Saparmurat Niyazov

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Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov; (19 February 1940 - 21 December 2006), (Russian: Сапармурат Атаевич Ниязов) (Turkmen: Saparmyrat Ataýewiç Nyýazow) was a Turkmen politician who served as President (later President for Life) of Turkmenistan from 2 November 1990 until his death in 2006. He was First Secretary of the Turkmen Communist Party from 1985 until 1991 and continued to lead Turkmenistan for 15 years after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. His name in English is a romanization of the Russian spelling Сапармурат Атаевич Ниязов of his Turkmen name.

Turkmen media referred to him using the title "His Excellency Saparmurat Niyazov Türkmenbaşy, President of Turkmenistan and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers". His self-given title Türkmenbaşy, or Turkmenbashi (pronounced [tyɾkmenbaʃɯ]), meaning Leader of Turkmens, referred to his position as the founder and president of the Association of Turkmens of the World.[2]

Foreign media criticized him as one of the world's most totalitarian and repressive dictators, highlighting his reputation of imposing his personal eccentricities upon the country, which extended to renaming months after members of his family, and recoining the Turkmen word for bread by the name of his mother.[3] Global Witness, a London-based human rights organization, reported that money under Niyazov's control and held overseas may be in excess of US$3 billion, of which between $1.8-$2.6 billion was supposedly situated in the Foreign Exchange Reserve Fund at Deutsche Bank in Germany.[4]

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