ASHKHABAD (formerly Askhabad; (1919–1927) Poltoratsk), capital of Turkmenistan. Jewish soldiers in the czarist army settled in Ashkhabad after the Russian conquest of the area in 1881, but they were expelled soon afterward by the governor-general of Turkestan. Later, Jewish artisans moved here from European Russia. By 1897, 310 Jews lived in the town (1.6% of the total population). At the end of the 1920s it served as a deportation center for Zionists exiled from European Russia. In 1939, 711 Jews (0.56% of the total) lived in the town and 1,202 in the entire district. In 1959 the Jewish population was 1,276. Around 600 remained in 2005.