Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Turkmenistan To Reportedly Cut Access To Subsidized Food As Woes Deepen.

ASHGABAT -- Turkmen families who have relatives working abroad may have their subsidized food rations cut from next year as the country struggles with an acute shortage of foodstuffs and a spike in inflation.

Employees at several state stores selling subsidized food in the eastern region of Lebap and sources close to such stores told RFE/RL on November 19 that they had also been instructed by local authorities in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic to halt the sales of subsidized food to the families of people serving time in penitentiaries and to stateless persons residing in the country.

They added that families with a member serving in the armed forces and war veterans will be given priority for subsidized foodstuffs. In addition, families who are indebted to local utilities will be denied the right to buy food in the subsidized stores.

According to the stores' employees and sources, the instructions were given during a session of the local trade directorate on November 18.

Neither local government officials in Lebap nor the minister of trade and economic ties were available for immediate comment on the report.

Individuals working at subsidized food stores confirmed to RFE/RL that they had to cut the rations because supplies to the stores had been reduced.

Despite being home to the world's fourth-largest proven natural-gas reserves, corruption and chronic mismanagement of resources have led the country into an economic tailspin.

The situation has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which the Turkmen government officially denies.

RFE/RL correspondents reported on November 18 that authorities in the Keshi district in Ashgabat, the capital, announced that they were changing the allocation of subsidized food rations for 10 days, limiting the deliveries to one per dwelling instead of basing them on the number of families living in a residence.

Most private homes in the district house three or more generations, with residents living with their elderly parents and the families of their grown-up children and grandchildren.

Residents have complained that the subsidized food rations for 10 days include only 1 liter of sunflower or cottonseed oil, 1 kilogram of sugar, two chicken legs, and up to 15 eggs. This, they say, is barely enough for some extended families for two days, let along for five times that.

In another district in the capital, Parakhat-7, sunflower and cottonseed oil was taken off of the list of subsidized food from November 1.

Government critics and human rights groups say President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has suppressed dissent and made few changes since he came to power after the death of autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov.

Like his late predecessor, Berdymukhammedov has relied on providing people with subsidized goods and utilities to help maintain his grip on power.

The country has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people who rely on subsidized food as prices at state grocery stores rise.

According to Human Rights Watch, Berdymukhammedov, "his relatives, and their associates control all aspects of public life, and the authorities encroach on private life."

Related news
Protests Continue In Tajikistan For Third Straight Day.

Protests Continue In Tajikistan For Third Straight Day.

Rare protests in Tajikistan’s remote Gorno-Badakhshan region continued for a third day on November 27, after one protester was killed and five members of law enforcement were injured when a crowd stormed a local government building.

Radio Free Europe

Naples Unveils Maradona Statue on Anniversary of His Death.

Naples Unveils Maradona Statue on Anniversary of His Death.

Hundreds of fans paid tribute to soccer great Diego Maradona on the one-year anniversary of his death, Nov. 25, 2021, as Naples unveiled a statue of the Argentine world champion in front of the stadium named after him. Soccer lovers gathered in fr...

'The Five' share their Thanksgiving advice

'The Five' share their Thanksgiving advice

'The Five's' co-hosts share their preferred Thanksgiving meal times, least favorite holiday foods and more. #FoxNews #TheFive Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-en...

Biden Marks Pandemic Losses In Thanksgiving Video Message.

Biden Marks Pandemic Losses In Thanksgiving Video Message.

President Biden gathered with relatives in Nantucket for Thanksgiving, a tradition for the family. The president spoke to all six military branches, recorded a video message to the nation and surprised TODAY’s Al Roker by calling during the Macy’s...

After Flurry Of Smash-And-Grab Thefts, Malls Increase Security.

After Flurry Of Smash-And-Grab Thefts, Malls Increase Security.

Store owners and shoppers are on edge after a number of California malls were hit by what police call “flash mob thefts” ahead of the major holiday shopping weekend. Both major retailers and mom-and-pop shops have been impacted. » Subscribe to NBC...

Nation Celebrates Thanksgiving Together Amid Pandemic.

Nation Celebrates Thanksgiving Together Amid Pandemic.

A huge crowd gathered for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after a downsized event in 2020 due to the pandemic. But as many families celebrate together again, Covid cases are rising in parts of the Midwest and Northeast. » Subscribe to NBC News:...

High fire danger leads to safety power shutoffs in Southern California.

High fire danger leads to safety power shutoffs in Southern California.

As strong Santa Ana winds whip through the area, power companies carried out electricity shutoffs as a last resort attempt to prevent downed power lines from sparking more wildfires.