By: The PH Team
Turkmenistan is a secretive ex-Soviet state in Central Asia known for its 'cult of personality' surrounding its ex-leader and president for life - Turkmenbashi (President Niyazov).
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the independence of the new state of Turkmenistan, President Niyazov began an expedition to modernize the country, create a national Turkmen narrative and erect statues and monuments of himself around the country.
Statues of Turkmenbashi
Travellers to Turkmenistan know - statues of President Niyazov (Turkmenbashi) are abundant!
The personality cult in Turkmenistan is strong and surrounds both the current leader, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, and past President, Saparmurat Niyazov.
The Ruhnama is a book allegedly written by President Niyazov himself. It was a crucial part of Turkmen life during the years he was in power and still remains prevalent today.
It was present in job interviews, driving tests, schools and every other aspect of the citizens' life in the country.
In Ashgabat, a statue to the book was erected that opens every evening and reads a passage aloud for onlookers to take in.