Tag Archives: Dariga Nazarbayeva

Kazakhstan Hands Wooden Spoon to Latvia

13 Oct

Kazakhstan pulled off a sensational victory in Riga last night to condemn Latvia to last place in their UEFA 2016  European Championship qualifying group.

Islambek Kuat’s 65th-minute goal was enough to see off the Latvians and ensure that Kazakhstan edged their former Soviet Union rivals on goal difference in Group A. The win was Kazakhstan’s first in this round of qualification matches and means it avoided the wooden spoon which is now in Latvia’s hands.

The Czech Republic headed the group followed by Iceland. Turkey also qualified for the finals in France next summer as the best third-placed  team. The Netherlands could only finish fourth in the group and will not be going to the finals.

The win comes at a time when Kazakhstan’s all-powerful Nazarbayev clan are sniffing around the national football federation. President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s grandson, Aisultan Nazarbayev, made his case for the top job in football in Kazakhstan in an interview with to Sports.kz last week citing his extensive soccer experience.

Aisultan Nazarbayev, the son of the president’s eldest daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva and Rakhat Aliyev, who committed suicide  in an Austrian prison cell earlier this year while on remand facing murder and kidnapping charges.  Aliyev was a former head of Kazakhstan’s football federation so Aisultan Nazarbayev would be following in his father’s footsteps if he gets the nod for the job.


Kazakhstan: Lear or Joffrey?

27 Feb

A major obstacle to presidential succession plans in Kazakhstan was removed this week with the suicide of Rakhat Aliyev.

With Aliyev, Kazakhstan’s Public Enemy Number One, found dead in his prison cell earlier this week in Austria, the way could now be clear for the president’s eldest daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, to ascend to the throne.

While Aliyev was still on the scene there were fears that Dariga’s psycho ex-husband, convicted in Kazakhstan of plotting to overthrow the government and organising a criminal group that abducted people, could somehow sneak into power on the back of his ex-wife.

A snap presidential poll has been called for April 26 in Kazakhstan, a vote which should see incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev sweep back into power on a tide of mass popular support, but there’s one snag – the septuagenarian president, who was been running the show since 1989 in Kazakhstan, has not yet said whether he will be running.

kazaxia’s chief political commentator Gary Kafali has identified two possible scenarios should Nazarbayev decide to call it a day.

With Aliyev out of the way,  the president can hand over the reins to his daughter to safeguard the widespread interests of the Nazarbayev clan in Kazakhstan with no fears of his nemesis making an unwelcome appearance.

Kafali imagines a King Lear scenario where the leader of the nation divides his time between his three daughters with Dariga taking over the running of the country. However, Shakespeare fans will know that didn’t end well so it may not be the best for Kazakhstan.

The Joffrey scenario will see Nazarbayev by-pass his daughter and anoint his eldest grandson instead. Nurali Aliyev, son of Rakhat and Dariga, would be a guarantor of the clan’s interests, although there are fears that he may have inherited some of his father’s less pleasant genes. Game of Thrones fans will be wary of the young leader turning into a leader in the sadistic mould of Joffrey Baratheon.

When pressed, Kafali said that the most likely scenario is that president Nazarbayev will be unable to give up power and we should expect to see him back in charge come April 27.

Kazakhstan: Sparks Expected to Fly at Astana Mediafest

23 Apr

This year’s edition of the Eurasian Media Forum, to be held in Astana April 24-25, has attracted an eclectic range of guest speakers including America’s Newt Gingrich, Egypt’s  Mohamed El Baradei, Israel’s Ehud Barak, Russia’s Vladimir Pozner and Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Cemiliev.

With topics to be debated including ‘The Middle East Tinderbox’ , the ‘Ukraine Crisis: What do Ukrainian  People Expect and Fear?’ and ‘Eurasian Integration’, kazaxia is expecting some sparks to fly at this year’s forum.

Mustafa Cemiliev, an outspoken critic of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, was recently barred from visiting Russia for five years. Vladimir Pozner is known as a spokesperson for the Soviet Union during the First Cold War.

The media forum is the brainchild of Dariga Nazarbayeva, eldest daughter of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nazarbayeva recently hit the headlines for making disparaging remarks about disabled people in Kazakhstan, labelling them as ‘freaks’. The forum brings together a range of figures from across the globe and is now in its eighth incarnation.

Dariga Nazarbayeva – Queen of the Freaks

13 Dec

Whoops – President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter, Dariga, put her foot in it in a spectacular fashion on 11 December when she described disabled children as “freaks”.

Nazarbayeva suggested that teenage pregnancies could be discouraged by arranging school visits to orphanages for children with disabilities – in her strange world these “freaks”, as she refers to the unfortunate inhabitants of the orphanages, are linked to ” an unreasoned, premature sex life”.

Dariga – Queen of the Freaks?

Maybe compulsory viewing in schools of Kazakhstan’s Queen of the Freaks in action would be enough to put people off ever having kids. Dariga would be well-advised to watch Tod Browning’s 1932 classic “Freaks” to see what fate could await her if she continues to make disparaging comments about others.

Here Comes Central Asia’s Supergroup?

19 Oct

This clip of Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov revealing his talent on the guitar, spotted by EurasiaNet, got Kazaxia thinking about other musical  members of Central Asia’s ruling families and the supergroup they could create if they were to get together.

Uzbekistan’s royal family has its very own pop star in residence, Gulnara Karimova, or to use her stage name GooGoosha, eldest daughter of President Islam Karimov. She could duet with part-time opera diva, Dariga Nazarbayeva, daughter of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, while Berdy strums away in the background.

It’s not clear what Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan’s ruling families could bring to the mix. Perhaps the Kyrgyz could supply the security, with their extensive recent experience of upheaval.  Maybe Tajikistan could carry the hat around the audience with all proceeds going to the Rogun dam project.


Kazakhstan after Nazarbayev: 4. The Long Shots

5 Aug

With rumours whirling around in the last few weeks about the health of Kazakhstan’s long-time president, the focus has once again turned to succession scenarios in Astana.

Kazaxia has decided to gaze into its crystal ball and look at some of the possible frontrunners should the Leader of the Nation decide to call it a day – here’s the fourth and final instalment:

In this part Kazaxia will look at some of the contenders on the fringes of the succession battle.

Dariga Nazarbayeva, the president’s eldest daughter, was at one time considered by many observers to be a shoo-in for the top job. But following the scandal which erupted around her former husband Rakhat Aliyev in 2007, her chances have faded and the president is believed to wonder where her true loyalties lie. It’s unlikely that any sort of door would be left open for Aliyev to return so it looks like she will have to make do with her opera singing.

Karim Masimov, the current Prime Minister, is a capable politician who is well-respected for his role in steering Kazakhstan through the global financial crisis. He’s tech-savvy, as can be seen by his slick website and blog and his presence on twitter. He’s a polyglot – fluent in Kazakh, Mandarin and English.

However, there’s one big question mark over whether he could become president – there’s a widespread, albeit unconfirmed, perception that he is Uyghur, although his father is reported to be Kazakh. Unfortunately, success in politics in Kazakhstan is not always based on merit – ethnic and clan affiliations also play a significant role – and in Kazakhstan only an ethnic Kazakh can realistically hope to become president.

Our last contender for consideration is Kairat Satybaldy, Nazarbayev’s nephew. He was brought up by the president’s family after his father died. Nazarbayev is thought to be close to Satybaldy, who’s in charge of youth policy in Nur Otan, the political party that has all the seats in Kazakhstan’s lower house of parliament. He has also held a top position in the KNB, Kazakhstan’s security service.

He could be the surprise candidate that Nazarbayev has up his sleeve to confound all the Astana watchers. Kazaxia wouldn’t put it past the wily old master politician to pull such a stunt.

So there you have it, Kazaxia’s lowdown on who might succeed President Nazarbayev. As long as the President remains healthy there’s no reason why he should give up his job, so we may have a long wait to see who will follow him. If you have any suggestions as to who the successor might be, please let us know.

Kazakhstan: Almaty Jewellery Wars Hot Up

15 Jun

Chopard face off with Alsara in central Almaty

The battle of high-end jewellery designers – Aliya Nazarbayeva and Gulnara Karimova – is hotting up as Chopard, the Swiss company working with Gulnara, placed a billboard directly opposite one advertising Aliya’s Alsara brand on the junction of Abylay Khan and Kurmangazy streets in the centre of Almaty.

As reported on Kazaxia in April, the youngest daughter of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev launched her exclusive jewellery collection through the auspices of Italian company Damiani. This made her the second Central Asian president’s daughter to enter the world of jewellery design, following in the footsteps of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov’s eldest daughter, who launched her Guli collection in collaboration with Chopard in 2009.

Aliya’s posters feature her glamorous visage beaming down from the billboard at the teeming masses of motorists sitting in Almaty’s notorious traffic jams. One could not accuse Ms Nazarbayeva of modesty, as another billboard stands at the entrance to the Luxor fitness centre. She is rumoured to own the luxurious facility which is said to have been inspired by a visit to the fabled city in Egypt.

Still no word on Aliya shadowing Gulnara – also known by her stage name of Googoosha – into the world of music. Maybe she’s leaving that to her opera-singing elder sister Dariga, who has often performed on Kazakhstan’s stages and further afield, including Moscow.

Rip-Off Kazakhstan

11 May

This is the first in an occasional series of Rip-Off Kazakhstan (ROK) awards made by Kazaxia to businesses in the country offering poor value-for-money.

Congratulations to Rakhat Fitness in Almaty – the first business in Kazakhstan to receive a ROK award.

With summer just around the corner, this fitness centre has decided to introduce a 50% price hike – previously a monthly 12-visit pass cost 17,000 tenge ($117), now it’s 25,000 tenge ($172) or around $15 per swim.

That might not seem too bad, but for that you are allowed 75 minutes a session to change, shower and swim, and that’s if you’re lucky and there’s room in the pool.

The 50-metre pool is currently under repair and is closed until 22 May so wannabe swimmers will have to fight it out with the water polo teams for a small slice of the 25-metre pool.

The owners can’t be short of a bob or two – the fitness complex was formerly owned by Rakhat Aliyev,  the former husband of Dariga Nazarbayeva, eldest daughter of  President Nursultan  Nazarbayev.  It is rumoured that many of his assets were transferred to his ex-wife, although who  owns the fitness centre is unclear.

Aliyev, who is now living in exile in in Vienna, Austria, was sentenced in absentia  to a 20-year prison term after being found guilty of running a crime ring, abduction, theft and extortion in 2008. In the same year he was sentenced to another 2o years by a  secret military court for

attempting to forcibly seize power, illegally receiving and divulging state secrets, running an organized crime group, theft and illegal possession of firearms, theft of state property and abuse of power

Aliyev was famed in Kazakhstan as a ruthless money-grabber and is seems his legacy lives on with the current owners of Rakhat Fitness continuing to coin it in.