Turkmenistan: Excesses of the regime’s extended family funded by nation’s dwindling wealth

Turkmenistan sits by dint of pure kismet atop vast seams of hydrocarbon wealth, much of which has been squandered by the two dictators its citizens' have had the misfortune to be ruled by since seceding from the Soviet Union nearly three decades ago. Today, its people might as well be living in impoverished Yemen, a…

Turkmenistan: Why some keep friends in low places

In a world connected by data, rolling news, and instant messaging there can be little excuse for ignorance. Drilling down into almost any conceivable issue within modern society and those redolent of another age is as easy today as can be imagined, but the devils of fake news, hearsay, and online maliciousness remain very much…

Turkmenistan: Berdymukhamedow to celebrate independence – from which few have benefited more than he

All appearances would suggest that Turkmenistan president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow continues to refuse to allow trifling humanitarian issues within the former Soviet republic of Central Asia to distract his focus from the real issues at hand. Kismet has decreed that Turkmenistan sits atop untold Hydrocarbon wealth which many of its 'stan' neighbours can only dream. And…

Turkmenistan: Why are German companies all too eager to overlook the Human Rights abuses committed by the Berdymukhamedow regime?

Call it a love affair, an obsession with, or a shameless dash for cash while there is still some at the country's disposal, Germany's interest in Turkmenistan, a country in the iron grip of a dictator seemingly hell-bent on emulating the Kim dynasty's template for running North Korea, shows little sign of waning. At first…

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…

Will Turkmenistan’s proposed desert city be just a mirage?

Turkmenistan's Ashgabat-City project, provisionally sited to the north of the country's capital city will, if it ever comes to fruition, be in effect a 'Greater Ashgabat' initially designed to be autonomous from the most marbled metropolis on earth. But in light of conjecture surrounding the actual population of the former Soviet republic, just who will…

Turkmenistan: International Community needs to spare more than a cotton-picking minute for the country’s citizens

In the absence of meaningful, transparent action boycotts and embargoes carry little weight amounting to nothing more than lip service and being seen to say the right thing. Tapping into this blatant hypocrisy often peddled by those from so-called developed, civilized nations the world's despots and autocrats continue to operate almost entirely unmolested in a…

How will the despotic leaders of Turkmenistan and North Korea react to chastening Asian Cup defeats?

It is not hard to imagine the reaction of Turkmenistan's and North Korea's presidents following the recent round of chastening defeats suffered by both nations at the Asian Cup, the geographical equivalent of football's European Championships. Despite an absence in either country of authentic soccer pedigree both sets of players will genuinely fear of the…

Ignorance is no defence for celebrities taking money from oppressive regimes

I have said it before: what was Jack Nicklaus thinking? History is littered with autocratic regimes seeking legitimacy through celebrity endorsements, often exploiting the ignorance of those who have pitched up in good faith but only later find a wave of condemnation highlighting at best a hitherto unawareness of the firestorm such appearances create; at…