Prove They Are Alive!
  For Democracy and Human Rights in Turkmenistan
Why Turkmenistans rosy economic reports are unreliable

Sam Bhutia

Turkmenistan is officially growing at more than 6 percent per year. Unofficial reports of economic hardship say otherwise.

Anyone who has written about Turkmenistan knows theres a disconnect between the rosy official growth figures and the reality on the ground. But its also hard to reconcile what the International Monetary Fund says growth over 6 percent for the last four years, for example and persistent reports of breadlines and economic mismanagement.

One thing the casual observer probably does not know: Those IMF figures are based on data provided by Turkmenistans evasive and deeply authoritarian government.

In most countries, a national statistics agency or the central bank provide >>

Turkmenistan: What a bunch of crop


Is the government beginning to understand that food shortages are not sustainable?

President Berdymukhamedov urged his government to seek out new international markets to which to sell surplus food production.

In economic policymaking, Turkmenistan has bet the house on import-substitution.

During a Cabinet meeting on October 18, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov noted with satisfaction that the growing private sector has not just helped saturate the domestic market with high-quality agricultural products, but that it is also powering the nations export potential.

Pursuing this fantasy further, the president urged his government to seek out new international markets to which to sell surplus food production.

But the only food-related thing that Turkmenistan seems >>

Turkmenistan: A weak constitution


Could the frantic reorganization mean the sense of crisis is finally getting to the president?

Is it possible that thoughts are turning to legacy?

These are turbulent times for Turkmenistans ruling elite.

In a scene reminiscent of his eccentric late predecessors theatrics, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov last week fired his long-serving Interior Minister Isgender Mulikov.

The scene was shown in an extended edition of the Watan Habarlary evening news bulletin on October 1. Mulikov stood penitent, eyes fixed to the ground, not even taking notes, like all his colleagues, as Berdymukhamedov lambasted him. Upon concluding his tirade, the president jabbed a forefinger toward the door, signaling Mulikovs cue to >>

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