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Qazaqstan: The Cult Lives on!

1 Dec

1 December 2017

The cult of Nursultan Nazarbayev is alive and well in Qazaqstan as a main thoroughfare in Almaty is renamed after the septuagenarian leader in honour of his 26 years on the throne.

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One of the main shrines of the Nazarbayev cult in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Long rumoured to be the target of a name change, the decision to rename Almaty’s Furmanov Street as Nazarbayev Street was taken on 30 November, on the eve of the public holiday First President’s Day.

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President Nazarbayev gazes down on Nazarbayev Street, Almaty

It makes for a marvellous present to the people of the former capital and puts to rest rumours that the cult was beginning to lose momentum – it has been a few months since Astana airport was renamed Nursultan Nazarbayev International.

The capital, which may itself one day be renamed after the Leader of the Nation,  also has Nazarbayev University with many of the university’s students having attended the nationwide chain of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools – how long before we see Nazarbayev kindergartens, dating agencies, wedding palaces and fertility clinics, kazaxia wonders!

 

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Qoqs’etay’: Shock Arrest of Deaf Pensioner

25 Nov

KNB agents arrested an 87-year-old man for launching wild celebrations this week in his home village near Kokshetau. The unnamed man – who is deaf in both ears – had hung banners from his balcony celebrating the ousting of the president and the dawn of democracy. He had then struggled to the local shop to buy vodka for celebrations.

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Jubilation as President Mugabe steps down

“It’s time for all of us to celebrate the ousting of the dictator after so many decades!” the old man had shouted to bewildered fellow-shoppers, the saleswoman told local TV. “He was also muttering things like ‘the only president since independence’, ‘he locked up anyone who disagreed with him’ and ‘he idiotically even named a university after himself’.” The man then invited all his neighbours to the impromptu party.

“I don’t understand what’s happened,” the man’s elderly wife said, clearly distressed. “All I did was tell him that Zimbabwe’s veteran president Robert Mugabe had been forced to step down. I wasn’t sure he even understood me very well. He’s quite deaf.”

Qazaqstan:Grabbing Brexit by the Horns

24 Nov

24 November 2017

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov popped into London earlier this week to touch base with his UK counterpart Boris Johnson, inventor of the bicycle.

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When Boris met Kairat…

The UK’s foreign secretary was upbeat about the growing trade links between Britain and oil rich Kazakhstan.

“Per capita, Qazaqstanis suck more Fisherman’s Friends than any other Central Asians,” Johnson gloated.

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Marmite sales grew by a whopping 50% in Qazaqstan in 2016

Trade has been growing steadily between the two nations, with shortbread and Marmite leading the way – sales of the latter increased 50% in Kazakhstan last year, up from 10 jars in 2015 to 15 in 2016.

Astana is keen to make the most of the golden opportunity of Brexit that will see the UK crash out of the EU in just over a year.

“The future has never been brighter for trade with emerging giants such as Qazaqstan,” a spokesperson from the think tank Free United Kingdom in Transit (Fukit) told kazaxia.

 

 

Qazaqstan: Elbasi Gunning for Top 3 Spot

16 Nov

16 November 2017

Astana has been keeping a close eye on events in Zimbabwe with the Leader of the Nation set to become the world’s 4th longest serving leader if Robert Mugabe is forced out of office following Zimbabwe’s coup that was not a coup.

It’s been a momentous year for President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled independent Qazaqstan for coming on 26 years – in September he crept into the top 5 of longest serving (non-royal) world leaders when Angola’s José Eduardo dos Santos stepped down after 28 years in office.
If Mugabe goes, then Elbasi will be in fourth spot – behind only Iran’s Ali Khameni, 36 years in the top job, Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, 38 years at the helm and the current longest serving Head of State, Cameroon’s Paul Biya, who has been running the show in this central African country for more than 42 years.

Qazaqstan Latyn A’lipbi’ine Qol Qoiydi

27 Oct

Qazahi’a’ is pleased to announce that after many minutes of public consultation, President Nazarbayev has decided in his wisdom that Qazaqstan’s Latin alphabet will look like this:

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The idea behind the switch from Cyrillic to Latin for the Qazaq language was motivated by a desire to make modern technology more user-friendly for Qazaqs. The Cyrillic alphabet currently uses 42 characters, making it awkward to use on tech devices as it uses up all the keyboard including the space usually used for numbers.

The president’s solution is a slimmed-down 32 letter alphabet using ‘ to modify letters so, for instance, ‘ch’ (a sound imported from Russian) becomes ‘c” and ‘sh’ becomes ‘s”.

Here at Qazahi’a’  we’re not convinced that apostrophes are the way forward, but who cares about that – it’s all been decided, as usual, from the top down.

Kazakhstan: EXPO 2017 Hits and Misses

11 Sep

11 September 2017

With Astana’s EXPO 2017 done and dusted, kazaxia is having a look at some of the hits and misses at Kazakhstan’s window to the world, which was on the theme of Future Energy.

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Crowds heading to Nur-Alem aka the Death Star

Top prize, of course, goes to Kazakhstan’s pavilion Nur-Alem, unflatteringly dubbed the Death Star by Foreign Policy. This was the biggest draw of the event with crowds queuing for hours to check out the eight floors of interactive displays on the green energy theme.

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Queueing to enter Nur-Alem at EXPO 2017

kazaxia’s particular favourite was the pedal-powered  race which saw two teams face off to pedal as fast as they could and generate energy.

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Pedal power face off in Nur-Alem

Special mention goes to Uzbekistan, which fully embraced the Future Energy concept with its Chevrolet (formerly Uz-Daewoo) Matiz adapted to run on a hydrogen-powered fuel cell.

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Uzbekistan’s fuel-cell powered Matiz

Turkmenistan seemed more intent on pushing President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov’s books and the upcoming Asian indoor martial arts fest in Ashgabat.

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A warm welcome to Turkmenistan’s pavilion

Georgia’s pavilion predictably focused on wine production, ignoring the Future Energy message, but the kazaxia special prize was reserved for Russia  with its novel take on the theme – it proposed using nuclear-powered ice breakers to crash through the ice cap to get at the fossil fuel deposits lurking in the depths of the Arctic Ocean.

The EXPO circus now moves on to the UAE leaving Astana with the task of transforming the site into a regional financial centre. Nur-Alem will remain as a museum for the general public to keep riffing on the green energy vibe.

Ashgabat Blues Over Dictatorland

7 Apr

We have received the following missive from an acquaintance of Lord Venal, who recently had cause to be in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat.

Somewhat disappointed by the closing of all nightclubs at an unearthly early hour, he was gratified to receive a personal invitation from President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to drop by at one of his elegant palaces. “After a few drinks, His Excellency pulled out his guitar and treated me and the young ladies present to some of his favourite songs, all written by himself! Knowing I’m from distant Albion, we then settled down to watch the latest BBC production, Dictatorland, which His Excellency enjoyed, but only up to a point. Knowing that a friend from my (rather minor) public school works in the upper echelons of the BBC, he immediately dashed off a letter for me to pass on, which I reproduce below.”

To Director of BBC

London

England

Dear esteemed Sir!

I watched your fine show Dictatorland (thanks to excellent Hola!!) which show success in fellow region leaders in important task keeping order and maintaining popular support and stability in country Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Belarus. You know these leaders follow me in my example how to keep good order on streets, even if in some way they act very primitive, like dictator of tinpot. We here in Turkmenistan famous not needing to shoot people on street like you showed in Kazakhstan, or beating people. We keep order by kindness and goodness of all police officers and lofty wisdom of president (myself).

So why then BBC not ask to come to Turkmenistan? We do not understand this incomprehensible decision. You only need to address yourself to me I arrange everything for you. See nice things, meet nice people. I let you interview me (but note you don’t ask questions, just stand up and write down everything I say in little notebook). You make good programme very popular around world and give glory to my country.

I look forward I hear from you with offer of coming to Turkmenistan.

Gurbanguly

(President)