This week we’ll travel to the Middle Eastern country of Turkmenistan and look at the 5,000 Manat p21 2005 note.  This note depicts President Saparmurat Niyazov; Carpet guls (medallion-like designs) of Chowdur, Ersari, Saryk, Teke, and Yomut Tribes on the front and back of the note; 5 headed eagle with 2 headed snake in its claws; and the Presidential Palace in Ashgabat. This is our featured note and is available at a discounted price for a limited time!

Now, a lot of countries put their presidents or political figures on their banknotes so at first I did not think much about researching President Saparmurat Niyazov, but as I began reading about him – wow was this man eccentric.  He was Turkmenistan’s leader from 1985 until 2006 when he died of a heart attack.  A “Cult of Personality” surrounded this man as he promoted basically the worship and praise of himself.  For example, he made it mandatory for his book, Ruhnama, to be read in schools, government employees were tested on it, and it even became part of the driving test in Turkmenistan!  He closed down libraries and said the only books people needed access to were the Qur’an and the Ruhnama.  Ironically, he abolished the death penalty and granted official human rights to the people, but this was on paper only as his treatment of his people was far from humane.  He closed down rural hospitals and said if people were sick they could come into the city for treatment, resulting in Turkmenistan having the lowest life expectancy in central Asia.  He also discontinued or reduced the pensions of hundreds of thousands of the elderly people (this was later reversed by the new president in 2007).

Some other strange laws and decrees he made during his presidency include:

  • Lip synching was not allowed at public concerts and musical recordings were banned at public events
  • After he had to quit smoking he made it a law that smoking in public was banned and chewing tobacco was later outlawed as well.
  • He abolished opera, ballet, and circuses as they were “unturkmen-like”
  • Men could not have long hair or beards
  • News Anchors and others on television were banned from wearing make-up while on TV
  • He banned dogs from the capitol city of Ashgabat because he thought they smelled bad

He also changed the names of months and days of the week to be after his family members, and replaced the Turkmen word for “bread”, as well as the word for the month of April, with his mother’s name “Gurbansoltan.  What an odd and hypocritical leader!

Country: Turkmenistan
Denomination: 5,000 Manat
Pick #: 21
Year: 2005
Grade: UNC
Other Info: See blog-ette on this note
Coloration: Blue
Depictions: President Saparmurat Niyazov; Carpet guls (medallion-like designs) of Chowdur, Ersari, Saryk, Teke, and Yomut Tribes; 5 headed eagle with 2 headed snake in its claws; Presidential Palace in Ashgabat
Note Size: 6″ x 3″
Continent: Asia and the Middle East
Watermark: President Saparmurat Niazpv