Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Silly Dictator Story #20: Nobody Knows Berdy

Turkmenistan's strongman leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov
Turkmenistan's strongman leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov
Back home everyone -- everyone -- knows the name and face of Turkmen President Gurbanguly “the Protector” Berdymukhammedov.

Nonetheless, although he may be presiding over the "Era of Supreme Happiness" on his home turf in Turkmenistan, during his official trips abroad it's a totally different story. 

In March, on an official visit to Kyiv, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych committed a diplomatic gaffe when he confused Kazakhstan with Turkmenistan, making Berdymukhammedov appear a tad uncomfortable.

You can see the video (and Berdymukhammedov’s disappointed facial expression) here.

Adding salt to the wound, another gaffe occurred on September 11 during the Turkmen leader's two-day state visit to Latvia for discussions on using the Baltic country as a channel for trade between energy-rich Turkmenistan and the European Union.

This time, Berdymukhammedov was announced as the leader of Turkey by Latvian President Andris Berzins.

You can listen to the audio in Latvian provided by RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service, here.

Andris Berzins
Andris Berzins i
|| 0:00:00

It seems poor old "Berdy" just can’t catch a break at the moment. 

-- Deana Kjuka 

Have a silly dictator story? E-mail us at transmission@rferl.org or share it with us on Twitter @sillydictators
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Comment Sorting
by: Tahmina from: Vilnius
September 15, 2012 22:42
I can't believe US taxpayers are funding such jiberish! This is not journalism - not even at level of natonal inquirer. Get a life. If you cant't travel to the region and do some investigative reporting, resign from your post already!
In Response

by: Serdar from: Istanbul
September 17, 2012 18:24
Calm down angry foe, this is a blog :) It is not a press release or news piece or investigative reporting...it is a BLOG

P.S: I read RFE/RL pieces especially to read silly dictator blogs.
In Response

by: william flood from: Washington
September 18, 2012 00:59
Agreed, these posts are really not worth reading, they are just weak propaganda pieces designed to humiliate and embarrass certain countries with whom RFE/RL has complicated relationships.

Apparently because Yanukovich misspoke when reading from his notes (which really reflects poorly on the Ukrainian government and whoever prepared materials for the meeting) we're supposed to infer that Turkmenistan is a weak and insignificant country just reflects the schoolyard mentality of this blog.
In Response

by: Frank
September 19, 2012 01:31
At the top right, look at the crappy venues that this RFE/RL blog links

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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