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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 6,010 7,672 4,000 110
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,120 1,200 950 131
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Turkmenistan


Area ( 


ethnic groups 
Turkmens 77%
Uzbeks 9.2%
Russians 6.7%


Turkman Manat

Saparmurat Niyazov

Update No: 306 - (29/06/06)

The president of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov is a remarkable man, the most remarkable in the world in his view. The blurb for his masterpiece, "Ruhnama," says as much:-

A Golden book for a Golden Century!
Mankind has always turned to Asia for spiritual Guidance
The Bible, The Koran, and now... The most holy Ruhnama.
A book of spirituality of the Turkman people.
Alla birdir, Watan birdir, Halkymyn, Serdary bir

Please step inside to savour the spirituality of Turkmenistan. - get a taste for the splendours of this ancient land or bask in the glory of the wisdom of Turkmenistan's sages. Ruhnama (From the Turkman words "Book" and "Spirituality") was authored by a truly prophetic man, Turkmanbashy. The Holy Ruhnama, on par with the Bible and the Koran, is to be used as a Spiritual Guide - to remove the complexities and anguishes from day to day living.

Here is a specimen of the political wisdom it contains:-

"Establishing a nation-state is the expression of a nation's respect for its history and its trust in the future. A nation state cannot be like a tree which has been brought from a different country and climate and re-planted and which does not flourish but dies because it is unable to adapt to the new climate. On the contrary, it must be born and bred in the soil of this land, rooted deeply in it, and stretching up into its sky. It is certain that imitation does not yield positive results in any field, and the dangers of imitation for the interests, benefit and the future of the people and nation are of an enormous scale and dimension." - Saparmurat Niyazov 
In effect this means an extraordinary cult of his person in Turkmenistan. It gives his mother a key role, after whom bread, the month of April and the ministry of justice are now named. She saved Niyazov's life in an earthquake in Ashkabad in 1948, which event is now commemorated by a gigantic statue. 
The calendar has been changed into one of eight months of 45 days or so each. The dictator's name, Turkmenbashi, is now used to designate towns across the desert republic, as well as public buildings and the airport. His photograph is everywhere, including in school classrooms, where the children sing an oath of loyalty to him every morning.
Niyazov acquired his power by being formerly the communist boss of the country. This is true of other Central Asian leaders, who have not become megalomaniacs. But their countries are more sophisticated culturally. When the republics abutting on the Ferghana Valley, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakstan and Kyrgystan, were ruled by Tamurlaine, Turkmenistan was a desert inhabited by nomads. 
Seven or eight tribes of nomadic origin still comprise the population. The difficulty of keeping notoriously unruly nomads together is the reason Niyazov gives himself for the extraordinary cult of his personality.

Presidents of Ukraine and Turkmenistan discussed bilateral relations
To consider more mundane matters, Niyazov and Ukraine President Victor Yushchenko had a phone conversation on June 19. They addressed the pressing issues of Ukrainian-Turkmen relationships. The discussion had been initiated by the President of Ukraine, the Turkmen president press office said. 
According to the press representative, the heads of the countries focused on the questions related to the mutual payment for Turkmen gas export. The parties confirmed mutual willingness to consolidate and extend intergovernmental commercial and economic ties, in particular Turkmen natural gas exports and export of Caspian hydrocarbon resources generally. 
The President of Ukraine made a request to President Niyazov to hold a meeting with Ukraine Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov, who is going to visit Turkmenistan soon. 
The Presidents agreed to meet in the second half of the current year to reconcile their positions on the main trends of further bilateral cooperation.

Turkmenistan to Double Gas Prices in H2 2006 
Niyazov is taking a leaf out of Gazprom's book. Gazprom has been raising prices all round the FSU (even Belarus is not to be exempt) for its gas. Now Terkmengas is to raise its prices for selling its gas to Gazprom, its overwhelmingly number one customer.
Russian business daily Vedomosti reported on June 20, that in the second half of 2006 Turkmenistan plans to double the price of its natural gas. Increases in price of Turkmen gas to US$110-125 will mean the breakdown of the gas agreement between Russia and Ukraine, because the majority of Central Asian gas goes to Russia's neighbour.
The prices and volumes of deliveries of Turkmen gas to Russia were discussed at negotiations between chairman of Gazprom Alexei Miller and the President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov. The meeting took place on June 19 and no agreement was reached. 
According to the paper's information, Niyazov announced that the price of Turkmen gas will be increased from US$66 per 1,000 cubic meters to US$110-125 with the same volumes of deliveries.
If Niyazov insists on his new price, the agreement between Russia's natural gas monopoly and Ukraine will be in danger of failure. With the new price and transportation expenses factored in, Turkmen gas will cost Ukraine at least US$140 per 1,000 cubic meters. Meanwhile the Russian-Ukrainian agreement signed in the beginning of 2006 specified a price for Turkmen gas at US$95 per 1,000 cubic meters. Although Russia said that the agreement was subject to reconsideration for the second part of the year, it is unlikely that Ukraine will agree to new conditions. 
"Ukraine won't agree to raise the price from US$95 because that would mean destruction of the national economy," presidential advisor Ivan Diyak told Vedomosti. 
The paper also reported that in the near future the Turkmen president will hold consultations with the representatives of the Russian government, returning then to negotiations with Gazprom. The experts, interviewed by Vedomosti, agree that most likely the Russian officials will convince Turkmenistan not to raise the price this drastically. But even if Niyazov agrees to hold off from upping his gas tariffs, the possibility of him doing so will remain. This means that Russia and Ukraine are likely to once again engage in bitter conflict over gas prices.



UAE, Turkmenistan to expand mutual cooperation 

Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates expressed willingness to expand mutual cooperation in exploration and extraction of the hydrocarbon resources at a meeting between a UAE delegation and Turkmen President, Saparmurat Niyazov, on May 29th. The delegation was led by Saud bin Sakr Al-Kasimi, crown prince and deputy ruler of Ras Al-Khaima. The aim of this meeting was to identify the projects and areas where both sides could engage in mutually beneficial cooperation, reported 
The subsequent meetings of the delegation with the ministers and heads of the branches would help categorise the areas of mutual interest. "If you meet anyone or find some branch of interest, we shall create all conditions for mutual cooperation," said Niyazov. He affirmed Turkmenistan's readiness to cooperate with UAE. In turn, Prince Kasimi conveyed the message of greetings from President Shaikh Khalifa of UAE and said that his delegation was interested in examining the full range of investment opportunities in Turkmenistan. "We have extensive experience in the hydrocarbon sector ... Our desire to cooperate is not limited to the hydrocarbon sector only. We are ready to participate in any field offered by you," said Kasimi. It is expected that Dragon Oil could offer to participate in the Trans-Afghan Pipeline (TAP) project. Kasimi pointed out that the main purpose of his visit is to convey to Niyazov that UAE are ready for cooperation in all the branches. With the help of a wall map, Niyazov pointed out the areas where Turkmenistan would welcome foreign participation. He noted that expanded cooperation with UAE would greatly benefit both the countries. Niyazov also marked on the map the likely routes for export of energy resources from Turkmenistan to the world markets. He also referred to the need to develop the fields on the right bank of the Amudarya River. These fields have been earmarked for export of natural gas to China.



OSCE Centre supports conference on tourism

A two-day conference on tourism was held in Ashgabat recently. This event was organised by OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, the State Committee on Tourism and Sport, and the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan. Around 50 representatives of different ministries, the Chamber of Commerce, as well as specialists from State and private tourism enterprises and students participated in the conference, reported.
The main topic during the conference was related to current and future challenges facing the tourism industry in Turkmenistan. Participants at the conference offered practical recommendations to help improve Turkmenistan's tourist sector, including the development of a tourism portal, the publication of tourism newsletters, training for local tour operators, and other opportunities for private business development in the field. "Sustainable tourism development in countries in transition is an important part of the economy which can help generate income," said Ambassador Ibrahim Djikic, head of the OSCE Centre.





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