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…

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…

The Kosovo question leaves Serbia in a no-win situation

The ongoing standoff between Serbia and Kosovo shows little realistic chance of rapprochement any time soon. Propped up by international aid, wracked by swingeing levels of youth unemployment and emigration, Kosovo, two decades on, is still in effect policed by American troops without whom the embryonic nation would at best feel uneasy, at worst under…

Secessionist movements, land swaps, and an enforced name change threaten to destabilize Europe

The sight of a million Catalans converging on Barcelona to celebrate the region's "National Day" highlights, a year on from declaring independence from Spain, that the strength of conviction to eventually secede from Madrid remains as resolute. The international community will though not only be mindful, should a schism eventually occur, of the potential for…

Salisbury Poisoning: UK can Expect Few Favours from Serbia

The UK will in effect be crossing its own Rubicon should it take steps to request of Serbia that it denounce its Russian ally, in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning scandal. Moscow and Belgrade have long since forged impregnable ties, which have only strengthened during the perceived impression of anti-Slav bias from those seemingly…