Turkmenistan’s mystical election: watch the video yourself

With the help of a fellow Turkmen citizen-journalist, neweurasia’s Annasoltan has obtained and translated official media coverage of Turkmenistan’s recent presidential election, and needless to say, there’s some weird stuff in there, including chants to the “democratic process” and proclaiming the presence of “international monitors”.

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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