PR and propaganda: Turkmen authorities began to use “trolls”

In Turkmenistan, the authorities actively use so-called “trolls” to spread propaganda and control the information space. These actions are aimed at suppressing criticism and maintaining a positive image of the ruling regime, as well as discrediting oppositionists and independent journalists.

It works like this: Trolls often attack those who speak out against the government, using insults and threats. The purpose of such actions is to intimidate and silence critics. Troll comments can be repetitive and persistent, creating the illusion of mass support for the government line.

It is obvious that trolls are actively promoting pro-Kremlin and pro-regular narratives, accusing Western countries of provocations and attempts to destabilize Turkmenistan. This is done to create an external enemy and divert attention from the country’s internal problems. False news that looks like real analysis is also often created and distributed. These articles may contain many supposedly reliable sources, but in reality the links lead to other disinformation sites.

It is noteworthy that for many years the authorities of Turkmenistan have been blocking public access to independent media and social networks, which forces citizens to use state-controlled sources of information. And recently, a requirement was introduced for citizens connecting to the Internet to swear an oath on the Koran that they will not use VPN services. This demonstrates the government’s tight control and censorship, making it nearly impossible to access independent sources of information.

As for correspondents reporting objective news, they have a hard time at all. Because persecution of independent journalists and activists in Turkmenistan is common practice. For example, journalist Nurgeldy Khalykov was arrested and convicted on politically motivated charges, in a clear example of authorities attempting to silence critics. This shows how far the authorities are willing to go to maintain control over the information space and public opinion.

Overall, the use of trolls in Turkmenistan is part of a broader government strategy to control information and suppress dissent. These actions are aimed at maintaining the stability of the regime and preventing any kind of opposition. In conditions of strict censorship and limited access to information, the Turkmen population remains isolated from the global information space and under constant pressure from the authorities. This situation is causing concern among international human rights organizations, which are calling for stronger measures to protect freedom of speech and the press in Turkmenistan. However, as long as the dictatorial regime is in power, one cannot count on global changes within the country. The usual phrase “it’s hard for everyone now” will spread to the masses from year to year as long as the Berdymukhamedov “dynasty” exists.