Turkmenistan: A totalitarian ‘paradise’ of forced holidays and disappearing people

The timing of a demand made of many of Turkmenistan's state workers situated in the Dashoguz region to take their vacations in the Caspian Sea resort of Awaza, the site of one of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow's many high-profile, exorbitantly costly and ultimately futile pet projects, could hardly have been worse. Faced with the bizarre ultimatum…

Turkmenistan: President Berdymukhamedow’s new-found realpolitik born out of political expediency

For someone of such a narcissistic persuasion it is indeed unusual to witness what appears to be an exercise in pragmatic genuflection towards Russia by Turkmenistan president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow. Operating perhaps the most closed, repressive regime outside of North Korea, Berdymukhamedow is not in the habit of dishing out public expressions of admiration or sympathy…