Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Country Update: Turkmenistan

If you're unfamiliar with Turkmenistan, you could go to the CIA World Factbook, or you could just read this piece from MosNews.
Turkmenistan’s president, Saparmurat Niyazov, has celebrated his 66th birthday by creating new gold and silver coins in honor of his books.

Those books are four collections of Niyazov’s poetry and two volumes of his Book of the Soul, or Rukhnama.

For his last birthday, Niyazov, also known as Turkmenbashi, issued coins with his family tree on them.

Six new coins have books, one different book each, on one side. On the other, resides the presidential emblem, The Guardian wrote.

Niyazov’s Rukhnama gives spiritual guidance to Turkmen citizens, of whom he sees himself as the figurative father, the literal translation of “Turkmenbashi”. The book, which is studied in schools and to which convicts must swear their allegiance upon release from jail, provides moral guidance, including respecting your elders, and giving lots of jewellery to women. Last year, a copy was blasted into space on a Russian rocket, inside a container bedecked with the national flag. It is hoped that it will return to earth in 150 years.

Turkmenbashi’s birthday, February 19, is also the state flag day in Turkmenistan.

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