The Culture of Sugar: Divide et Impera

Few days ago neweurasia reported about sugar deficit in Uzbekistan. Let me inform you, that this artificial deficit is not about to stop even at +40 heat for a few weeks, if not months, to come. Instead of selling sugar for its regular price, UZS 2,500-3,000, authorities prefer having huge queues, crying babies, spontaneous fights among buyers and policemen to control the order. Why would authorities hire policemen to control the process of selling of this particular product? Is it a part of their creating-new-jobs-state-program? neweurasia sources accross the country report that in the Fergana Valley (Fergana, Andijan, Namangan regions…

The women left behind in Armenia

Editor’s Note: Oxfam’s Armine Gevorgyan blogs from inside Armenia, where many young men are migrating abroad in search of employment and new opportunities, leaving their wives and daughters behind. Almost a third of homes in Armenia are now entirely led by women. Here in the rural village of Khor Virap in Southern Armenia, women sit around gossiping about the man who left for Russia, found a mistress and left his wife. Sveta, a mother of one, says, “I wonder what happened to that poor woman and her four children.” This is a fear shared by many women left behind but…

Creating plum jobs in Armenia

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Another letter to Western investors interested in Turkmenistan

Hello again Western investor, Perhaps my last letter was too harsh. Turkmenistan does need your money; all of our sectors are so poor — natural gas, textile, fishing, agriculture, water. Still, I have one request when you come here to invest: hire local Turkmen talent, and I don’t just mean as grunts. Don’t import your people for the best jobs; use ours. But maybe I ask for the impossible, not from you, but from us. A foreign employer means only one thing for many of us: not “money”, not “future”, not “adventure” or “opportunity”, but risk, and if there is…

A letter to Western investors interested in Turkmenistan

Dear Western investor, You might have a Turkish colleague who is trying to convince you to invest in Turkmenistan, but should you believe him? The picture looks nice. Turkish firms ran 63 projects in 2011 worth ~3.27 billion USD, and in 2010, ~4.5 billion USD. Such numbers at the height of the Great Recession are really amazing. And your Turkish colleague is probably hungry for more: the total business volume of Turkish construction firms in Turkmenistan is over 30 billion USD since 1991, and there are, right now, 1,500 Turkish-run construction projects in Turkmenistan worth 32 billion USD. But look…

More Avaza razzle dazzle

These days, state television in Turkmenistan is ablaze with talk of the president’s economic and cultural “commandment” to his country to develop and promote national tourism. The government has recently drawn up new tourist maps of the country (click photograph above). The center of the buzz, of course, is Avaza, a tourist zone on the Caspian Sea (about which I’ve written here. In the hope of developing a vibrant hotspot of tourism, all manner of plans for new hotels and facilities (such as a water amusement park and a convention center) in the resort area are now hurriedly underway. Allow…

Turkmenistan’s benzene-based social contract gets “renegotiated” by authorities

Underneath Turkmenistan is abundant natural wealth, with more being discovered all the time. So, our government applies useful rules for the Turkmen people. Natural gas, electricity, and even some amount of petrol — in 2011, we were the fourth cheapest in the world, at 12 pence per liter (click images to see more information) — are free for us, which is really something amazing. For example, at present, every person is entitled to 720 liters of free benzene per month. However, the process is that you must prepare the documents of your car and submit to the proper authority; afterward,…

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