New Delhi: Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has unveiled a six-metre tall golden statue of an Alabai dog in the country’s capital Ashgabat.
A state broadcast revealed the golden statue earlier this week. In Turkmenistan, a former Soviet Union republic, the Alabai is a home-bred variety of the Central Asian Shepherd dog and is considered a part of its national heritage. The only other animal to be honoured as a sculpture so far in the country has been the Akhal-Teke horse.
Meanwhile, Turkmenistan’s president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has just unveiled a gisnt statue of his favorite dog pic.twitter.com/NSlIlXbAoH
— Piotr Zalewski (@p_zalewski) November 12, 2020
A favourite of President Berdimuhamedov, an Alabai puppy was also gifted by him to Russian President Vladimir Putin in October 2017, photos of which had spurred several internet memes at the time.
That's oddly heartwarming. I really don't know how to feel about seeing a human side of Putin. pic.twitter.com/Lao1vMP2qw
— Jablie13 (@JackiVerbeck) October 11, 2017
The new dog statue was built by architect Sargart Babayev and its construction was overseen by local firm Altyn, though the cost is not known. The structure also features a wraparound LED screen that displays footage of Alabai dogs playing.
According to Turkmenistan’s state news agency, the golden statue captures the “dignity and self-assuredness” of the big-skulled shepherd dog.
President Berdimuhamedov’s love for Alabais
The new statue has been in the works for several years. Last November, President Berdimuhamedov, currently serving his second term, had unveiled a plan to build the statue though he had suggested that it be 15-metre in size.
Last September, Berdimuhamedov also launched a book on the Alabais during a weekly cabinet meeting and read out a self-written poem inspired by the dog’s attributes. It went like this:
“Endowed with undying fate,
He is a living monument of the past,
His voice, it is like no other’s,
The exalted Turkmen Alabai.”
In his book, Berdymukhamedov explained that the ancestors of Turkmen saw “in the Akhal-Teke their dreams and in the Alabai their happiness”.
The government of Turkmenistan, meanwhile, has claimed to have not detected any Covid-19 cases so far despite its neighbour Iran recording over 720,000 infections and deaths from the virus.