"Flour Power" in Turkmenistan
MOSCOW, December 27 - The leader of Turkmenistan's United Democratic Opposition, currently based in Norway, proposed Wednesday sending a trainload of flour to Turkmenistan and carrying out a "flour" revolution in the republic.
President-for-Life Saparmurat Niyazov died at 66 of heart failure last Thursday. During his rule, the eccentric leader erected golden statues to himself, named a meteorite in his name, and decreed that his quasi-Islamic precepts, under the title of Ruhnama, be the nation's guiding principal.
"The opposition is going to dispatch to Turkmenistan a train of flour to support the republic's starving people," Avdy Kuliyev said over the phone.
He said the leaders of opposition movements, who have fled overseas to escape persecution at home, could follow the train and return to Turkmenistan.
"This will be the start of our 'flour' revolution," Kuliyev, who was foreign minister in late President Saparmurat Niyazov's government in the early 1990s, said but added that the opposition's intentions are peaceful.
The opposition borrowed the name in association with the "orange revolution" and "rose revolution" in other former Soviet republics, Ukraine and Georgia, which brought West-leaning governments to power in 2004 and 2003.
Kuliyev said Turkmenistan suffers from a constant lack of bread and flour, which are the main products for the most residents in the current dire economic conditions.
Turkmenistan's opposition earlier nominated Khudaiberdy Orazov, its leader and a former deputy prime minister, as a presidential candidate, who said the opposition will seek democracy in Turkmenistan by all means, including a possible coup. Orazov is wanted in Turkmenistan on embezzlement charges.