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1984 In Central Asia

Here's one for anyone who likes to treat little kids as innocnet moral compasses (i.e. the "even a five-year-old could see that that's wrong). The second volume of Ruhnama, Turkmenbashi's guide to life, recently came out. Meanwhile Turkmenistan's slow march toward being a nation of people who do nothing but read Ruhmnama continues apace. The adults are fatalistically cynical about the need to memorize their leader's blather, but as far as the kids are concerned, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia:

"I am frightened," said Svetlana, the mother of a nine-year-old daughter. "My daughter hears all this ideology from the Ruhnama and she accepts it as the sole indisputable truth. When she comes home, she tries to convince my husband and me until she’s blue in the face that our president is a holy man chosen by God. None of my pathetic attempts to explain that this isn’t the case, that presidents are chosen by the people, has worked."

What I wonder is how much Turkmenbashi has bought into his own personality cult. Is this merely a brainwashing strategy, or does he genuinely believe that he was chosen by God and that his words are transcendent wisdom?


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