President’s portraits vanish
The week's news at a glance.
Workers this week removed framed portraits of authoritarian President Saparmurat Niyazov from public buildings in the capital of Turkmenistan. A terse official statement said they were being replaced, at the presidents order, with scenes of national life and quotations from Niyazovs philosophical writings. The move startled Turkmens and foreign observers, but there was no indication that it signaled Niyazovs fall from power. In 1999, Niyazova Soviet-era leader whose post-Soviet rule has been marked by a Stalinesque cult of personalitywas made president for life and declared Turkmenbashi (Father of all Turkmens).