21 December marked 10 years since the death of Turkmenistan's first president Saparmurat Niyazov.
When Niyazov was alive, he was addressed as Turkmenbashi the Great or Serdar. Even today, on his memorial day, the first President was almost not remembered.
Only the next day, on 22 December there was a short video footage in the news programs featuring elders and students taking part in the wreath-laying ceremony to the monument to Niyazov.
The incumbent President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov did not take part in the flower-laying ceremony and made no statements about Niyazov.
The newspaper and website of the information agency TDH published a short report about the flower-laying ceremony. No photos and other articles devoted to the first president were posted. Interestingly enough, the first President of Turkmenistan was referred only as S.A. Niyazov.
No epithets like Turkmenbashi the great, Serdar and Hero were used. Even his first name was not mentioned, only the initials.
The renowned Turkmen female poet Gozel Shagulieva, who had devoted a great number of panegyrics in honour of the first President during his lifetime, ignored this date. In one of the poems devoted to Niyazov she wrote: If you die, my leader, I will die, too! There is no life for me without you!
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan