ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan authorities say the government will gradually end state funding of the ex-Soviet nation's Academy of Sciences, another move in a series of efforts to trim spending.

A decree by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov published Wednesday in the government daily Neutral Turkmenistan says government funding for the Academy will be phased out in three years. It also envisages streamlining the Academy, a structure that includes various research institutions.

Berdymukhamedov, who has ruled Turkmenistan since 2006 in an all-encompassing cult of personality, has sought to reduce spending as the gas-rich Central Asian nation has struggled to adapt to lower energy prices in the last few years.

Last year, he ordered a complete end to free natural gas, electricity and water, which residents Turkmenistan have enjoyed for a quarter century.

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