Tag Archives: Tony Blair Associates

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.

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Another Busy Week for Kazakhstan’s Lawmakers?

4 Oct

Kazakhstan’s parliament has been sitting this last week and it has been grappling with one of the key issues that is preying on voter’s minds – same-sex relationships.

Never mind that many in this energy rich country are without running water and reliable energy supplies, or that some of the disaffected  have been turning to militant Islam in recent years. Lawmakers in the multi-party parliament, which consists of Nur Otan, the pro-presidential party, Ak Zhol, the pro-business and pro-presidential party, and the Communist pro-presidential party, have been getting hot under the collar over same-sex relationships.

As the debate was raging in parliament (or, more likely, deputy Bakhytbek Smagul took his colleagues on a rambling trip through his ill-informed thoughts on homosexuality), the head of the first department of the General Prosecutor’s Office, Almas Mukhamejanov, called for harsh penalties for another key issue in the country – human cloning.

Currently human cloning does not carry a custodial sentence in Kazakhstan, but Mukhamejanov suggested punishing human cloning by imprisonment for a term of 5 years, and up to 12 years if the crime was committed by an organized criminal group.

Kazaxia asked Lord Venal about these developments and he suggested that they might be linked to Tony Blair, who became a Catholic in 2007. His consultancy, Tony Blair Associates, is getting paid a packet (some sources claim $13 million a year) to advise Kazakhstan’s government.

Do the Blairites have a sinister anti-gay cloning message that they are trying to push onto the unsuspecting Kazakh public in the guise of consulting on governance?