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Astana Turns 20

10 Jul

10 July 2018

kazaxia is just back from a trip to the capital, Astana, which celebrated its 20th birthday last Friday, coincidentally the same day as President Nursultan Nazarbyev turned 78.

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To mark this momentous occasion, the good burghers of Qazaqstan kindly sent presents to Astana such as a fish-shaped bridge and a botanical garden, while the city also received an international financial centre, soon to be located on the premises of EXPO 2017.

 

 

 

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POTUS to Face no Charges over Qazaq Flag-gate

10 May

9 May 2018

US President Donald Trump is to face no charges over an incident when he wrapped himself in the Qazaq flag during President Nazarbayev’s visit to the White House in January.

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Let’s make Qazaqstan great!

The decision came as part of a general amnesty for 9 May – the day that commemorates the cessation of hostilities in World War 2 for former Soviet Union countries.

Abusing the state flag usually carries a hefty sentence in Qazaqstan, which operates a strict zero tolerance policy, but due to President Drumpf’s diminished responsibility, it was decided no further action would be taken at this moment in time.

Lady Fudge, a prominent member of Lord Venal’s legal team, told kazaxia that taking legal action would have created problems, especially in the light of arch-rival Uzbekistan sending a high-level delegation headed by President Mirziyoyev to the White House later this month.

“In Qazaqstan once charges are pressed you are de facto considered guilty until proven guilty so if the case involving POTUS had made it to court, it would almost certainly have ended in a conviction,” Lady Fudge said.

(Editor’s note: the acquittal rate in Qazaqstan hovers around 1%)

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!

 

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.

Central Asia: Breaking the 100% Barrier

17 Feb

Presidents in Central Asia have been striving over the past 25 years to break through the mythical 100% of the popular vote threshold in elections. Once believed to be mathematically impossible, experts now think that with advances in technology the day may soon come when politicians can exceed 100% of the vote.

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Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov romped to victory once again with 97.69% of the vote

“As we have seen in recent elections in Central Asia, the incumbents are getting ever closer to the magical figure of 100%. Most recently, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov picked up 97.69% of the vote in Turkmenistan’s elections, held on 12 February,” Lord Venal, a seasoned Central Asian election observer told kazaxia.

“And this was bettered in Kazakhstan in 2015 when President Nursultan Nazarbayev got 97.75%. So, yes, we could soon see the barrier being broken.”

Advances in fixing the vote has meant that scoring more than 100% should not be a problem in the future.

“Ballot stuffing, vote stealing, carousel voting – we’ve all seen these methods used over the years and these methods are becoming more sophisticated. Why not stuff in more votes than there are registered voters, it’s entirely possible,” Gary Kefali, a politics guru told kazaxia.

However, time may be against Nazarbayev – at 76 he may not have too many more chances at growing his vote beyond 98%. Berdimuhamedov, by contrast, is a relative youngster at only 59 and so he could have many more goes at reaching the Holy Grail of electoral success.

Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan’s incumbents offer the best hopes of breaching 100%. Relative newcomer, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan picked up 88.61% in 2016.  Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon grabbed only 83.92% of the vote in 2013. In Kyrgyzstan, President Almazbek Atambaev is a long way off as he got a measly 63.2% in 2011, and he won’t be running again anyway.

“President Nazarbayev should be up for election [in 2020?] before President Berdimuhamedov, and I foresee officials doing their utmost to make him the first leader ever to exceed 100% of the popular vote,” Venal concluded.

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.”