Serdar Berdimuhamedow

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Serdar Berdimuhamedow
Vladimir Putin and Serdar Berdimuhamedow (2022-06-10) 02 (cropped).jpg
Berdimuhamedow in 2022
3rd President of Turkmenistan
Assumed office
19 March 2022
Vice PresidentRaşit Meredow
Preceded byGurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
Governor of Ahal
In office
17 June 2019 – 7 February 2020
Preceded byTangahuly Atakhallyev
Succeeded byVacant
Member of the Assembly of Turkmenistan
In office
23 November 2016 – 2 January 2019
Constituency25th district
Personal details
Born
Serdar Gurbangulyyevich Berdimuhamedov

(1981-09-22) 22 September 1981 (age 40)
Ashgabat, Turkmen SSR, Soviet Union
Political partyTDP
Children4
Parent(s)Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow (father)
EducationTurkmen Agricultural University
Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Geneva Centre for Security Policy
Academy of Sciences
Military service
Allegiance Turkmenistan
Branch/serviceTurkmenistan Armed Forces emblem.svg Turkmen National Army
Years of service2001–2003
RankPost-Soviet-Army-OF-5.svg Colonel

Serdar Gurbangulyýewiç Berdimuhamedow[a] (born 22 September 1981) is the third and current president of Turkmenistan, serving since 19 March 2022.

Berdimuhamedow had previously served in several other positions within the government of his father, president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. In 2021, he became one of several deputy chairmen in the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan. Having won 73 percent of the vote in the 2022 Turkmenistan presidential election, considered to be neither free nor fair,[1] he succeeded his father's 15-year-long authoritarian tenure as president.

Early career and education[edit]

Serdar Berdimuhamedow was born on 22 September 1981 in Ashgabat.[2] He studied at Secondary School No. 43 in Ashgabat from 1987 to 1997.[2] Between 1997 and 2001, he studied at the Turkmen Agricultural University, graduating as an engineer-technologist.[3]

From July to November 2001, he worked in the Directorate for Foreign Economic Relations of the Food Processing Association, followed by two years of mandatory military service.[3][4] From 2003 to 2008, he worked again at the Food Processing Association in the fruit and vegetable department and in the non-alcoholic beer and wine department.[3]

Between 2008 and 2011, Berdimuhamedow studied at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, earning a diploma in international relations. During this period he was also assigned to the Turkmen Embassy in Moscow as counselor of embassy.[3] From 2011 to 2013, he studied at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, earning a post-graduate degree in European and international security affairs. He was concurrently assigned to the Turkmen Mission to the United Nations in Geneva as a counselor of embassy.[3][5]

From August to December 2013, he served as head of the European Department of the Turkmen Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2013 to 2016 he was deputy director of the State Agency for Management and Use of Hydrocarbon Resources. From 2016 to 2017 he was chairman of the Department of International Information of the Turkmen Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[3]

On 18 August 2014, Serdar Berdimuhamedow defended a dissertation at the Turkmen Academy of Sciences to earn the degree of candidate of science.[6] In July 2015, he was awarded a doctorate in technical sciences.[7]

He was often styled as "the son of the nation" by state media in Turkmenistan.[8]

Military service[edit]

Berdimuhamedow served two years of mandatory military service from 2001 to 2003. On 27 October 2017, Berdimuhamedow was promoted from the rank of major to lieutenant colonel. His promotion ceremony was broadcast on national television. His branch of service is unknown,[7] but on 7 March 2021, he was shown on national television in uniform wearing the shoulder patch of the Armed Forces of Turkmenistan. The same video showed him wearing shoulder boards indicating the rank of colonel, and the decree awarding him the honorary title of "Defender of Homeland Turkmenistan" referred to him as a colonel.[9][10]

Political career[edit]

Serdar Berdimuhamedov paying a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, 3 July 2018.

In November 2016, Berdimuhamedow won a seat in the Mejlis representing the 25th parliamentary district centered on Dushak, a town in Ahal Province.[11][12] In March 2018, he was re-elected to the Assembly of Turkmenistan with over 90% of the votes cast in his district.[13][14] He chaired the committee on legislation and norms as of March 2017.[3]

Berdimuhamedow rose to the political spotlight following his appointment as deputy minister of foreign affairs in March 2018.[15][16][17][18] In January 2019, Berdimuhamedow was shifted to the position of deputy governor of Ahal Province, the native region of most of the Turkmen elite.[19][20] In June 2019, Berdimuhamedow was elevated to governor (häkim) of Ahal Province.[21][4][22][23] In February 2020, Berdimuhamedow was appointed minister of industry and construction materials of Turkmenistan.[24][25][26][27]

Berdimuhamedow (far right) at the 2021 Eurasian Intergovernmental Council meeting.

On 11 February 2021, Berdimuhamedow was promoted to deputy chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers for innovation and digitization, a new position. He was simultaneously appointed to the State Security Council and chairman of the Supreme Control Chamber of Turkmenistan.[8][28][29][30][31] On 9 July 2021, Berdimuhamedow was relieved of his positions on the State Security Council and Supreme Control Chamber, and as deputy chairman was assigned the economics and finance portfolio with specific responsibility for "economic and banking issues and international financial organizations".[32][33][34]

He is chairperson of the Turkmen Alabay Dog Association,[35] and president of the International Ahal Teke Horse Breeding Association.[36]

Presidency (2022–present)[edit]

Election[edit]

It was confirmed in February 2022 that Berdimuhamedow was running for an early presidential election on 12 March, fuelling speculation that he would be the successor to his father as President of Turkmenistan.[37] He won the election with 72.97% of the vote, and became his father's successor as President, establishing a political dynasty.[38] The election was seen by many international observers as neither free nor fair.[39][1]

Inauguration[edit]

Serdar was inaugurated on 19 March at the Ruhyýet Palace.[40][41] He took the oath to the people on the Constitution of Turkmenistan and the Quran. He was then presented the presidential badge of office by Turkmen elders. From the palace, Berdimuhamedow, accompanied by a mounted escort, drove to Galkynysh Square and then to the Oguzhan Presidential Palace Complex where the Armed Forces of Turkmenistan performed a military parade.[42] Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of the State Security Council of Turkmenistan Çarymyrat Amanow reported to Berdimuhamedow. Later that day an official reception was given at the Audience Center of Turkmenistan. A festive Sadaqah was also given at the Hazret Omar Mosque.[43]

Government policies[edit]

On 25 March, he announced the new composition of his cabinet. The only new government member he appointed was Muhammetguly Muhammedow, who replaced him as Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers for Economics and Finance.[44][45] According to some, he intends to replace Foreign Minister and de facto Vice President of Turkmenistan Raşit Meredow with Esen Aydogdyev, rector of the International University of Humanities and Development.[46]

Foreign policy[edit]

List of foreign visits by Serdar Berdimuhamedow
City and Country Dates Host Notes
Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia 1–2 June 2022 Governor Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud Private visit.[47]
Moscow, Russia 10 June 2022 President Vladimir Putin State visit.[48]
Tehran, Iran 15 June 2022 President Ebrahim Raisi State visit.[49]
Berdimuhamedow and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on 10 June 2022

On the first day of his presidency, Berdimuhamedow accepted the credentials of Fazal Muhammad Sabir, making Turkmenistan the first country in Central Asia to accept the diplomats of the Taliban government of Afghanistan.[50] Indian President Ram Nath Kovind made a state visit to Turkmenistan on 1–4 April, marking the first visit of the President of India to Turkmenistan, and the first foreign head of state to be received by Berdimuhamedow. The two leaders discussed expanding trade and energy co-operation.[51] President Berdimuhamedow made a first foreign visit to Saudi Arabia on 1-2 June.[52] Later that month, he made visits to Russia and Iran, on the visit to the latter he utilized the first Aurus Senat limousine to be purchased by the Turkmen government.[53]

National security policy[edit]

During a State Security Council meeting in early April, he also removed Colonel General Çarymyrat Amanow from the post of Secretary of the State Security Council of Turkmenistan in favor of the head of the Defense Ministry, Begench Gundogdyev, due to Amanow's "transfer to another job." He also abolished Amanow's concurrent office of Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet responsible for Security, Military, and Justice. He also replaced the Minister of Internal Affairs, Colonel Öwezdurdy Hojanyýazow, with Colonel Muhammet Hydyrow, due to "shortcomings" and "improper control over public order, traffic safety as well as activity of local representatives of the police."[54]

Awards[edit]

Decorations[edit]

  • Order of "Garaşsyz Türkmenistana bolan beýik söýgüsi üçin" ("For great love of independent Turkmenistan")
  • "Mälikguly Berdimuhamedow" medal
  • Jubilee medal "Türkmenistanyň Garaşsyzlygynyň 25 ýyllygyna" ("25 years of Turkmenistan's Independence")[55]
  • Jubilee medal "Türkmenistanyň Bitaraplygynyň 25 ýyllygyna" ("25 years of Turkmenistan's neutrality")[28]

Foreign awards[edit]

Honorary Titles[edit]

  • "Türkmenistanyň Watan goragçysy" (2021) ("Defender of Homeland Turkmenistan")[10]
  • "Türkmenistanyň at gazanan itşynasy" (2021) ("Meritorious Dog Breeder of Turkmenistan")[57][58]

Personal life[edit]

Berdimuhamedow is married and has four children.[3] A classmate at the Russian Diplomatic Academy described him as even-tempered and unassuming.[59] Instructors and other classmates reportedly described him as "modest, responsive, polite, and calm."[7]

Berdimuhamedov speaks Turkmen, Russian, and English.[60][61][62]

On 30 May 2022, Berdimuhamedov's mother Ogulgerek Berdimuhamedova was awarded the title of Honored Carpet Weaver of Turkmenistan for her many years at the carpet factory in the city of Geoktepe.[63] On 1-2 June 2022, he undertook his first foreign visit to Saudi Arabia, where he and his son performed Umrah.[64]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Turkmen pronunciation: [θɛɾdɑɾ ɢʊɾbɑnʁʊˈlɯjɛβɪtʃ bɛɾdɯmʊxɑmɛˈdoβ]; Russian: Сердар Курбанкулиевич Бердымухамедов, tr. Serdar Kurbankuliyevich Berdymukhamedov

References[edit]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Tangahuly Atakhallyev
Governor of Ahal
2019–2020
Vacant
Preceded by President of Turkmenistan
2022–present
Incumbent