There’s Another North Korea In Asia, And It’s Called Turkmenistan

Published January 4, 2015
Updated January 9, 2018

North Korea tends to grab the headlines as the world’s favorite ideological basket case, but there’s another Asian dictatorship with just as much potential for lulz. Turkmenistan erupted from the Soviet Union in 1991, and immediately got taken over by one of the craziest people in the world. Saparmurat Niyazov came from the slums of Stalin-era Turkmenistan and clawed his way to the top of the local Communist party. In 1991, he supported the coup attempt to overthrow Gorbachev and was rewarded by the local Supreme Soviet by being appointed president of the country at independence.

Seeking legitimacy, Niyazov “ran” for “president” in an “election” as the only “candidate.” He must have done a really good job, because in 1994, 99.9 percent of the people of Turkmenistan voted to extend his term by 10 years. Niyazov died in office in 2006—two years after his term officially ended—and left behind a country that’s every bit as stable and well-thought-out as you’d expect.

Turkmenistan Niyazov Serious
Turkmenistan 3D Glasses
Turkmenistan Ashgabat Statue
There’s Another North Korea In Asia, And It’s Called Turkmenistan
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Below is a video about Niyazov and his reign of terror over Turkmenistan:

Be sure to see our other galleries on China pollution and life inside North Korea.

Richard Stockton
Richard Stockton is a freelance science and technology writer from Sacramento, California.
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