Tag Archives: The Guardian

The Golden Pug Awards 2013

6 Dec

Yes, it’s that time of year again; the awards season is upon us and Kazaxia has teamed up with our main sponsor, Almaty’s Golden Pug Bar ‘n’ Grill, and Kazakhstan’s kyurdak producers to bring you the 2013 Golden Pug Awards, which this year are awarded in five categories.

The Hugh New Prize

This year’s Hugh New Prize, in memory of the famous British journo, goes to all those Central Asia watchers who came up with the groundbreaking revelations about political analyst Usman Khakhnazarov (first reported in 2003). Yes, it is indeed a pseudonym that has been used by different authors over the years and not a real person.

The Golden Pug Original Research Award

Gerri Peev of the UK’s Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday takes this year’s Original Research Award for her “borrowing” (without attribution) of quotes from The Guardian relating to Tony Blair. We expect nothing less of the Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and the consistently low standards of its online content providers.

The Golden Pug Lifetime Achievement (Central Asia) Award

This year’s Golden Pug Lifetime Achievement (Central Asia) Award goes to Joshua Foust, who has strode the world of Central Asian analysis like a colossus for many years. Now he is bowing out from the journalistic limelight to focus on new pastures. Who among us can forget his memorable ramble through the culinary backwaters of Kyrgyzstan in his piece on the Fajitas of Osh?

Kyurdak Republican Association of Producers (Krap) Award

Pyotor Leopard, who journeyed through Central Asia on a penny farthing this summer – fuelled only by kyurdak, that classic of Kazakh cuisine (fried offal served up with onion and peppers), has been awarded a Kyurdak Gold Card by the Kyurdak Republican Association of Producers, that entitles him to walk into any greasy spoon in Kazakhstan and eat his favourite dish to his heart’s content.

The Golden Pug “Spotlight” Award

There was really only one person in the running for this award, which is given to an individual or team that has done the most to put Central Asia in the spotlight. It is, of course, Gérard Depardieu.

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The Blair Rich Project

16 Nov

The jury is still out over the impact that Tony Blair Associates has had on Kazakhstan over the last two years. The former UK prime minister’s consultancy has been advising Astana on a variety of issues since October 2011 in a project dubbed by some observers as “The Blair Rich Project”.

While many Kazakhstan-watchers have pointed to a worsening of the human rights situation and a widespread crackdown in the country since the December 2011 Zhanaozen riots, when 15 protestors were killed, Tony’s crew has witnessed a somewhat different scene.

Using the rose-tinted spectacles supplied by Astana, Tony Blair Associates (TBA) rejected notions of a crackdown, telling the Guardian: “We simply do not agree that the situation in this regard has deteriorated.”

It seems they hadn’t spotted an opposition leader getting jailed for apparently organising the trouble in Zhanaozen, other dissenting political voices being neutered, the silencing of critical media outlets and a further scaling back of the right to free assembly.

The tw0-year contract has just finished and is supposedly up for renewal, but Lord Venal is sceptical it will be prolonged.

“Astana paid $26 million for the services of TBA and, quite frankly, were expecting a bit more Blair for their bucks,” he told Kazaxia.

Tony has only paid flying visits to Kazakhstan, deputising the work to others in his team as he globetrots around sorting out the planet’s problems.

“For that sort of money, Kazakhstan could have bought a million twitter shares (priced initially at $26 a pop), a bar of Kazakhstan chocolate for every person in the country, or around 20% of the Welsh wizard, Gareth Bale,” Lord Venal added.