Most people outside of Central Asia know little about the gas-rich desert nation of Turkmenistan.
The former Soviet Republic has virtually no independent media and just a handful of bookstores. Foreign journalists and scholars are rarely granted visas to visit.
So it's no surprise that presidential elections this month in a state sometimes compared to North Korea are little more than a show staged to buttress President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov.
On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at one of the world's most isolated countries and the cult of personality built around its leader.
Joining the program:
- Victoria Clement, a research scholar at the Wilson Center
- Muhammad Tahir, host of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Majlis podcast about Central Asia
- Steven Sabol, a history professor who researches central Asia at UNC-Charlotte
- Luca Anceschi, a Central Asian studies lecturer at the University of Glasgow