In Memory of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, who has died aged 66

The authoritarian president of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, who has died aged 66, created a cult of personality during his two decades in power.

Despite his imposed personality cult, which seems laughable to many people, President Saparmurat Niyazov was benign to the rest of the world. He didn’t seek to export his vision to the world by force contrary to the other existing presidents making themselves personality cults like Kim Yong of North Korea who sees nuclear arms as a shield from foreign influence.

Some leaders try to go down history thanks to their deeds and place in the world community. Others are happy to be self-centred and to see their place according to their image. President Saparmurat Niyazov was almost a living God in Turkmenistan. His book was the bible for his people. To make himself omnipresent he imposed his statues, pictures and name everywhere. But as a fake God, his “Holy Script” is likely to become a past if his people convert to real democracy to enjoy full freedom.

It’s unfortunate that he died before seeing how many people became intelligent thanks to his book. In heaven, he can know how many are in paradise thanks to it.

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