Turkmenistan Social Security

Turkmenistan has only rudimentary functioning social security networks. For example, there is a pension system. However, the amount of the remuneration cannot be relied on, since it can be canceled, reduced and increased again at any time by a simple presidential order individually or for entire population groups. This shows, however, that even the magnanimously announced increases in recent years were consistently lower than the respective annual inflation rates.

A social system in the classic sense of the word is not planned in Turkmenistan. To compensate for this, numerous basic services, fuels and food were subsidized in the form of a kind of paternalistic-patrimonial social policy up to 2017. These were either free of charge for the population or only with symbolic prices. In spite of the legitimation of power acquired through this, these subsidies have been successively and in some cases drastically reduced in view of the considerable costs associated with this. As a result, the cost of living has risen significantly, especially for the country’s poorer population (the average monthly income is around 175 euros).

Free goods and services for Turkmens included:

– Salt

– Electricity

until 2012: unlimited

since 2012: 35 kWh per person and month

2013 – 2017: 25 kWh per person and month

since 2017: <25 kWh per person and month (exact details are not available)

– Drinking water (tap water or water from tankers)

until 2017: unlimited

since 2017: limited amount, meters have been installed, exact details are not available

– fuel gas

until 2015: unlimited free

2015 – 2017: 50 cubic meters per person and month free of charge, beyond: 6.25 € / 1000 Cubic meters

since 2017: no information available

(for comparison: Gazprom currently pays € 226 per 1,000 cubic meters of Turkmenistan gas)

– Wastewater / waste disposal

The highly subsidized goods and services, which are often only charged with symbolic prices, include:

– Grain

from Turkmenistan agriculture. The price is set by the state and is subject to significant fluctuations depending on availability. The price has increased significantly since 2011. Price development for a kilo of Turkmenistan grain (unpeeled) in July of the respective year:

2011: 0.14 €

2012 – 2017: 0.28 €

since 2017: no information available

– bread

from Turkmenistan agriculture and state bakeries. The price is set by the state and sometimes fluctuates significantly. Since 2010 the price has increased by more than 700%. Price development for a flatbread from a state bakery:

2010: 0.09 €

2011: 0.28 €

2012: 0.44 €

2014: 0.50 €

2015 – 2017: 0.70 €

since 2017: no information available

Petrol and diesel

Until 2007, the issue price at petrol stations was significantly less than one cent per liter. In the course of a significant price increase, non-personalized vouchers were introduced for free purchase of up to 120 liters of fuel per person per month. These were partially abolished in 2012, while at the same time the price of fuel was temporarily reduced again significantly. In 2013 the price rose again. Further price increases and the final abolition of vouchers followed in 2014 and 2015.

Price development for one liter of fuel (diesel or petrol):

2006: <0.01 €

2007: 0.02 €

2007: 0.08 € (120 liters free per person per month)

2008: 0.10 € (120 liters free per person per month)

2010: 0.15 € (120 liters free per person per month)

2011: 0.17 €

2012: € 0.10 (120 liters free per person and month under strict conditions)

2014: € 0.15

2015: € 0.30

2017: € 0.75

since 2017: no information available


As of summer 2015, around 49% of the Turkmenistan population live in urban agglomerations, around 51% in rural areas. Due to the increasing number of refugees from Turkmenistan since 2015, the non-publication of the results of the last Turkmenistan census and the already sparse database, no more up-to-date information can be given.

Turkmenistan Social Security


The only official language in the country is Turkmen, which, according to official figures, is spoken by 86 to 95% of the population as their mother tongue. However, it can be assumed that the percentage – based on the latest Turkmenistan census from 2012 – overestimates the actual value, as members of minorities tend to disguise their true ethnicity in favor of Turkmenistan due to their systematic discrimination.

Although official use is officially banned and only taught to a very limited extent in schools, Russian remains the most important language of communication in many areas. However, its importance continues to decline. The population groups born after 1980 have mostly only limited command of the language – if at all. At the same time, the proportion of the population learning Russian as their mother tongue continues to decline. As a result of decades of exclusion and marginalization, among other things, the proportion of the once strong Russian minority is now 2 to 5%, according to official information. Due to the close relationship between Turkmenistan and Turkish, it is now mostly easier to come into contact with Turkmenistan through this than through Russian.

What is spoken by the relevant minorities is also of regional importance

Uzbek (6 – 9% native speaker, along the Amu-Darya as well as in the Dashoguz region and in the desert settlements established for resettled Uzbeks),

Kazakh (less than 0.5% native speaker, in the steppe region in the border area with Kazakhstan in the north-west of the country),

Persian (less than 0.5% mother tongue, in the southwest, southeast and from isolated families re-immigrated from Iran) and that

Armenian (less than 0.5% native speaker, in the coastal regions in the west, especially in Turkmenbashi).

Pashtun is spoken in individual villages in the southeast.

The other languages spoken in Turkmenistan are Azerbaijani, Tatar, Baluch and Ukrainian (together less than 0.5%). In 2006 about 250 ethnic Germans were still living in Turkmenistan. For 2015, this number is believed to have fallen below 50.