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Kazakhstan: Almaty Tenge Devaluation Protest in Pictures

15 Feb

Abai looks on as workers clear snow from the square in front of Republic Palace demonstrators wanted to protest on

Protestors gathered today in Almaty, Kazakhstan to protest about the 20% devaluation of the tenge on February 11. A few hundred protestors marched from the square by Republic Palace to City Hall but before the demonstrators could reach New Square, police snatch squads moved in to detain around 30 people. For more background, check out this piece on


A protestor is bundled away by the police in Almaty

A protestor is bundled away by the police in Almaty


Almaty Prosecutor tells crowd to disperse or face arrest for holding a rally without the ten day’s notice required by law – no notice is needed for a devaluation of the tenge.


A protestor is arrested and taken away by the police in Almaty


Nice shades – some KNB head honcho?


Lines of police ready for lunch after a busy day’s work

The Blair Rich Project

16 Nov

The jury is still out over the impact that Tony Blair Associates has had on Kazakhstan over the last two years. The former UK prime minister’s consultancy has been advising Astana on a variety of issues since October 2011 in a project dubbed by some observers as “The Blair Rich Project”.

While many Kazakhstan-watchers have pointed to a worsening of the human rights situation and a widespread crackdown in the country since the December 2011 Zhanaozen riots, when 15 protestors were killed, Tony’s crew has witnessed a somewhat different scene.

Using the rose-tinted spectacles supplied by Astana, Tony Blair Associates (TBA) rejected notions of a crackdown, telling the Guardian: “We simply do not agree that the situation in this regard has deteriorated.”

It seems they hadn’t spotted an opposition leader getting jailed for apparently organising the trouble in Zhanaozen, other dissenting political voices being neutered, the silencing of critical media outlets and a further scaling back of the right to free assembly.

The tw0-year contract has just finished and is supposedly up for renewal, but Lord Venal is sceptical it will be prolonged.

“Astana paid $26 million for the services of TBA and, quite frankly, were expecting a bit more Blair for their bucks,” he told Kazaxia.

Tony has only paid flying visits to Kazakhstan, deputising the work to others in his team as he globetrots around sorting out the planet’s problems.

“For that sort of money, Kazakhstan could have bought a million twitter shares (priced initially at $26 a pop), a bar of Kazakhstan chocolate for every person in the country, or around 20% of the Welsh wizard, Gareth Bale,” Lord Venal added.

Sweet Taste of Success

23 Jun

If you’re wandering in the area around Almaty’s Green Bazaar, chances are that you will notice the tantalising aroma of chocolate in the air.

A selection of delights from Rakhat

The area behind the sprawling market is home to the Rakhat confectionery factory, which offers chocoholics a sublime choice of products. It produces its signature milk chocolate bar ‘Kazakhstan’ which comes in packaging in the colours of the Kazakh flag and with a gold shanyrak – the circular opening that goes at the top of  a yurt and a symbol of Kazakhstan

Rakhat is always coming up with innovative products – recent new lines include a milk chocolate apple, available in red or green and a kazyna, or treasure chest, filled with gold -covered chocolate coins.  The apple, a symbol of Almaty, will remind  Brits of that perennial Christmas stocking-filler, Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

So, if chocolate titllates  your tastebuds, then Kazaxia recommends you get down to the shop that is attached to the factory and indulge your passion.