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Turkmen and Uzbek Presidents Make Newsweek's Despot Index

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan and President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, October 2010

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has made Newsweek's Despot Index of the top 10 dictators of the world.

With his trademark "Peter Gallagher eyebrows" and "legit pal" Prince Andrew, as well as his "intellectual pursuit" as a trained dentist, the Turkmen leader's "future prospects" are considered "very good," says Newsweek.

Although his rule is as ruthless and total as that of President Islam Karimov in neighboring Uzbekistan, who also made the list, Berdymukhamedov is often left off such dictator lists because of a widespread willingness to give him credit for making reform efforts after the death of his predecessor, dictator Saparmurat Niyazov.

The honeymoon has long since been over, as Turkmen's leader has made only minimal changes to the authoritarian regime he inherited, and still does things like shut off cell phone service -- and Internet connection -- for 2.4 million people, allow his government officials to duck and dodge the UN's legitimate questions about rampant torture and missing ministers in his country, jail Youtube singers and even block an exchange of doctors concerned about multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Newsweek claims Berdymukhamedov's nickname is "Turkmenbashi" (which means "head of all Turkmens") but in fact that was the name given to Niyazov, and it hasn't been used in the same way with Berdymukhamedov, although he has exhibited signs of the same kind of cult of personality as his predecessor.

Turkmen and Uzbek Presidents Make Newsweek's Despot Index

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