In what starts out like an Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque action video (above), the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, swaggers in, making a bid to be the world’s new cult action hero.
This parody video (above) was created by The Chronicle of Turkmenistan, which describes itself as an exiled purveyor of “news that you won’t hear about from official news outlets”, using the state media’s broadcast footage of the president filmed during an inspection of troops at a border station south of the capital, Ashgabat. But it was actually the parody that drew attention to the original video and the country’s authoritarian regime.
Dressed in camouflage military gear, the president fires bullets and throws knives at targets with absolute accuracy. An enchanted group of uniformed men, who are actually the heads of law enforcement agencies, cheers him on. President Berdymukhammedov even commands an airstrike, and signs the paper targets.
The official video was intended to present the president as a strong leader. The state news agency said: “Picking up one of the weapons presented to him, the head of state demonstrated the precision of his aim, which served as evidence of his high level of military preparedness.”
Watch the original footage here: