Ashgabat: Expensive living rings hollow in a deserted land of make believe

For most expats, Turkmenistan or for the purposes of this exercise its capital Ashgabat, would not rank highly on a list of locations they expect to find themselves. The hydrocarbons sector is heavily underpinned by foreign nationals brought in by countries sitting on a wealth of gas and oil, and accounts for a significant proportion…

Andrew: A Prince among Despots as Turkmenistan gives new meaning to a cashless society

A shortage of hard currency in Turkmenistan is hardly a new phenomenon, at least for the everyday man in the street. Queuing at cash machines(ATMs) is as commonplace a facet of everyday life in this former Soviet republic of Central Asia as the spin promulgated by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow's regime opining that all is otherwise…

Turkmenistan: A presidential portrait of modern-day narcissism wrapped in despotism

In 2004 the Harvard Business Review called it right. Their take on narcissists concluded that the vainglorious are "unproductive when, lacking self-knowledge and restraining anchors, they become unrealistic dreamers. They nurture grand schemes and harbour the illusion that only circumstances, or enemies block their success". Does all this sound terribly familiar, even in the modern…