Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Friday, December 7, 2012



This week's blog comes to us from the steppes of Central Asia.  Why is DUNER'S BLOG taking our readers to Kazakhstan?  Why visit the Land of Borat?  Well...since the deaths of North Korea's KIM JONG ILL and Libya's goofy GADDAFI...we've been searching the globe for replacements.  We want a new world leader to ridicule!   Someone self-absorbed.  Someone who actually thinks he is a Roman Emperor.  Someone who erects 50-feet-high statues of himself.  Well, last Saturday we found our man   Ladies and Gentleman, we are proud to introduce...The Most Egocentric Man in the World:  NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV!

Oops...once again we got a little ahead of ourselves at the DUNER BLOG.  What happened last Saturday in Kazakhstan?  Well, it was a new holiday!  FIRST PRESIDENT'S DAY commemorates that wondrous December First...way back in 1991...when our "glorious leader" was first elected to serve.  To celebrate the most important date on the Kazakh Calendar, an immense outdoor stadium was erected in the capital's massive Bayterek Square.  Hundreds of thousands filled the stands to watch 30,000 performers (more than in London Olympic Opening Ceremony) performing carefully choreographed routines.  Then everyone joined in mass singing a banner waving...all hailing NURSULTAN THE GREAT!

See, Kazakhs are raised to love Nursultan.  Since more than half the population is under the age of 31, the Dear Leader is the only "President" most people have ever known.  In Kazakh schools, teachers read fairy tale books about the boyhood of our hero.  They feature beautiful illustrations by Roza Akbolatova who feels they "make politics more accessible to children." Kazakh teens flock to the cinemas to see his riveting movie "Deep Roots." The thriller cost $3 million to make and has some pretty impressive C.G.I.  Finally, Kazakh adults read his lengthy biography. It topped the nation bestsellers list for three whole years.

You're asking yourself: How does Nursultan manage to keep power amid such audacious acts?  C'mon!  You know the answer: Money.  Since independence, over $40 billion dollars has been invested to develop Kazakhstan's lucrative natural resources.  The nation is swimming in petroleum, natural gas and uranium deposits.  Currently, a massive pipeline is being constructed under the Caspian Sea to bring these to an energy-thirsty Europe.  And we all know where these funds go.  They are spent insuring our Dear Leader is kept in power and that any opposition is swiftly dealt with.

The Kazakh Capital looks like Disney Land!
Don't expect things to change in Kazakhstan any time soon...and maybe that's a good thing.  Nursultan may have a egotistical approach to leadership, but his nation is anything but unified.  Kazakhstan is the ninth largest nation on earth but has only a few highways and railways.  Its population is half Kazakh, a quarter Russian and a serious mix of Uzbek, nomadic Tartars, Uyghurs and 250,000 ridiculously misplaced Germans.  Simply put...this republic could fall apart any second.  Nursultan's autocratic rule keeps together a bunch of crazy folks who have a lot more in common with Genghis Khan than with Chaka Khan.

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