The most distinctive features of the current political system are the autocratic style of government of the Turkmen president and the personality cult around him. Both presidents rule almost exclusively through decrees and orders, which at the same time represent the highest level of the Turkmen hierarchy of norms.
The best known orders of this kind issued by President Niyazov included the prohibition of opera, ballet, theater and cinema, which he considered inappropriate, and the prohibition of recorded music to protect the Turkmen people from ” negative influences. He also ordered the closure of all hospitals outside the capital. Previously, he had already had over ten thousand health care workers replaced by conscripts and abolished the profession of midwife. At the same time, infectious diseases were illegal. These are still not allowed to be diagnosed. Accordingly, according to official information, Turkmenistan has been free from HIV, TBC, influenza, hepatitis A or B, malaria and plague, among others, since 2005. Niyazov had the libraries outside the capital closed, some of the holdings burned and some moved to the national library in Ashgabat. Imams It was prescribed that the Koran be substituted for the book Rukhnama he had written for prayers, and imams who refused were sentenced to life imprisonment sentenced to prison or labor camp. Men were banned from wearing beards and long hair. Niyazov named January after his honorary title Turkmenbashi, April after his mother Gurbansoltan Eje and September after Rukhnama. Other months have been named after legendary ancestors or significant events in Turkmen history. He did the same with the days of the week, which he also had renamed.
This very small compilation of orders is primarily intended to give an impression of the extensive power of the Turkmen President. Because regardless of their quality, all statements made by the President count as directly effective law. This has not changed under Berdimuhamedow.
The personality cult is not an end in itself, but serves to legitimize the office of president, the personal legitimation of the holder of this office, should, as can be seen in the example of the presidential palace, demonstrate the presidential power in the sense of a visualization of the factual and, fourth, express the popular veneration of the president.
A clear expression of this cult is the conscious choice of favorite colors made by the president. While the first president of the country preferred “gold” and accordingly had countless gilded statues and monuments erected for himself, Berdimuhamedow chose “white”. In keeping with this preference, senior state officials drive only white cars, the president usually sits behind arrangements of white flowers or stands behind white lecterns during his speeches, are the new medals he has introduced also white, the countless new white buildings are architectural symbols and visualizations of the President and for some years now national traditions have even been broken by the traditional red carpets of the Turkmen in Berdimuahemdow’s surroundings are as white as the traditionally brown papachas (the typical hats of the Turkmen nomads). As an extension of this preference, the import of non-white private vehicles into Turkmenistan was prohibited in January 2015 and the country’s workshops were urged to repaint cars accordingly or no longer repair vehicles of other colors. Furthermore, Berdimuhamedow uses white musical instruments to perform pieces of music he has composed, and increasingly wears white suits or ties, his office has been redecorated accordingly and is also his favorite horse of white color. Consequently, the first monument depicting Berdimuhamedow is made of white marble – it shows the president riding his favorite horse.
According to Weddinginfashion.com, the country’s economic situation has been deteriorating increasingly since 2016, and by 2018 at the latest, the economic crisis reached the capital with several months of supply bottlenecks in basic foodstuffs, the absence of salary payments to state employees and the cancellation of state subsidies for basic foodstuffs and services. In parallel to the deterioration in the economic situation, the already omnipresent cult around the president was intensified again. As a bizarre element of this cult, singing Christmas carols at the turn of the year 2018/2019 together with his son even received widespread attention in the western media. Although the various forms of singing as an element of cults find comparatively regular reception in Western media, this applies to singing in honor of its mother as well as to the more than 4,000-strong choir, which came together in a yurt in 2015 to form the largest crowd who ever sang a song composed by a president in a yurt to go down in history. At the beginning of 2017 the election campaign for the upcoming presidential elections was started by the president with singing and six months later the president staged his vacation on the Caspian Sea with lunch breaks at the keyboard.
Further examples of manifestations of the personality cult around President Berdimuhamedow are in addition to the images shown below:
- That of President Berdimuhamedov -won victory first car race in the country. President Berdimuhamedow won the race on the occasion of the opening of the car racing track near Ashgabat.
- The victory of President Berdimuhamedow in a US $ 11 million horse race on the occasion of the national day of the Akhal-Teke horse on April 29, 2013. Riding on his favorite horse Berkarar (Powerful), he prevailed against numerous other jockeys in the final with 1 1/2 horse lengths, according to official information. Immediately after crossing the finish line, Berdimuhamedow fell badly. The fall was not mentioned by the state media, the corresponding film and photo material was confiscated within the riding facility and the security measures at Ashgabat airport were expanded.
- President Berdimuhamedow’s stagings as a hockey player.
- The removal of a tumor from behind a patient’s right ear, carried out by President Berdimuhamedow as proof of his surgical skills. The operation took place on the occasion of the national health day as part of the celebrations for the opening of a new hospital in Ashgabat and, according to the state media, went without complications.
- The diverse portrayals of President Berdimuhamedow as a tamer, horse understanding and jockey.
- The varied representations of President Berdimuhamedow with children.
- The performance of a piece of music, according to official statements, composed by the President himself in front of thousands of listeners. On the occasion of his own birthday, the President first played the piece of music on a guitar and then repeated it on an accordion.
- Illustration of President Berdimuhamedov conducting a video conference (screenshot of Turkmen television). President Berdimuhamedov preferred appearances in white surroundings, while President Niyazov preferred the color gold.
- The numerous outstanding achievements attributed to the President.
- Lush birthday gifts for the President, which are getting bigger every year, officially presented by the Turkmen people. In 2015, the President received an extensive park named after his honorary title “Arkadag” as a gift.
- The increasing spread of statues and monuments of the President. The in May inaugurated in 2015 and biggest monument (also the first plated with gold leaf Monument Berdimuhamedows) shows this on an exposed clad with white marble Bergspron sitting on a horse, stretched out his hand to a flying before him dove of peace.
- Opening of the largest Central Asian golf course with a ” hole-in-one “