On the back of speculation that the president of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, had died, a television program of the leader has been published by state media.
The Vladimir Putin-esque video shows Berdymukhamedov riding on the back of a horse, cycling, bowling, hitting the gym, and even singing and producing music in a studio. Things get lively at the 16-minute mark in the video below as Berdymukhamedov dons a race suit and goes off-roading in a pickup truck converted for rally driving.
The vehicle doesn’t appear particularly fast but the president does briefly play with fire (literally) as he closely circles the ‘Gates of Hell,’ a natural gas field that collapsed into an underground cavern in the heart of the country. Geologists set the field on fire back in 1971 to prevent the spread of methane gas and it is thought to have been burning continuously from that moment on. It is approximately 200 feet wide and 66 feet deep.
Like so many other dictators around the world, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov likes to portray himself as a fearless adventurer and that’s clearly what he is trying to do with this bizarre video. He could do with a few driving courses, however, as his donut abilities don’t appear overly impressive. Evidently, he shouldn’t change professions and become a rally driver.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has been running Turkmenistan, once part of the Soviet Union, since 2006 following the death of his equally-as-authoritarian predecessor.