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This is one of the many golden statues of the first president of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov, better known as Turkmenbashi, meaning Father and Spiritual Guide of all Turkmens, died a few days ago, officially on the 21st of December. Now, the question is, what will happen in this country rich in gas reserves, and totally controlled by him. When in 1991, Turkmenistan was left on its own and became independent, with no real government, and no national identity, Turkmenbashi filled that void and built a nation and a culture based on him.
Turkmenbashi is so controlling that he has even rewritten the calendar, and he recently renamed the month of January to "Turkmenbashi." April is named after his mother Gurbansoltanedzhe. He's also on the Manat (national currency) banknotes, and he's even on the national vodka. Because of the just mentioned rich gas reserves, many countries are interested to extend their influence on Turkmenistan and so, it is very important for every of them, to have a "friend of mine" government in the future.
Stay tuned, the race has just started!

p.s. The monument in the background was erected for the 10th anniversary of the independence of Turkmenistan and is a kind of fountain, with ten horses.

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Additional Photos by Attila Szili (atus) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2071 W: 207 N: 4539] (15868)
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