Why are some of the world's biggest international companies translating the Ruhnama, an absurd government propaganda book from Turkmenistan, into their own languages? SHADOW OF THE HOLY BOOK exposes the immorality of international companies doing business with the dictatorship of oil-and-gas-rich Turkmenistan, thus helping to hide its human rights and free speech abuses - all in the name of profit and corporate greed.

Shadow Of The Holy Book

investigates the morality of international companies and the dictatorship of oil-and-gas-rich Turkmenistan. These companies help give the dictatorship the propaganda support that it needs to survive. Turkmenistan’s dictator, Saparmurat Niyazov, has written a ludicrous book: the Ruhnama, the Book of Soul, a key tool in the government’s subjugation of human rights and free speech. Yet many international companies give their clandestine support to the Ruhnama and help suppress the country’s voices of opposition and dissidence – in return for multimillion-dollar business deals.

Now that Niyazov has died, the influence of the Ruhnama remains as strong as ever. The great powers of the world have entered a new "Great Game" – attempting to influence Turkmenistan for the benefit of their economies. The shadow of the Ruhnama continues to stretch beyond Niyazov’s grave.


Turkmenistan is an old Soviet republic. The territory located by the shore of the Caspian Sea in Central Asia became independent in 1991 at the same time as the other border republics. While the Baltic countries started to build democratic governments, Turkmenistan and other Central Asian former Soviet republics found themselves taken over by strong, individualist presidents. Turkmenistan closed its doors to the outside world. Saparmurat Niyazov ruled the country since the day Turkmenistan proclaimed its independence on October 27th 1991. Niyazov died December 21st 2006.

The personality cult of the Turkmen president Niyazov, was singularly extreme. The new regime is led by one of Niyazov’s former cronies, Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov. Berdymuhammedov has already continued to award foreign companies contracts related to the Ruhnama, and has made it clear that, at least for now, he will go on using the Ruhnama as an important part of the government’s propaganda and power structure. According to the international Human Rights Watch, the rights of the Turkmen people are continuously violated in a uniquely flagrant way.