Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov awarded Ibabekir Bekdurdiyev (pictured), son-in-law of Berdimuhamedov’s almighty sister Gulnabat Dovletova, a medal “For the Love of the Fatherland.”
Bekdurdiyev works as a mid-level engineer at the gas supply department of Turkmengaz, the state-owned gas company. According to the presidential decree, he was among the few citizens who “succeeded in growing the country’s international prestige,” with their “selfless attitude and exemplary work ethics.”
Guga, as Bekdurdiyev’s friends call him, grabbed the attention of the press in February, after ATN published a report on his expensive watch collection, meticulously studying his social media activity. Among his $1 million collection, Bekdurdiyev favors watches by Richard Mille, the cheapest of which sells for $110,000.
While his contribution as an engineer to “loving the Fatherland” could hardly be assessed, his lifestyle outside of work was publicly known: he sips expensive alcoholic drinks in Las Vegas casinos, strolls among the yachts in Monaco, and drives expensive cars around the streets of the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, Turkey, and other countries.
As soon as ATN made his profile public, Guga immediately removed photos showcasing his luxurious lifestyle and turned his social media profiles private.
In 2017, Bekdurdiyev won a billiards competition at the Asian Games hosted in Ashgabat. For the victory, he received the title of “Honored Master of Sports of Turkmenistan”. Critics have questioned his achievement, given that he won two matches against teammates from the national squad and beat his own coach in the final.