Saparmurat Niyazov was born on February 19, 1940, into a worker's family in Ashgabat. His father died in battle in World
War II and the remaining members of his family perished in Ashgabat's massive earthquake of 1948. He was raised first in an
orphanage and later in the home of his distant relatives.
Mr. Niyazov graduated from the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute in 1966 with a degree in power engineering and began work
at the Bezmeinskaya Power Station near Ashgabat.
In 1962 Mr. Niyazov became a member of the Communist Party. In 1985 he was appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers
of Turkmenistan and was subsequently elected First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Turkmenistan,
the highest state and party post. On January 13, 1990, Mr. Niyazov became Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, the supreme legislative
body in the republic.
On October 27, 1990, Mr. Niyazov was elected the first president of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic. Under his leadership,
on October 27, 1991, Turkmenistan proclaimed its sovereignty from the Soviet Union. In a second presidential election held
on June 21, 1991, which was necessitated by the adoption of the new constitution, Mr. Niyazov was elected President of Turkmenistan.
Mr. Niyazov is also Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Chairman of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan.
Mr. Niyazov's success as President of Turkmenistan has been attributed to his extensive and productive work in stabilizing
the economic situation of the country. He has established Turkmenistan's international prestige and has displayed concern
for the people's well-being. Following his election, one of the first resolutions to be adopted was a decree on the free use
of water, gas and electricity by the people of Turkmenistan.
As founder and president of the Association of Turkmens of the World, Mr. Niyazov holds the official title of Turkmenbashi,
Leader of all Ethnic Turkmens.
Mr. Niyazov was awarded the Magtymguly International Prize for achieving the aim of Magtymguly, the great Turkmen poet
and philosopher: the establishment of an independent state of Turkmenistan.
Mr. Niyazov is married and has two children. He is interested in poetry,philosophy, history and music.