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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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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