A Turkmen Dismantles Reminders of Old Ruler

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A 246-foot tall, rocket ship-like monument to the late ruler of Turkmenistan, topped with a golden statue of himself that rotates to always face the sun, will be removed from the center of the Turkmen capital, state news media there have reported.

A decision by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov to move the monument was his latest step in dismantling the personality cult of Saparmurat Niyazov, whose often bizarre decrees turned the isolated, energy-rich country into the punch line of a bad international joke.

The president had already reversed Mr. Niyazov’s order renaming the days of the week and months of the year in honor of himself and his family. He had also ended the bans on opera, ballet and the circus, which Mr. Niyazov had decreed un-Turkmen, and lifted restrictions on the Internet.

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Randll Reese Besch - 5/9/2008

Of the death of the 'president for life' Niyazov. Good to see a sane person in charge. I hope that Mr. Berdymukhammedov can turn the country around and spread the prosperity to the hard working peoples of Turkmenistan.
I suspected that it was Niyazov was the real life influence on Breathed's Brzkistan messianic leader so parodied in his strip. I just hope the USA leaves them alone.