Turkmen authorities yesterday released Abdy Kuliev, whom they had arrested on April 17 when Kuliev landed at Ashgabat airport arriving from Moscow. Kuliev, who was Foreign Minister of the Turkmen SSR and of Turkmenistan from 1990 to 1992, resigned and moved to Russia, acquired Russian citizenship, and set up a Turkmenistan Foundation in Moscow. Turkmen authorities some time ago opened a criminal case against Kuliev on charges of having defrauded a Turkmen-born German businessman and of alleged “connections with a foreign intelligence service.” Kuliev has not been in Turkmenistan since 1994. The Russian embassy said yesterday that it had interceded to obtain his release on recognizance.
Kuliev, for his part, said that he had arrived in order to obtain a meeting with President Saparmurat Niazov and “persuade him to introduce democratic reforms.” Niazov, however, left for the U.S. as scheduled (see above). The timing of Kuliev’s arrival appears calculated to snag the public-relations aspect of Niazov’s U.S. visit. (RIA and other Russian agencies, April 20 and 21) — VS
TOP ENERGY OFFICIALS REPLACED IN KAZAKHSTAN.