The name of the official news site of the government of Turkmenistan expresses what might be the closest thing to the sealed-off state’s official ideology: Zolotoi Vek, or Golden Age.
In recent years, Turkmens have been constantly reminded that theirs is a country enjoying unprecedented material and spiritual wealth. The latter is, according to the official narrative, helped along mightily by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the prolific writer of over 40 books, who has, since taking office, regularly made international news by appearing on stage with his grandson to slightly awkwardly perform Turkmen and international songs.
Turkmenistan’s outlook for 2019 is, however, highly uncertain. Yet three broad trends in the Turkmen state, society, and economy are going to influence life over the next 12 months.