World’s dictators celebrate their birthdays in style

Before 2009, Alyaksandr Lukashenka celebrated his birthday on August 30, but later he decided that he liked August 31 more — on the same day as his younger son Mikalai.

Why did it happen? Nobody really knowns. After all, there are two holidays but one celebration. The economy is obvious. As they say, every little helps. In fact, there have been no large-scale celebrations. Every year, on his birthday, the head of state is away on a work trip, then at some meetings.

In this sense, he is like a black sheep among his colleagues — dictators from neighboring and distant countries. They know how to best celebrate not only their main holiday, but that of the whole country.

Nursultan Nazarbayev

President of Kazakhstan has been ruling the country since 1990, but after 17 years in power, in 2008, Nazarbayev decided to make his birthday a national holiday.

Lifehack for novice dictators: you need to move the Day of the Capital to the date of yout birth. Profit! On your birthday, at the state expense, Whitney Houston, the world-famous opera singer Andrea Bocelli and the “Du Soleil” circus arrive in your country. You do not even have to search for money for fireworks — they are included in the festive set.

As a rule, the celebration lasts for several days.

Saparmurat Niyazov

Photo: ITAR-TASS / Signar / FORUM

The former president of Turkmenistan has been at the head of the country for more than 30 years. The Hero of Turkmenistan, “Great Turkmenbashi”, “Messenger of Allah”, “Savior of the Nation” — it is clear that the Turkmen leader has not been very modest. Especially when you consider that during his lifetime he had monuments of gold put up in his honor, and officials had to kiss his hand.

Photo: Valery Sharifulin / TASS / FORUM

Niyazov’s birthday — the Turkmenbashi Day — has been celebrated since February 19, 1995. But in 1995 the “Father of all Turkmens” had a sudden fit of modesty, which he could not overcome. Then the Turkmenbashi Day was renamed into the National Flag Day.

On his birthday Niyazov not only accepts gifts, but also gives them to others. In 2002, Turkmenbashi entered the age of the Prophet Muhammad — he was 62 years old. In this regard, all who that year also turned 62 received three additional days for vacation and a bonus of a monthly salary. A big celebration took place in the village where Saparmurat Niyazov was born. The festivities involved 15 thousand people.

A year earlier the gift to the people from Turkmenbashi was no less colossal. The Turkmen people received from their leader his book “Ruhnama”, which was to become the second most important text for the Turkmen after the Koran.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow


After the death of Saparmurat Niyazov, the post of Turkmen President was occupied by Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. The new head of the country moved the National Flag Day which coincided with the birthday of the former ruler. By the way, the golden monument to Niyazov was moved to the outskirts of Ashgabat, and in the center a golden monument to the new leader of the nation was erected.

Photo: Valery Sharifulin / TASS / FORUM

Berdymukhamedow’s birthday is also celebrated with pomp. Usually, these are world famous stars, like Jennifer Lopez, Patricia Kaas and Boney M. In 2011, Jennifer Lopez was forced to apologize for her performance at the celebration of the birth of the Turkmen dictator. According to her, if she knew about the situation with human rights in this country, she would have refused to perform.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow is not Jennifer Lopez, but he also has a singing talent. At least, he thinks so. In 2011, on his birthday, he presented the people with a song. Those present in the hall listened to the head of the country on their feet. The guitar and accordion, on which he played during the performance, were recognized as national heritage ​​and transferred to the museum. That Berdymukhamedow’s birthday was celebrated for a week.

Robert Mugabe

Photo: REUTERS / Siphiwe Sibeko / Forum

The Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country until 2017, celebrated his birthday on a grand scale, even though Zimbabwe is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is notable that Mugabe is very fond of the matching numbers. For example, in 2014, when he turned 90, 90 balloons were released into the sky, a 90-kilogram cake was made and 90 cows were killed at the festive table. On the 91st birthday of the dictator, not only cows were served on the table, but also meat of elephants, lions and antelopes.

Tens of thousands of people take part in the celebration, and the expenses amount to more than one million dollars.

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