What was the main aim of the report, and what were its principal 

A: One of our original aims was to look at energy-supplying countries and 
examine who controls the flow of that money. 

In countries where the “resource curse” is prominent, corrupt officials often 
misappropriate the money. But this is only half of the story. Where is that 
money stored? 

Most often, as our report shows, the money is stored in the West, so we are 
aiding kleptocrats in hiding their ill-gotten gains. We are calling for 
governments to start to hold banks accountable for their actions, for proper 
oversight to be conducted when it comes to doing business with 
politically-exposed people, for money-laundering laws to be strengthened, for 
stricter laws regarding tax havens, and so on. 

The aim of the report was to throw some light on this issue, and show how the 
EU is complicit in corruption by allowing banks in its jurisdiction to do 
business with politically exposed people and corrupt regimes. Our aim is to 
strengthen banking regulations to prevent this from happening in the future. 
The European Commission needs to address this issue. 

Q: What were the main findings on Turkmenistan? 

A: That Deutsche Bank acted as the main banker for the government of 
Turkmenistan under President Niazov. Though Deutsche Bank has confirmed that 
they did not hold personal accounts for Niazov, because of the nature of 
Niazov’s rule, all of Turkmenistan’s money was under his control. 

Most worryingly, we know that 50 per cent of all money coming from the sale of 
the country’s gas was placed in the Foreign Exchange Reserve Fund at Deutsche 
Bank, a special fund which – though under the ostensible control of the Central 
Bank – could only be accessed by Niazov himself, and was used by him to build 
the golden statues and the palaces that he became famous for. 

Thus, Deutsche Bank was aiding Niazov in the creation of his ubiquitous, odious 
personality cult. 

Q: Is this the first report Global Witness has done on Turkmenistan? 

A: We first wrote about this issue in 2006 with the report “It’s a Gas”. This 
is an update on the situation. Q: Tell us how the actual investigation was 

A: We used a variety of sources: documents and contracts, interviews with key 
officials, and reports from international financial institutions. 

The main obstacle has been Deutsche Bank’s unwillingness to engage in a 
dialogue. They always cite their membership of the United Nations Global 
Compact, but this initiative does not have any mechanism to see whether the 
businesses are living up to its ideals. It is, therefore, effectively useless 
and just paraded by businesses as a kind of good-governance marketing tool. 

Q: What kind of pressure can be exerted on the corrupt governments that Global 
Witness investigates for corruption and misuse of public funds? 

A: Unfortunately, most of the regimes we deal with are not interested in 
dialogue and they don’t respond to our complaints. That is the nature of 
dictatorships – absolute power. 

That’s why it is up to us in the EU to make sure that our banking systems are 
not used by corrupt regimes. We need to have similar investigations [to the 
United States] in the EU, and severe penalties brought against any institution 
found to be in violation of national or international laws. Q: The 
investigation has brought to light that state gas revenues were kept 
off-budget, and has revealed the involvement of Deutsche Bank. Is your 
organisation pursuing the matter further? 

A: Currently, because of current banking secrecy laws, we have very little 
influence on the bank. We raised this matter at the Deutsche Bank annual 
general meeting last year. The head of the bank Dr Josef Ackermann simply 
referred to the UN Global Compact again. 

The government of Turkmenistan has a responsibility to its people to be more 
transparent in the way it spends its money. It releases very little information 
in this regard, despite the fact that President Berdymuhammedov said he would 
in 2007. 

We will be turning to the Turkmen authorities in the coming months with 
questions regarding how the government manages its resources. 

Q: What is the current situation with the Turkmen government account with 
Deutsche Bank? 

A: We have not heard any information that would lead us to believe that 
Turkmenistan has changed its banking arrangements. A recent statement by Roland 
Weichert, Deutsche Bank’s press secretary confirms that Deutsche Bank still 
holds an account for the Turkmen Central Bank. 

Therefore, we must assume that money is still flowing to Germany – and much 
more than in Niazov’s reign. 

The price that Turkmenistan is selling gas to Gazprom in 2009 has not been 
announced yet, but it is thought to be around 250 dollars per 1,000 cubic 
metres. If Gazprom buys 50 billion cubic metres of gas at this price this would 
mean Turkmenistan earns 12.5 billion dollars. 

By contrast, the contract we cite in our report from 2002 between Turkmenistan 
and Ukraine was for gas worth just 1.68 billion dollars, and of this 840 
million was to be paid in cash, the rest in barter. 

Therefore it is becoming all the more important for Deutsche Bank to reveal 
what safeguards it has in place to ensure that this money is being used for 
legitimate government purposes. 

Q: Banks do profit from holding accounts such as the one linked to Turkmenistan 
and will try to resist any attempts to scrutinize their activities. Given that 
how successful can be your campaign? A: It is difficult because of current 
banking regulations that provide for secrecy and confidentiality. But as we 
have seen recently with the global financial crisis, banks cannot be trusted 
anymore. They cannot be left to their own devices. We have to improve 
regulation and make sure that it is enforced. People are starting to realise 
that now and hopefully we are seeing the start of a movement which well lead to 
a more accountable banking system. 

We have done well in getting Deutsche Bank to confirm that they are indeed the 
banker for the Central Bank of Turkmenistan. In light of banking secrecy laws, 
that in itself is a victory: Deutsche Bank has admitted banking for one of the 
most horrendous autocratic regimes in the world. 

Now we have to do more work as to how this relationship is managed, and what 
happened when Niazov died. 

Q: Has there been any reaction to this report from the parties concerned – the 
EU, the banks, or the governments investigated by Global Witness? 

A: Deutsche Bank have replied in the media via press secretary Roland Weichert, 
who again states the bank is a member of the UN Global Compact – without 
explaining how they are living up to this compact by banking for autocratic 

It is simply not good enough. 

**** www.iwpr.net 

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REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA: Editor-in-Chief: Anthony Borden; Managing Editor: Yigal 
Chazan; Senior Editor and Acting Central Asia Director: John MacLeod; Editor: 
Caroline Tosh; Central Asia Editor: Saule Mukhametrakhimova.

IWPR PROJECT DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT: Executive Director: Anthony Borden; Chief 
Programme Officer: Mike Day.

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IWPR is an international network of four organisations which are governed by 
boards of senior journalists, peace-building experts, regional specialists and 
business professionals.

IWPR builds democracy at the frontlines of conflict and change through the 
power of professional journalism. IWPR programmes provide intensive hands-on 
training, extensive reporting and publishing, and ambitious initiatives to 
build the capacity of local media. Supporting peace-building, development and 
the rule of law, IWPR gives responsible local media a voice.

IWPR - Africa, P.O. Box 3317, Johannesburg 2121
Tel: +2 711 268 6077

IWPR - Europe, 48 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT, UK
Tel: +44 20 7831 1030

IWPR – United States, 1325 G Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005, 
United States
Tel: +1 202 449 7717

1515 Broadway, 11th Floor, New York, New York 10036, United States
Tel: +1 202 903 1073

Stichting IWPR Nederland, Eisenhowerlaan 77 K, 2517 KK Den Haag, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 70 338 9016

For further details on this project and other information services and media 
programmes, go to: www.iwpr.net 

ISSN: 1477-7924 Copyright © 2009 The Institute for War & Peace Reporting 

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