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Turkmenistan Removes Gold Statue Of Niyazov From Ashgabat

The Arch of Neutrality was built in 1998
A prominent 12-meter golden statue of Turkmenistan's former dictator Saparmurat Niyazov has been taken down in the capital Ashgabat -- a move further eroding the personality cult around the late Central Asian leader.

Workers removed the statue on August 25 and were dismantling the base on August 26.

The Arch of Neutrality was a centerpiece of the capital, Ashgabat, and the most distinctive monument built in honor of Niyazov.

The statue stood on a 70-meter white tile-clad tripod and rotated to face the sun. Niyazov -- who renamed himself the Great Turkmenbashi, the "Father of All Turkmen" -- died in 2006 after two decades of iron-fisted rule.

compiled from agency reports