Memorial Day in Turkmenistan in 2025

Memorial Day in Turkmenistan in 2025
Oil painting depicting a Russian assault on the fortress of Geok Tepe during the siege of 1880-81. Image by Nikolay Nikolayevich Karazin
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Memorial Day
  Dates of Memorial Day in Turkmenistan
2025 Turkmenistan Sun, Jan 12 National Holiday
2024 Turkmenistan Fri, Jan 12 National Holiday
2023 Turkmenistan Thu, Jan 12 National Holiday
2022 Turkmenistan Wed, Jan 12 National Holiday
2021 Turkmenistan Tue, Jan 12 National Holiday

Memorial Day for the heroes of the 1881 battle with the Russians at Goektepe.

When is Turkmenistan Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is a national holiday in Turkmenistan on January 12th each year.

This holiday is also known as "Memory Day of heroes of 1881 battle with the Russians at Goek Tepe". This is to avoid confusion with Earthquake Memorial Day.

History of Turkmenistan Memorial Day

As part of their imperial expansion into Central Asia, Russian forces began occupying Turkmen land in 1880. The Russians met fierce resistance with the Turkmen retaliating by raiding Khorazm in modern-day Uzbekistan killing hundreds.

The Russians met the last significant resistance at the Battle of Geok Tepe in 1881, where General Skobelev (known as the "White General" as he always wore a white uniform and rode on a white horse) massacred 7,000 Turkmen at the desert fortress of Göktepe, near modern Ashgabat. Another 8,000 were killed trying to flee across the desert. 

The victory at the Battle of Geok Tepe gave the Russian Empire control over most of what is now Turkmenistan, thereby nearly completing the Russian conquest of Central Asia. Turkmenistan was annexed, together with adjoining Uzbek territory, into the Russian Empire.

Turkmenistan would go on to be part of the Soviet Union until it gained independence in 1991. It has only been since then, that the Turkmen have been free to commemorate those who lost their lives while valiantly trying to defend their land from the foreign invaders.

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