Thursday, March 08, 2012 -
The first statue of current Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was unveiled this week, local Turkmen media reported on Thursday.
The statue is seen as the latest step in the creation of a personality cult around the autocratic leader.
The brilliant-white statue portrays Berdimuhamedov decked out in tribal chief garb sitting astride his horse and with a dove, symbolizing luck in the Turkmen culture, flying ahead.
State TV and media widely covered the event with the recital of a poem inscribed on the bird, entitled “My White Dove,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.
The statue was unveiled at a flower exhibition at the national art museum in the capital Ashgabat to mark the arrival of spring.
Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most isolated states, officially entered a “happy epoch” following the reelection last month of President Berdimuhamedov with 97 percent of the vote.
The Turkmen leader has recently renamed schools and national sites after his relatives and has styled himself a “The Protector,” or “Arkadag” in the Turkmen language.
Berdimuhamedov has ruled over the energy-rich country since the sudden death of his predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov, who went to heroic lengths to install his own personality cult. He famously erected a huge revolving gold statue of himself that always faced the sun, which was just recently moved to the far reaches of the capital.