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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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Castro Provokes Central Asian Personality Cult Crisis

11 Dec

In its first move, the Association of Traditional Rulers has condemned the
late Cuban leader Fidel Castro for “failing to take seriously his
responsibilities as leader, in death as in life”.

The newly-formed Association unites Central Asia’s presidents – Gurbanguly
Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan, Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, Emomali
Rahmon of Tajikistan and Almazbek Atambayev of Kyrgyzstan, together with
candidate member Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan.

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Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev immortalised in an Almaty park

The Association pointed with regret to remarks at Fidel Castro’s funeral by
his brother and current leader Raul Castro that no monuments, institutions
or streets would be named after the late leader. Nor would statues and busts
be erected in his honour.

“The leader of the revolution strongly opposed any manifestation of cult of
personality,” said Raul Castro.

“The Association upholds the clear duty of all responsible leaders to accept
the burdens of office that history has thrust upon them,” a brief statement
from the Association declared. “Fidel Castro – in his dying wish – has
betrayed that trust.”

The Association insisted that a presidential personality “was not the
property of one lone individual, but belongs to the entire nation,
encapsulating, defining and leading that nation’s very essence, for all
eternity”. It termed any rejection of that lofty responsibility as
“selfishness”.

Central Asia’s leaders have graciously taken on themselves the burden of
having streets, towns or universities named after them, the Association
pointed out, and allowing statues of themselves or their ancestors to
inspire their populations in visible locations. They have also acceded to
popular requests to have portraits of themselves in schools, offices and
other locations.

The Association does however credit the late Cuban leader with adhering to
at least one of the standards of traditional rulers. “Fidel Castro did not
absolve himself of the responsibility to ensure that his close relatives –
and his mistresses – also selflessly took on the burdens of senior
government positions.”