The Insane Children of The World's Worst Dictators
There's nothing funny about dictators. But there is a lot funny about their idiot offspring, who keep channeling their parent's power and resources into the kind of lame shit your college roommate talked about dropping out to do shortly before they got whisked away to rehab. Cracked has been on this beat for a while, and we've only just scratched the surface.
Saadi Gaddafi Once Kidnapped A Member Of G-Unit For A Terrifying Coke-Fuelled Party
Until his father Muammar came down with a sudden case of angry mob, Saadi Gaddafi was probably the most pathetically overindulged manchild in history. To give just one example, Saadi wanted to be a professional soccer player, so his dad leaned on the Italians until a top-level team signed him as a striker. And bear in mind, the Italian league is one of the best in world soccer. It's like if Eric Trump loved basketball, so his dad made an NBA team sign him up as point guard. As it turned out, Saadi ended up playing under 30 minutes in three years while failing every drug test imaginable. And the following story may help explain why.
Outside of soccer, Saadi was a huge fan of 50 Cent's hip-hop group G-Unit. So he was ecstatic to bump into G-Unit member DJ Whoo Kid at the Toronto Film Festival. What followed is quite possibly the most hilariously insane night in the history of cocaine. As recounted by Whoo Kid himself, he was fairly wary of Saadi, especially after seeing his bodyguards physically pick a woman up and dump her out of a nightclub for not meeting Saadi's VIP image (on being informed that she was Al Pacino's daughter, Saadi simply had his bodyguards carry her back in again). When Saadi invited him to an afterparty at his hotel, Whoo Kid politely made his excuses and left. He was just about to turn in for the night when some gun-toting female bodyguards hammered on the door and made it clear that he would be attending.
Whoo Kid arrived to find "a mountain of cocaine. I've never seen so much cocaine," which is coming from a colleague of a man called Tony Yayo. Asked to DJ, Whoo Kid tried to get guests dancing with some Katy Perry, only for Saadi to erupt from nowhere in a flapping robe screaming at him to turn it off. The dictator's kid then treated Whoo Kid to a YouTube comments-style rant about "real music," before suddenly pivoting to declaring how much he loved him. He then insisted that they do coke together. Saadi actually became so pushy that Whoo Kid started pretending to snort cocaine, just "so he would leave me the fuck alone."
At this point, we should possibly mention that Saadi's time in Toronto was sponsored by a very prominent Canadian engineering company, who ended up financing a bunch of drugs and prostitutes in the hope of doing business in Libya. In any case, as the guests continued to frack Cocaine Mountain, the party spiralled out of control so badly that Whoo Kid ended up barricading himself inside Saadi's closet with a female guest. One thing led to another and Whoo Kid ended up fleeing the party after ejaculating inside one of Saadi Gaddafi's shoes. And shout out to the Miami New Times, who broke this story, for the most wistful ending in newspaper history: "Whoo Kid doesn't know what became of that shoe."
The Billionaire Grandson Of Myanmar's Strongman Really, Really Loves Enrique Iglesias
Than Shwe led Myanmar's military junta from 1992 to 2011. He famously ran the country on the advice of astrologers, and once moved the entire capital on two days' notice on their recommendation. To put that into perspective, imagine Donald Trump suddenly moving every government office to rural Nebraska because it was a good week for Geminis to try new things. In fairness, we should note that Than Shwe was a considerable improvement on previous dictator Ne Win, who bathed in dolphin blood, shot his own reflection in mirrors, walked backward over bridges dressed "like a wizard," and spontaneously changed which side of the road the country drove on. There was really no winning with that guy. Sorry, we're just trying to lighten the awfulness.
Than Shwe himself remains one of the most powerful men in Myanmar, although much of his power has passed to his 28-year-old grandson Nay Shwe Thway Aung. Despite some troubled teen years, during which he was involved in a drug scandal and allegedly kidnapped a model, the "outrageously snobbish" Nay Shwe Thway Aung quickly rose to become a business tycoon and one of the most influential men in the country. At the age of 24, he personally negotiated the handover of power from the junta to Aung San Su Kyi, and remains one of her most important backers. He also really, really loves Enrique Iglesias.
Since 2016, Nay Shwe has been releasing music videos where he either covers or simply just lip-syncs to Enrique Iglesias songs. And these aren't fun little lip-sync vids filmed in his bedroom, we're talking about actual music videos, with a cast and production values and a budget. The whole thing is basically like if your uncle who records Eminem covers in his car and then posts them to YouTube suddenly became third-in-line for the Saudi throne. For example, enjoy this shot-for-shot remake of the music video for "Forgiveness," by Iglesias and Nicky Jam.
The other guy in the video even has the exact same tattoos as Nicky Jam, and we're only 50% sure they're temporary. You may also note the Manchester United shirt that shows up at one point, a tribute to the time a 19-year-old Nay Shwe wanted to buy the team. He was talked out of it because his country had just been hit by a devastating cyclone and the government felt it would be insensitive for the ruler and his teen heir to spend a cool billion on their favorite sports team. What a bunch of spoilsports.
By the way if you're wondering what Nay Shwe's real voice sounds like, he made his live debut at the 2019 Miss Universe Myanmar pageant. Let's just say he's not quite Enrique Iglesias.
Vasily Stalin And The Soviet Secret Police Kept Kidnapping The Same Soccer Manager
Vasily Stalin was the son of Josef Stalin and definitely the worst, drunkest 25-year-old general in the Soviet Air Force. He basically spent his whole life bouncing from disaster to fiasco. They put him in charge of an Air Force district, he ordered a parade in a storm and killed a bunch of pilots. They sent him to kidnap a Nazi scientist, he spent the whole time getting blitzed in Parisian bars instead. The guy couldn't even go fishing without hurling a bunch of explosives into the river and accidentally killing an engineer. Despite this, his dad kept promoting him to increasingly senior positions, which wasn't exactly what the Air Force needed in the middle of World War II.
After the war, the military leadership decided to put him in charge of the Air Force sports teams. At the time, sports were wildly popular and each club was affiliated with a branch of the government. So the brass figured letting Vasily run the Air Force team was an important job where he couldn't do too much harm. He immediately strongarmed the best Soviet hockey players into joining VVS and then killed them all in an air crash. Since Vasily was terrified of his dad, he just frantically recruited new players and covered the whole thing up, much to the bemusement of Soviet hockey fans, who couldn't work out where like half the national team had gone.
Meanwhile, the fiercest competition was for the Soviet soccer title -- as the youth ministry's Spartak found out when they made the mistake of beating the secret police's Dynamo team to the trophy. In revenge, terrifying secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria literally framed Spartak's top players for trying to assassinate Stalin and had their manager Starostin thrown in a Siberian gulag. But he was freed by Vasily, who brought him back to Moscow with a full pardon on the condition that he coach the Air Force team. An enraged Beria then had Starostin kidnapped, but Vasily and his Air Force bodyguards kidnapped him right back.
The secret police quickly surrounded Vasily's mansion in an armed standoff with the Air Force, but Vasily promised to keep Starostin close and safe. He even insisted on sleeping in the same bed, with a loaded gun under the pillow. Unsurprisingly, Starostin soon snuck out. The secret police immediately nabbed him and tried to take him back to Siberia, but Vasily chased their train halfway across Russia before storming on board and hauling the manager back to Moscow. Vasily then took him to a Dynamo game as his guest, burst into the executive box, and drunkenly gloated to all the shocked secret police bosses. With every psycho in the country glaring at him, Starostin basically had a breakdown and begged to go back to Siberia. Vasily got him a cushy provincial job instead, which counts as a happy ending in this situation.
Ramfis Trujillo Started A Diplomatic Incident Because The US Army Wouldn't Let Him Pass A Course He Didn't Actually Attend
Rafael Trujillo was a horrible little creep who ruled the Dominican Republic for decades. For quite a lot of that time, he was supported by the United States government, who apparently saw nothing objectionable about a guy who once massacred thousands of people depending on whether they pronounced the word for "parsley" correctly. But even the Cold War USA couldn't manage to stomach Trujillo's son Ramfis, who was basically Joffrey, minus the charisma and maturity.
Ramfis was made a colonel at age 3, "taking into account his services," which presumably included not peeing his pants during state events or public executions. By his late teens, the guy was running an Air Force base, apparently with such success that his dad decided he should really have some kind of military training. As a result, Ramfis was eventually sent to study at the US Army staff college in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. To attend the course, Ramfis naturally moved to America. Specifically to Hollywood, Los Angeles. You may sense the problem.
He spent the next couple of years cruising around California in a yacht, casually throwing money around on furs and jewels. He started dating movie star Kim Novak and the couple became tabloid fixtures. This prompted questions in Congress about why the US was sending the Dominican government so much money, when Ramfis was in the gossip columns every week blowing thousands. Bear in mind, Ramfis was supposed to be training in Fort Leavenworth this whole time, but his instructors basically only spotted him in Kansas if they happened to walk past the magazine rack at the market. He obviously failed the course. At which point all hell broke loose.
Ramfis and his father were shocked and outraged that anyone would dare to fail him, merely for never once setting foot in the same state as classes. It caused an actual diplomatic incident between the US and the Dominican Republic, to the point that Trujillo reopened diplomatic ties with Haiti (which was on the outs with the US at the time). For his own revenge Ramfis stormed back to the Dominican Republic and replaced all the American equipment on his Air Force base. Even worse, he announced that he would no longer eat hamburgers. Ouch.
The Daughter Of Bulgaria's Communist Dictator Was Possibly Assassinated For Claiming She Could Levitate
Cold War Bulgaria was your standard communist state. Drab brutalist architecture, repressive police, a powerful mountain witch with influence over the government ... okay that last one may not have been standard, at least outside the Command & Conquer universe. But it was the case in Bulgaria, thanks to Lyudmila Zhivkova, daughter of dictator Todor Zhivkov. Lyudmila was a powerful politburo member in her own right, but also a fervent devotee of Baba Vanga, a blind hill prophet who had supposedly predicted the start of World War II. With Lyudmila's blessing, many other senior officials began visiting the seer for advice (always a reassuring sign).
Lyudmila's own mystic tendencies grew more prominent after she sustained severe head injuries in a 1973 car crash. After her recovery, she began holding regular seances to seek advice from figures like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Jesus, which presumably resulted in a recommendation to invade Egypt, but, like, with love. Things got even weirder on a visit to Nepal, when Lyudmila suddenly journeyed into the mountains and returned days later, claiming that "unearthly powers" had taught her to levitate through the powers of meditation. Please take a moment to sympathize with the people of Nepal, who already got this shit from every stoned backpacker, and really didn't need it from a foreign dignitary.
After her Nepal experience, Lyudmila became dedicated to fasting and self-mortification, none of which shook her position as one of the most powerful people in the country. And let's remember this was all happening in ultra-Marxist Bulgaria, which supposedly rejected superstition in favor of scientific rationalism. We haven't read Das Kapital in a while, but there probably isn't a whole section about opening your third eye to the secrets of the ascended ones. Since religion remained officially banned, Lyudmila simply had herself appointed Culture Minister, then used the position to promote her spiritual beliefs under the guise of cultural pursuits.
Which is why Bulgaria declared 1978 the "Year of Roerich," honoring Nicholas Roerich, the Russian mystic and founder of the Agni Yoga religion. Roerich was completely unrelated to Bulgaria, but Lyudmila had been a huge fan ever since bumping into his son meditating in India. She also privately began renouncing Communism and making cryptic pronouncements, like demanding friends "think of me as fire." She suddenly died in 1981, allegedly of a brain tumor, although many Bulgarians believe she was assassinated by the secret police before she could embarrass the country with her wild beliefs. (We prefer to believe they had to get rid of her before her dreamwalking powers became too great.)
Turkmenistan's Dictator Won't Stop Releasing Insanely Cringeworthy Music Videos With His Grandson
Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov rules Turkmenistan with an iron fist. His favorite grandson, Kerimguly, has been considered his successor-in-waiting ever since age 12, when he suddenly appeared on national TV, clumsily winning a rigged horse race. Kerimguly is currently around 17, and has spent the last two years releasing unbelievably cringeworthy music videos with his granddad. Like this one, which is apparently a tribute to the president's favorite horse:
Enjoy the insanely aggressive editing required to make it look like Gurbanguly can play the guitar.
The music is usually described as "rap," although it's clearly rap reconstructed by someone who has heard of the concept, but never listened to any actual songs. The backing track is not actually as bad as you'd expect for a collab between an old-ass dictator and his awkward teen grandson. Sadly, the lyrics are way worse. Feel free to challenge yourself with this tribute to Turkmenistan, featuring lyrics cut from Borat for being too condescending. If you can make it more than a minute in, you are surely Muad'dib and you must lead our people to freedom.
We know it's a dictatorship, but this is just inhumane.
To be honest, if some old guy showed us these music videos he made with his grandson, we'd probably say they were pretty sweet, albeit while keeping a clear path to the nearest exit. But given that Gurbanguly is accused of running Central Asia's most oppressive regime, we're going to feel free to say that he sings like a man angrily trying to negotiate a discount on an in-progress colonoscopy. Meanwhile, his attempts at stylish dance moves resemble a DEA agent trying to blend in on the set of Kidz Bop.
And if you think Kerimguly's grandpa is dragging him down here, take a look at his solo Justin Timberlake cover, which aired on national TV and featured a live audience of deeply unenthusiastic local children. Although we will give Kerimguly credit for being a technically excellent keytar player, insofar as that can be considered a compliment.
Top image: Nay Shwe Thway Aung/YouTube