Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov was a Turkmen politician who served as the leader of Turkmenistan from 1985 until his death in 2006. He supported the 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt and continued to rule the country for 15 years after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Under his rule, Turkmanistan had the lowest life expectancy in Central Asia.
About Saparmurat Niyazov in brief
Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov was a Turkmen politician who served as the leader of Turkmenistan from 1985 until his death in 2006. He was one of the world’s most totalitarian, despotic and repressive dictators. He promoted a cult of personality around himself and imposed his personal eccentricities upon the country. He made it mandatory to read the Ruhnama in schools, universities and governmental organizations. In 2005, he closed down all rural libraries and hospitals outside of the capital city Ashgabat, in a country where at that time more than half the population lived in rural areas. Under his rule, Turkmanistan had the lowest life expectancy in Central Asia. He supported the 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt and continued to rule the country for 15 years after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. His father died in World War II fighting against Nazi Germany, while other sources contend that he dodged fighting and was therefore sentenced by a military court. He grew up in a Soviet orphanage before the state put him in the custody of a distant relative. In 1962, he started his political career, becoming a member of the Communist Party. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming First Secretary of the Ashgaboat City Committee, and First Secretary in 1985. He gained this post after Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had removed his predecessor, Muhammetnazar Gapurov, following a cotton-related scandal.
In 1994, he declared himself Türkmenbaşy:Leader of all Turkmen and extended his term in office until 1999. In 1999, he was declared President for Life of Turkmensistan. He died in 2006 at the age of 76. He is buried in the AshGabat City Cemetery. He had a son, Atamyrat NiyAZov, who was also a politician, and a daughter, Gurbansoltan Eje, who worked for the Turkmen SSR in the 1980s and 1990s. His son died in a car crash in 2008. He has a daughter and a son-in-law, both of whom are also politicians. He also has a step-son and a grandson, who works for the United Nations in New York City. He worked as an electrical engineer in Leningrad, Russia, and was expelled from Russia for academic failure. In 1992, he became the first Turkmen to be elected to the United States Congress. He served as a member and president of the Association of Turk Mens of the World. In 1995, he founded the Turkmens of theWorld. He became the head of the Turkman Communist Party in 1996. In 1998, he set about separating Turkmenistani from Soviet Union. In 2000, he announced that he would not seek re-election for a second term as president. In 2002, he stepped down from the post of president and became the president of his own country. In 2007, he died in office.