Kazakhstan, Greatest Country in the World
Kazakhstan, once home to Soviet nukes and Borat, has a new capital city. No, they didn’t move the traditional way – a 1970s Lada pulled by donkeys – instead, they just renamed the capital.
It all started when Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev retired from his post last month in a surprise move. It’s a surprise not only because he’s been in power for almost 30 years, but because most of his colleagues next door are ‘til death do us part’ leaders. Quit while you’re ahead. Smart. Unlike his neighbour Kurmanbek Bakiyev who was kicked out of his palace by angry Kyrgyz in 2004.
As a thank you for his ‘service’ the capital city of Kazakhstan, Astana, was renamed to Nursultan. The service includes: stealing money from the state, beating up protesters, abusing Hare Krishna followers and periodically greasing up Vladimir Putin.
Apparently, Astana quite literally means ‘capital’ in Kazakh so it’s definitely more creative. Two famous cities named after leaders used to be Stalingrad and Leningrad. Like Lenin and Stalin, Nazarbayev enjoys a ‘god-like’ status. Only fair that he banned most other religions.
Many reacted to his resignation with joy. Ding dong, the dictator’s gone. Does this mean Borat will get to experience a real democracy? Let’s not get carried away. While some people did feel free enough to protest the change of the name of the capital, all 20 of them were swiftly arrested and detained in true dictator fashion.
And what will Mr Nazarbayev do in his spare time now? Is there a support group for retired dictators? He’s solved that issue by keeping several other titles to himself, including Leader of the Nation, as he’s expected to be mentoring the next president. He can’t relax too much, though. He does have an international money laundering business to run which is definitely more stressful than authoritarianism.