Earlier this month footage emerged of Turkmenistan’s dictator Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov — whose name represents the A-bomb of Scrabble words — violently falling off a horse during a rigged race on April 28. Now, much better footage has emerged.
The incident occurred during Horse Day festivities after Berdymukhamedov, donning a traditional telpek hat, won a staged race, according to EurasiaNet.org.
The website said that, after the fall, the stadium went quiet as the unconscious leader was scooped up and ferreted out of sight. In a Horse Day miracle, Berdymukhamedov returned an hour later to wave to the crowd and show he was not dead.
Security personnel at the event — and later at the airport — tried to ensure no footage of the embarrassing fall got out, EurasiaNet reported.
EurasiaNet’s footage is not the first to reach the West, but the site says it is the first high-resolution video to get out. This boast may or may not be valid, but the video does look pretty spiffy.
In February 2012, the 55-year-old Berdymukhamedo was “elected” Turkmenistan’s dictator again with 97 percent of the vote. The Daily Caller cannot confirm at this time whether the three percent who voted against Berdymukhamedo are still alive.
Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most oppressive countries, receiving the worst possible ratings by Freedom House for civil liberties and political rights in the organization’s annual “Freedom in the World Report.” Human Rights Watch describes the country this way:
“The country is virtually closed to independent scrutiny. Media and religious freedoms are subject to draconian restrictions, and human rights defenders and other activists face the constant threat of government reprisal. The authorities continue to use imprisonment as a tool for political retaliation and to restrict peoples’ right to travel freely. Turkmenistan continues to expand relations with foreign governments and international organizations, but without meaningful outcomes for human rights.”
While Turkmenistan may not be as an alluring travel destination as, say, the French Riviera, the country does boast a Sofitel in its capital and a giant gold statue of its former dictator. So there’s that.