Paul Theroux's essay on Turkmenistan, "The Golden Man: Saparmurat Niyazov's reign of insanity," is no longer available on The New Yorker's site, but it's worth tracking down and reading in full. (Here's an abstract.)
All dictators are megalomaniacs, but Niyazov took things to a whole new level — proclaiming that his memoirs should be read as scripture and renaming the months and days of the week after himself and his mother.
On a tangential note, I liked this aside on the airport personnel in Ashgabat:
Few planes landed at the casino-like airport, which was staffed by officials with a very slim idea of how to do their jobs — a characteristic common to officials in most dictatorships, where fear of retribution inspires indecision and incompetence.
This happens a lot, whether at the Ashgabat airport or in FEMA under the Bush administration. (I'm trying to state this in the abstract, but I'm also a copy editor for the largest newspaper chain in the country, so it's not an entirely abstract point for me.)