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Saparmurat Niyazov

Age: 66

president-for-life of Turkmenistan, who ruled the country with an iron grip since it left the Soviet Union in 1990. Referred to as the "the Turkmenbashi" (Leader of All Turkmens), he established a cult of personality that went so far as to rename the days of the week and months of the year after himself and members of his family. Before his sudden death, he held all top government positions.

Died: Turkmenistan, Dec. 21, 2006

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