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Turkmenistan's 'Rukhnama' To Be Replaced With New 'Nama'

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov published his first book in 2008
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov published his first book in 2008
ASHGABAT -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov will soon release a new "spiritual guidebook" for the country that will replace the long-used "Rukhnama" (Book of the Soul) of his predecessor, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Well-placed sources in the Turkmen intelligentsia told RFE/RL on condition of anonymity that the book will either be called "Turkmennama" (Book for Turkmen) or "Adamnama" (Book for Humanity).

Those two names were also suggested by Turkmen publicist and writer Tachgeldi Gutliyev in an article published by the state-controlled "Turkmen dili" (Turkmen Language) newspaper in May.

Gutliyev had written about the need for a new guidebook that will be essential for a "new period in Turkmen history" -- since Berdymukhammedov came to power -- which state ideology describes as "an era of Great Renaissance."

It follows the "Golden Age" of President Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in December 2006 and was the reputed author of "Rukhnama."

The content of the new guidebook has not been made public and it's not clear when it will be launched.

Meanwhile, Berdymukhammedov has ordered his cabinet to mark the 10th anniversary of "Rukhnama" on September 12, the day it was launched in 2001.

The guidebook was made a compulsory part of the curriculum at all levels of the country's educational system and it was expected to be prominently displayed in public places and kept in every home.

Though "Rukhnama" is still used in Turkmen primary and secondary schools, state universities and institutes have been allowed in recent years to remove its study from their programs.

State-run media has also gradually stopped its promotion of "Rukhnama," something it did with great vigor during Niyazov's rule.

Berdymukhammedov, a trained dentist, had not authored a book before he became president.

The state TDH news agency reported on September 5 that Berdymukhammedov has started to write a sequel to his first book, "Akhal-teke Horses -- Our Pride And Glory," which was published in 2008.