Tag Archives: FT

Qazaqstan: Vanity is in the Eye of the Beholder

8 Jan

As Lord Venal was enjoying a New Year’s drink (well maybe one or two) in an Astana nightclub, a young man who knew his charming companion came over to talk. Learning that Lord Venal was from the UK and after a few more drinks, the young man recounted the fury in Akorda at the outrageous 27 December editorial in the Financial Times belittling Astana as a “vanity project”. He offered what he said was the original draft of a letter sent from Qazaqstan’s UK embassy, which was somewhat modified before publication.

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Sir,

Your editorial “When a national capital becomes a vanity project” (December 27) asserts, with not a shred of evidence, that Astana, the great capital city of Qazaqstan, is a “vanity project … plastered with [the president’s] portrait”. This is sheer rubbish. What is vain about our great leader building a great capital worthy of our great nation and great leader?

The decision in 1997 to establish the new Qazaq capital in the central part of the country was a stroke of genius which no mere mortal could have devised. Today, more than 1m people live in the city, which is still growing fast and boasts the beautiful Nazarbayev University, Nazarbayev Airport and the Nazarbayev Fertility Clinic, to name a few of its awe-inspiring monuments.

The editorial speaks of the great capital being “plastered” with portraits of the great leader. This too is rubbish. The people have repeatedly demanded and themselves installed portraits as a sign of their undying affection for their president. These portraits are dignified and carefully installed in pride of place, not “plastered” carelessly here and there as your editorial implies by implication.

Such slanders are not something we expected of a once great financial newspaper in a once great country that used to help our well-connected citizens store their ill-gotten gains. We expect that within 24 hours you will have removed this editorial from your website, called back all issues of the printed paper to remove the offending text, will fire those “journalists” responsible and issue a public apology in your printed “newspaper” and on the home page of your website. Be assured that our lawyers are waiting.

 

 

Embassy of RQ in UK

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