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Staging Legitimacy: Mechanisms for Power Retention in Turkmenistan
Since January 2007 Hendrik Meurs has analyzed the system of legitimation and implementation of the Governmental Claim in post-Soviet Turkmenistan. For this purpose, he repeatedly conducted research visits to the country. The focus of his research lies in the analysis of the complex system of aims, means and effects of the imposed nation-state and identity construction. Further attention is paid to the motives and effects of the self-imposed isolation of the state as well as the economic system of Turkmenistan. Ostensibly seamless continuation of the inherited command economy is increasingly combined with client politics and neopatrimonial structures, both of which are financed by a gas-rentier economy.
Within the programme “Conflict prevention in the Southern Caucasus region, Central Asia and Moldova” initiated by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) he conducted an one-month GIS training in Ashgabat during his three-month research stay in Turkmenistan in spring 2009. The participants of the training came from Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Apart from learning the basic knowledge of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) the target of the training was a remote sensing based sensitization towards potential and current land use conflicts.
During his research stay in Turkmenistan in autumn 2008 he also conducted ground truthing in various research areas in the central desert as well as the mountainous border region between Turkmenistan and Iran. This work was done in cooperation with and by order of the the GTZ (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit/ German Society for Technical Cooperation). Based on the results of this study the Institute of Geography of Heidelberg University currently carries out a remote sensing based long-term survey on the degradation of the vegetation cover in farming areas of Turkmenistan.
For pictures of the work in Turkmenistan please see the German version.