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    Turkmen President Niyazov dies - agencies

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    The president of Turkmenistan died of a cardiac arrest early this morning at the age of 66, Western agencies said Thursday, citing a government source and national TV. Saparmurat Niyazov ruled the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic for 21 years, in various posts. The authoritarian leader, who styled himself Turkmenbashi (head of the Turkmen people) was president for life. The Russian Embassy in Ashgabat has not confirmed the reports.

    MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - The president of Turkmenistan died of a cardiac arrest early this morning at the age of 66, Western agencies said Thursday, citing a government source and national TV.

    Saparmurat Niyazov ruled the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic for 21 years, in various posts. The authoritarian leader, who styled himself Turkmenbashi (head of the Turkmen people) was president for life.

    The Russian Embassy in Ashgabat has not confirmed the reports.

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