Turkmenistan moves to reduce cult

The country's new president turns his back on predecessor's personality cult.

    Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, Turkmenistan's president, has promised refrom [AFP]

    "When going anywhere, children sing in front of the president, dancers perform. Let's get rid of that. There are festivals for that kind of thing."
     
    The decision to reduce the state-sponsored adulation of the president follows other reforms intended to modernise the secretive, resource-rich, former-Soviet country.
     
    Oath of loyalty scrapped
     
    Also on Saturday, state television said that students and state employees in Turkmenistan will no longer be required to recite the country's oath of loyalty to the president.
     
    The oath, promising that "my breath would stop" in case of treason, was also read out several times a day on state television and radio during Niyazov's two-decades' reign.
     
    Recital was obligatory under the late dictator Saparmurat Niyazov for children from pre-school up, turning the "sacred oath into some kind of song".
     
    Any staff meeting of state employees, including doctors, began with the oath.
     
    Murat Karriyev, the head of the central electoral commission, said that recitals of the oath would now be limited to the start of the school year on September 1 and on graduation.
     
    The oath would also be obligatory for new members of the armed forces and at major state occasions.
     
    Since being elected Berdymukhamedov also allowed the opening of two internet cafes in Ashgabat, the country's capital, which were banned under Niyavoz.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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