World's Craziest Dictators

Strange People
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1
Saparmurat "Turkmenbashi" Niyazov (Turkmenistan):
Renamed a month after him; banned recorded music, video games and beards!

In 1991, after the fall of Communism and the USSR, Turkmenistan found itself independent for the first time in a hundred years. The new president, Saparmurat Niyazov, was the obvious successor – he'd been the Communist Party's puppet governor since 1985. But easing a country of five million people into a new era of self-sufficiency and autonomy was not the highest item on Niyazov's agenda. He was more concerned that decades of Soviet control had left Turkmenistan with no national identity. So, in 1993, Niyazov took it upon himself to create the country in a new image: his own.



First, he took the name Turkmenbashi (Leader of All Ethnic Turkmen) and declared himself President for Life. Since then, he's undertaken scores of self-aggrandizing – and bizarre – measures to make Turkmenistan a very unique place:
  • The airport in the capital city of Asgabat was renamed... Turkmenbashi.
  • The New president also renamed the months. January is now called... Turkmenbashi. April is called Gurbansoltan edzhe, after his mother. (Bread, once called chorek, is now also called gurbansoltan edzhe.)
  • In April 2004 he ordered the building of a giant ice palace in the middle of the desert, the Karakum – the hottest location in central Asia. It would also include a zoo with penguins.
  • The name of the large port city Krasnovodsk was changed to... Turkmenbashi.
  • Dozens of streets and schools across the country are now called... Turkmenbashi.
  • In 1998 a 670-pound meteorite landed in Turkmenistan. Scientist named it... Turkmenbashi.
  • The image of Turkmenbashi's face is used as the logo of all three state-run TV stations, and is legally required to appear on every clock and watch face as well as on every bottle of Turkmenbashi brand vodka.
  • In April 2001, ballet and opera were banned after Niyazov felt they were "unnecessary ... not a part of Turkmen culture".
  • In 2004 it was forbidden for young men to grow long hair or beards.
  • In March 2004, 15,000 public health workers were dismissed including nurses, midwives, school health visitors and orderlies and replaced with military conscripts.
  • In April 2004 the youth of Turkmenistan were encouraged to chew on bones to preserve their teeth rather than be fitted with gold tooth caps or gold teeth.
  • In 2004 all licensed drivers were required to pass a "morality test".
  • In 2004 it was prohibited for news readers to wear make-up
  • In February 2005 all hospitals outside Asgabat were ordered shut, with the reasoning that the sick should come to the capital for treatment. All rural libraries were ordered closed as well, citing ordinary Turkmen do not read books.
  • In November 2005 physicians were ordered to swear an oath to the President, replacing the Hippocratic Oath.
  • In December 2005 video games were banned as being too violent for young Turkmen to play.
  • In January 2006 one-third of the country's elderly had their pensions discontinued, while another 200,000 had theirs reduced. Pensions received during the prior two years were ordered paid back to the state. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan strongly denied allegations that the cut in pensions resulted in the deaths of many elderly Turkmen, accusing foreign media outlets of spreading "deliberately perverted" information on the issue.
  • In September 2006 Turkmen teachers who failed to publish praise of the Turkmen leader would remain at a lower payscale or be sacked.
  • In October 2006 Turkmenistan claimed to have set free 10,056 prisoners, including 253 foreign nationals from 11 countries on the Night of Omnipotence. Niyazov said, "Let this humane act on the part of the state serve strengthening truly moral values of the Turkmen society. Let the entire world know that there has never been a place for evil and violence on the blessed Turkmen soil."
  • Car radios, lip-synching, and recorded music are all prohibited.
  • Video monitors are required in all public places.
  • Dogs are restricted from the capital city due to unappealing odour.

    On December 21, 2006, Turkmen state television announced that President Niyazov had died of sudden cardiac arrest.[34][35] Niyazov had been taking medication for an unidentified cardiac condition. The Turkmen Embassy in Moscow later confirmed this report.


    2
    Idi Amin (Uganda):
    Named himself "Conqueror of the British Empire"; forced white residents to carry him on a throne; killed two-thirds of his own army

  • Two-thirds of the army's 9,000 soldiers were executed by Amin during his first year in power. In total, he killed around 300,000 people.
  • In 1972, Amin expelled the country's 40,000-80,000 Indians and Pakistanis in the closing months of the year, reportedly after receiving "a message from God" during a dream.
  • In 1975, Amin promoted himself to field marshal and awarded himself the Victoria Cross. The following year he declared himself president for life.
  • During 1975 he staged a publicity stunt for the world media, forcing white residents of Kampala to carry him on a throne then kneel before him and recite an oath of loyalty.
  • In 1977, Amin declared he had beaten the British and conferred on himself the decoration of "Conqueror of the British Empire". Radio Uganda then read out the whole of his new title: "His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, CBE."


    3
    Kim Jong Il (North Korea):
    $700,000 per year on cognac; 7,000 Mercedes Benz; 20,000 movies... while his country is starving

    Kim Jong-il, current leader of North Korea, succeeded his father Kim Il-sung, founder of North Korea, who died in 1994. When his father died, he was not replaced as President, and received the designation of "Eternal President", resting in the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in central Pyongyang. The active position has been abolished in deference to the memory of Kim Il-sung. Kim Jong-il officially took the titles of General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defense Commission on October 8, 1997.

    Contemporary North Korean society is dominated by an elaborate personality cult around Kim Jong-il, including a very flattering "official" biography of the man. Many of these official claims about Kim's life and activities are inconsistent with outside sources. Kim Jong-il has been routinely criticized by world governments and international NGOs for human rights abuses carried out under his rule, as well as for North Korea's production of nuclear weapons, contrary to previous legal, international obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and his own commitment to make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. Camp 22 is North Korea's largest concentration camp, where up to 50,000 men, women and children accused of political "crimes" are held. Reports of gross violations of human rights by the guards have been reported, such as murdering babies born to inmates.

    Kim's expensive taste has become a media target. In the context of United Nations sanctions restricting the trade in luxury items to North Korea following the country's October 2006 nuclear test, Reuters coverage noted that "No one enjoys luxury goods more than paramount leader Kim Jong-il, who boasts the country's finest wine cellar with space for 10,000 bottles. Kim has a penchant for fine food such as lobster, caviar and the most expensive cuts of sushi that he has flown in to him from Japan." His annual purchases of Hennessy cognac reportedly total to $700,000, while the average North Korean earns the rough estimate equivalent of $900 per year. Like his father, Kim has a profound fear of flying, and has always traveled by private armored train for state visits to Russia and China. The BBC reported that Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian emissary who traveled with Kim across Russia by train, told reporters that Kim had live lobsters air-lifted to the train every day which he ate with silver chopsticks - historically used in the Chinese Imperial Palace in the belief that they would detect poison.[33][1] Kim is said to be a fan of luxury cars and has been known for racing his cars at his palaces. Also Kim had spent $20,000,000 on importing 200 new Mercedes Benz S500 luxury sedans adding to North Korea's stock pile of 7,000 Mercedes. He is also said to be a fan of Cadillacs, Volkswagens, Toyotas, and Audis. Kim is said to be a huge film buff, owning a collection of more than 20,000 video tapes.


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