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Turkmenistan’s mystical election: watch the video yourself

With the help of a fellow Turkmen citizen-journalist, I’ve obtained and translated this official media coverage of our nation’s recent presidential election.

I expect the video will be interesting to outsiders for a few reasons. One is that it provides a window into our official culture and festivities surrounding political events, and shows how the president’s personality cult is at the center of everything. In an attempt to build a nation-state, like in other countries cultural traditions are adopted to legitimize a political process (2:12) (it’s ironic that the mere fact that an election was held on Turkmen soil is celebrated as a festivity) but take notice of the spiritualization of the voting ritual — and that’s what it’s become, an empty religious-like action — especially the chanting (3:43) and the creepy way officials speak in unison to the President and his father (4:02).

Another aspect is how the regime is willing to distort facts: near the end of the video (7:17) they claim that “international monitors observed the elections”, which is not exactly true. They are referring to the presence of so-called “monitors” from the CIS (including Belarus, that stalwart defender of the democratic process *cough). As is well-know, the OSCE and several other organizations didn’t even bother to attend.

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