Turkmenistan: Changes and Stability under Berdimuhamedow
The most closed and understudied country in Central Asia, Turkmenistan has been facing profound evolutions since the death of its first president, Saparmurat Niyazov, in December 2006. The political regime has evolved slowly under the second president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, giving more room to the emerging middle class and allowing for slightly more open patterns of development, particularly in higher education.
The country has pursued its neutrality status in a post-Crimea world but has been feeling previously unknown insecurities related to destabilizations coming from its Afghan neighbor. Turkmenistan has also entirely reoriented its gas production and export strategies toward China, which has so far resulted in Ashgabat being essentially held hostage by China’s policies, with little room for maneuver to adjust to a new world energy context.
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