Saparmyrat Niyazov’s Ruhnama Cover Image
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Saparmyrat Niyazov’s Ruhnama
Saparmyrat Niyazov’s Ruhnama

The Invention of Turkmenistan

Author(s): Riccardo Nicolosi
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Literary Texts, Sociology
Published by: Central European University Press
Keywords: Saparmyrat Niyazov; Poetry
Summary/Abstract: An unusual monument can be found in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat.In a vast park that celebrates the post-Soviet independence of the country,in the middle of a broad fountain, there stands a monumental ten-meterhigh copy of a book. The cover consists of its title, Ruhnama, as well as the name and likeness of the author, Saparmyrat Türkmenbaşi, in gold relief.Ruhnama (literally, “The Book of the Spirit”) is the main work of the first president of Turkmenistan, Saparmyrat Niyazov (1940–2006), who had himself given the title “Türkmenbaşi” (head of the Turkmen) by the Turkmen People’s Council (Halk Maslahaty) in 1993. The most peculiar thing about this monumental book is the fact that it can be “flipped open” mechanically:When thus opened, a multimedia spectacle begins in which the portrait of Türkmenbaşi’s, manuscript pages of the book and propagandistic films on the “glories” of Turkmen history are projected on the inside of the monument, accompanied by the strains of Turkmen music. The scenes displayed are based on passages in the Ruhnama; the solemn reading is transmitted through loudspeakers for everyone in the park to hear.

  • Page Range: 232-249
  • Page Count: 18
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Language: English