by Nathan Hamm on 8/11/2004 · 5 comments

From the “Turkmebashi is completely unhinged” files comes a new piece of evidence that the man is insane.

President Niyazov of Turkmenistan has ordered the construction of a palace made of ice in the heart of his desert country, one of the hottest on earth.

It is the latest in a series of colossal building projects instigated by the all-powerful president that seem to defy the country’s environment.

“Let us build a palace of ice,” said President Niyazov, “big and grand enough for 1,000 people.”

The palace will stand in the mountains just outside the capital, Ashgabat.

President Niyazov made the announcement in a speech broadcast on Turkmen television, which in effect made it a presidential order.

There is also to be an aquarium.

I tell you, there’s probably no better way to use the resources of a poor desert nation than to build an ice palace in the mountains.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Alisher August 11, 2004 at 10:37 am

I am absolutely sure that this ice palace will be built by Turkish construction companies, which are extremely active in Central Asia. They have done almost all major construction projects in Central Asia after the Independance. I even heard that the CEO of a Turkish construction company, at least, for some time served as a Minister in the Turkmen governement, and reputedly was very close to Niyazov, and remains so even now.

So, I dont think Niyazov has mental problems, he is just unusually oroginal in robbing his country…

Herman August 11, 2004 at 12:09 pm

Reminds me of Felix Houphouet Boigny, first and founding president of Cote d’Ivoire/Ivory Coast. He built a skating rink under the Intercontinental Hotel in Abidjan in hopes of putting the first African hockey team on the ice, and built the World’s second largest Roman Catholic Cathedral in his home village. I think like 5% of the Ivorian population is Roman Catholic.

praktike August 11, 2004 at 12:35 pm

Further evidence that Turkmenbashi is deeply, deeply jealous of Sweden.

Martey August 11, 2004 at 10:25 pm

The State Department reports that about 20% of Ivorians are Catholic, which should not be surprising, considering the country’s status as a former French colony. However, I’ll agree that it is no excuse for building a cathedral, especially considering the current conflict in the country, with has some basis in religion.

The underground skating rink sounds cool, and a lot more rational than a “ice palace.”

jodi August 12, 2004 at 10:20 am

i don’t know whether to laugh or cry when i read about Turkmebashi. truly, the man is jindee… (crazy in kyrgyz)

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