The order was given to build a giant resort, so a giant resort is being built. The television news follows his every move, and he's followed everywhere by hordes of clapping, grinning schoolchildren.
Recent televised stunts have included driving across the desert country in a race against two professional racing drivers (no prizes for guessing who won), and the inauguration of a new cancer centre.
He was Saparmurat Turkmenbashi the Great; he was the All-powerful and Fearless Serdar; he was the Eternal Sun of Turkmenistan and the Great Architect of the Golden Age of the Turkmens; he was the Father, the Prophet, and the President for Life. With the cash that flooded into the country as the gas flowed out, Turkmenbashi built possibly the oddest city in the world. It's world-class nuts; Olympic-Gold-level bananas; truly and utterly bonkers.
For years it provided pithy news stories written from Moscow or London (it was rare for anyone to gain access to check for themselves).
Younger than his predecessor, Berdymukhammedov's jet-black hair is swept back over a pudgy face in the same way as the great Turkmenbashi, but with a more sinister effect – he looks like a slightly vampiric librarian in the giant posters that adorn almost every building in the city.
When he came to power, there was much talk of liberalisation, but in Turkmenistan, everything is relative.
Previously, nobody except a select few government officials was allowed to use the internet.
Any gathering of Turkmens turns even the most mundane setting into a kaleidoscopic whirl of colour and excitement. This ever-expanding new section consists solely of huge white marble buildings, set along broad avenues completely bereft of people, save the armies of cleaners who keep them so spotless you could eat your dinner off them.
As few people can afford the new apartments, most of them are empty.