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The Slow Fading of Turkmenistan's Former God

There was a time when he was almost a god, but the memory is fading fast.

On December 21, 2006, the unexpected death of Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov was announced to the world. It is said he died on that day, although some suspect he may have fallen earlier, possibly the result of a nebulous palace coup.

The date is still officially recognized as the “First President Saparmurat Niyazov Turkmenbashi the Great Memorial Day.”

On the eve of the anniversary this year, current President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov spoke highly of his predecessor’s legacy. “The service of the first president of Turkmenistan was enormous and will always remain in the people’s memory,” Berdymukhamedov told a Cabinet meeting.

“Everybody that wishes to revere the memory of this extraordinary person can visit Kipchak [Niyazov’s home village] and perform a pilgrimage to the grave of Saparmurat Turkmenbashi,” the president added.

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The Slow Fading of Turkmenistan's Former God

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