People outside Turkmenistan usually have two ways of regarding the Ruhnama, the two-volume compendium of advice, spirituality and ersatz history authored by the Central Asian nation's deceased dictator, Sapurmurat Niyazov. Many outside the country regard it as a farce, as part of the same eccentric, megalomaniacal impulse that made Niyazov name a month after himself, as well as stamp his own image on television screens, currency and coins. Or it can be regarded in more sinister terms, as an essential part of Niyazov's apparatus of repression and autocratic rule.
Almost no one takes the Ruhnama for what Niyazov purportedly intended it to be: a practical guide for living. Almost no one, that is, except "Steve from Wisconsin," the American author of the blog "Reflections on the Ruhnama."
Since May 2007, Steve has been posting blog entries about the Ruhnama - key quotes from the book, news about the Ruhnama's application in Turkmenistan, and Steve's thoughts on the Ruhnama's application to daily life.
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