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Majlis Podcast: From Gas Riches To Food Lines In Turkmenistan


People wait in line to buy food at a market in Ashgabat in December 2019.

Turkmenistan has the fourth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and many years ago was touted by its first president as being destined to become a second Kuwait.

Turkmenistan has now become a country where people stand in long lines for rations of bread, dig through garbage for scraps and things they might possibly be able to sell, while the government celebrates horses and dogs.

Turkmenistan's economy has been in dire shape for more than half a decade now and the standard of living for the country's people continues to drop.

And recently, current President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has been guiding his son Serdar up the hierarchy of the government leading to speculation the presidency will be passed from father to son and the mismanagement that characterizes the Turkmen government will continue for another generation.

On this week's Majlis Podcast, RFE/RL Media-Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion that looks at the deterioration of Turkmenistan.

This week's guests are: from the Netherlands, Ruslan Myatiev, the head of the Turkmen.news website; from Prague, Farruh Yusupov, the director of RFE/RL's Turkmen Service, known locally as Azatlyk; and Bruce Pannier, the author of RFE/RL's Qishloq Ovozi blog.

Turkmenistan: Mismanaged And Impoverished
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes or on Google Podcasts.

About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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