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Turkmenistan (01:25)

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Turkmenistan is one of the world's three worst human rights abusers, and an important gas and oil producer. Turkmenistan television glorifies the nation and its leader, the Turkmenbashi.

Investigating Turkmenistan (01:33)

Turkmenistan's Saparmurat Niyazov is a bizarre dictator. This film will examine who cooperates with his government.

Ruhnama (01:18)

Niyazov's Ruhnama, the "Book of the Soul," presents cult-like ideas justifying his rule.

Fleeing Turkmenistan (02:39)

Russia's Gazprom delivers Turkmen gas to Europe and ignores Turkmen human rights issues. Turkmen exiles in Russia talk about Niyazov's regime, and violence and assassination attempts against them.

Film Angers Niyazov (02:01)

An earthquake orphaned Niyazov. Murad Aliev made a film about the earthquake and included Niyazov's story, but did not present him as godlike and so displeased him.

Indoctrination (02:48)

Turkmen education is centered on the Ruhnama, Niyazov's book written to create a national myth and glorify Niyazov.

Translating Ruhnama (02:23)

Large corporations have translated the Ruhnama into many languages. Filmmakers want to ask critical questions about this but do not get through.

Ahmet Chalik (01:36)

Ahmet Chalik was an official in Niyazov's government and highly devoted to him. A contact tries to set up a meeting with filmmakers.

Statue of Ruhmana (02:49)

To do business in Turkmenistan, one has to go through Ahmet Chalik. Chalik got this power by flattering Niyazov. He built him a statue of the Ruhmana.

Under Cover (02:22)

To get companies involved in Turkmenistan to talk to them, filmmakers pretended to be from companies trying to enter the Turkmen market. Translating the Ruhmana is the path to market access.

Satire (00:59)

See a cartoonist's satire of the Turkmenbashi's self-aggrandizement.

Chalik (01:24)

Ahmed Chalik became the most influential person in Turkmenistan besides Niyazov. He came up with ideas for aggrandizing Niyazov.

Construction Projects (03:27)

Oil and gas revenues fund construction projects in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Construction companies profit by aggrandizing Niyazov.

Glorifying Niyazov (01:38)

Niyazov's image is omnipresent in Ashbagat. Tour guides recite propaganda.

Countryside (01:12)

Niyazov lavishes money on capital Ashgabat. In the countryside, poverty is rife.

Talking to Dissident (02:43)

Spies watch the filmmakers constantly. A dissident talks about conditions in Turkmenistan. Speakers blare propaganda at the statue of the Ruhmana.

Construction Company (02:09)

French construction company Bouygues does lucrative business in Turkmenistan. It began losing business to Ahmet Chalik and responded by translating part of the Ruhmana into French.

Denying Interview Request (01:16)

Filmmakers talk with a Bouygues representative, who refuses to set up an interview about Bouygues' business practices in Turkmenistan.

TV Program (01:16)

Bouygues used its French TV station to make a flattering program about Niyazov and Turkmenistan. It did not air it in France; Bouygues misled the Turkmen government on this point.

Building Projects (02:13)

The Turkmenbashi had Ashgabat transformed according to a new architectural style. He built a huge mosque and imprisoned Muslims who objected to its equating the Ruhnama with the Koran.

Western Business in Turkmenistan (02:03)

People who have done business in Turkmenistan talk about what goes on there; others say they don't worry about internal business. Others publicly praise the regime in Turkmenistan.

Seeking Interviews (02:26)

Filmmakers go outside the Bouygues headquarters to try to annoy Bouygues into granting an interview. They then try to get an interview with Ahmet Chalik.

Human Rights Activist (02:11)

A human rights activist imprisoned in Turkmenistan was released in return for a confession. All prisoners must swear an oath to the President upon release.

Fear of Reprisals (00:54)

A man who translated the Ruhnama into Finnish for a company that wanted to do business there rejects an interview request, saying it could be dangerous for him.

Turkmenistan Prisoner (02:54)

A Turkmen exile talks about his father's imprisonment for a plot against Niyazov. His mother asked Bouygues to use its business relationship with Turkmenistan to find out if he is alive.

Prestige for Turkmenistan (01:34)

Translating the Ruhnama gives companies access to Turkmenistan's resources and helps legitimize the regime.

Daimler-Chrysler (02:18)

Daimler-Chrysler denies responsibility for the Ruhmana translation, saying the sales department acted on its own. Filmmakers visit Daimler-Chrysler headquarters to try to get information.

Cooperation with Turkmenistan (02:33)

Zeppelin translated the Ruhmana into German. Siemens provides surveillance equipment to Turkmenistan.

Decision to Cooperate (01:33)

In the Czech Republic, a CEO talks about his company's translation of the Ruhmana, saying they did it for access to the Turkmenistan market.

Niyazov Dies (01:53)

A Turkmen newscast reports Niyazov's death in 2006. The filmmakers and others wondered whether Turkmenistan would change.

Opposition (01:35)

Turkmen opposition leaders meet in 2007. An opposition leader says continued support for the regime by foreign businesses depends on how the government deals with Niyazov's debts.

Niyazov's Successor (01:19)

Government barred opposition candidates from Turkmenistan's election. Berdimuhamedow won a power struggle following Niyazov's death to become Turkmenistan's leader.

Successor Brings Continuity (01:59)

Filmmakers wondered whether Berdymuhammedov would open Turkmenistan up, but find that the Ruhnama remains the basis for official ideology.

Business's Position (02:00)

Filmmakers research how Niyazov's death affected the position of Ahmet Chalik and other international business people with connections to his regime.

Raising Awareness (02:30)

Bush supported Niyazov's regime. Filmmakers ask the White House if Bush will support democracy in light of Niyazov's death. They stage a reading of the Ruhnama outside Daimler-Chrysler headquarters.

John Deere (02:45)

John Deere put a signed copy of the Ruhnama in its museum to win favor with Niyazov's Turkmenistan. A John Deere spokesman does not acknowledge this goal.

Caterpillar Official (02:24)

A former Caterpillar official who created a website praising the Ruhnama declines to discuss it with filmmakers on the phone. They knock on the door of his house.

Caterpillar and Ruhnama (01:58)

A former Caterpillar employee with a website devoted to the Ruhmana downplays Caterpillar's involvement.

Caterpillar (01:09)

Filmmakers demand information from a Caterpillar public relations official and try to gain entrance to headquarters. Caterpillar sends police to chase the filmmakers away.

Finnish Translation (03:33)

The CEO of ENSTO, who started translating the Ruhnama into Finnish, says he never finished the book. ENSTO's chairman acknowledges mistakes but says they abandoned the translation.

Ahmet Chalik Dominates Economy (03:19)

Berdymuhammedov has continued Niyazov's policies. Ahmet Chalik has created a global business network through Turkmenistan.

Berdymuhammedov's Book (02:11)

Berdymuhammedov has written his own book that students are required to study as they once studied the Ruhnama.

Credits: Shadow of The Holy Book (02:49)

Credits: Shadow of The Holy Book

Turkmenistan (00:46)

Turkmenistan is one of the world's three worst human rights abusers, and an important gas and oil producer. Turkmenistan television glorifies the nation and its leader, the Turkmenbashi.

Investigating Turkmenistan (01:34)

Turkmenistan's Saparmurat Niyazov is a bizarre dictator. This film will examine who cooperates with his government.

Ruhnama (01:12)

Niyazov's Ruhnama, the "Book of the Soul," presents cult-like ideas justifying his rule.

Dissidents (02:01)

Russia partners with Turkmenistan and ignores its human rights issues. Turkmen exiles discuss violence against them.

Indoctrination (01:44)

Turkmen education is centered around the Ruhnama, Niyazov's bizarre book.

Translating Ruhnama (03:47)

Ahmet Chalik translated the Ruhnama into Turkish and won great influence in Niyazov's government. He built him a statue of the Ruhnama.

Winning Niyazov's Favor (01:38)

Not knowing he is talking to filmmakers, a businessman describes winning business in Turkmenistan by translating the Ruhnama.

Satire (00:47)

See a cartoonist's satire of the Turkmenbashi's self-aggrandizement.

Ahmet Chalik (01:15)

Ahmed Chalik became powerful in Turkmenistan's government. He came up with ideas for aggrandizing Niyazov.

Construction Companies (03:19)

Oil and gas revenues fund construction projects in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Construction companies profit by aggrandizing Niyazov, who is omnipresent in Ashgabat.

Countryside (00:53)

Niyazov lavishes money on capital Ashgabat. In the countryside, poverty is rife.

Dissident (01:58)

Spies watch the filmmakers constantly. A dissident talks about conditions in Turkmenistan. Speakers blare propaganda at the statue of the Ruhmana.

Bouygues (02:57)

French construction company Bouygues does lucrative business in Turkmenistan. It began losing business to Ahmet Chalik and responded by translating part of the Ruhmana into French.

Architecture (01:38)

The Turkmenbashi had Ashgabat transformed according to a new architectural style. He built a huge mosque and imprisoned Muslims who objected to its equating the Ruhnama with the Koran.

Seeking Interviews (00:56)

Filmmakers go outside the Bouygues headquarters to try to annoy Bouygues officials into granting an interview.

Human Rights Activist (01:19)

A human rights activist imprisoned in Turkmenistan was released in return for a confession. All prisoners must swear an oath to the President upon release.

Turkmenistan Prisoner (02:26)

A Turkmen exile talks about his father's imprisonment for a plot against Niyazov. His mother asked Bouygues to use its business relationship with Turkmenistan to find out if he is alive.

Prestige for Turkmenistan (01:21)

Translating the Ruhnama gives companies access to Turkmenistan's resources and helps legitimize the regime.

Daimler-Chrysler (01:45)

Daimler-Chrysler denies responsibility for the Ruhmana translation, saying the sales department acted on its own. Filmmakers visit Daimler-Chrysler headquarters to try to get information.

Siemens' Complicity (02:22)

Siemens provides surveillance equipment to Turkmenistan. John Deere has praised the Ruhnama to win favor with the government.

Niyazov's Death (01:24)

A Turkmen newscast reports Niyazov's death in 2006. Many wondered whether Turkmenistan would change.

Niyazov's Successor (01:47)

Turkmen opposition leaders meet in 2007; they were barred from the election. Berdimuhamedow won a power struggle following Niyazov's death to become Turkmenistan's leader.

Continuity Under Berdymuhammedov (01:28)

Berdymuhammedov promised reforms, but little has changed and the Ruhnama remains the basis for official ideology.

Silence (02:09)

International businesses with connections in Turkmenistan, such as Caterpillar, remain unwilling to talk to filmmakers.

Finnish Translation (03:17)

The CEO of ENSTO, who started translating the Ruhnama into Finnish, says he never finished the book. ENSTO's chairman acknowledges mistakes but says they abandoned the translation.

Chalik Dominates Economy (02:03)

Berdymuhammedov has continued Niyazov's policies. Ahmet Chalik has created a global business network through Turkmenistan.

Berdymuhammedov's Holy Book (02:13)

Berdymuhammedov has written his own book that students are required to study as they once studied the Ruhnama.

Credits: Shadow of The Holy Book (02:24)

Credits: Shadow of The Holy Book

Trailer: Shadow of The Holy Book (03:08)

A trailer shows clips for "Shadow of The Holy Book," about the Ruhnama, Turkmenistan's dictatorship, and foreign corporations' support for the dictatorship.

Mocking Turkmenbashi (04:49)

The filmmakers perform a satirical skit and reading of the Ruhnama, with songs and interspersed with news footage of Niyazov.

Birth of the Ruhnama (06:59)

Following independence, Turkmen intellectuals wanted a book reflecting Turkmen culture, leading to the Ruhnama. Niyazov took over control of the project.

False Confession (06:59)

A Turkmen human rights activist was imprisoned after attending an international conference that was followed by an assassination attempt on Niyazov. He was let out after a confession.

Recreating Propaganda (08:59)

The filmmakers recreate Turkmen propaganda, reenacting newscasts and Ruhnama reading circles from Turkmen TV.

Shell Avoids Discussion (03:08)

Shell rejects an interview request on their involvement in Turkmenistan. Filmmakers go to Shell headquarters.

Shell in Turkmenistan (02:28)

A Turkmen official says Shell rejected Niyazov's bribe request and pulled out of Turkmenistan. Filmmakers ask Shell about this.

Shell Complicit (05:29)

Filmmakers press a Shell spokesman on its human rights standards for the countries where it drills. Nigeria executed Ken Saro-Wiwa for protesting Shell drilling in 1995.

Nokia (08:54)

Siemens sold eavesdropping equipment to Turkmenistan's government. When Nokia partners with Siemens, filmmakers seek to arrange interviews with Nokia spokespeople.

Italian-Croation Collaboration on Ruhnama (04:34)

A Culligan-Italiana official says nothing has changed in Turkmenistan under its new leader. Another official says there is nothing unethical about translating the Ruhnama.

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Shadow of The Holy Book


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Description

This documentary exposes the complicity of multinational corporations in supporting and legitimizing dictator Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan. Niyazov, self-appointed President for Life, ran one of the most megalomaniacal and bizarre regimes in recent history. Turkmenistan is also home to one of the world’s largest oil and natural gas reserves. Such resource endowments have attracted world leaders and multi-billion dollar corporations who set aside their morals and knowingly propped up the regime to secure profitable business deals. The film employs several satirical segments. 

Length: 198 minutes

Item#: BVL57868

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Dealer customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.


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