The Portrait of President Turkmenbashi as the Basis of Turkmen Regime

Slavomir Horak

Vestnik Evrazii - Acta Eurasica, Moscow, 2007, ISSN 1727-1770.



Despite the death of the first Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov-Turkmenbashi, his regime and, in particular, its ideology remains attractive for many researches. The Cult of Personality founded by Turkmenbashi and his ideologists could be considered as one of the most sophisticated in modern history. In the centre of this ideological system lays naturally the figure of Turkmenbashi. His ideologists and brownnosers turned often to the biography of Turkmenbashi in order to understand “the roots of genial ideas” of Turkmenbashi.

The process of mythology formation is the main focus of this article. The mythology around him continuously expanded; from honorary name of Turkmenbashi (The Head of Turkmen, so Turkmen No. 1) up to the divine features of him and his family at the final stage of his biography. The main emphasis is dedicated to the childhood and juvenility of Turkmenbashi.

In this mythologization process lot of contradictory information was found and published in various biographies. In search of the best options for the ideology, apparent inaccuracies occurred, the official biographers worked with non-confirmed facts (in this case the truth is not important) to construct ideological image of the president and the Prophet.

During 15 years of Turkmenbashi’s rule, the biographers and ideologists succeeded to educate whole generation in the manners of “bashism”. On the other hand, many people remained with education in previous Soviet regime, which was incommensurable with the ideology of independent Turkmenistan.