The majority of Turkmenistan's people are ethnic Turkmens (85%) with large minorities of Uzbeks (5%) and Russians (4%). Small minorities include the Kazakhs, Tatars, Ukrainians, Kurds, Armenians, Azeris, Balochs and Pashtuns.
In 1939, 18.6% of the population was ethnic Russian, which fell to 9.5% in 1989. Today, it is estimated at 4%. The number of Turkmen in the country doubled from 1989 to 2001 while the number of Russians fell by around 66%.
Turkmenistan Religion, Economy and Politics
Muslims make up 89% of the population in Turkmenistan, and most Turkmen site Islam as an integral part of their daily life and culture. An additional 10% of the population are of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the religion of the remaining 1% of the population is unknown, according to the CIA World Factbook. The Pew Research Center places the Muslim population even higher at 93%.
The economy of Turkmenistan is heavily dependent on both agriculture and their gas and oil resources. Turkmenistan is ranked number seven in the world in terms of natural gas reserves, although they are limited in their means to export it. Turkmenistan also produces over 200,000 barrels of oil per day, roughly half of which is consumed domestically. The two most prominent crops are cotton and wheat. Roughly half of the country's workforce work in agriculture, 38% work in services and the rest largely work in industry and construction. The financial system in Turkmenistan is completely under the control of the state.
As a presidential republic, the president of Turkmenistan is head of both the state and the government. The legislature is known as the Mejlis and is a unicameral parliament with 125 members, each serving five-year terms. The judicial system is comprised of a Supreme Court, six provincial courts, and 61 city and district courts. Military courts were outlawed in 1997, and the president has the power to appoint judges. Broken into five areas, Turkmenistan each of which has its regional administration.
Turkmenistan Population History
The area now known as Turkmenistan has been occupied by humans since at least 6th century BC. Arabs conquered the area in the 7th century AD, converting the region to Islam. Genghis Khan took over the region several hundred years later, followed by the Persians in the 15th through 17th centuries. Present-day Turkmenistan was incorporated as part of Russia in 1881, and they became a constituent republic of the USSR in 1925. An earthquake killed over 100,000 people in Turkmenistan in 1948. Turkmenistan became a sovereign nation, free of Russia, in 1990.