Rip-Off Kazakhstan

11 May

This is the first in an occasional series of Rip-Off Kazakhstan (ROK) awards made by Kazaxia to businesses in the country offering poor value-for-money.

Congratulations to Rakhat Fitness in Almaty – the first business in Kazakhstan to receive a ROK award.

With summer just around the corner, this fitness centre has decided to introduce a 50% price hike – previously a monthly 12-visit pass cost 17,000 tenge ($117), now it’s 25,000 tenge ($172) or around $15 per swim.

That might not seem too bad, but for that you are allowed 75 minutes a session to change, shower and swim, and that’s if you’re lucky and there’s room in the pool.

The 50-metre pool is currently under repair and is closed until 22 May so wannabe swimmers will have to fight it out with the water polo teams for a small slice of the 25-metre pool.

The owners can’t be short of a bob or two – the fitness complex was formerly owned by Rakhat Aliyev,  the former husband of Dariga Nazarbayeva, eldest daughter of  President Nursultan  Nazarbayev.  It is rumoured that many of his assets were transferred to his ex-wife, although who  owns the fitness centre is unclear.

Aliyev, who is now living in exile in in Vienna, Austria, was sentenced in absentia  to a 20-year prison term after being found guilty of running a crime ring, abduction, theft and extortion in 2008. In the same year he was sentenced to another 2o years by a  secret military court for

attempting to forcibly seize power, illegally receiving and divulging state secrets, running an organized crime group, theft and illegal possession of firearms, theft of state property and abuse of power

Aliyev was famed in Kazakhstan as a ruthless money-grabber and is seems his legacy lives on with the current owners of Rakhat Fitness continuing to coin it in.

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One Response to “Rip-Off Kazakhstan”

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  1. Free Skating in Almaty, Rok | Kazaxia - November 18, 2016

    […] in 2011 this very blog berated Kazakhstan for being a rip-off, but now we’ve been forced to reassess that opinion as free skating […]

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