At the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party in 1956, Nikita Khrushchev denounced Josef Stalin's "Cult of Personality" in the so-called "Secret Speech." He declared, "It is impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person, to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural characteristics akin to those of a god."
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise
. Sociologist Max Weber developed a tripartite classification of authority; the cult of personality holds parallels with what Weber defined as "charismatic authority
". A cult of personality is similar to hero worship, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda.
On August 10, 2002, the government of Turkmenistan adopted a law to rename all the months and most of the days of week. The names were chosen according to Turkmen national symbols, as described in Ruhnama, a book written by Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan's first president for life.
According to the paper Neitralniy Turkmenistan physicians were ordered to swear an oath to the President, replacing the Hippocratic Oath. All libraries outside of the capital were also closed, as Niyazov believed that the only books that most Turkmen needed to read were the Koran and his Ruhnama.
Niyazov requested that a "palace of ice", or indoor ice skating rink, be built near the capital, so that those living in the desert country could learn to skate. The palace was built in 2008 and located near the new Turkmen State Medical University.
He outlawed opera, ballet, and the circus in 2001 for being "decidedly unturkmen-like".
In February 2004 he decreed that men should no longer wear long hair or beards.
see Kim Jong Il