09/16/2011, 00.00
TURKMENISTAN
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President prepares new “holy book” to replace the Ruhnama

Berdymukhammedov writes a text to take the place of a handbook which became the basis of a personality cult introduced by his predecessor Niyazov .The new book may be titled “Book of Turkmen ” or “Book of Humanity”.
Ashgabat (AsiaNews/Agenzie) – The President of Tyrkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov is about give his nation a new “ handbook” . The volume is to replace the Ruhnama (Book of the Soul) written by his predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov and became basis of a personality cult imposed by the deceased Central Asian leader. The news was reported in the Turkmen edition of Radio Free Europe. Local reliable sources in Turkmenistan, asking not to be named, told the radio that the new “holy book” will be entitled Turkmennama (The Book of the Turkmen) or Adamnama (Book of Humanity). Both titles were leaked last May in an article published in the government controlled daily Turkmen Dili. The article was about the need for a new guide for “the new period of Turkmen history ” following the “age of gold” represented by the Niyazov epoch.

Self-proclaimed Turkmenbashi - Father and Guide of all Turkmen - Niyazov governed the country for 21 years, until his death in December 2006. His power was so absolute that he was referred to as the “last pharaoh” and had installed an exasperated personality cult. Besides statues and ever-present posters bearing his portrait, state propaganda glorified him as a “prophet”. His Ruhnama - published in 2001 - a “revision” of Islam, became compulsory literature in all schools and mosques and was even found in internet cafes.

Since his election, Berdymukhammedov has gradually “replaced” with himself the object of that personality cult: gradually distancing himself from Ruhnama, eliminating it from all public ceremonies, removing it from compulsory university curriculum. State media no longer promotes the “holy book” as it did under Niyazov, while giant poster of his predecessor along the streets are being replaced with Berdymukhammedov's own pictures.

A former dentist, Berdymukhammedov has never published anything before becoming head of State. The contents of this new work have not be revealed, nor has the date of the official publication, Eurasianet affirms.
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