After serenading the country in song and on his guitar, pumping iron in a gym, DJing and finishing first in car and horse races galore, Turkmenistan’s unconventional president has showcased another of his many talents.
State media has broadcast footage of Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, dressed in a commando outfit and sunglasses, firing at targets with an automatic rifle and pistol and throwing knives – all with predictable pin-point accuracy.
After winning the admiring applause of a row of military personnel, the president – who, against eight other candidates, won 98% of the popular vote in this year’s election – was then shown calling in a helicopter airstrike.
“Picking up one of the weapons presented to him, the head of state demonstrated the precision of his aim, which served as evidence of his high level of military preparedness,” the state news agency said, according to independent local media.
“After that, the president demonstrated his mastery of target-shooting with a pistol,” the agency said, “then demonstrated his skills in the artful handling of knives by precisely casting daggers at a distant target.”
An opposition website, Chronicles of Turkmenistan, edited the footage together with clips and music from the 1985 action movie Commando showing Arnold Schwarzenegger lacing his boots, snapping shut his ammunition belt, applying camouflage and thrusting his knife into its sheath.