Senior male Turkmenistan officials and managers of major private companies are ordered to shave their heads and wear a standard Turkmen skullcap as signs of mourning following the death of President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov’s father.
Additionally, women working in state agencies must wear mourning shawls trimmed in black. Malikguly Berdymuhammedov, a retired police lieutenant colonel who held positions within the Turkmen government during Soviet times, died on April 18 at the age of 88.
Vladimir Rozanskij wrote that the official mourning period for Malikguly Berdymuhammedov, father of Turkmenistan’s president, has just concluded. State officials and company executives are required to shave their heads and wear the national headdress.
Women were forced to wear long shawls with black braids. Anyone who doesn’t comply is fired. On May 28, 40 days passed since the death of 88-year-old Malikguly Berdymuhammedov, father of the president of Turkmenistan.
The 40-days process is that the official period of mourning for a deceased dearest, a practice dating back to Soviet times.
By decree, all state officials were aggregated to this tradition, but also the managers of the main private companies: all were forced to shave their heads and wear the Turkmen national skullcap until the tip of mourning throughout the northern province of Lebap on the border with Uzbekistan, where the deceased resided.
After his father’s death, the president retired for a week, without appearing publically or on television. He didn’t even participate within the “Turkmen racehorse and sheepdog” festival on April 25, an anniversary he instituted and which is incredibly dear to him.
His son Sardar, who is vp, presided over the ceremony and received gifts and condolences on his father’s behalf. Also within the region of Lebap, all the ladies who add public offices, especially in schools, were forced to wear long shawls with black braids, always as an indication of mourning.
Black is that the color of mourning in Turkmenistan, with the president traveling in black cars, instead of the flashy ones he’s custom to use. In fact, before the paternal mourning, black cars were banned across the country.
Governors warned that if men caught publicly without the national hat and ladies without shawls would be immediately fired. The provisions for mourning have also been observed within the other regions of the country; in Mary, all the dining halls were closed for several days, and marriages were banned for every week.
Moreover, fundraisers were held for commemorative funeral ceremonies in some cities. Representatives of all ethnic minorities were gathered throughout the province of Ashgabad, who expressed condolences wearing their national costumes.
The main fundraising for funerals was extended to the whole month of May and beyond, if necessary, despite the deep crisis within the country’s economy. Official collections are nothing new, on the contrary, they’re a usual practice of the Berdymuhammedov presidency.
They also happen regularly for fewer noble reasons than the presidential funeral: for “environmental protection”, “cotton-picking”, “buying bicycles”, “buying portraits of the president” and various other causes indicated by the highest of state.
The death of Gurbanguly’s father, the main figure of the family, also led to the elevation of the “personality cult” of the president’s mother, Ogulabat Berdymuhammedova.
In the last week of May, an exhibition was opened in Ashgabad city, repeated in various other provinces, dedicated to artifacts and fabrics, wedding dress and woolen socks, made by his mother, inviting all the ladies of the country to imitate her mastery.
A large state banquet was even organized on May 21, chaired by Serdar Berdymuhammedov, in honor of his grandmother’s weaving skills. Furthermore, the country awaits the publication of the book promised by the president on the life of the mother, a model of morality for all women and also the whole people.
Several songs are dedicated to her, such as “she who brought our hero into the world”. The president’s son, grandchildren, and even other members of the family were, in turn, proposed to popular veneration, as samples of industriousness and virtue to be imitated.