"Afghanistan and the wider Central Asian region constitute part of Russia's 'southern underbelly,' a term that underscores the sense of vulnerability it feels along its southern border," Tracey German of the Defence Studies Department at King's College London told Newsweek.
After the president canceled permits for the Keystone XL pipeline claims swirled alleging his administration's involvement in the central Asian pipeline project.
The 19-foot statue, covered entirely in gold leaf, honours the Alabay or Central Asian shepherd breed.
Many of the infection-free countries closed their borders to all foreign travelers from the early stages of the pandemic.
"The Turkmen authorities have lived up to their reputation by adopting this extreme method for eradicating all information about the coronavirus," Reporters Without Borders' Jeanne Cavelier said.
Just over 20 countries have yet to record a single COVID-19 coronavirus case, most in the relatively lightly-afflicted continent of Africa and isolated Pacific island states, but also others much closer to major outbreaks.
Turkmenistan Airlines was popular among Sikhs flying to the Indian city of Amritsar.
Could Russia benefit from U.S. attention waning or will China step in?
After changes to the constitution in 2016 Berdymukhamedov could rule indefinitely.
There is no longer a legal barrier on Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov's potential re-election.
Berdimuhamedov has been following the March 8 tradition since 2013.