| Which Way Will Turkmen Gas Flow?

Peculiarities marked the career of Saparmurat Niyazov, the hard-line dictator who ruled Turkmenistan for twenty-one years until his unexpected death on December 21 (AP). Even as nearly 60 percent of this gas-rich, largely Muslim Central Asian country lived in poverty, Niyazov funded lavish projects (Guardian), including an ice palace outside the capital, Ashgabat, and a manmade lake in the middle of a desert. But the self-obsessed Niyazov, architect of one of the world’s most bizarre personality cults, failed to name a successor. This raises questions about the prospects of a reprieve for the country’s beleaguered citizens, and leaves in doubt Europe’s energy security (FT).

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