Kazakhstan: Boozers Mull Civil Damage Claim Over Pig Poster

19 Nov

The All Kazakhstan Union of Boozers and Imbibers (AKUBI) is mulling a moral damage claim after posters appeared on Almaty streets claiming that the consumption of alcohol turns people into pigs.

“As a muzhik I like to have a few drinks to help myself unwind. I was shocked and humiliated when I saw one of my favourite pastimes denigrated in such a fashion,” an anonymous drinker told kazaxia last night in the Golden Pug Bar and Grill, referring to the pig poster.

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“As an ardent supporter of AKUBI, I will be taking up the case with my local rep. If those people from the Kurmangazy Conservatory can get a million [tenge] each for their hurt feelings, then I feel, as a boozer, that I am entitled to similar compensation.” [Editor’s note: For more on the Kurmangazy/Pushkin gay kiss click here]

 

Kazakhstan: On Your Bike

14 Nov

Almaty’s first bike share scheme has just got off the ground, but with winter just around the corner will Almaty’s answer to London’s Boris Bikes be a hit with commuters?

Almaty Bike Share Paul Bartlett

Almaty’s answer to London’s Boris Bikes – Akhmetzhan Bikes – by the city’s only cycle path

Almaty’s mayor, Akhmetzhan Yesimov, is keen to get his fellow citizens onto two wheels. The latest move in the uphill struggle to break the dependence on the jeep sees two bike stations opening in Almaty where bikes can be rented for short trips across town.

At the moment there are 30 bikes available under the scheme but the city mayor’s office hopes to eventually open up to 200 bike stations across the city. Rentals are 150 tenge ($0.85) a day (for trips up to 30 minutes at a time) or 600 tenge ($3.35) for the week.

A cycle lane opened in the city in 2010, but since then little has been done to make cycling more attractive to the masses. Almaty’s traffic-clogged streets see few cyclists braving the perilous conditions.

With fuel shortages gripping the country this year, bikes could be a way to ease the pressure on oil-rich Kazakhstan’s scarce petrol resources.

With more junk food set to arrive in the guise of McDonalds, set to open in Kazakhstan in 2015, a more determined push on getting people onto bikes may be needed to combat the looming obesity crisis when the burger joint opens its doors.

 

 

Kazakhstan: Boozing Pigs Cause a Stir in Almaty

14 Nov

In a new bid to combat rampant alcoholism in Kazakhstan’s commercial capital, Almaty, the authorities have caused pig breeders and medical professionals to react angrily after billboards appeared likening alcohol-imbibers to pigs.

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Almaty authorities launched a public awareness campaign that sees an upright citizen metamorphose into a pig after hitting the bottle. The descent follows four stages with the final stage showing a pig lounging on an empty bottle of strong liquor.

A spokesperson for the Pavlodar International Gourmet Zavod (PIGZ), which was recently set-up to step into the breach left by Russia’s food sanctions on the EU junta, told kazaxia that it was wrong to compare pigs with alcoholism.

“Pigs are very intelligent – unlike humans they do not seek solace at the bottom of a bottle. It is wrong to slur our porcine friends with the curse of dipsomania,” commented the spokesperson.

Kazaxia’s resident medical expert, Dr Gött, also slammed the move to equate pigs and boozing.

There is a good reason why many people choose to not eat pork – pigs are very clever. We don’t eat dolphins, do we? There is no way a pig would turn to the bottle.”

Dr Gött called for the posters to depict a different animal.

I personally think that dogs are a better analogy for what happens to people who drink too much. People who drink too much get over-excited and aggressive and start shouting irrationally; behaviour patterns that are more like dogs than pigs.”

Kazakhstan: Adventures in Democracy

9 Oct

Lord Venal has been on the observation trail once again – here are his reflections from his recent trip to Kazakhstan to observe the Senate elections [Editor’s note: This was in an unofficial capacity as Lord Venal is barred from observer missions after last year’s vicious smear campaign orchestrated by the Azeri authorities]

Democracy is inching along in Kazakhstan with the free and fair elections to the country’s upper chamber, the Senate, paying testament to this.

“We have been witnesses to an open and democratic electoral process. We congratulate the people of Kazakhstan and the election organizers,” Kazakhstan’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) told Spain’s EFE news agency, reported Fox News Latino.

The ruling Nur Otan party, loyal to the Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev, swept the board gaining every seat in the new-look Senate.

Some 250 observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were present for the vote on October 1.

Those party-poopers at The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe did not send observers due to the “indirect” nature of the elections, CEC Chairman Kuandyk Turgankolov said.

The Senate consists of 47 members – 15 are appointed by President Nazarbayev and the others are elected by the lower house, the Mazhilis, with 16 places up for grabs every three years. The senators serve a six-year term.

Could not the UK learn a lesson from Kazakhstan in these matters? The House of Lords, where I sit, is an unelected body. Maybe the Queen, as Head of State, could appoint some of its members with the rest selected by a vote in the House of Commons?

Googoosha – How Dare!

17 Sep

Shocking photos of a haggard looking Gulnara Karimova grappling with a police officer have been leaked from Uzbekistan.

In the words of one of her famous songs in her guise of pop diva Googoosha, she seems to be saying ‘How Dare‘ to the cop.

Let’s hope she’s not giving her captors the ‘Round Run‘ in those nice slippers.

Karimova is the eldest daughter of President Islam Karimov. She has suffered a spectacular fall from grace spending the last seven months under house arrest in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital.

Kokpar Scandal Rocks World Nomad Games

12 Sep

The first edition of the World Nomad Games, currently being held in Kyrgyzstan, have been rocked by scandal as Kazakhstan refused to send a team to compete in kokpar, the fast and furious horseback sport akin to polo but played with a headless goat carcass.

Its absence will be felt at these games as last September Kazakhstan became the first ever Asian champions of the sport when it defeated fierce rivals Kyrgyzstan 4-2 in the final held in Kazakhstan’s snazzy capital Astana.

kazaxia took to twitter to determine why Kazakhstan hadn’t sent a team to the games in Kyrgyzstan. One observer, Edil Baisalov, noted that the Kazakhs “insist on a different set of rules” which they claim were “adopted at the Asian championship in Astana last year”.

The other countries disagreed with this version of events, Baisalov added.

Kokpar,  better known as ‘buzkashi’ in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, is not a sport traditionally hidebound by rules.  In the past kokpar games were a free-for-all that could last for hours.

Now, seeking to appeal to a wider audience and the television market, there have been suggestions that the sport be regulated with two 45-minute halves and restrictions on team sizes.

The version played in Afghanistan has been suggested as an international model with rules developed by the Afghan Olympic Federation. These rules suggest that:

For championship Buzkashi in Kabul, teams are limited to ten riders each. Five players take the field during the first 45 minutes of play; the other five compete during the second period. A field master presides over the match and has the authority to prolong the game and grant permission for a change of riders or horses. The halftime break lasts for 15 minutes.

The World Nomad Games, being held in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, by the shores of Lake Issyk Kul, brings together competitors from countries with a nomadic tradition for a six-day festival of traditional sports. The games culminate on 14 September.

Besides kokpar, the sports include horse races, wrestling on horse back, contact sports based on wrestling, eagle hunting, and the more cerebral ordo, and toguz korgool, a board game related to mankala.  For more information on these sports, check out here.

Independent Scotland to Join Russia-led Customs Union?

5 Sep

With just under a fortnight to go until Scotland goes to the polls to decide whether to leave the United Kingdom, support for the yes camp has come from a surprising source – Russia.

Sergi Lossossoff a prominent figure in the world of Russian business, told kazaxia that Scotland would find a ready ally in Russia if it were to go down the rocky road to freedom.

“As a representative of the people of the ancient Rus, I think it is a great step that Scotland is taking to free itself from the tyranny of the crypto-fascist-Banderov London pseudo state. As we saw in Crimea, when people are given their voice, free from tyranny and oppression, they want to join Russia,” Lossossoff told kazaxia.

“Scotland would be welcome in the Eurasian Economic Union. The European Union is a decadent monolith that has had its day. Russia, along with the other members, [Belarus, Kazakhstan and possibly Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Vanuatu and North Korea] would be only too glad to have as much haggis and whisky as our little Scottish brothers could supply,”he continued in reference to concerns that have been raised as to Scotland’s future in the European Union were it to vote yes.

There has been much talk about whether Scotland could retain the pound after independence. Lossossoff feels that Scotland need not worry about this as it could easily adopt the rouble to its benefit. “With the current parlous state of Russia’s currency, Scots with savings of just £16,500 [at current exchange rates] would immediately be turned into [rouble] millionaires,” he quipped.

Defence is another area that would not be an issue as Russia has unlimited supplies of ‘little green men’ who could be parachuted in at a moment’s notice to defend the territorial integrity of Scotland, according to Lossossoff, who has had meetings with his drinking buddy Captain Haddock, who is widely tipped to be Minister of Defence in any new Scottish state.

As to the question of the BBC’s role in a free Scotland, Lossossoff said that “Russia has always been a champion of a free and fair media, and unlike the biased BBC, we have a model in Russia Today that Scotland would do well to follow.”

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