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Thread: Turkmenistan

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    ICG, 12 Feb 07: Turkmenistan After Niyazov
    ...The Turkmen government still seems uncertain about its own future. Prior to the event, many foreign commentators – among them Crisis Group – speculated that Niyazov’s sudden departure, however it might come, could trigger a bloody struggle for power. Thus far, this has not materialised. Berdimuhammedov’s and Rejepov’s bid for power appears to have been planned well, and they have so far marginalised any threats. Questions remain about long-term stability, however. The borders are still sealed, and the security services have reportedly ramped up their internal vigilance. The domestic situation is reported to be calm, but it is impossible to say how long this will be the case. The very way in which Berdimuhammedov came to power may work against him and his allies, providing grounds for challengers to question their legitimacy. Delays or failure to implement promised reforms could lead to unrest. Cash flow will be vital, both to fund reforms and to buy off potential rivals....

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    Politcom.ru gave to Berdimuhammedov suitable nickname - "Collective Niyazov"

    http://www.politcom.ru/article.php?id=4144

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    SSI, 28 Sep 07: Turkmenistan and Central Asia after Niyazov
    Sapirmurat Niyazov ruled Turkmenistan, a small Central Asian country with enormous natural gas holdings, like a sultan or latter-day Stalin. Therefore his sudden death on December 21, 2006, opened the way not just to a domestic power struggle, but also to fears of instability in Turkmenistan and Central Asia, and to a major international struggle among the great powers—Russia, China, Iran, and the United States—for influence over the new leadership.

    This monograph examines the dimensions of the succession to Niyazov, the great power struggle for influence in this key Central Asian state, and concludes with recommendations for American policymakers. It examines the ways in which the succession has been arranged and what its likely course is going to be, one of very cautious and moderated reforms from the top. It also takes account of the issue of succession in Central Asian regimes, all of which are despotic and often dominated by families and clans. Turkmenistan may be or serve as a kind of precedent of what we should soon expect elsewhere in Central Asia, given the age of its leaderships. Thus the dynamics of this succession are viewed in their regional as well as domestic context.....

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    CSRC, 17 Oct 07: Turkmenistan: Slowly in the Right Direction
    Key Points

    * Considering Turkmenistan’s ample energy resources, President Niyazov left Turkmenistan in a very bad shape. We are yet to discover the full scale of this devastation and therefore appreciate the scope of the challenges facing his successors.

    * The reforms in Turkmenistan will take time and some mistakes will inevitably be made.

    * The Western partners of Turkmenistan have enough experience to help Turkmenistan avoid mistakes made in other Central Asian countries.

    * The stability of Turkmenistan is in everyone’s interest.

    * President Berdymuhamedov is developing relationships with the West and his neighbours.
    A bunch of non-commital and safely generic "key points", but the actual paper is a bit better. For those who care about such things, an appendix provides an interesting chronology of Berdymuhamedov's attempts to develop relationships, as stated in the last bullet above.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 09-04-2008 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Fixed link.

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    Centre for Eastern Studies, Aug 08: The Great Game around Turkmenistan
    The rise of a new leader of the state of Turkmenistan – President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who became ruler of the central Asian state after the 21-year rule of Saparmurad Niyazov, the self-proclaimed Turkmenbashi, who died on December 21, 2006 – has initiated changes in Turkmenistan’s political life. The new president has broken with the previous policy of self-isolation, and has directed the country towards openness to the outside world. Opportunities have thereby arisen for competitors in the ‘Great Game’, to gain political influence in Turkmenistan and access to hitherto unexploited Turkmen deposits of gas and oil. A new stage in the Great Game, which has been played for influence in Central Asia and control of access to its energy resources for many years, can thus be said to have been launched, and Turkmenistan has become the main setting for it. The major actors involved are Russia, the United States, China and the European Union.

    The dynamics and importance of what has been happening for the last year or so have highlighted Turkmenistan’s importance in the race for influence in Central Asia, and so it could be argued that the outcome of the ‘battle for Turkmenistan’ may be crucial in competition for the whole Caspian region.....

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