Very few Turkmens are optimistic about jobs and economy in Turkmenistan

Central Asia Barometer (CAB) is a regional non-profit organization conducting public opinion surveys on social, economic, and political atmosphere in the countries of Central Asia. The Barometer runs the surveys twice a year (spring and autumn waves) often via face-to-face interviews. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, surveys in 2020-2022 were administered via telephone interviews. In total they have conducted 12 waves of surveys and Turkmenistan has been included only in 6 of them.

Survey findings from Turkmenistan

The recent survey was conducted across all Central Asian countries during November-December 2022. It included topics such as – religious identity, soviet past, domestic politics, international politics, economy, environmental issues and climate change, media, public health and the war in Ukraine.

In Turkmenistan 1,621 people were interviewed via telephone. For example, the Central Asia Barometer asked an open-ended question to public in Turkmenistan about their opinion on ‘What is going well in Turkmenistan right now?’ The two top answers that respondents mentioned that were going well include – peace and stability (21%) and infrastructure and transportation (18%). Meanwhile, only 7% of respondents thought prices and healthcare system in Turkmenistan were doing well and only 5% noted a positive state of affairs in the national economy. Respondents rated jobs (2.8%) and energy (only 1 respondent) as the least positive areas in Turkmenistan.

Source: Central Asia Barometer

In September 2022 the Central Asia Barometer conducted another survey on Awareness of Migrant Rights in Central Asia, which also included Turkmenistan. One thing that stood out within the Turkmen survey data is that “don’t know” was the most popular answer. According to the authors this is because respondents in Turkmenistan “needed to take safety precautions because of country’s political system.” Near 40% of respondents answered that they ‘do not know’ how concerned they are, if at all, about the treatment of Turkmen labour migrants. In addition, 20% were ‘not at all concerned’ and around 40% were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned.

Source: Central Asia Barometer

Moreover, when asked about the top attractive country for labour migration, Turkmen respondents were divided and did not provide a clear answer. Around 30% of respondents said ‘don’t know’ while 60% of respondents were more or less equally divided between Turkey, Russia and no country at all.

Source: Central Asia Barometer

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