According to Ukrainian NTN TV, mass arrests have begun in Turkmenistan -
"Republican party chief Nurmukhammed Khanamov announced on Tuesday that one possible candidate for the presidency, Minister of Defense Agageldy Mamedgeldieva, was arrested yesterday. 140 other officials of lower rank have also been detained. Experts explain this as a struggle for authority. After Saparmurata Niyazov's death, they confirm the country is experiencing a political crisis, because there there is not one outstanding successor."
In Kyiv, Turkmen opposition leaders were already touting the Ukrainian authorities for support in exchange for the promise of favourable terms on gas in the future - on the day that Yanukovych was attending Niyazov's funeral.
Ukrainska Pravda say "It is difficult to define what the 'Turkmen opposition' really is. There are a few political activists who fell out with Niyazov and moved to Moscow and elsewhere. But they all are products of one national elite who rose to the top on gas money. There are several reasons why they became critical of the Turkmenbashi regime - but in the main they are linked to personal financial/property matters, rather than ideological arguments, so it is probably a waste of time looking for 'democrats' or 'liberals'. Whatever happens, the relationship between the state and its citizens will not change significantly."
It was decided at an extraordinary meeting of the highest law-making body of the land, the National Council, that the presidential elections will be held on 11th February 2007, and that six candidates will run, including the deputy minister responsible for the oil and gas industry Ishanguli Nuriyev, and the deputy tourism minister Durdi Durdiev. The acting head of state, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov remains favourite, a good indicator was the fact that he headed Niyazov's funeral organizing commission - just like during the dark days of Communism.
The country's constitution has been altered to enable him to stand for election.
Some Russian experts think, that however the presidential elections turn out, the EEC and USA will turn a blind eye and call them democratic, 'so that Turkmen gas can be used to make Ukraine less dependent on Russia.'