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The SecDev Group;
Turkmenistan is slowly emerging from decades of darkness. President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov has vowed to modernize the country by encouraging the uptake of new technology for economic development and more efficient governance. Hundreds of thousands of Turkmen citizens are now online. However, the country faces serious challenges as it prepares to go digital. Infrastructure is primitive, and public access is fully controlled by a stateowned monopoly. Slow speeds, exorbitant pricing, and technological illiteracy all constitute major hurdles.Authorities are moving to address the capacity problem, but Turkmenistan's repressive regime is unlikely to relinquish its stranglehold on cyberspace access and content. All media -- including the internet -- are closely controlled. State censorship and surveillance are significant, as are intimidation tactics that encourage user self-censorship.This study highlights the ambivalent policies and practices that have left Turkmenistan mired in the digital doldrums, torn between its desire to join the worldwide web and its compulsion to control cyberspace.
Open Society Foundations;
The European Union is set to ratify a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Turkmenistan, one of the most authoritarian countries in the world. This would normalise relations after a 10-year freeze due to human rights concerns. The EU's interest in Turkmenistan's energy resources is part of its strategy to diversify its energy supply and reduce dependency on Russia. Yet there are serious questions about the strategic assumptions behind this move given Turkmenistan's unreliable and authoritarian nature, as well as grave doubts about the political and commercial viability of projects to bring Turkmen gas to Europe.This policy brief assesses both the strategic and normative assumptions behind EU decision-making in the Caspian, including the "away from Russia" narrative. It argues that a policy of no-strings cooperation with Ashgabat based on energy promises will not only lead to further authoritarianism but is unstrategic, as it undermines the EU's leverage and its credibility on its normative agenda. Taking lessons from the Arab Spring, the EU should pursue values and interests as part of a comprehensive approach to hydrocarbon partners. The European Parliament should hold off from ratifying the agreement until Turkmenistan undertakes key reforms including allowing international observers access to monitor Turkmenistan's prisons, releasing political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, allowing independent NGOs to operate and abolishing a government travel ban.
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL);
This report profiles the tax law which effects nongovernmental organisations of the independent states which formerly comprised the Soviet Union. There is information on various kinds of tax including Income, VAT and property tax for twelve different countries.
This is the the 18th edition of Freedom House's comprehensive report on post-communist democratic governance -- highlights recent setbacks to democracy across Eurasia and the Balkans, as well as in Central Europe. Russia served as the model and inspiration for policies that have led to an uninterrupted retreat from free institutions throughout Eurasia and in 2013 brought a new and alarming level of repression. In Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and several other countries, civil society responded with remarkable resistance to repressive governance. The year also featured improved elections and peaceful transfers of power in Kosovo, Albania, and Georgia.