Kazakhstan Update

The president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has been re-elected, receiving 91% of the vote. This despite (or perhaps because of?) his squandering the Kazakh people’s wealth on the building of a giant glass pyramid. Regular readers may recall my visit to Kazakhstan, my reflections on the idiotic Great Pyramid of Astana project, and my observations of the often confusing Kazakhstanian nightlife:

Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan – all admittedly have their peculiar charms, but for me of all the countries in the world with names ending in ‘stan’ none compare to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan! A vast and rugged country (1,049,150 sq miles) populated by descendents of Mongol and Turkic tribesman, it can be found on your map in the unfortunate position between Russia and China. [more
When I announced I was going to Kazakhstan in an attempt to persuade the Kazakhs not to build a giant glass pyramid, in a city with less than 500,000 inhabitants in the middle of nowhere, where temperatures range from -40 F in winter to 104 F in summer, at a cost of hundreds of millions of pounds, people I knew were dumbfounded. It seems that many can’t believe that such a project is real. But it is. [more]

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