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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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