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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkmen Pensions Rise

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan () -- Pensions for retirees and veterans in the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan were tripled at the start of the new year -- to $9 a month.

But although the Central Asian country is desperately poor, the standard of living is better than such low pensions would seem to indicate, the Russian Itar-Tass reported Tuesday.

Gas and electricity are free for apartment dwellers, and basic foods -- including meat, sugar, flour and butter -- are heavily subsidized. Using ration cards, Turkmenistan residents can buy these goods for roughly one-fiftieth of the market price, the report said.