Turkmenistan's authoritarian leader unveils huge golden dog statue in the capital

Turkmenistan’s authoritarian leader unveils huge golden dog statue in the capital

A statue of a Turkmen shepherd dog, locally known as Alabai, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on November 10, 2020. Turkmenistan’s longtime leader has unveiled a giant gilded statue of a dog on a busy traffic circle in the capital Ashgabat .

Depicted standing proudly on a plinth, the gold-coated canine is an Alabai, a Turkmen-bred variety of the Central Asian shepherd dog and a symbol of national pride in the reclusive, authoritarian nation .

State TV Watan Habarlary showed President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov waving to clapping onlookers as he unveiled the statue this week, in a ceremony replete with traditional dancers, a child holding a real Alabai puppy, and a balloon release. A video screen wrapped around the statue continuously plays footage of the local breed running through grass or the desert and playing with children.

Along with horses, dogs are considered part of the country’s national heritage and are widely used by the […]

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