Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Turkmenbashi Forgotten


I don't know if you follow Central Asian politics, but the former dictator of Turkmenistan was an interesting guy. Supurat Niyazov became dictator after the fall of the Soviet Union. He promptly declared himself a god and exercised full control over the country. Raised an orphan, he changed his name to Turkmenbashi, or Father of the Turkmen. He even had a massive statue of himself built in the capital. His book was required reading everywhere and was considered sacred. He renamed the days of the week and cities to his own name.

He was so highly thought of that when he died a couple of years ago, it was totally unexpected. The dictatorship remained and his influence did too. However, it's being reported that Turkmenbashi's name has been removed from the country's national anthem. So begins the long healing from Turkmenbashi's reign:
Where the first line of the chorus of the previous version said "The great creation of Turkmenbashi" the new version says "The great creation of (my) people."
The change is part of President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov's campaign to expunge the legacy of Niyazov's 21-year ironfisted rule during which he surrounded himself with an elaborate personality cult.

Berdymukhamedov already has reversed other policies of Niyazov, who died in 2006, such as renaming months after his relatives, banning opera and closing hospitals everywhere, except in the capital Ashgabat.

PHOTO CREDIT for second photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/begemot

2 comments:

begemot said...

Please note that the second photo of the Ruhnama is protected by a Creative Commons license and should be attributed to me as the owner. Thank you.

Matthew Avitabile said...

Sorry about that. Added it.