On 27 October, Turkmenistan celebrates its independence from the USSR in 1991. As a public holiday, government offices and many businesses close down on Independence Day. From 2017 onwards, the Independence Day holiday was moved from 27 October to 27 September.
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During the 1700’s and 1800’s, huge quantities of overland trade passed through what is now Turkmenistan, on its way between Europe and various parts of Asia. This led to a struggle for domination of the region by such competitors as Britain, Persia, and Russia. Russia ultimately won, annexing the region through armed conflict between 1865 and 1885.
During the Russian Civil War, Turkmen fighters opposed the Bolsheviks as late as 1924. But they ultimately fell under domination by the USSR, and in 1925, Turkmen SSR became a new Soviet Socialist Republic.
There were several stages in Turkmenistan gaining independence. First, in August of 1990, the leaders of Soviet Turkmen SSR declared Turkmenistan’s “sovereignty”. But only in 1991 was a demand for an independence referendum made. When 94 percent of the people voted in favour of independence in the referendum, Turkmenistan was finally officially declared an independent nation on 27 October, 1991.
Every year, Turkmenistan’s people celebrate independence with military parades, cultural events, and a host of other activities.