This post was written in March, but I apparently forgot to finish inserting the last few links and to publish it. It was discovered as I changed some posts from draft status, now that I have my renewed pink card.
Right, I have now completed the collection of links from the last few months that pertain to Kazakhstan. First up (or fifth, if you count Part 1 of this post), we have a piece on the Border Guards. A massacre, resignations, two suicides and a plane crash have hit the service in recent months, with some analysts deciding that the border service is just as badly hit by poor morale, hazing and abuse of power as the other forces. Eursianet has a piece with a summary and lots of links to other articles on the topic.
Next up is a report on the number of bookmakers in Kazakhstan. Although the report makes it sound like this is a very recent boom, the little kiosks have been popping up for quite a long time, in a lot of the bars I have seen around Astana. In fact, their number did seem to dip a couple of years ago, then bounce back up again. I’m not sure whether the dip was due to regulations suddenly being enforced, a different Akim in power, or perhaps the economic troubles at the time?
There is a newspaper here in Kazakhstan that has a history of problems with the authorities. Given the overall superb levels of multi-party democracy, freedom of association, freedom of religion and a free press that can be found in this glorious nation, it seems obvious that Respublika must print a steady stream of lies and be financed by enemies of this country’s leader and his party. Why else would the paper be banned from publishing? For some background information, check here.
As another indicator of a country with 21st century credentials, Tengri News (via EurasiaNet.org) reports that a bride school has opened in Almaty. As ever, check out some of the comments at the bottom of the Tengri News piece. Google’s translation of it sometimes leaves you wondering, but you get the gist normally. To be fair, the course isn’t just about cooking for your husband, or how to properly apply mascara, but also includes units on psychology (of your husband) and literature.
When agreeing there is no problem doesn’t convince everyone. Baikonur is used by Russia to launch space rockets, and when a Kazakh official suggested last year that Kazakhstan may halt the agreement, Russia wasn’t very happy. But everything is just fine now, no one disagrees about anything. See?