Introducing Northern Turkmenistan
Stalin’s modus operandi in Central Asia sought the division of its people, thus resulting in the split of the Khorezm (an ancient kingdom centred around the Amu-Darya delta) oasis – the northern section around Khiva going to Uzbekistan and the southern portion going to Turkmenistan. It remains this way today, with the Amu-Darya river wriggling its way in and out of the Uzbek and Turkmen borders. As part of historic Khorezm, the Turkmen portion still contains a sizeable Uzbek minority and retains a culture apart from the rest of the country. Sadly, the region has not escaped the Aral Sea disaster and suffers from air, soil and water pollution. It’s also the poorest part of the country, with little commerce apart from the smuggling of subsidised petrol to Uzbekistan.