Turkmenistan: Golden Statue of Late President Disappears
The cult of personality devoted to Turkmenistan’s late and mercurial President Saparmurat Niyazov began to be chipped away gradually in the years after his death in late 2006. All the same, the sight of his image in gold-leafed glory could still be spotted here and there.
One of the most eye-catching examples — Niyazov in a dynamic seated stance, book in hand — has now been removed. The golden effigy stood, or sat to be exact, in front of the Interior Ministry building on one of the main streets of the capital, Ashgabat.
The area around the Interior Ministry has been fenced off for several months for general reconstruction works, but when the hoardings came down, the statue had disappeared.
This is not Niyazov’s first disappearing act.
The most famous statue of Turkmenbashi — or father of all Turkmens, as he was routinely called in state media — was perched atop the Neutrality Arch on a platform that rotated so that he always faced the sun. The 12-meter high statue was removed from its spot in 2010 and later re-erected out of the way on the edge of the city. And the statue no longer turned, but instead had its gaze fixed on the city.
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