Turkmenistan Retreats From Soviet War Label

Turkmenistan authorities instructed the media to drop the term “Great Patriotic War” used in Russia to describe the military confrontation between the USSR and the Nazis, the opposition publication Chronicles of Turkmenistan said.

The publication said TV reporters in the former Soviet country now use the phrase “War of 1941-1945,” lenta.ru said.

Chronicles of Turkmenistan said TV and radio reports last used the “Great Patriotic War” term on May 9 when Russia and some other former Soviet countries marked the Day of Victory over the Nazis. On the same day, editors received instructions from the Culture Ministry following an order from “above” to change the wording with no reasons cited.

The authorities clearly wanted to avoid the fuss for concerns over the Kremlin’s possible reaction, Chronicles of Turkmenistan said.

Under first Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, his father Atamurat was highly praised for his fight in the Great Patriotic War against the Nazis in the Soviet Caucasus. He was posthumously awarded the title of the Hero of Turkmenistan in 2000.

Likewise, the grandfather of current President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov – Berdymukhamed Annayev – has also been highly respected for his role in the war.

During Niyazov’s tenure, the official statistics said 700,000 ethnic Turkmens died in the Great Patriotic War. However, historians doubt the figure, considering the total population of the Turkmen Soviet republic in 1939 was 1.25 million, including 60 percent ethnic Turkmens.


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