Kazakhstan Decides

24 Apr

The presidential re-election reaches its climax on Sunday as Kazakhstan goes to the polls to elect its president for another five-year term. Kazaxia is pleased to present a who’s who for the upcoming vote.

In this election the voters have a choice between three candidates: The Leader, who is the incumbent, Sovieticus Redux, the communist and the Invisible Man, who is possibly standing on an environmental ticket.

An election information board in downtown Almaty, Kazakhstan with a poster for the Leader and the communist candidate

An election information board in downtown Almaty, Kazakhstan with a poster for the Leader and the communist candidate

1. The Leader, having led the country since 1989, is the red-hot favourite to romp home to victory in this three-horse race. This time round he is promising enduring stability as the only alternative to the chaos change would bring.

2. Sovieticus Redux is the Communist National Party of the People of Kazakhstan candidate. He has campaigned on an anti-Western materialism ticket. No doubt he drives a battered old Moskvitch rather than a Range Rover or Porsche, uses a Soviet-era telephone in place of an iPhone and wears a suit he bought in Moscow in 1974 – no Armani for him.

3. The Invisible Man has led a low-key campaign to the point of invisibility. It is believed that he has some concerns about the environment.

Here is Psychic Saiga’s prediction for the result:

1. The Leader +/- 97%

2. Sovieticus Redux +/- 2.5%

3. The Invisible Man +/- 0.5%

GooGoosha’s Gilded Cage

1 Apr

Gulnara Karimova, who has been under unofficial house arrest since March 2014 in Tashkent, is set to be moved to a gilded cage in the centre of the city as part of a deal brokered by Lord Venal on his recent visit to Uzbekistan’s capital.

Tashkent's Palace of International Forums - GooGoosha's new home?

Tashkent’s Palace of International Forums – GooGoosha’s new home?

Karimova, better known by her stage name of GooGoosha, is the eldest daughter of Uzbek pensioner Islam Karimov, Under the new deal she will be housed in the grandiose Palace of International Forums, which was built at the height of her power in the late 2000s. Since then she has had a spectacular fall from grace.

In her new surroundings, GooGoosha will be able to shop to her heart’s content in a private shopping mall in the palace’s basement – modelled on Barbara Streisand’s personal mall.

GooGoosha and Gerard in happier times

GooGoosha and Gerard in happier times

The complex will also include a medical centre for botox and other cosmetic surgery needs, along with a dedicated yoga ashram. A private nightclub will host holograms of her pals Sting and Gerard Depardieu for impromptu duets.

Residents of Tashkent are happy that a use has finally been found for the imposing white marble edifice, considered by many to be a white elephant.

Uzbekistan: Joy as Missing Pensioner Becomes President (again…)

30 Mar

There was unbridled joy in the mahallahs of Uzbekistan as the pensioner who went awol earlier this year swept to a landslide victory in the presidential poll on 29 March.

Lord Venal was in Tashkent to observe the proceedings and here are his findings.

The plucky voters of Uzbekistan braved chilly conditions to re-affirm their allegiance to the man who has run the country for the last quarter of a century. Support was down slightly for the septuagenarian leader at 90.39 % (he got 90.76% of the vote in 2007), but overall he remains the only show in town.

His backers took to twitter to take the wind out of the neigh-sayers’ sails:

The Uzbeks sure know how to organise a good election – we observers were wined and dined at every turn during our all too short visit. Election day began early with the traditional Osh Plov, platters of the national rice and meat dish served alongside three types of tea – green, black and white (or vodka to the uninitiated).

Then it was onto a new shopping centre in Tashkent’s old town to see pensioners picking up free loaves of bread and subsidised, rationed staples such as rice and cooking oil. In the run up to the election the president remembered his fellow senior citizens with this largesse. It reminded me of the food bank Lady Venal has set up for the poor of the parish back home.

After this strenuous morning, it was time for a lengthy lunch of more Uzbek delicacies and some cheeky wines from the chateaus of the Parkent Valley. I remember snippets of a fascinating conversation with the guys from the North Korean observer mission, but not enough to repeat here unfortunately.

After lunch we visited a polling station but alas there were no voters to be seen as the turnout at this station had hit the 100% mark by lunchtime. Time flew past and before we knew it, we were off for a farewell meal after a long day of observing.

Let’s just hope Kazakhstan can match the Uzbeks for hospitality when it chooses its president on 26 April.

 

Kazakhstan: Lear or Joffrey?

27 Feb

A major obstacle to presidential succession plans in Kazakhstan was removed this week with the suicide of Rakhat Aliyev.

With Aliyev, Kazakhstan’s Public Enemy Number One, found dead in his prison cell earlier this week in Austria, the way could now be clear for the president’s eldest daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, to ascend to the throne.

While Aliyev was still on the scene there were fears that Dariga’s psycho ex-husband, convicted in Kazakhstan of plotting to overthrow the government and organising a criminal group that abducted people, could somehow sneak into power on the back of his ex-wife.

A snap presidential poll has been called for April 26 in Kazakhstan, a vote which should see incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev sweep back into power on a tide of mass popular support, but there’s one snag – the septuagenarian president, who was been running the show since 1989 in Kazakhstan, has not yet said whether he will be running.

kazaxia’s chief political commentator Gary Kafali has identified two possible scenarios should Nazarbayev decide to call it a day.

With Aliyev out of the way,  the president can hand over the reins to his daughter to safeguard the widespread interests of the Nazarbayev clan in Kazakhstan with no fears of his nemesis making an unwelcome appearance.

Kafali imagines a King Lear scenario where the leader of the nation divides his time between his three daughters with Dariga taking over the running of the country. However, Shakespeare fans will know that didn’t end well so it may not be the best for Kazakhstan.

The Joffrey scenario will see Nazarbayev by-pass his daughter and anoint his eldest grandson instead. Nurali Aliyev, son of Rakhat and Dariga, would be a guarantor of the clan’s interests, although there are fears that he may have inherited some of his father’s less pleasant genes. Game of Thrones fans will be wary of the young leader turning into a leader in the sadistic mould of Joffrey Baratheon.

When pressed, Kafali said that the most likely scenario is that president Nazarbayev will be unable to give up power and we should expect to see him back in charge come April 27.

Uzbekistan: Joy as Missing Pensioner Found

20 Feb

In line with Astana’s recent directive to independent media outlets to promote positive news, kazaxia is proud to be able some to offer some good news at long last – missing septuagenarian Islam Karimov has been located in Qarshi, Uzbekistan.

Was this missing pensioner at Mardi Gras in Brazil?

Karimov, or “Butch” to his friends, was tracked down after kazaxia released a silver alert earlier this week. He is said to be in good shape though confused as to how he ended up in this city, which is a long way from his home in Tashkent.

Butch plans to continue with his dream to be president of Uzbekistan in his 80s, emulating his hero Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Who knows, if Mugabe should step down, President Karimov could one day be the world’s oldest serving president.

 

 

Uzbekistan: Silver Alert

16 Feb

Concerns are growing in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for missing pensioner Islam Karimov. Some of his family members are worried about his whereabouts as he has not been seen in public since late January when he met new US ambassador to Uzbekistan Pamela Spratlen.

Image result for karimov

He was due to endorse his candidacy for Uzbekistan’s presidential election on 6 February but failed to show up for that appointment.

The septuagenarian presidential hopeful is known to his friends as ‘Butch’ for the role he played in overseeing the bloody massacre in Andijan, Uzbekistan in 2005. He is said to be short-tempered and prone to bouts of confusion.

Zh Suis Gulzhan

23 Jan

zsg 2-page0002

Kazaxia would like to express its support for freedom of expression in Kazakhstan in the spirit of Je suis Charlie .

Gulzhan Yergaliyeva, editor-in chief of the embattled ADAM bol magazine,was detained in Almaty this morning as she attempted to go to a public meeting with some of the magazine’s readers in Republic Square.

Yergaliyeva has been on hunger strike since 19 January in protest at a November court ruling ordering the closure of ADAM bol for engaging in alleged “extremist war propaganda“.

Other journalists from the magazine were also arrested en-route to the gathering, which attracted a handful of activists. The magazine is one of the last examples of that endangered species – the independent, opposition press, in Kazakhstan.

 

 

 

 

 

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