Turkmenistan: The big chill

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Turkmenistan’s parliament does not do anything. The only function it serves is to enable the dictatorship in charge to claim that it is presiding over a representative democracy. International partners do their bit in bolstering this fiction by engaging with the ersatz legislators as though they were the real thing. None of this stops the Turkmen regime from constantly – and puzzlingly – fiddling with their only theoretically representative body. On January 11, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the head of the upper house of parliament, the ex-president and de facto current co-president, suggested r…

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