Turkmenistan is internally cohesive and for the most part has been spared of the disruptive internal divides of its Central Asian counterparts. However, growing economic pressures in this country have been growing amid heightened security threats. Protests in the country are typically quite rare, given the lack of a coherent opposition and the highly centralized government backed by a pervasive security apparatus. But worsening socio-economic conditions have made the government more vulnerable to dissent. Reports suggest that small protests, for example sparked by a shortage of cigarettes, have been taking place around the country, though the state-run Turkmen media usually obscure visibility into these matters.
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