Kazakhstan: Praise Heaped on Leader’s Hagiographer

5 Jun

Tory jailbird turned hagiographic biographer, Jonathan Aitken, has received a glowing review for his latest masterpiece Kazakhstan Surprises and Stereotypes from UK academic Andrew Massey.

Massey, a Professor of Politics at the University of Exeter, was full of praise for the old lag’s lavish take on Kazakhstan’s twenty years of independence.

It’s surprising that an academic who specialises in politics seems to have taken Aitken’s line without question on last year’s presidential election which saw the Leader of the Nation romp home against very tame opposition

Indeed, when in 2010-2011 the old Soviet era bureaucrats engineered a referendum to extend the President’s term of office by ten years, Nazerbayev [as received] himself simply called an early Presidential election instead and declared anyone could run against him. There were three other candidates and the incumbent won with over 95% of the vote.

“Anyone could run against him” ??? Maybe Massey’s remit doesn’t spread as far as Kazakh politics. Whatever next – that Kazakhstan has a multi-party democracy? Pull the other one!

Massey also marvelled at Aitken’s unprecedented access to the movers and shakers of Kazakhstan

He visited a large range of institutions and interviewed people at all levels, including opposition leaders, when he could contact them.

Does the “when he could contact them” refer to when the opposition leaders were not sitting behind bars for exercising their right to free assembly?

Maybe the University of Exeter is angling for a piece of the Nazarbayev University action, and such gullibility on the part of its academics will surely help that process along.

Massey’s geography  also leaves a lot to be desired

The last twenty years have seen the birth of a new nation, throwing off the fetters of colonialism and seeking to chart a confident path squeezed between the Russian North, the Chinese East, the barbarous totalitarian regimes to the South and a resurgent Islamic west.

I’m sure Kyrgyzstan will not be pleased to be described as a ” barbarous totalitarian regime”,  and the resurgent Islamic west remains a mystery – could he mean Turkmenistan?

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