Earlier this month President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov made a series of changes to his cabinet. The strategic Ministry of the Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources was renamed the Ministry of Oil and Gas. Its new head, Myratgeldy Meredov (b. 1977), simply moved into an adjacent office, having served as a vice-minister in charge of oil and gas production since August 2014. He began his career as a research assistant at the Turkmen Polytechnic Institute (1994–95). In 2000, he graduated from this higher educational institution’s oil and gas department with a degree in mining.

Between 2000 and 2013, Meredov worked at the Oil and Gas Institute of state gas holding Turkmengas and subsequently transferred to the office of the president’s chief of staff. It is unclear whether he is related to foreign minister Rashid Meredov, who is viewed as Berdymukhamedov’s key adviser and has held his job since the latter’s ascent to the presidency in 2007. The two Meredovs have different patronyms but may be members of an extended family, as is not uncommon in Turkmenistan and other parts of Central Asia. Meredov’s predecessor Mukhammetnur Khalylov becomes director of the Turkmengas Natural Gas Research Institute.

Other appointments are as follows:

  • Dovran Nursakhedov has become minister of industry, having worked since October 2014 as a deputy to the previous minister, Saparmurad Orazmuradov.
  • Seyitmammet Akhmammedov is the new minister of labour and social protection and chairman of the State Pension Fund. In April 2011, he was made a vice-minister entrusted with the same portfolio. His predecessor, Bekmurad Shamuradov, was sacked in connection with “serious professional mistakes”.
  • Nursakhet Sapardurdyev, former director of Turkmenistan Wheat Production, is the new minister of agriculture and water resources. He has succeeded Charygeldy Charliev, who became governor of Lebap region, replacing Mukhammed Dzhoraev, sacked for “professional incompetence”.

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