When I got to grad school three years ago and met my first Turkman (actually Turkwoman) I was introduced to the wonderful world of Saparmurat Niyazov (a.k.a. "Turkmenbashi" or "Father of all Turkmen"). I have always had a soft spot in my heart for dictators. Not the cruel, authoritarian military ones – the batshit insane cult-of-personality ones. And with Kim Jong Il quickly becoming less interesting as contact between him and the west increases, Turkmenbashi may have been the last picking-peanuts-out-of-crap crazy dictator left. He was a living answer to the question, "What would happen if we let Ol' Dirty Bastard run a country?"
Aside from the usual kleptocrat dictator fare (erecting golden statues of himself, plastering his face on every flat surface in the country, etc) he has had a productive career of codifying his bizarre eccentricities. To wit:
Yes, it's true that there are plenty of dictators left in this world. Just ask my friends over at Dictator of the Month. But there are very few isolated, deranged, "watch an entire nation dance to a lunatic's whims" types left. Goodbye, Turkmenbashi. You are part of a dying breed.