Majlis Podcast: Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, And The Coronavirus

On the last day of April, authorities in Tajikistan announced the country’s first cases of the coronavirus.

There were signs for weeks prior to the announcement that the virus was already in Tajikistan and spreading, but Tajik officials insisted that was not true and attributed suspicious deaths to other causes, usually pneumonia.

Officials in Turkmenistan continue to maintain there are no cases of coronavirus in their country, though many of the same rumors that circulated through Tajikistan about deaths from respiratory ailments and quarantined facilities are also coming out of Turkmenistan.

On this week’s Majlis podcast, RFE/RL’s media-relations manager for South and Central Asia, Muhammad Tahir, moderates a discussion on how the authorities in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have been handling — or mishandling — the coronavirus.

This week’s guests are, from Italy, Peter Leonard, a veteran correspondent covering Central Asia and currently the Eurasianet editor for Central Asia; and from Prague, Sirojiddin Tolibov, the managing editor of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service, known locally as Ozodi, and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.