WikiLeaks Chic: “Lifestyles of the Kazakhstani Leadership”

Ryan Junell/<a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Captain_Fantastic.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>

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From a cable released today in the WikiLeaks trove:

Kazakhstan’s political elites appear to enjoy typical hobbies—such as travel, horseback riding, and skiing. Not surprisingly, however, they are able to indulge in their hobbies on a grand scale, whether flying Elton John to Kazakhstan for a concert or trading domestic property for a palace in the United Arab Emirates.

Even better is this assessment, which, thank God, has some context in the memo:

President Nazarbayev, like many of his countrymen, has a strong affinity for horses.

Also, since you asked:

There have been separate reports that Nelly Furtado performed at the August 2007 birthday bash for Kulibayev’s wife, Dinara Nazarbayeva.

Must have been trying to compete with neighboring Uzbekistan’s strongarm dictator and his penchant for Sting. But hey, it’s not all glitter in Almaty!

Kazakhstan’s political elites also have recreational tastes that are not so exotic. Some, in fact, prefer to relax the old-fashioned way. Defense Minister Akhmetov, a self-proclaimed workaholic, appears to enjoy loosening up in the tried and true “homo sovieticus” style—i.e., drinking oneself into a stupor.

Is anyone else wowed by the observational and literary prowess of US diplomats? Yowza!

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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