Twenty years ago, the boundaries of three new sovereign states were mapped along the shores of the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Union with immense oil and gas reserves and the enormous challenge of defining themselves as independent nation-states.
The rapid oil-fueled transformation of these societies and the newfound quest for national identity has left many of the citizens isolated, unable to locate themselves in the midst of these changes.
Hope, ambition, greed and uncertainty have been defining factors for various groups of people as these new littoral states attempt to integrate themselves into the world political economy. Read more, and see more, in this photo-essay, Promising Waters, by Mila Teshaieva.