Sunday, May 28, 2023

Even Now, Few Turkmens Becoming Migrant Workers in Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 24 – Historically, four of the five countries of Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – have provided hundreds of thousands or even millions of migrant workers for the Russian economy, but the remaining one – Turkmenistan – has sent only a handful.

            Indeed, the numbers from Turkmenistan have been so low that most outside analyses of Central Asian emigration to Russia have ignored that country altogether. Moscow has tried to change that by providing charter flights (, but the numbers remain small.

Indeed, officially in the first quarter of this year, they were zero; and in all of last year, only four Turkmens left their country to work for extended periods in the Russian Federation (

In part, this is because Turkmens, given the repressive nature of their country’s government, are reluctant to provide evidence of their intentions; and independent observers say that many now listing other reasons for travel are becoming migrants ( and

And consequently, even if one makes allowances for that, the number of Turkmens working in Russia as migrants remains small and is likely to stay that way, perhaps now particularly because of Chinese investments in a major gas pipeline across Turkmenistan that will provide employment for many.


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