Voices from Kazakhstan

Almaty Opera House

Welcome to our latest round-up of blog posts and online discussions that took place in Kazakh blogosphere.

neweurasia's Basil B. Akimov, a Karaganda journalist and editor of www.mediaprovinces.kz and www.medialaw.kz sites, writes about change of rules in the Supreme Court in Astana (RU). You have to show your ID when you enter, even in the hairdresser's that appeared there recently. Though, some people enter the Court without any IDs and shaved, jokes Basil.

He then discusses how newspapers in Karaganda fight for advertisements; and ridicules the names of the articles in yellow press: “Death in Dead End”, “The Water Doesn't Smell, it Stinks!”, “Lethal Hash”, referring to the increased deaths from drug overdose in Kazakhstan, which, in doctors’ opinion is due to the fact that drug-addictes are not adapted to new type of drug (!), “Drugs with Onion”, “Transgenic Kolbasa (Sausage) – Do We Have a Choice?” (RU).

Irene, a journalist and coordinator of projects in an NGO aimed at providing legal aid to media, and interested in observing the life of the society (see her earlier post on clubbing in Karaganda), is not happy with the bureaucratic ordeal she has to go through in order to legalize in Kazakhstan. Irene was born in Kazakhstan, but travelled around as a child of a military officer and ended up in Ukraine, where she received her citizenship. If you are thinking about getting Kazakhstan citizenship – make sure you read her posts beforehand (RU)!

Andrey from Almaty, who is interested in sports, music and international finances, updates us each week on sport news in Kazakhstan. In the last two weeks we found out that Kazakh football team is preparing for a transfer period, the results of it, the news from Kazakhstan hockey, and about adventureous Tianshan Trophy race, where several armed men shot the cars in Almaty region (RU). In addition to sports, Andrey writes on broader topics: his trip to Issyk-Kul, the disrepancies in reporting on damages caused by Russian rocket Dnepr, and bowling in Almaty, as an alternative summer sport (RU).

Adam Kesher, a political scientist from Almaty, who publishes in weekly “Epoha”, writes several interesting posts on politics in Kazakhstan. First off, he critisizes the comparision of Kazakhstan to Singapore, that Kazakhstani government is fond of. Though similar in certain political aspects, like support for one party, one leader in power for a long time, economically, Singapore managed to develop a diverse economy, while Kazakhstan profits from oil industry only. Furthermore, Singapore is a nepotistic regime, not tolerant to opposition, says Adam. Is it what we want to be like (RU)?

Germany wrote a memo to members of the EU, explaining why they should support Kazakhstan's candidacy for OSCE chairmanship in 2009. Adam Kesher lists the points made by Germany and examines them in detail (RU):

В целом, документ оставляет двойственное чувство. Ни слова о политических убийствах. Явные фактические неточности. Но это письмо отражает опасения и надежды европолитиков. «Казахстан может стать первой страной за пределами Западной и Восточной Европы – действующим председателем ОБСЕ и послать важный сигнал всем странам восточнее Вены». Но насколько эта кандидатура хороша для того, чтобы быть первой? И каким будет посланный ей сигнал?

The document leaves two-fold impression. Not a word about political killings. Clear factual mistakes. But this letter reflects fears and hopes of Europoliticians. “Kazakhstan can become the first country beyong Western and Eastern Europe – the acting chairman of OSCE and send an important message to all countries to the East of Vienna”. But how good is this country to be the first? And what message will it send to others?”

Adam sheds light on the trial of slain politicial Altynbek Sarsebayev, which was rushed through on 10 August. In one day the trial was stopped, and the Prosecutor asked for a death penalty to Utembaev and Ibragimov, whose guilt was not proven and whose role in the case was still not clear (RU).

There is business Kazakh style, says Adam, discussing the recent pieces by Mike Steen of Reuters and Julian Evans of Eurasia Home Analytical Resource, and recalling 2 foreign businessmen, Juri Wegelin and Canadian Adonis Derbas, who both spent time in Kazakh jails. Kyrgyz banker Mikhail Nadel thinks that Kyrgyzstan is more transparent and democratic, thus, better for business (RU).

A new LJ user mashenzia writes about different attitudes to marriage. She sees many weddings on the streets of Almaty and Ust-Kamenogorsk and notes that even the Almaty Time-Out journal, which propagates clubbing, no principles, dreams about Moscow “tusovka”, also sounds about necessity of a family this month. mashenzia's foreign friends think it's remaining Kazakh patriarchal tradition, while her Almaty friends are suprised a girl can share a flat with a guy. Writing one of her first entries, mashenzia questions if this is what bloggers should write about. She notices the Almaty elitism when going to an elitist mall and seeing elitist teenagers comparing the ringtones of their elitist mobile phones. She also thinks that the saleswoman is suprisingly rude for a country with market economy (RU).

Watch LJ ehot for a daily photo of Almaty life. His last pictures show an unusual construction in the center of the city, and images of children bathing in Almaty fountains, blissful in +35+40 C heat (RU).

LJ user itsuken discusses an article of Kabdrahmanov that appeared in www.centrasia.ru site. The author claims that over the years the new ethnicity – “city Kazakhs” appeared. The differences between the city and “aul”, village Kazakhs, are so essential that you can rightfully claim that the city Kazakhs is another nation. itsuken argues that the difference between city Kazakhs from Shymkent and Atyrau and from Kostanai and Kokshetau, is more than between city and village Kazakhs. The former can speak Kazakh. The city French is more similar to city Brasilian than to a village French, says itsuken. It seems to me that the author was fed up with his village relatives staying over for summer, which made him write this pseudo-analysis, he concludes.

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