Turkmens flaunt expensive new infrastructure such as a $2.5bn falcon-shaped airport but campaigners release stories of inhabitants forced out of homes to make way for spectacle.
Dictators without Borders combats the myth of Central Asia as a deeply traditional region isolated from international financial and legal systems.
The Western grip on Central Asian oil and gas flows is weakening, and half of the volumes could go east by 2020, according to the IEA.
Central Asian states are looking to balance Moscow and Beijing, rather than switch masters.
Russia is more and more seeing China’s push West as an opportunity rather than a threat.