Turkmenistan’s Former President Performs Position Of Chief Regardless of Stepping Down  


Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov stepped down as Turkmenistan’s president in March, handing energy to his son, Serdar, in a managed election.

However the former chief, who dominated the nation with an iron first after coming to energy in 2006, has maintained a excessive profile within the tightly managed Central Asian nation.

Typically performing like a sitting president, Berdymukhammedov has visited and acquired heads of states, attended authorities conferences, and brought lavish excursions of the nation’s provinces.

The 65-year-old continues to be a prime official, retaining his place as chairman of the higher home of parliament, a submit he created and assumed in 2021. He has additionally saved his formal title of “Arkadag,” or “the Protector.”

However no official in Turkmenistan, barring the president, has ever had the extent of affect and publicity that Berdymukhammedov presently enjoys.

Most not too long ago, Berdymukhammedov acquired the presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey within the Caspian Sea resort metropolis of Awaza forward of a trilateral summit.

President Serdar Berdymukhammedov had separate conferences along with his Azerbaijani and Turkish counterparts, state media reported on December 14.

The previous president stopped wanting attending the summit. However his spouse — former First Woman Ogulgerek Berdymukhammedova — stunned many in Turkmenistan by internet hosting the visiting first women of Azerbaijan and Turkey.

The previous first girl of Turkmenistan. Ogulgerek Berdymukhammedova (heart), hosts Emine Erdogan (left), and Mehriban Aliyeva in Awaza.

Berdymukhammedova not often made public appearances when her husband was president.

Official pictures present Berdymukhammedova attending an artwork exhibition and live performance with Mehriban Aliyeva and Emine Erdogan earlier than internet hosting a tea social gathering for them. The present first girl of Turkmenistan, nonetheless, was nowhere to be seen in the course of the trilateral summit.

All the time On The Street

The elder Berdymukhammedov’s packed schedule in latest months has included an official journey to Moscow the place he met Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 3. His son had visited the Kremlin in June.

On November 11, the previous chief traveled to neighboring Uzbekistan to participate in a summit of the Group of Turkic States attended by the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkey. Turkmenistan holds observer standing on the group.

Berdymukhammedov has additionally often toured the nation’s 5 provinces the place native authorities have mobilized 1000’s of individuals to wash the streets, paint pale buildings, or attend ceremonies to fulfill and greet the previous chief.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last month.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow final month.

Forward of one in every of his journeys to western Balkan Province final month, some 2,500 folks had been taken away from their day jobs to organize the port metropolis of Turkmenbashi for the go to, sources instructed RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service.

Residents mentioned they didn’t know “till the final minute” if the previous or present president was visiting their province.

On the eve of the elder Berdymukhammedov’s journey to Mary in November, a supply near the native authorities mentioned that “at this level, it’s not clear who’s coming and once they’re coming.”

“All we all know is {that a} Berdymukhammedov will probably be visiting to attend a ceremony to put the primary bricks of a manufacturing facility,” the supply mentioned.

“Folks don’t know which of the Berdymukhammedovs is de facto operating the nation, however whoever is in cost isn’t doing job,” a veteran Turkmen journalist instructed RFE/RL.

State media refers back to the former president as “Our Hero Arkadag” and gives intensive protection of his journeys and conferences.

Many Turkmen privately complain about what they see as extreme preparations forward of official visits to provinces the place host governors create a facade of prosperity to cover the widespread poverty within the extraordinarily remoted nation.

“The nation can’t afford this extravaganza for the daddy and son. They’ve turned the nation right into a household enterprise,” the veteran journalist mentioned on situation of anonymity.

“The Berdymukhammedovs stay in their very own world, utterly indifferent from actuality,” the reporter added. “They don’t know, or maybe don’t care, that individuals don’t even have sufficient to eat.”

Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth-largest reserves of pure fuel, however the nation stays largely impoverished. Power meals shortages and value hikes have plagued many strange Turkmen lately.

Widespread poverty, corruption, and unemployment have pressured thousands and thousands of Turkmen to go away the nation in latest a long time.

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