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Turkmen Leader Promotes Heir-Apparent

Serdar Berdymukhamedov’s frequent changes of job could be a training regimen to succeed his father. 3 January 2019

Turkmenistani President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov (pictured) has given his son Serdar a new job, in what some observers say is a further stage in grooming the young man for the presidency.

 

Serdar Berdymukhamedov has been named deputy governor of the Ahal region. He will step aside as deputy foreign minister, a post he took in March 2018, but will retain his seat in parliament, RFE/RL reports.

 

Ahal, the region surrounding the capital Ashgabat, is the native place of the Berdymukhamedov family and most of the Turkmen elite, Eurasianet.org writes.

 

Serdar was named deputy foreign minister in March, a week after he was re-elected to the rubber-stamp parliament, “deepening speculation that the president aims to form a dynastic system of power in the Central Asian nation,” The Associated Press wrote at the time.

 

Serdar, 37, is the president’s only son. He was almost unknown to the public until he won a seat in parliament in a November 2016 by-electionChronicles of Turkmenistan wrote, taking its information from the pro-government publication Neutral Turkmenistan. He is said to share his father’s keenness for horses and fast cars.

 

According to Neutral Turkmenistan, he obtained a degree in international relations from the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy in 2011, while also working as an aide to Ashgabat’s ambassador in Moscow.

 

In 2015, he was awarded a doctorate in engineering from the Turkmenistani Academy of Sciences.

 

He also holds the rank of lieutenant colonel, although it is not clear if he stayed in the military past his mandatory service.

 

 

• A law that took effect on 1 January sharply limits alcohol sales in Turkmenistan. RFE/RL reports that alcohol is now forbidden on trains, airplanes, and ferry boats. Further restrictions are planned. The country also has some of the world’s strongest anti-smoking laws.

 

• Turkmenistan’s first messaging app started running recently. Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, and Russian social sites Odnoklassniki and VKontakte are blocked in the country, AFP reported. The Chronicles of Turkmenistan page on the app was blocked after less than a day.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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