Saturday, May 29, 2010

Two "Parties" in Turkmenistan

Post-Soviet political elites understand that electoral and democratic theater can have some value, even if it is cynical and absurd. The Chronicles of Turkmenistan discusses a plan to create a "Farmer's Party," and Registan.net and Eternal Remont also comment on the purported change. As all three blogs noted, the effort may be a bit too cynical and absurd to gain even the slightest hint of praise from the outside, and it will likely make little difference on the inside.

However, authoritarian regimes usually have patronage networks that extract resources and provide support to the leadership. The creation of a new party apparatus could generate a conduit of material resources that may marginally modify the inner workings of Turkmenistan's political process (as the Registan post also suggests).

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