Latest posts by Anna Fergana
"Bans, bans, and bans. People cannot do anything on their own these days."
Once you hear this Central Asian ode to the iPhone, you won't be able to un-hear it.
Were Turkmen Dissidents Wrong to Publish a Video of Schoolgirls ‘Turning Up the Love’ on Their YouTube Channel?
In deeply traditional, highly repressive Turkmenistan, schoolgirls dancing along to Western songs is akin to a crime against the state.
Will the Turkmen government's attempts to nationalise Islam and shut its citizens off from the wider world backfire?
Are the wives of Central Asia's authoritarian presidents the power behind the throne or just highly placed women subject to the same raw deal as many others in the region?
If you were thinking of choosing Turkmenistan as a wedding day destination, you should know one thing - when it comes to celebrating a marriage, Turkmen do not mess around.
A recent attack on a border patrol along the Afghan frontier left three Turkmen border guards dead. Netizens in the country argue about who attacked the border guards and why.
Warm-wintered Turkmenistan failed to send a singe athlete to this year's Winter Olympics. The only representative the republic sent to Sochi was its sport-loving president.
"Like father, like son" is the most popular theme in netizen reactions to the recent arrest of a controversial Kyrgyz politician's son on theft charges.
In Turkmenistan, pop musicians tread a difficult path between carving out a distinctive image for themselves and ensuring they don't fall foul of the state.
People in Turkmenistan and Turkmen dissidents in exile are unhappy about the fact that criticisms of the country's political regime come from various 'foreign experts,' while Western policymakers and politicians inside the country remain mute.
When it comes to statistics, the Turkmen government remains committed to the time-honored Soviet principles of book-cooking, data fudging and avoiding the uncomfortable truth at all costs. 'Good' statistics, such as the rising grain harvests, are triumphantly covered by state-run media, while bad news are never reported.
In Turkmenistan, which ranks among the world's "worst of the worst" human rights abusers, the very existence of such rights is seen as 'fiction'. Some netizens blame Ashgabat's repressive regime on geopolitics. Yet some others say the country has a right to restrict the rights of its citizens.
In November 2002, the then Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov survived an assassination attempt that was blamed on Russian-supported opposition. Ten years after the incident, in the country starved of reliable information, many people still don't trust the official version of the event.
As Turkmenistan marks the 21st anniversary of its independence today, the celebrations coincide with a major Islamic holiday. Also, Turkmenistan's Independence Day this year comes at a time of an apparent improvement in the country's relations with Russia.
It has been announced that the Peace Corps - a U.S. government-run volunteer program - will close its programs in Turkmenistan and leave the country by the end of 2012. Many Turkmen internet users believe that the departure of the volunteers will further deepen the country's isolation and limit education opportunities for its young people.
August is the month of melons in Turkmenistan where expansive steppe lands yield some of the tastiest crop known to mankind. Turkmen Melon Day, celebrated since 1994, is one of the favourite public holidays in the country.
One year after the explosions at an arms depot in Abadan, officials in Turkmenistan hardly mention the deadly incident. Instead of commemorating the victims of the blasts, they prefer to suppress information, hoping that the Turkmen will forget about what had happened. Netizens are silent as well after the authorities detained several bloggers and put one of them in jail for covering the explosions.
Turkmenistan's president has recently pondered the creation of opposition political parties that would add an element of competition to the country's political system which is currently dominated by a single party. The Turkmen netizens remain largely skeptical about the possibility of genuine opposition parties being allowed to form and operate freely in the country.
In Turkmenistan, the state-controlled media tirelessly praise President Berdimuhamedov and the 'achievements'. Many Turkmens use news forums and social media to say what they really think about their leader and his accomplishments.