Prove They Are Alive!
  For Democracy and Human Rights in Turkmenistan
A shining city on the steppe


A new budget light on details, the presidents son plays architect, and critical heating infrastructure remains ignored. This and more in our weekly Turkmenistan briefing.

Turkmenistan's rubber-stamp legislature, known as the Mejlis, late last month approved next years budget, although little useful detail has been published. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has called for the spending plans to ensure what the government insists are high levels of growth.

The wider population, meanwhile, will be hoping that basic utilities can be kept going. RFE/RL's Turkmen service, Radio Azatlyk, reported last week on troubles with the heating system in various parts of the country. Failures at schools in the Lebap province prompted snap >>

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 >>

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