Thursday, July 05, 2007

When The President-for-Life Finishes His Term

No, this isn't another Bush post! For all our system's failings, we can at least be certain as to when and how the reigns of power will be transferred. When the country is run by a dictator/president-for-life, however, things get a bit tricky. Saparmurat Niyazov was one of the more, um, colorful dictators on the planet. Check out the Wiki entry for a taste of the supreme cult of personality he constructed for himself during his decades of rule.

But, times change. Today's New York Times examines how Turkmenistan is adjusting to life under a new leader. While things are still as autocratic and shrouded in secrecy as in the past, there are signs that things may change. The new boss, for example, has raised the maximum education level from the equivalent of 9th grade to 10th. Yes, I said maximum. Let that settle in for a minute and you'll realize how far the Turkmen have to go.

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