December 21, 2006
Türkmenbaşy: The Death of a Nation
What happens if your god dies? Although it borders Iran and Afghanistan, little has been said about Turkmenistan over the last few years. More has been said about Turkmenistan's leader. Saparmurat Niyazov has been the leader of Turkmenistan since the USSR dissolved up until his death today. It's definitely a case of a cult of personality, because not only was he the "President for Life" but also the head of his own religion. It will be interesting to see what happens in Turkmenistan over the next few days, because when you declare yourself god and make laws that require people to be apart of your religion and run a country of 4.8 million people, your death can shake things up a bit. "Turkmenbashi" as he was referred to, was just 61 and died suddenly of a heart attack, so I'm not sure a true "constitutional" plan of succession was in place. At one point Niyazov said that he would step down as President for Life in 2010, so whatever plan was in place for that day, may have just been boosted, but I predict some instability in deciding whether to follow their fallen mortal god's plan or whether to join the rest of the world.