Turkmenistan: The Hypocrisy of Food Shortages and Presidential Excess

In the world and mindset of a confirmed, unabashed dictator normal rules have long since gone out of the window, assuming of course that they ever applied in the first place. Only in a country whose throat is being kept under the boot of its protector, and predestined guide, can food shortages directly contributing to…

Heavy with irony and the abdication of moral responsibility, Germany and the EU seek further footholds in Turkmenistan

From what initially appeared to be more a one-way than a quid pro quo arrangement, evidence now suggests a far greater interest from Germany in Turkmenistan's affairs than why a reported $23 billion of the Central Asian republic's money is held in German bank accounts. When money talks even the angels listen, and one wonders…

How will the despotic leaders of Turkmenistan and North Korea react to chastening Asian Cup defeats?

It is not hard to imagine the reaction of Turkmenistan's and North Korea's presidents following the recent round of chastening defeats suffered by both nations at the Asian Cup, the geographical equivalent of football's European Championships. Despite an absence in either country of authentic soccer pedigree both sets of players will genuinely fear of the…

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…

Turkmenistan: When seeing is not believing in a land of (totalitarian) pretence

The continued bizarre, contrary modus operandi of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow again highlights the former dentist's despotic hold over the former Soviet republic. Self-styled as a deity predestined to shepherd the nation to greatness through his many initiatives that often amount to little more than yet another Potemkin-esque, white elephant construction project, Berdymukhamedow's absolute grip…

The UK: Bilateral trade and economic cooperation placed ahead of Turkmenistan’s many Human Rights violations

A meeting held in Ashgabat between Turkmenistan's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rashid Meredov, and the UK Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department of Digital, Media, Culture, and Sport, Lord Ashton of Hyde, amount to a tacit endorsement by London of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow's totalitarian regime, one squarely accused of countless human…