Tag Archives: Beket-Ata

Farewell Zhanaozen?

1 Nov

At the height of Stalin’s purges figures that had fallen foul of the authorities were routinely airbrushed from photos in the archives. Now it looks like Kazakhstan is preparing to take its own airbrush and erase the troubled oil-city of Zhanaozen from the map.

RFE/RL reports proposals to rename the city after Beket-Ata, a famed, locally-born sufi mystic from the eighteenth century. The proposals were said to have been made at a meeting of Mangystau Region’s Council of Elders on 27 October.

The move comes hot on the heels of the show trials that saw Kazakh opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov get sent down for seven years for fomenting the violence that erupted last December in Zhanaozen that, according to official statistics, left 15 dead.

The Kazakh authorities must be hoping with the removal of the pesky name  from the archives it can finally move on from this black mark on its post-independence story and the ghosts of Zhanaozen can be consigned to the dustbin of history.