(CNN)Men in white fur caps proudly ride horses across the steppe, rows of modern machinery glisten, Barbie-pink flamingos strut before clear blue skies and a white yacht cuts through the turquoise waters of the Caspian Sea. These are idyllic scenes from a one-minute video promoting the inaugural Caspian Economic Forum, which between August 11 and 12 will see heads of state from Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan descend on Awaza, a new resort town that has been touted by Turkmenistan's Foreign Ministry as the country's Las Vegas. The footage paints the picture of a happy, prosperous nation. But the reality for the 5.85 million people who live in this authoritarian hermit nation is different. Strict media controls mean that information trickles out of the country, but human rights abuses are commonplace, activists often disappear, and forced labor is a concern, according to Human Rights Watch. Read More As a hermit nation, it rivals North Korea. Just over 6,000 people … [Read more...] about Is the hermit nation of Turkmenistan on the brink of collapse?