For Lord Venal’s Turkmenistan election sweepstake, you’ll have to wait!

21 Oct

For Lord Venal’s Turkmenistan election sweepstake, you’ll have to wait!


The starting pistol has now been fired for Turkmenistan’s presidential election, which has been set for 12 February 2017. Lord Venal hopes soon to launch his election sweepstake, where lucky punters will be able to bet on who might be the winning candidate. However, with the race wide open at this early stage, Lord Venal implores all readers itching to place their bets to be patient for a little longer.


Let’s sum up the field so far. Three parties have already declared that they will put up candidates, the Democratic Party, the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and the Agrarian Party. The current incumbent, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, is also likely to throw his hat into the ring, possibly as an independent, possibly he will aim to be the candidate of the Democratic Party.


Yet a myriad of other parties are likely to step forward, including the Greens, the Nationalists, the Communists, the Reform Communists, the Conservatives and the Social Democrats. All are likely to hold nationwide primaries to select their candidates over the coming months, with town hall meetings eagerly awaited across Turkmenistan. Candidates and would-be candidates of all parties are likely to flood the country with tacky posters, TV ads and other gimmicks to win over potential supporters.


Lord Venal is also expecting a host of polling companies to produce timely and accurate polling data as the campaign progresses. It will be interesting to see how the TV debates between the leading candidates shape public opinion as polling day approaches.


So with the election so unpredictable, with no clear winner in sight so far – let alone candidates chosen for any of the parties likely to compete – Lord Venal is holding off on opening the betting. Do keep watching this page – you will be the first to know when you can place your bet in what promises to be the most exciting, most nail-biting election of 2017!


(Note: Lord Venal Gambling (BVI) Ltd. operates independently of Lord Venal Election Monitoring Enterprises (Cayman Islands) Ltd. Both are separate from the Kleptis group.)



Où est Googoosha?

7 Oct

Mystery continues to surround the whereabouts of Gulnara Karimova, estranged eldest daughter of the late president of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov.

Following last month’s Karexit in Uzbekistan, the rumour mill has been working overtime as to where the artist formerly known as Googoosha could be. Under house arrest in Tashkent since 2014, ‘reliable sources’ have spotted her in a variety of locations recently.

GooGoosha and Gerard

Googoosha in happier days with Russian actor Herard Depardieu

Some hold that she is in Israel, others Switzerland. Another report placed her in a shopping mall in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan with Elvis Presley and Prince.

The UK’s Daily Mail, quoting the journalists’ best friend ‘reliable sources’, has her committed to a psychiatric facility in Uzbekistan.

There are also rumours that she has resurrected her twitter persona in the form of Aфина, using the handle @zabitaya1972.

Wherever she may be, Lord Venal would love to meet up with the fallen diva. In a Proustian moment this week, his long-suffering assistant found among his effects a battered beermat from a well-known Tashkent nightclub with a loving dedication from a Gulnara. “To my mysterious and georgeous [sic] English lord,” she wrote. She added her mobile number and two kisses.


Lord Venal was instantly taken back to the heady days of 2012-3 when, on frequent business visits to Uzbekistan to advise clients on offshore banking, he kept running into the captivating blonde at various nightspots who, to be honest, turned his head. Gulnara would never say who she was, but hinted that her father had an important job and that she was a singer. Indeed, Lord Venal modestly notes that he sang love duets with her several times as the crowds watched adoringly. Sadly, he lost the selfies he took with her when he changed his mobile phone.

As Lord Venal is planning some further trips to Tashkent, he was thinking of renewing contact with the enchanting Gulnara. His assistant tried repeatedly to call the mobile number, but the recorded message says the number has not been assigned. If anyone knows how to make contact with the mysterious blonde, Lord Venal would be eternally grateful.



Venal: Brexit is a ‘Golden Opportunity’ for Uzbekistan

30 Sep

Lord Venal, in his unofficial capacity as the UK’s roving trade envoy in Central Asia, has identified Uzbekistan as a ‘golden opportunity’ for securing new markets for British manufacturing following the pro-Brexit vote in June.

‘We are now in an exciting new phase of UK-Uzbekistan relations,’ Lord Venal told kazaxia. ‘As in the UK, Uzbekistan has recently seen a change of leadership from within the ruling clique, without bothering to ask the voters.’ (Editor’s note: Uzbekistan will hold presidential elections on 4 December, no date has been set for an election in the UK yet)


Canned plov – coming to the UK soon?

‘We are now in the post-Karexit era (Editor’s note: Karexit refers to former President Islam Karimov’s recent demise) and Britain is in a unique position to fix up some exciting trade deals with new president Shavkat  Mirziyoyev.’

One area where the UK excels is in selling arms to dodgy regimes. Uzbekistan, according to Lord Venal, is always in the market for new weaponry to keep its oppressed masses under the cosh.

Shortbread finger biscuits

Classic shortbread finger biscuits on white surface

He also noted that Uzbekistan is similar to the UK as it a nation of tea drinkers. He envisages great opportunities for the UK’s shortbread manufacturers as the biscuit sector in Uzbekistan remains under-developed.

This will please leader of the opposition in the UK, Jeremy ‘Jez we can’ Corbyn, who described the buttery biscuit as his fave in an interview with Mumsnet recently.

tico tuk tuk Cambodia

Move over, black cabs

It’s not all a one-way street – Lord Venal is a big fan of Uzbekistan’s national dish plov, now available for export in cans. Could it replace Chicken Tikka Masala in the nation’s  hearts? And could we one day see Uz-Daewoo Tico Tuk Tuk’s replacing black cabs on London’s streets?

Uzbekistan: The Polyanka Pact

16 Sep

Lord Venal has received a missive from one of his sources in Tashkent revealing the outcome of a secret meeting in Uzbekistan’s capital between heir-apparent Shavkat Mirziyoyev and his long-time sidekick Rustam Azimov.

Shortly after the news broke on 28 August of President Islam Karimov’s hospitalisation, Shavkat apparently invited Rustam to Tashkent’s Polyanka restaurant for a discreet tête-à-tête.

Lord Venal’s source saw a happy looking Rustam leave the restaurant clutching a beermat, while a self-satisfied looking Shavkat dropped his to the floor as he left.

The source retrieved the beermat and found the following formula scribbled on it:

(SM x 2) = (RA=PM x 2) = SM

Our source was puzzled, but Lord Venal sniffed a pact along the lines of the infamous Granita Pact between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in the UK in the 90S.

He has interpreted the coded message to mean that Mirziyoyev will be president for two terms with Azimov as his prime minister. The reins of power will then be handed over to  the PM.

As with all these deals, there’s a catch – Mirziyoyev is widely expected to introduce a 14-year presidential term, thus allowing him to be forever known as Uzbekistan’s longest serving president after serving his two terms allowed in the constitution, beating the late Karimov by a year, who will forever be known as Uzbekistan’s first president.

By that time Azimov will be in his mid-8os – a classic case of better late then never.


The Best Exotic Marigold Presidential Lodge

9 Sep

Are you an ailing dictator, struggling to maintain your country amid failing health?

Do you fear ending up bearing the burdens of state alone and with no support?

Were you shocked by Islam Karimov’s lonely final years and death?

If so, join the growing international trend of high-end presidential lodges. These lodges gather presidents from several neighbouring countries in a cluster of excellence, with all facilities a modern dictator expects, at affordable prices. In your sunset years, combine running your fiefdom with discreet and dignified support, surrounded by fellow men who appreciate your talents and gain inspiration from you in their own work to better their nations.

You have your own accommodation, fully serviced with all appropriate staff, but can interact with your fellow-dictators in the lounges and communal areas of the facility. Swap wisdom and anecdotes of days gone by. Discuss how to tackle those pesky problems that afflict even the most accomplished of dictators. Surround yourself with a supportive network of like-minded friends.


Afternoon tea is always a relaxing part of the daily schedule….


Evenings of light fun are just a moment away….

The Best Exotic Marigold Presidential Lodge offers many advantages:

– Seclusion when you need it to tackle weighty matters of state, friends on hand for light relief from the burdens of office

– Equipped with all the latest facilities, including dedicated studio for those nightly television addresses to the nation, complete with all relevant backdrops, national flags and accoutrements

– Dedicated runway 5 kms away to fly in cardiac surgeons and other medical personnel from Moscow, Germany and elsewhere, as well as key presidential advisers like Tony Blair (group rates can be negotiated for talks with more than one resident)

– Secure accommodation in separate block for those troublesome daughters if needed

– Guaranteed discretion for the final days of passing to avoid unseemly speculation by ill-informed citizens

“This is just what the late Islam Abduganievich needed to have avoided the loneliness and indignity of his final years” – a fellow regional president.



Uzbekistan: ‘Butch’ Bites the Dust

5 Sep

News reaches kazaxia from Tashkent that Islom ‘Butch’ Karimov, who in a strange case of mistaken identity became president of Uzbekistan last year, has passed away, just a few days after his namesake Islam Karimov.

Found wandering the streets of Qarshi, Uzbekistan in February last year, Butch was whisked away to Tashkent to become president because of his remarkable likeness to missing president Islam Karimov.

‘Butch’ received his nickname for being a dead ringer of his near namesake, who was most famous for the role he played as the Butcher overseeing the bloody massacre in Andijan, Uzbekistan in 2005.

Unfortunately, Butch never got to realise his dream of emulating his hero, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, by staying in power for more than three decades but in a last request, he may live on as the ‘Eternal President’.

Earlier this week, Lord Venal received some intriguing documents detailing these last wishes. It is not clear whether the next president will act upon them.

Lord Venal was handed the documents in a Tashkent nightclub after a pleasant evening of dancing (not very expertly) and drinking (with more assurance). He was surprised at the good cheer all around, despite the drama being played out in a nearby hospital.


On the title ‘Eternal President’

The First President of the Republic of Uzbekistan is to be awarded the title of ‘Eternal President’.

The title is to exist eternally and cannot be revoked or passed to another individual.

The holiday of the ‘Eternal President’ is to be marked on the anniversary of the birth of the ‘Eternal President’. Ceremonies are to be held at the monument in the capital Tashkent and all towns across Uzbekistan.

I. Karimov


29 August 2016




The Criminal Code is to be amended with the addition of the following article:

“The attempt to remove from the lawful incumbent the title of ‘Eternal President’ simply because the holder of the title is dead

– shall be punishable with a sentence of deprivation of liberty or imprisonment for eternity, with or without eternal confiscation of property.

I. Karimov



Uzbekistan: The Endgame is Nigh

30 Aug

With confusion swirling around the fate of Uzbekistan’s long-serving president Islam Karimov, who suffered a brain haemorrhage on 27 August, succession scenarios have mushroomed across the media.

According to an Instagram post from Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, the  ailing president’s youngest daughter, on 29 August, the strongman leader, who has been at the helm of Uzbekistan since before independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, was hospitalised following the cerebral haemorrhage and was in a ‘stable’ condition. Later reports, still unconfirmed, claimed the president had died on that day at 15.35 Tashkent time. The presidential administration subsequently denied this.

This has brought into sharp focus the question of who is next in line to the throne. The frontrunners are Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Finance Minister and first deputy to Mirziyoyev, Rustam Azimov and national security head Rustam Inoyatov, according to and RFE/RL.

Mirziyoyev, 59, is considered to be a gruff hardliner, while Azimov, 57, is a relatively more urbane figure, used to dealing with the wider world. Inoyatov, 72, is more likely to be the kingmaker, unless he’s keen to play Andropov to Karimov’s Brezhnev and delay the long-term succession question.

The Karimov clan could provide a dark horse in the form of the president’s younger daughter, the aforementioned Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, or her husband Timur Tillyaev, but after the spectacular reversal of fortunes of elder daughter Gulnara Karimova, the Karimov clan’s stock may not be very high these days.

Gulnara Karimova, the artist formerly known as GooGoosha, has been under house arrest in Tashkent since early 2014. The chances of her apeing Leicester City and coming good at 5,000-1 are extremely remote.

Tashkent is predictable in its unpredictability, so the close-knit cabal of Uzbekistan’s ruling elite may well have a surprise up its collective sleeve as to who will best protect their interests.

One thing is certain, the will of the people is unlikely to play any significant role in the choice of successor.