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Turkmenistan Dumps Months Named After Heroes, Poets, Dictator's Mom

New leader rolls back
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2008 11:25 AM CDT
Turkmenistan Dumps Months Named After Heroes, Poets, Dictator's Mom
Turkmenistan's new president kisses a copy of "Rukhnama," written by the late President Saparmurat Niyazov, after being decorated with the presidential insignia by an elderly Turkmen, Feb. 14, 2007.   (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

(Newser) – In a step away from the legacy of its late dictator, who renamed each month after heroes, poets, and himself, Turkmenistan’s president urged a return to traditional month names, the Guardian reports. April had been named after Saparmurat Niyazov’s mother, while September was a reference to Niyazov’s spiritual book—but the new president, strengthening ties with the rest of the world, has decided to dump Niyazov’s system.

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President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov called for a parliamentary resolution on the issue “after a very thorough analysis." While the move brings Turkmenistan closer to the outside world, “these reforms don't add up to democratization,” says an expert. “Turkmenistan remains as far away from democracy in the western sense as it is from the moon.” (Read more Turkmenistan stories.)

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