Editorial Features
Facts & Figures
Turkmenistan Advertisers
Key Economic Indicators

Setting the scene

The Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) gained independence in December 1991 after the break-up of the former Soviet Union.

All five states suddenly faced increased economic, social, ethnic and political problems. Republican leaderships allowed substantive growth of democracy only in Kyrgyzstan and - to a lesser extent - Kazakhstan, and have since re-asserted control over non-compliant Parliaments in both.

The impact of Russia's economic reforms and the desire to establish independent economic structures have prompted the states - to a varying extent - to move away from the Communist era command economy. Inflation, dislocation of the Soviet trading network and the loss of central funding have caused severe price rises and exacerbated social problems. Unemployment has increased sharply; many workers are on part-time or enforced leave.

Tajikistan's near civil war with a coalition of Islamist and pro-democracy groups in 1991/92 badly damaged its economy and left it heavily dependent on Russia. Tajikistan's experience has provided a warning to the other states, where the populations' chief priority has been to safeguard and improve their living standards rather than to gain democracy.

Key economic indicators
Area (Sq km) 488,000
Population (m) 3.9
GDP/Capita (1995) US$1, 610
President Saparmurad Niyazov
Currency manat /: 1US$ 5200
(National Bank of Turkmenistan) (29/05/98)

Top | Home