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Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow

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20120902-183335-pic-601559987_mugshot_four_by_three.jpg

20120902-183335-pic-601559987_mugshot_four_by_three.jpg

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov’s token nod to democracy, in the form of allowing a new political party, most likely is aimed at improving his country’s image abroad, eyeing a boost to foreign investment and trade. But critics say the new political group is unlikely to offer real opposition. (Associated Press)

20120902-183335-pic-601559987.jpg

20120902-183335-pic-601559987.jpg

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov’s token nod to democracy, in the form of allowing a new political party, most likely is aimed at improving his country’s image abroad, eyeing a boost to foreign investment and trade. But critics say the new political group is unlikely to offer real opposition. (Associated Press)

WT200710107290041V2_mugshot_four_by_three.jpg

WT200710107290041V2_mugshot_four_by_three.jpg

** FILE ** Following the lead of his predecessor, Turkmenistan's new president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, made sure in 2007 that his countrymen knew who he was, with portraits springing up everywhere, such as this one next to a fountain in the capital, Ashgabat. (Joshua Kucera/The Washington Times)

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20120516-181648-pic-416059327.jpg

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov showed up in a Bugatti sports car for the nation's fist-ever auto race in April and recorded the fastest time-trial result. (Associated Press)

WT200710107290041V2.jpg

WT200710107290041V2.jpg

** FILE ** Following the lead of his predecessor, Turkmenistan's new president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, made sure in 2007 that his countrymen knew who he was, with portraits springing up everywhere, such as this one next to a fountain in the capital, Ashgabat. (Joshua Kucera/The Washington Times)