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Another Farewell To Turkmenbashi

Turkmenistan is set to amend its national anthem that repeatedly refers to the country's late leader Saparmurat Niyazov, aka Turkmenbashi as the creator of "the great state."

At least one city, many streets, schools, farms, districts, and even a calendar month had been renamed after the former president known for his personality cult.

But since Turkmenbashi's death in 2006, some of the old names were restored and the late leader's portraits were removed from billboards.

There are also rumors in Turkmenistan that Niyazov's book "Rukhnama" ("Book Of The Soul") will no longer be compulsory reading for students and workers.

However, the former leader's portraits in streets are being replaced by those of the new president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. Since coming to power in 2007, the new president has already authored two books and some Turkmens believe there are many more to come.

-- Farangis Najiballah

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