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Silly Dictator Story #8: The Turkmen President Just Can't Take A Day Off

No writer's cramp here
No writer's cramp here
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov is a busy man, even on vacation. A recent Turkmen state TV newscast dedicated three separate segments to the president’s not-so-leisurely leisure time, which he spent promoting fitness, visiting vacationing children -- who serenaded him with songs and poems, and putting the finishing touches to a new book.

In addition to being Turkmenistan’s "Protector," Berdymukhammedov is a prolific author, with works on subjects ranging from horse care to the gloriousness of Turkmenistan. His seminal work, though, is a three volume scientific venture: “Medicinal Plants of Turkmenistan.” For those interested, the slightly-dated second volume is available online for the modest price of $280.

Although volume three just recently landed in the library stacks in March 2012, according to state TV, Berdymukhammedov is now finishing the much-anticipated fourth volume.

Notably, the clip from state TV shows the president working on his book sitting at a desk with only a pen and a notebook. When you’re “Academician of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, Doctor of Medicine, and a professor” computers are apparently a vanity item, not a necessity.

Medical practitioners the world over are surely on pins and needles.

-- Zach Peterson

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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

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