Turkmenistan. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Turkmenistan is 6,031,211 people in 2020. Turkmenistan’s lifetime president and one-ruler ruler Saparmurat Nijazov continued to control the lives of the population through more or less bizarre decrees. At the beginning of the year, he issued a ban for young men to wear long hair and beards, which had an immediate effect. It was previously forbidden to listen to car radio and smoke on the streets. Nijazov had also banned opera and ballet on the grounds that it was an unnecessary activity. In February, the president laid off about 15,000 healthcare workers to cut health care costs. Some of the work in the hospitals was expected to continue to be carried out by low-paid conscripts, who had previously replaced traffic policemen as well as workers at a textile factory.
In May, workers without explanation began to remove the public images of the president who filled the capital. However, there were no signs that Nijazov was losing its grip on power in the country. According to Russian TV, the president himself had ordered that the personal cult of him be shut down. During the summer, Nijazov announced that an ice palace would be built in the Turkmenistan desert, one of the hottest areas of the earth. The palace will hold a thousand people, according to the president, who previously has a number of traditional palaces. According to abbreviationfinder, TM stands for Turkmenistan in text.
In November, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan presidents signed a declaration of friendship with the intention of ending years of mistrust between the two neighboring countries. Relations have been particularly tense since Turkmenistan a few years ago accused Uzbekistanis of participating in an assassination attempt on President Nijazov. The two leaders came now, among other things. agreed on the distribution of water resources between the countries which has been highly contested.
In December, elections to the virtually powerless parliament were made. No opposition candidate was allowed to stand.
Human and economic geography
The population is expanding rapidly (the annual growth rate was 36 ‰ in the period 1990 – 98) and, according to a 1999 estimate, it has reached 4. 800. 000 residents, 77 % of whom are Turkmens, followed by Uzbeks (9.2 %), Russians (6.7 %), Kazakhs (2 %) and others. The largest demographic and economic center of the country is the capital Ašgabat (548,500 residents in 1996). The other major cities are Cärjew, Dashhovuz, Mary, Nebitdag and Krasnovodsk (Türkmenbashi). In 1993 the manat has replaced the ruble as a monetary unit.
Turkmenistan, already one of the poorest countries in the Soviet Union, has encountered serious difficulties in reconverting its economy and establishing new relationships with partners other than traditional ones. And it is for this reason that, at least until the mid-1990s, it went through a period of serious crisis, characterized by worrying inflation and a marked decrease in GDP per capita, a period which was then overcome above all thanks to the enhancement of the vast hydrocarbon resources. of the Caspian area.
Only a small part (3 %) of the surface (in correspondence with areas irrigated with the waters of the Amu Darya and other minor streams coming from the Afghan mountains) is cultivated, but the excessive withdrawal of water from the rivers continues to create ecological problems and disputes with neighboring countries, in particular with Uzbekistan.
The main products are cereals, tobacco, fruit and especially cotton, which represents 40 % of the entire agricultural added value and 24 % of total exports. The 61, 5 % of the territory of Turkmenistan is expected to permanent grassland that allow a large sheep farm (5,4 million head in 1998), for the most part karakul sheep from fine wool. The rest of the area, apart from 8 % of forests on Kopet Dag (the only mountain range in the country, located near the border with Iran), is desert.
The main wealth of the country are natural gas and oil (whose reserves were estimated in 1996, respectively 12. 000 billion m ³ and 6300 million tonnes), extracted along the coastline and in the Caspian continental shelf. Before the dissolution of the USSR, the Turkmenistan produced annually about 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas, largely exported; however, by the mid-1990s, production had fallen to 30 billion cubic meters, mainly due to the insolvency of the CIS importing countries. Not negligible, always on the Caspian Sea (Gulf of Kara-Bogaz, Čeleken peninsula), the extraction of sulfur; even the more desert areas of Karakum contribute to the Turkmen economy with small amounts of rock salt. Given the presence of raw materials of this type, the prevalence of the chemical sector in the industrial landscape of the country is understandable.
In the nineties, despite the precious and promising energy resources, the economic and social indicators of Turkmenistan have constantly marked negative values; the exploitation of hydrocarbons offers good prospects, but requires politically demanding choices, such as that of the countries to which to offer concessions, of the countries to be privileged as recipients of exports and, above all, of the guidelines on which to start the exports themselves. On the latter, crucial point, the Russian option (gas pipelines to the North, with possible export to the West from Russian ports on the Black Sea), the Turkish option (ferry on the Caspian Sea and then East-West gas pipelines), the Islamic one ( agreements with Iran of 1995 – 96) and the western one (pipeline projects through Afghānistān to the ports of Pakistan open to the West). On a more general level, a program of privatization and structural reforms has only been slowly initiated since 1994, but up to now it has been carried out too cautiously. Consequently, with inflation remaining at very high rates, it is very difficult for the country to attract foreign investors and to get out of the economic crisis, which has led to a general impoverishment and provoked sporadic social protests.