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When Nureke meets Donny

16 Jan

16 January 2018

Later today Qazaqstan’s Leader of the Nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is due to meet America’s novice president Donald Drumpf in Washington.

In this opinionated piece, kazaxia speculates on what may pass in this meeting between one of the world’s longest serving non-royal heads of state and the orange haired golfer who has enjoyed a gaffe-strewn first year in the White House.

Nazarbayev Trump

(image borrowed from

What advice can the world’s fourth longest-serving leader give to the newbie, whose forebears left Germany when it was quite a shithole?

kazaxia has identified three areas for advice:


President Drumpf’s first year has been marred by a stormy relationship with the media, with many a foul-mouthed outburst on Twitter coming out of Donny’s Mar a Lago golf resort in the middle of the night.

Qazaqstan has reined in its pesky media by forcing outlets, such as Respublika, to close or encouraging owners to sell their outlets, such as Svoboda Slova, to more compliant, pro-goverment owners.


Donny’s campaign to become president saw calls of ‘Lock her up’ directed at his main rival Hillary Clinton. This method has proved a most effective one in Qazaqstan with the authorities throwing many opponents, such as Vladimir Kozlov, behind bars.


2018 got off to a bad start for the White House with Micheal Wolff’s ‘explosive’ exposé of the Drumpf presidency – ‘Fire and Fury’. To counteract this ‘fake news’ account of the day-to-day workings of the regime, Don should consider using Elbasi’s personal hagiographer, ex-jailbird Jonathan Aitken, who can be guaranteed to give a glowing account of life in the White House.

It looks like these guys’ll get on like a house on fire!


Lord Venal: “I’m no Wolff in Ermine Clothing”

10 Jan

10 January 2018

Lord Venal has expressed his distress at the abrupt cancellation by the presidential administration of his pioneering project of fly-on-the-wall observation of the workings of the administration and publication of a book. Akorda had gained wide recognition for its inspiring move to allow the populace a glimpse into the inner workings of the smooth machine that runs Kazakhstan so efficiently. However, critics claim Akorda’s abrupt abandonment of the project is fall-out from US President Donald Trump’s unhappy experiences over Michael Wolff’s controversial book “Fire and Fury”.


What might have been…

Lord Venal dismisses any such comparison with his ill-fated US colleague. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” the good Lord told Kazaxia, apparently close to tears. “I’m no Wolff in Ermine Clothing.” He said he had stepped in to pen the volume when his good friend, former jailbird Jonathan Aitken, had proved overburdened, being only half-way through his biography of the veteran inspirational president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang.

“I’ve had the privilege of attending Akorda only twice – and the cocktails and company were quite congenial,” Lord Venal noted. “I’m saddened that my latest project has ended like this.”

Fathers and Daughters

23 Mar

Ivanka Trump’s recent move into an office in the West Wing, despite her earlier protestations that she would not be taking a role in Daddy’s administration, has brought to mind another high-profile presidential daughter of recent times, Uzbekistan’s Gulnara Karimova.


Fathers and Daughters: Islam Karimov, Donald Trump, Gulnara Karimova and Ivanka Trump (photo borrowed from a tweet via @AmbKennedy_ret)

In American politics, there is little precedent for a president’s daughter taking on an advisory position in the White House. Maybe it is fitting to look at the rise and subsequent fate of the daughter of Uzbekistan’s late president Islam Karimov.

Gulnara Karimova, also known as GooGoosha, was once a high-flyer in Uzbekistan, dabbling in telecoms, show-business, high fashion, charity and construction – some even spoke of her as being next-in-line to the throne, but she suffered a spectacular fall from grace in March 2014 when she was placed under house arrest in Tashkent following a huge corruption scandal. Little has been heard of her since.

Keeping this in mind, Ivanka had better make sure she doesn’t get the wrong side of Daddy Trump, who is said to model himself on Karimov, the strongman president who ruled Uzbekistan for 25 years until his demise in September 2016.

Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is said to be modelled on Karimov’s “O’zbekiston kelajagi buyuk davlat” (Uzbekistan, the state with a great future).

These two cantankerous old guys both share a hatred of the free press, are prone to making bizarre off the cuff remarks, bear grudges indefinitely and are fiercely opposed to what they see as Islamic extremism.

Ivanka should be mindful of GooGoosha’s fate, or else she may find herself locked up in a shed in the White House grounds.

Is a Trump-style Upset on the Cards in Uzbekistan?

2 Dec

2016 has been a year of surprises in the political sphere, and could we be about to see another shock as Uzbekistan goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a successor to its late president Islam Karimov?

As the year comes to a close, kazaxia’s politics guru, Gary Kefali, has been in Tashkent to gauge the mood and he’s found some astounding evidence that another upset could be on the cards.


Repairing the presidency in Uzbekistan via a four horse race

While all the experts are predicting a walkover for former prime minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who is acting president, Kefali’s  straw poll of people he’s bumped into indicates a victory for dark horse candidate, Khatamjon Ketmonov, despite all other signs pointing to red-hot favourite Mirziyoyev.

It would be no surprise if this happened – the year of the monkey has already delivered many shocks – its first surprise was in March when Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, was returned to power with 98% of the popular vote – he’d been widely tipped to get 97%. Then in June, the UK voted to leave the EU, a move that the pollsters and pundits missed.

Fast forward to the USA in November and the cheeky monkey had another trick up its sleeve as Donald Trump lost out to Hilary Clinton in terms of votes cast but still won the presidency, an upset hastened by America’s arcane electoral college system. Again, the pollsters and pundits called it wrong giving Trump little chance of victory.

Lord Venal, who is in Tashkent as an unofficial election observer, has been gauging the mood in the nightclubs of Tashkent – Lord Venal’s impeccable source for keeping his finger on the pulse (literally at times) – is showing an increasing likelihood of a Trump-style upset in Uzbekistan’s 4 December presidential poll.

Lord Venal has heard repeated whingeing about an out-of-touch, self-serving political elite, intent on amassing ever-greater wealth at the expense of the hard-working masses. They have seen their standard of living fall relentlessly as the rich get richer. The elite simply don’t understand the ordinary guy – and even show contempt for him, is the constant refrain. The elite is backed by the Mainstream Media (known here too as the MSM), which relentlessly backs its own.

Calls are growing to “drain the swamp” in Tashkent’s government district. Proposals are increasing heard to build a wall on the border with Kyrgyzstan to keep illegal migrants out. Some have even gone as far as to call to lock up some of the leading candidates.

Lord Venal points out that few correctly predicted that Brexit would triumph in Britain, let alone that Donald Trump could prevail in the US over a tried and tested candidate with years of political and government experience. But if the word in the Tashkent nightclubs can be believed, a similar upset in Uzbekistan is not out of the question.

(Lord Venal adopts a policy of strict neutrality in all elections he monitors. Any hospitality offered by governments plays no role in any assessment he issues. A careful reading of his conclusions on earlier elections will show no influence from visits to restaurants, casinos and nightclubs, or gifts of carpets, caviar or jewellery designed by presidential daughters.)