Summer blogging in Kazakhstan rarely reacts adequately to the news, not to mention creation of news. Even the most devoted citizen journalists provide rare and relaxed updates, overlooking many hot news, which could have spur heated online discussions in another season. However, the topics continuously in focus are the vicious characteristics of the current political system and the society’s passiveness and apathy.
Sadenova works in the umbrella organization for Kazakhstani NGOs and shares thoughts and concerns about her job [ru]:
I am not too sure that it is possible to cautiously, gradually and multi-dimensionally inject positive changes in the society […] People think that NGOs are useless, that all they do is spending away the money […] I can passionately speak about positive changes and really efficient NGOs doing great projects, but my opponents are fixed on negative. It is better to quietly work and believe that civil monitoring will start working some day, and we will stop spitting on the pavement…
Alim-atenbek thinks that the main problem – in addition to defeatism and apathy – is that [ru]:
еverybody wants to be professors, managers, ministers only to make money, not to be helpful to the society. Those whose ambitions are nurtured by the desire to make a change are few, because everywhere you go you see corruption and nepotism… In our country corruption gives birth to corruption – people give bribes to get a job, where they will have an opportunity to take bribes.
Lord-Fame tracks all news about aviation and air fleet in Kazakhstan. This, seemingly far from politics, topic sometimes brings an unexpected turn, when the authorities cancel all flights to and from Astana due to the rehearsal of the military parade’s aviation show [ru]:
How to spoil the holiday? […] Close the capital city’s airport. I think it’s a complete idiocy. Parades shall not infringe upon routine life. Can you imagine Moscow closing up its airports because of a parade? […] I read the Russian blogs and many of them complain about “police state”. Huh, you should visit Kazakhstan.
Thousand-pa continues the discussion about the notion of expediency in Kazakhstan, and comments on the propaganda side of the issue – particularly about the billboards with the photographs of President Nazarbayev [ru]:
There should be norms of presence of his images on a certain unit of area. I understand that the flock must always remember its shepherd […] But when there are three of them looking at you from different corners of one crossroad, it’s too much and makes you feel uncomfortable.
Eev has read an interview with Murat Muturganov, a Kazakh clown with a great popularity and recognition both in the country and abroad. Some of the user comments to the interview attacked the young artist for his poor knowledge of Kazakh language. This painful topic is believed to be a potential threat of clash between the rural traditionalists and urbanized west-oriented Kazakhs [ru]:
This commenter writes with numerous mistakes that the main problem is that Murat doesn’t speak Kazakh – thus, he is not a patriot. The patriot is a person, who works for the country and glorifies the motherland with his deeds. Some people think that the best patriot is the one, who does nothing, but knows the state language…
The same aforementioned alim-atenbek in another post reflects on the state of journalism [ru]:
We have a lot of well-educated and professional journalists who cover political and economic news. But why all we see on the TV is a total rot, propaganda about Kazakhstan as the best country in the world? Why they are doing it? Why it is so necessary to mention the President in every report and ascribe all merits to him? […] What is the reason of their blindness? What is the name of a disease that makes them inculcate mass psychosis through their reports? Finally, how they can be called journalists, if they institutionally and intentionally distort the real picture?
In this situation, alternative Internet-based sources of information can really make a difference – and sometimes very unusual people can serve a function of the citizen journalists. For example, last week there was a birthday party of the President Nazarbayev’s grandson. Earlier, there were rumors-based reports about parties that the presidential family members stage for themselves – bringing world-renowned pop-stars to sing for them. This time Anfisa Chekova, a popular TV diva from Russia, was invited to entertain the guests. She tweeted about her stay in Kazakhstan, and many Kazakh Twitter users were reading her updates and re-tweeting them. Yelikbayev was the only blogger to write a separate post about it [ru]:
[Anfisa Chekova] was conducting a highly informative for every Kazakhstani citizen Twitter-report. The thing is that she was recruited as a master of ceremonies for the birthday party of Aisultan Nazarbayev, a shy guy and a cadet of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. From her Twitter we learnt that
– she was settled at the Rixos Hotel, where bathroom slippers are decorated with Swarovski crystals.
– the party was livened up by [Russian pop-stars] “Serebro” and Vera Brezhneva, as well as [American R&B singer and fashion model] Ciara.
– the guests presented a brand new BMW X6 to the boy, etc.
Anfisa Chekova left no chances to the Kazakh opposition journalists and told everything she got in mind. I fully support this undertaking. There is no space for hypocrisy. If a boy wants a good party for his 20th birthday, let him have it. We know he can afford it. Like his aunt, who invited J.Lo and Britney Spears to attend her 30th birthday […] We live with them in parallel worlds. Their lives are interesting to us, but not vice versa.
Interestingly, shortly after the post was published, Chekova… deleted all her Twitter posts from Kazakhstan. Another guest star at the presidential grandson’s party was Ciara – a little fun photo report can be seen in the blog of Kiyah Wright, a celebrity hair stylist.