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MOSCOW– Nursultan Nazarbayev, the long time leader of Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s wealthiest nation, has constantly had a rather specific funny bone. Back in 1998 he moved the nation’s capital from the comfortable, bright city of Almaty to a location called Akmola on the windswept northern steppe. The location was referred to as “a white tomb” since of its intolerable environment: the most affordable signed up temperature level there when fell to -51.6 C( 60.9 F ). Nazarbayev called the location Astana, which equates merely as “The Capital.”

That did not alter the environment, which stayed lethal. In winter season, members of his federal government grumbled constantly about heart-hurting icy winds– and flew back to Almaty on weekends.

Although Nazarbayev, 78, stepped down as president last month, much of his power, and the method he likes to wield it stays undamaged as he arranges a succession that will keep Kazakhstan in the household. He still has the title of Elbasy, or “nationwide leader”; he’s still in charge of the judgment Radiant Fatherland celebration; and as head of the Security Council (for life) he has some powers that supersede those of the his carefully picked follower as president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, promoted from the position of Senate Speaker. Changing Tokayev because function? Nazarbayev’s 55-year-old child, Dariga.

Oh, which wintry capital there on the steppe is being relabelled. Now it’s to be called not Astana, however Nursultan.

“Nazarbayev remains in a rush to promote his own child to the leading position of the Senate. To relabel the capital after himself– that is horrible, bullying, and disrespectful,” Daniil Kislov, a specialist on Central Asian politics, informed The Daily Beast. “Nazarbayev acts in the standard method for a totalitarian.”

Like the Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin or Josef Stalin prior to him, Nazarbayev has actually constantly supported a cult of character, providing himself as the nation’s leading poet, researcher, designer, the guy with the very best and most significant presents. He’s revealed an affinity with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, however likewise with U.S. President Donald Trump, who understands a thing or more about cults of character himself.

In Astana (now Nursultan) they called Nazarbayev’s go to with Trump in 2015 at Mar-a-lago “historical.” His message to the American president: You can depend on Kazakhstan for aid in the previous Soviet republics of Central Asia and in Afghanistan.

For 3 long years Nazarbayev firmly insisted that there was “no political culture in Kazakhstan for the advancement of complete democracy, yet,” however he constantly turned down the label “totalitarian.” (Which is not that uncommon for totalitarians.)

Here in Russia, too, we see growing indications of a character cult around President Putin, and he’s not too shy about it. He hasn’t relabelled Moscow “Vladimir,” however there currently are 9 streets called after him in various Russian areas and his image is common.

Last month, we drove along Putin Prospect in the Chechen capital of Grozny as we headed to the town of Shali to view an essential trial. The city’s court structure does not have an indoor toilet however its front wall is embellished with a picture of a smiling Putin shaking hands with the regional authoritarian leader, Ramzan Kadyrov .

One of the threats run by “non-dictators” who cultivate an overwhelming individual existence on the streets, in the workplaces, and in the houses of their nations, is the issue of self parody.

The Museum of the First President of Kazakhstan has lots of photos and provides provided Nazarbayev by his admirers, and Trump’s golf club now has a happy area there. Residents entertain themselves with labels for some of the contemporary structures Nazarbayev has actually tossed up.

The Baiterek Tower in Astana is expected to represent an image from a popular misconception about a wonderful bird of joy that lays an egg in the branches of a poplar. It’s been nicknamed the Chupa Chups, after the popular European sucker that looks like an American Tootsie Pop. Inside the world at the top a visitor can climb the podium and location his/her turn over a golden mold of Nazarbayev’s right-hand man to hear the nationwide anthem play. The lyrics are expected to have actually been composed by Nazarbayev, obviously.

According to legend (which might have a kernel of reality) Nazarbayev when took German Chancellor Helmut Kohl upstairs to impress him with the musical handshake, however it broke and the anthem did not play. There were more awkward stories. The main federal government high-rise building, a house for the ministries of interactions, tourist, sport and culture, was harmed by a significant fire in 2006, and has actually been understood since by the sobriquets “Lighter” or “Ashtray.”

Last November, media specialists collected in Astana for an OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) conference committed to concerns worrying liberty of journalism in Central Asia in an “environment of pressure and worry.” It was windy and so cold outside that the individuals chosen to remain at the hotel full-time, according to Daniil Kislov, among those who went to.

Not long prior to Nazarbayev resigned as president, and promoted his child in the Senate, he met females leaders to praise them on International Women’s Day. He had plenty of jokes about males, motivating ladies to take on them and beat them. “Any guy understands that as quickly as a lady changes him in his position, she begins working much better than him, that is why he attempts to avoid the competitors,” the “Father of the Nation” stated, and after that appeared to collect his ideas. “And still,” he informed the ladies, “whatever success you reach, you are constantly with your household, with your liked ones on your mind.”

Certainly he anticipates that Dariga, no matter how high she increases, will constantly secure her household, and him.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/kazakhstans-nazarbayev-resigned-the-presidency-but-builds-his-dynasty