Uzbekistan: The Golden Road to Democracy

22 Dec

Lord Venal has been in Tashkent to observe the unprecedented democratic changes taking place in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan goes to the polls today in its most vibrant and competitive election ever. Since the arch reformer Shavkat Mirziyoyev took the reins in 2016, this central Asian powerhouse has seen unprecedented reforms that have unleashed the full potential of this sleeping giant.


Voters flock to the polls in Uzbekistan

I have been fortunate to witness up close the dawning of democracy in this once dark state. Uzbekistan now has a true multi-party democracy with cheerleaders from around the globe urging it on to ever greater reform.


Lord Venal gets into the spirit of  things for the elections in Uzbekistan

I will be telling my good friend BoJo to look east as we finally exit the evil shackles of the European Union. It is the rising powers of Asia, such as Uzbekistan, who will be the partners of the future for the United Kingdom of England and Wales, not tired old Europe.


Uzbek plov to UK in post-Brexit trade deal?

Uzbekistan Turns to Gérard Depardieu to Attract Tourists

12 Nov

Looking to attract a different kind of tourist, Uzbekistan has appointed French actor Gérard Depardieu as its tourism ambassador to France, although it’s not exactly clear what kind of tourist the country hopes to attract with this move.

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Googoosha and Gerard in happier times

The veteran actor has had a colourful past. In November 2012, he was arrested in France for driving while intoxicated after he fell from his scooter. He subsequently fled France and became a citizen of Russia at Vladimir Putin’s invitation. More recently he has been accused of sexual assault and rape by a 22-year-old actress and dancer in France.

The formerly pickled thespian – Depardieu says he has stopped drinking alcohol, is no stranger to Central Asia – his long association goes back to 2012 when he recorded a duet with Gulnara Karimova, Googoosha to her friends.

At the time Googoosha, eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s first president Islam Karimov,  was at the height of her powers. This was shortly before her spectacular fall from grace when she was jailed on corruption charges. Karimova is currently languishing in prison in Uzbekistan and was last heard of in August 2019.

Non-News from Nowheresville Round-up

23 Jul

As the temperature hits the mid-30s in Almaty and remains super-scorchio across the region as a whole, the non-news generator has been working overtime in Central Asia and beyond.


Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov – not waving goodbye just yet?

On Sunday, 21 July, rumours of the untimely demise of Turkmenistan’s beloved leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, started doing the rounds on social media – Turkmen officials have denied that he’s popped his clogsdenied that he’s popped his clogs, but at the time of writing he still hadn’t been seen in public since before the rumours began…

Atambayev'den Kırgızca açıklaması

They’re coming to take me away, ha, ha….

Not to be outdone, rumours have been swirling around Kyrgyzstan that former president Almazbek Atambayev is about to be arrested after falling out with Sooronbai Jeenbekov, his protégé and now incumbent  president  – something else that has yet to come to pass.

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The UK in dire straits – please give generously…

Meanwhile, over in Britian, this piece of unbelievable news is actually true – Boris Johnson has become Prime Minister, elected by 66% of the Tory party’s 160,000 members – a fine day for democracy.

In a move that may well stun London’s political establishment, Britain’s newly-minted prime minister could make his first foreign trip to – Qazaqstan. While observers in Britain may be baffled by this move, this came as no surprise to leading circles in Nur-Sultan.

“A novice prime minister like Boris has to play a delicate role of projecting continuity with the previous regime and at the same time espousing change,” our source in Akorda told kazaxia. “So naturally he would want to seek out the world-renowned expert on this, Qasym-Jomart Toqaev.” Ironically, both have similar nicknames in their respective local media, BoJo and QoJo, the source added.


All aboard – timely tips from Qazaqstan on how to deal with demos

BoJo is likely to take advice on how to turn a coronation by a tiny circle into a broad popular mandate: a speedy general election, the deployment of seasoned international commentators to back the transition and, no doubt, the deployment of fleets of Boris buses to handle those pesky opponents.

“I hear that the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Qazaqstan, who was quick to praise the endorsement of QoJo, has arranged for many of his friends in Nur-Sultan’s elite to be ready to observe a similar public endorsement of BoJo by Britain’s grateful electorate,” the Akorda source added.

“Boris is, like QoJo, an inspired choice, and all should back him,” seasoned election observer Lord Venal told kazaxia. “I was lucky enough to meet him only once and regrettably, as the music in the nightclub was rather loud, I didn’t have the chance to talk to him. But he seemed a convivial cove. I hope to meet him again on his forthcoming visit.”

Qazaqstan: Free Bus Travel for Astana Day

5 Jul

Almaty Bus Company is proud to announce that new routes on Days of National Importance will become a permanent feature of our transport solutions for citizens in Qazaqstan’s premier city. The new routes were successfully trialled for the first time on 9 June 2019.


Almaty Bus Company: After successful experiment, new routes on Days of National Importance

“Almaty Bus Company did a fantastic job getting people to their correct destination on 9 June,” Almaty pensioner QZ Qotaev declared. “Everyone appreciated their prompt, efficient service – and it was free for the travelling public.”

Almaty Bus Company therefore advises its customers that on all future Days of National Importance (which will often coincide with elections), where many people love to gather in the streets of the city centre, some routes will have to be suspended. But they will be replaced by a team of shuttle buses, ready to take you from central city locations directly to your destination (police station or other national security facility).

Please note that while such shuttle buses will be free for all passengers, you will have to be among the lucky people to be selected to travel. The free travel on offer will, however, only be one-way.

Qazaqstan: Venal Resurfaces after “Preventative Chat”

14 Jun

Seasoned election observer Lord Venal, missing in Nur-Sultan since last Sunday, election day, has resurfaced in Almaty. He was in Nur-Sultan to observe the election but was not seen again for a few days after a heavy lunch.

Voters head to the polls in Almaty, Qazaqstan

“We were in a polling station in the morning,” he told kazaxia, “Then we went for lunch. I must have had one or two Pravda Punches too many and then felt sleepy. The next thing I recall is waking up in a sauna with a high-ranking police officer who told me he wanted a little ‘preventative chat’ about my observing.”

You can’t run away from Pravda Punch!

Also present at the ‘briefing’ were Venal’s fellow observers Wanda Ditt, from the Tax Avoidance Advisory Committee, and Bungle, an old-Etonian and Tory MP from the UK. “I was distressed to learn of the intemperate attacks on my good friend and learned parliamentarian [Bungle] because of his long-standing friendship with the people and leaders of the great nation of Qazaqstan. Although we did not go to the same school, our paths crossed later on numerous occasions, most recently over a most congenial drink where the subject of Qazaqstan’s remarkable progress was eagerly applauded,” Venal told kazaxia.

Commenting on the peaceful protests that marked election day in many cities, Lord Venal had this to say: “As for the unfortunate reports of one or two cases of rowdiness on the streets by mostly the youth of the cities, I can say I personally saw nothing untoward and I am sure the guardians of law and order acted with their usual impeccably high standards. Regrettably I will have to make mention of such unfortunate incidents in my election monitoring report, but I will stress how efficiently the law-enforcement agencies dealt with such isolated incidents, which did not mar an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable election experience for all.”

We have received this from Bungle’s solicitors:

British MP’s comments on Kazakhstan’s Presidential Election – Important Advisory Note from Shilling and Pence

Our client has been quoted in Qazaqstan’s media commenting on the free, fair and democratic presidential elections there and the isolated but unfortunate cases of unruliness by a very small minority of people on the streets of several cities.

Our client notes how frequently constituents in the part of London our client represents, who follow developments in Qazaqstan with keen interest, ask our client about the inspiring progress in the country.

Our client has asked us to make absolutely, completely and utterly clear that these remarks were motivated uniquely, solely and only on the basis of facts known to our client, a close student of the remarkable transformation of that emerging country under wise and steady leadership.

Any insinuation, implication or hint that these views are motivated by anything other than an honest assessment of the facts will attract an immediate response, not excluding the possibility of libel action in any jurisdiction, including in the English courts.

Our client has also asked us to make clear that any hospitality from Qazaqstan’s Embassy in London, not excluding visits to view live football matches in a spirit of conviviality, is accepted on the basis of politeness and is duly entered as appropriate in the House of Commons register of members’ interests.

Shilling & Pence

London, EC4





Qazaqstan Election 2019: Venal’s Preliminary Report

3 Jun

With just under a week to go until Qazaqstan goes to the polls to anoint a new president, Lord Venal, head of the Kleptis Observation Cabal (KOC), has shared his preliminary findings on the vote with kazaxia.

A selection of campaign posters in Almaty, Qazaqstan

“The motto of this election has been ‘You can’t run from the truth’ and the truth is that this is Qazaqstan’s most free and fair vote ever. There are seven, I repeat seven, candidates to choose from including a woman,” Venal told kazaxia. “This gives the voters an unprecedented choice. This truly is Qazaqstan standing on the threshold of a glorious new dawn.”

The new president getting some wise advice from some former leaders

There has even been a lively televised debate in which one of the candidates, Sadybek Tugel, railed against “Satan’s places” calling for night clubs, saunas and casino-masinos to be closed down. Lord Venal recalls someone who looked remarkably like Tugel sharing a pitcher or two of Pravda Punch with him in a Nur-Sultan sauna-cum night club a few weeks ago in a KOC sponsored event.

Sadybek Tugel in all his finery

One worry raised by the seasoned election observer is the role of the Communist People’s Party candidate, Zhambyl Akhmetbekov. The representative of the party’s ruling troika, who is hoping to build on the 1.36% of the vote he garnered in 2011, seems to have come under overt Western influence, whilst raging endlessly against the pernicious values of the West. He has fallen under the spell of cult German philosopher Carl Marks and his utopian ideas and has has taken to courting the lucrative Burger King customer-base vote.

Eat Burger King, Vote Communist…


Qazaqstan: Let’s Get Steve Bannon a Kumys Milkshake

23 May

Guess who’s visiting Almaty as a guest speaker at the Eurasian Media Forum this week? Here’s a clue…

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Good ole boy Steve looking like he’s in need of a milkshake

Yes, it’s none other than Steve Bannon, the controversial far-right rabble-rouser from America. Bannon, Donald Trump’s former chief strategist in the White House, is now trying to stir up trouble in Europe. For some reason he has been invited to take the podium at Almaty’s mediafest, run by Dariga Nazarbayeva, the Leader of the Nation’s eldest daughter.
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Steve’s mate Nigel Farage gets ‘milkshaked’ in Newcastle

To welcome Steve, we here at kazaxia suggest he try kumys, fermented mare’s milk, the local drink of choice.
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Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robibson) gets ‘milkshaked’

Is there anyone at the forum who would like to oblige and give Steve a traditional British-style milkshake welcome, as meted out to his fellow far-right cronies Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson (aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) in the UK recently?