«Halk, Watan, Türkmenbaşy»: The Niyazov Personality Cult in Turkmenistan

Author/s Fabio De Leonardis
Publishing Year 2018 Issue 2018/103
Language Italian Pages 27 P. 70-96 File size 249 KB
DOI 10.3280/PASS2018-103004
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Little known and even less studied, Turkmenistan has attracted the attention of international media mostly for the eccentricities and the personality cult of its late president Saparmurat Niyazov "Turkmenbaşy". The phenomenon Turkmenbaşy has been more often described than analyzed, and it has been usually reduced either to a psychopathological question or to a kind of Orientalist stereotyping that sees in Central Asian societies only the perpetuation of immutable power systems and hierarchies. This article tries to explain the cult by analyzing it in a constructivist perspective, as part of a process of nation and state-building pursued by a newly independent country which had not sought independence before attaining it. The conclusion is that the cult was deliberately and consciously devised and developed to be used as an ideological unifying tool for the elaboration and strengthening of a Turkmen state nationalism that could legitimize the country’s independence and Niyazov’s authoritarian regime.

Keywords: Turkmenistan, Niyazov, Nationalism, Personality Cult

Fabio De Leonardis, «Halk, Watan, Türkmenbasy». Il culto della personalità di Niyazov in Turkmenistan in "PASSATO E PRESENTE" 103/2018, pp 70-96, DOI: 10.3280/PASS2018-103004