The president of Turkmenistan is finally taking the advice i tried to give his deceased predecessor, and slowly and gradually – like most things that happen in that country – is phasing out his Russianized name Gurbanguly Malikguliyewich Berdymuhammedow and moves to Gurbanguly Berdymuhammed.
A few weeks ago the president of Tajikistan has done the same and changed Emomali Sharipovich Rahmonov to Emomalii Rahmon. He was much more decided about it – he just announced that he’s changing his name and after a couple of days ordered that newborn babies’ last names will be registered without Russian endings.
Notice the the double i in the end of his first name. In the Tajik language, which is a variant of Persian, an -i is added to the end of the word to express its belonging to the next word. So Emomalii Rahmon means “Rahmon’s Emomali”. The Russian ending -ov (or -yev), common in last names in Russia and especially ubiquitous in Soviet Muslim territories means quite the same: Rahmonov = Rahmon’s, Kadyrov = Kadyr’s, Ivanov = Ivan’s etc. Emomali wanted to cut Tajikistan from the Russian heritage but in the same time to remain consistent with the meaning of the Russian last name. He explained that this way he honors his father Rahmon, after whom he received the last name. See also the discussion about Emomalii on Wikipedia.