Saparmurat Niyazov was born on February 19, 1940. He became the leader of Turkmenistan in 1985 as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR. When Turkmenistan achieved independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Niyazov was appointed as the country's first president. In 1993, he declared himself Leader of All Turkmen (Türkmenbaşy). Six years later, Parliament declared him President for Life.
Niyazov's presidency was characterized by a strong personality cult. There was no freedom of the press and speech, opposition was strictly forbidden. Niyazov's book Ruhnama was introduced to Turkmen culture as the “spiritual guidance of the nation”.
Saparmurat Niyazov died of a heart attack on December 21, 2006. He was buried in Gypjak Mosque, also known as Türkmenbaşy Ruhy Mosque. Niyazov had built the mosque in preparation of his death. His death anniversary is observed as a memorial day in Turkmenistan. It is not a public holiday, so government offices, educational institutions, and businesses remain open.Remind me with Google Calendar
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- Saparmurat Niyazov Memorial Day In Turkmenistan, holidays in Turkmenistan, remembrance day, Türkmenbaşy