10/12/2021, 10.00
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Turkmen president's new book: promotes state 'happiness'

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov's latest literary effort exalts the country's independence. In reality the population is obliged to buy and read it. Officially, proceeds from "recommended" sales are destined to Islamic charities.



Moscow (AsiaNews) - Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov has presented  his new book in Parliamentd, dedicated to the thirtieth anniversary of the country's independence. The book is titled "Independence is our happiness", and will be distributed among the population with a pressing campaign, starting with civil servants and students who will in fact be obliged to buy it, read it and propose it in turn to their fellow citizens.

The leaders of the various regions are in turn charged with organizing book launches and events to promote "state happiness" and motivate the population, which at the moment, in the grip of an increasingly unstoppable economic crisis, would appear insufficiently aligned with the presidential message.

Radio Azatlyk correspondents report that in the velayat (province) of Lebap, cultural representatives have announced a competition to compose a musical work celebrating Berdymuhamedov's new endeavor. The winners will be awarded a medal, to be presented next year on the next Independence Day anniversary. Also in Lebap, high school students have promised to learn the new book by heart. To support the meritorious effort, those who can demonstrate perfect knowledge of "happiness" have been promised a reward of 100 manat (about 25 euros).

According to the official press, the president's book has been released in three languages: Turkmen, English and Russian. The text is dedicated to the many achievements of the country in this thirty-year post-Soviet period. It is the second book signed by Berdymuhamedov in 2021; in May, "The White City of Ashgabat" was published, a text dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the capital's foundation.

In 15 years of his presidency, the Turkmen leader has penned more than 60 volumes, on various topics, whose editions follow each other with systematic deadlines, especially in connection with state holidays and major events of national life.

For example, in December 2020, the nation celebrated the quarter-century anniversary of political neutrality with the book "Turkmenistan, Homeland of Neutrality," which followed the 2015 book (20th anniversary) entitled "Neutral Turkmenistan." Last year Berdymuhamedov presented and "proposed" for everyone's reading the text "The Spiritual World of Turkmen".

Many presidential books are dedicated to the breeding of dogs and horses, to the many Turkmen folk and cultural traditions, such as carpets, tea and medicinal plants, the latter considered by the president as decisive to preserve the country from Covid-19.

The strong man of Ashgabat does not tire of reiterating that all proceeds from "recommended" sales (with compulsory levies on civil servants) are committed to Islamic ritual sacrifices (sadaka), in which it is planned to feed the poorest with the third part of the food and goods of the family.

Along with books, charitable sacrifices are also supported by the retail sale of presidential images (paintings, banners, postcards, T-shirts), which are renewed several times a year.

Precisely in the worst phases of the food crisis of these months (and also of the officially denied spread of the coronavirus), the images of the president are added to the products on sale, in order to promote their diffusion and alleviate their economic burden.

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