Turkmenistan: A hollow facade of neutrality in a country at odds with its own people

It is unclear if Armenian president Armen Sarkissian is completely ignorant of the ruinous cul-de-sac down which President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow is taking Turkmenistan, or if the content of a recent letter to his despotic counterpart to mark the annual Day of Neutrality was intended to be so ironic that it veered towards black comedy. Intending…

Turkmenistan: Cop out that once more fudges the real issues affecting an oppressed nation

The cliched image of a 'fat cop' more au fait with bribery and corruption than a consistent and just delivery of the rule of law is synonymous with countries whose regimes provide the inspiration for their police force, both in terms of an amoral modus operandi and in physical appearance that can often mirror the…

Turkmenistan: A presidential portrait of modern-day narcissism wrapped in despotism

In 2004 the Harvard Business Review called it right. Their take on narcissists concluded that the vainglorious are "unproductive when, lacking self-knowledge and restraining anchors, they become unrealistic dreamers. They nurture grand schemes and harbour the illusion that only circumstances, or enemies block their success". Does all this sound terribly familiar, even in the modern…

Ignorance is no defence for celebrities taking money from oppressive regimes

I have said it before: what was Jack Nicklaus thinking? History is littered with autocratic regimes seeking legitimacy through celebrity endorsements, often exploiting the ignorance of those who have pitched up in good faith but only later find a wave of condemnation highlighting at best a hitherto unawareness of the firestorm such appearances create; at…