1Saparmurat “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:
On December 21, 2006, Turkmen state television announced that President Niyazov had died of sudden cardiac arrest. Niyazov had been taking medication for an unidentified cardiac condition. The Turkmen Embassy in Moscow later confirmed this report.
2Idi 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
3Kim 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.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.