Foreign Correspondent this week takes an inside look at Kazakhstan and it’s President Nazarbayev.
The nation may have been depicted unfairly by Borat according to some, but ABC1’s Eric Campbell finds that truth may actually be a whole lot weirder than fiction.
At first glance it’s a dizzying wonderland. Kazakhstan’s capital Astana is a kaleidoscope of cutting edge architecture, gob-smacking public buildings and glittering shopping malls. It’s a kind of inside-out Dubai where even when it’s below freezing, snowing and bitterly bleak outside, Kazakhs in cossies splash and cavort in the perpetual summertime of a high rise aquatic centre.
But look more deeply into this enormous land-locked, oil rich and prosperous place – as Correspondent Eric Campbell has for this week’s program – an you’ll find a place with a host of profound problems and disturbing realities; a President with little regard for democracy and freedom of speech, who has grown astoundingly wealthy in the post-Soviet boom-time and who is turning the capital in a multi-billion dollar vanity project many are predicting will soon be officially renamed Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan has become his personal fiefdom.
Whatever the mood for change in the Middle East there’ll be no popular uprising in Kazakhstan.
In his country President Nazarbayev rules the roost and has the last laugh.
It airs tonight at 8pm on ABC1.