Turkmen President’s Disgraced Cousin Begins Career Comeback

The Turkmen president’s cousin, Ahmet Geldimyradov, has started a new job at the Scientific Research Institute of the Oil and Gas Complex of Turkmenistan just weeks after being sacked as deputy chairman of the Turkmengaz state concern. He lost his prestigious post following a drunken brawl in a bar. The scandalous incident has not had a major impact on Geldimyradov’s career though; he is planning on returning to Turkmengaz, and not to his old job but to the post of chairman.

President Serdar Berdimuhamedov sacked his cousin after he was shown a video recording from the high-end Ashgabat Sky Bar. In a state of extreme intoxication, Geldimyradov had smashed a bottle over the head of a senior prosecutor.

Such unseemly behavior cost not only Ahmet Geldimyradov his job: his brother Arslan Geldimyradov was demoted from his post as dean of the International University of Oil and Gas and is now working there as a rank-and-file lecturer.

After several high-profile incidents in recent months involving relatives of the Turkmen president, observers in Ashgabat hoped that Serdar Berdimuhamedov had started quietly to rein in his influential relatives.

However, Ahmet Geldimyradov’s transfer to the Scientific Research Institute of the Oil and Gas Complex does not meet these expectations. The president’s cousin didn’t even have to go very far – popularly known as the Iron because of its architecture, the institute is next door to Turkmengaz.

At the institute Geldimyradov has joined the team of the presidential adviser on oil and gas. Ashyrguly Begliev has been the adviser since April 2022, having previously been chairman of Turkmengaz for one year. Geldimyradov’s ambitions are far greater, however – he is counting on returning to the state concern in a couple of months as chairman no less.

“Geldimyradov thinks he is the only person capable of managing Turkmengaz,” a source in the country’s government told turkmen.news. “Even now while he’s in disgrace, he is fully briefed on the concern’s affairs by the head of the gas export department, Begench Hudayberdiyev, who has been his trusted contact for three years now.”

Batyr Amanov has been the head of Turkmengaz since July 2020. Previously he was in charge of the Turkmenbashi oil refineries complex.

The current head of Turkmennebit (Turkmen Oil), Guvanch Agajanov, is a fine example of how a Turkmen official’s career can survive a spot of drunken debauchery. He was dismissed from the hydrocarbons agency at the Cabinet of Ministers after starting a brawl on a business trip abroad. Agajanov was later brought back to work under the protection of the then head of the agency, Yagshigeldi Kakaev (who died from coronavirus in 2020). After the abolition of the agency Agajanov became the head of the department for production sharing agreements at Turkmengaz and then the deputy chairman. He was later transferred to the same position in Turkmennebit, becoming its chairman in April 2022.