Of the 15 former Soviet Republics, Turkmenistan is one of its kind – politically repressive, yet the wealthiest nation amongst all. Owing to the conspiracy of silence in media, the true picture of this nation was hidden for years. After independence (1990-91), authorities framed two important development policies to empower the citizen – privatisation and capitalism. Turkmenistan’s present social security system finds its foundation in 1991, where old age, disability and survivor pension facilities were provided comprehensively. Not to forget that men and women have been equal before the law, though socially, a woman’s role is confined to that of a homemaker.
The government does take adequate measure to curb discrimination based on ethnic or religious orientation. But sadly, around 60% of the nation’s employable citizens are still unemployed. And this, despite there being recent policies to increase education and impart vocational training. Turkmenistan’s relatively well-educated population, natural resources and development policies provided opportunities for diverse sets of industries to grow and flourish. While oil is its third major export earner, the US Department of Energy forecasts Turkmenistan to be a big name in oil production by 2010. The nation’s progress 16 years since independence has not been without troubles, and more than its fair share; but the nation has withstood the issues within, and has grown beyond being just another former USSR bloc.