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Most people outside of Central Asia know little about the gas-rich desert nation of Turkmenistan.

The former Soviet Republic has virtually no independent media and just a handful of bookstores.  Foreign journalists and scholars are rarely granted visas to visit.

So it’s no surprise that presidential elections this month in a state sometimes compared to North Korea are little more than a show staged to buttress President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov. 

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at one of the world’s most isolated countries and the cult of personality built around its leader. 

Joining the program:

  • Victoria Clement, a research scholar at the Wilson Center
  • Muhammad Tahir, host of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Majlis podcast about Central Asia
  • Steven Sabol, a history professor who researches central Asia at UNC-Charlotte
  • Luca Anceschi, a Central Asian studies lecturer at the University of Glasgow

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