21 December 2006 XXIX

Khamsin Molossia News

On 21 December 2006 XXIX, the dictator of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, died of sudden heart failure. President Niyazov's death not only leaves a power vacuum in the generally-impoverished central Asian country, it also has created yet another vacancy in the dwindling pantheon of world dictators. Niyazov, who called himself "Turkmenbashi", or Father of all Turkmen was one of the most notorious dictators in the world and was renowned not only for the oppression of his countrymen but for his bizarre decrees that left the world scratching its collective head. Notably, Turkmenbashi changed the names of the months of the year to honor his mother, himself and an inspirational book he wrote called the Ruhnama. He banned video games and gold teeth, closed rural libraries (stating that ordinary Turkmen do not read books anyway) and closed of all hospitals outside Ashgabat, saying that if people were ill, they could come to the capital. He had a giant gold statue of himself that constantly rotates to face the sun, built in Ashgabat. His face decorates buildings and Turkmenistan's money and innumerable statues of him dot the landscape. He even has a city named after him, Turkmenbashi, on the Caspian Sea.

Turkmenbashi's death follows that of the former dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet, and may be soon followed by Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba. This is truly not a good year to be a dictator! This dictator vacuum will be sorely felt, since the remaining truly eccentric despot is Kim Jong Il of North Korea, a man who truly has no style and anyway is a downright threat to world peace because he has the bomb. Fortunately our own President of Molossia has enough dictator-style and eccentricities to compensate for the loss of these other autocrats!

Postcard images of Saparmurat Niyazov, "Turkmenbashi", the late dictator of Turkmenistan.


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