Tag Archives: Almaty

Kazakhstan: On Your Bike

14 Nov

Almaty’s first bike share scheme has just got off the ground, but with winter just around the corner will Almaty’s answer to London’s Boris Bikes be a hit with commuters?

Almaty Bike Share Paul Bartlett

Almaty’s answer to London’s Boris Bikes – Akhmetzhan Bikes – by the city’s only cycle path

Almaty’s mayor, Akhmetzhan Yesimov, is keen to get his fellow citizens onto two wheels. The latest move in the uphill struggle to break the dependence on the jeep sees two bike stations opening in Almaty where bikes can be rented for short trips across town.

At the moment there are 30 bikes available under the scheme but the city mayor’s office hopes to eventually open up to 200 bike stations across the city. Rentals are 150 tenge ($0.85) a day (for trips up to 30 minutes at a time) or 600 tenge ($3.35) for the week.

A cycle lane opened in the city in 2010, but since then little has been done to make cycling more attractive to the masses. Almaty’s traffic-clogged streets see few cyclists braving the perilous conditions.

With fuel shortages gripping the country this year, bikes could be a way to ease the pressure on oil-rich Kazakhstan’s scarce petrol resources.

With more junk food set to arrive in the guise of McDonalds, set to open in Kazakhstan in 2015, a more determined push on getting people onto bikes may be needed to combat the looming obesity crisis when the burger joint opens its doors.

 

 

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Kazakhstan: Boozing Pigs Cause a Stir in Almaty

14 Nov

In a new bid to combat rampant alcoholism in Kazakhstan’s commercial capital, Almaty, the authorities have caused pig breeders and medical professionals to react angrily after billboards appeared likening alcohol-imbibers to pigs.

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Almaty authorities launched a public awareness campaign that sees an upright citizen metamorphose into a pig after hitting the bottle. The descent follows four stages with the final stage showing a pig lounging on an empty bottle of strong liquor.

A spokesperson for the Pavlodar International Gourmet Zavod (PIGZ), which was recently set-up to step into the breach left by Russia’s food sanctions on the EU junta, told kazaxia that it was wrong to compare pigs with alcoholism.

“Pigs are very intelligent – unlike humans they do not seek solace at the bottom of a bottle. It is wrong to slur our porcine friends with the curse of dipsomania,” commented the spokesperson.

Kazaxia’s resident medical expert, Dr Gött, also slammed the move to equate pigs and boozing.

There is a good reason why many people choose to not eat pork – pigs are very clever. We don’t eat dolphins, do we? There is no way a pig would turn to the bottle.”

Dr Gött called for the posters to depict a different animal.

I personally think that dogs are a better analogy for what happens to people who drink too much. People who drink too much get over-excited and aggressive and start shouting irrationally; behaviour patterns that are more like dogs than pigs.”

Kazakhstan: Village People Target Marriage

21 May

On a rising tide of intolerance in Kazakhstan, an anti-gay splinter group calling itself Aulbaylar (Village People), representing traditional Kazakhstani rural values, has threatened to target marriage.

“The vast majority of gays and lesbians were brought up in the traditional nuclear family environment so we plan to build walls around zags [registry office] buildings and put a stop to this pernicious institution of marriage,” a spokesperson for Aulbaylar told kazxaia.

The spokesperson pointed out that conventional marriages are by far the main contributor to rising numbers of gay and lesbian people on planet earth.

This latest threatened wall-erection comes a week after a group built a wall in front of a gay club in the commercial capital to protest same-sex marriage – a strange thing to do as same-sex weddings do not exist in Kazakhstan.

Kazaxia asked Doctor Gött of The Gött Institute of Sexology to verify these claims about the link between homosexuality and marriage.

Statistics prove that you are far more likely to be gay or lesbian if brought up by a heterosexual married couple rather than a same-sex one. The arguments about gay adoption and same-sex marriage simply don’t wash,” Gött told kazaxia by email.

Kazakhstan: Nauryz Under Threat?

21 Mar

As Kazakhstan prepares to celebrate Nauryz, fears are growing  that this year could be the last time that the festival is celebrated as more details of Project Verny, the sinister plot to annex the country, are revealed.

A spokesperson for Project Verny told kazaxia that “Nauryz does not conform to the cultures and traditions of ethnic Russians living in Central Asia. When the region is incorporated into the Central Asian Federal District, the festival will be replaced by  a more Russia-focused celebration”.

Nauryz, the spring equinox celebration in Kazakhstan, is celebrated on March 22 and marks the start of the new year. The holiday was banned in Soviet times and was only revived in the 1990s after the Soviet yoke was thrown off.

After the annexation of Crimea by a Russian-backed goblin army, Kazakhstan could be next on the list. Following annexation, nauryz could be replaced with an Easter-themed holiday for this Muslim-majority region, a celebration of Lenin’s birth or a commemoration of the day Vladimir Zhirinovsky became a member of the komsomol in his native Alma-ata, present-day Almaty.

[Editor’s note: Zhirinovsky is being mooted as the de-facto leader of the proposed Central Asian Federal District. The capital of the region will be Almaty, reverting to its one-time name of Verny].

Kazakhstan: Project Verny Unmasked

10 Mar

Project Verny, the sinister operation that may see Kazakhstan and other Central Asian states being annexed by the Russian Federation, is gaining momentum after secret meetings in Moscow last week.

Russian nationalist troublemaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky started the Project Verny ball rolling on February 23 when he called for called for the establishment of Russia’s “Central Asian Federal Region,” with “Verny” – the Russian Tsarist-colonial era name of Almaty, as its capital.

Following Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, a part of the sovereign territory of Ukraine, the initiative has picked up speed with incumbent Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev summoned to the Kremlin on March 5 to discuss the project with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

It is believed that President Nazarbayev will be allowed to stay on as a figurehead president, with Zhirinovsky, who was born and raised in Alma-ata, the Soviet-colonial era name of Almaty, pulling the strings. This role is a reward for Zhirinovsky’s decades-long service as a faithful lackey to the Kremlin.

Karaganda in central Kazakhstan could be used as the transit point for Russia’s bully boys. Local self defence units and whip-toting Cossack thugs can be flown into the city via a recently-initiated Aeroflot flight from Moscow. Karaganda has a sizeable Russian-speaking population and is just three-hours journey for Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.

The catalyst for flying in local self-defence forces could come from a bizarre incident involving a pensioner and a lift in Astana. Olga Matvienko, a 74 year-old from Astana, told kazaxia that she was left befuddled after riding in a Kazakh-speaking lift recently.

The lift’s automated voice read out numbers such as “bir,” “tort” and “besh”, leaving the life-long resident of Kazakhstan, who has no knowledge of the Kazakh language, stranded as she tried to find the third floor.

“This voice kept on saying “tort” [cake in Russian] and I was very confused,” Matvienko told kazaxia. “I implore Vladimir Ilyich to protect my rights as a Russian-speaker in Tselinograd.”

[Editor’s note: the pensioner seems to have muddled up her Vladimirs; she probably means Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] here rather than Vladimir Ilyich [Lenin]. Also, no-one appears to have informed her that Tselinograd – the Soviet-colonial era name – is now known as Astana].

Could this strange case be the casus belli that Vladimir Vladimirovich and Vladimir Wolfovich [Zhirinovsky] have been waiting for to grab  land in what they see as their Central Asian backyard?

Kazakhstan: Almaty Tenge Devaluation Protest in Pictures

15 Feb
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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 EurasiaNet.org.

 

A protestor is bundled away by the police in Almaty

A protestor is bundled away by the police in Almaty

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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.

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

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Nice shades – some KNB head honcho?

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

Alga Shaky Kangaroos!

1 Oct

Kazakhstan’s Shakhter Karagandy, better known to some UK supporters as the Shaky Kangaroos, is set to make its home debut in the Europa League this Thursday with the visit of Israel’s Maccabi Haifa to the Astana Arena, where Shakhter are playing its home legs. It is the first time a team from Kazakhstan has reached the group stages of Europe’s second tier contest.

Kazaxia is predicting a close run thing with both clubs losing their openers in Group L, with Shakhter losing 2-1 to Greece’s PAOK and Maccabi going down 1-0 at home to Holland’s AZ Alkmaar.

According to Lord Venal, the result will hinge on whether or not Shakhter will be allowed to sacrifice a sheep before the match. It was prevented from doing this before its second leg tie with Scotland’s Glasgow Celtic and subsequently lost 3-0 and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

The match has sparked a lot of interest in Kazakhstan with some fans even prepared to travel overnight by bus from the business hub of Almaty to the capital Astana.

For 20,000 tenge ($130) the bus will take the fans from Almaty’s Central Stadium to the Astana Arena with guaranteed match tickets, before making the 12-hour or so journey back down south. Kazaxia hopes that the trip will be worth it for these die hard fans.