Cablegate Chronicles: Huge Money Capitalism in the 'Stans

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This is an installment from our on-going series on the adventures of American diplomats and the people they monitor. The red button below will take you to another random episode.

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An executive with Kazakhstan's national gas company has dinner with the U.S. ambassador at the Radisson hotel in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.


FROM: ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: JANUARY 10, 2010
CLASSIFICATION: SECRET
SEE FULL CABLE


  ¶7. (S) The Ambassador asked if the corruption and infighting are worse now than before. Idenov paused, thought, and then replied, "No, not really. It's business as usual." Idenov brushed off a question if the current maneuverings are part of a succession struggle. "Of course not. It's too early for that. As it's always been, it's about big money. Capitalism -- you call it market economy -- means huge money. Listen, almost everyone at the top is confused. They're confused by their Soviet mentality. They're confused by the corrupt excesses of capitalism. 'If Goldman Sachs executives can make $50 million a year and then run America's economy in Washington, what's so different about what we do?' they ask."

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