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Ruhnama - 'The Book of the Soul,' by Saparmurat Niyazov, late president-for-life/dictator of Turkmenistan. Combines spiritual/moral guidance, autobiography, and (revisionist) history, much of it of dubious or disputed factuality and accuracy. It was intended as the 'spiritual guidance of the nation' and the basis of the nation's arts and literature. The Ruhnama was introduced to Turkmen culture in a gradual but eventually pervasive way. Niyazov first placed copies in the nation's schools and libraries but eventually went as far as to make an exam on its teachings an element of the driving test.In March 2006 Niyazov was recorded as saying that he had interceded with Allah to ensure that any student who read the book three times would automatically get into paradise.
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Official name: Türkmenistan Jumhuriyati (Republic of Turkmenistan)
Head of State: President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov (TDP) (from 2007; re-elected 12 Feb 2012)
Head of government: President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov
Ruling party: Türkmenistanyn Demokratik partiýasy (TDP) (Turkmenistan Democratic Party)
Area: 488,100 square km
Population: 5.80 million (2014)*
Official language: Turkmen
Currency: New Manat (M) = 100 tennesi (The new manat was introduced on 1 January 2009, with an exchange rate of 5,000 old manat to one new manat).
Exchange rate: M3.50 per US$ (Sep 2015)
GDP per capita: US$8,271 (2014)*
GDP real growth: 10.32% (2014)*
GDP: US$47.93 billion (2014)*
Inflation: 5.95% (2014)*
Oil production: 239,000 bpd (2014)
Natural gas production: 69.30 billion cum (2014)
Balance of trade: US$875.00 million (2009)
Annual FDI: US$3.19 billion (2011)
* estimated figure