Cablegate Chronicles: Kazakhstani Elites Have Hobbies

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A U.S. ambassador details the hobbies of Kazakhstan's political elite.


FROM: ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: APRIL 17, 2008
CLASSIFICATION: CONFIDENTIAL
SEE FULL CABLE

¶1. (C) 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. This cable recounts several instances in which Embassy officers have learned of, or witnessed, the recreational habits of Kazakhstan's leaders. End Summary. -------------- Sun and Horses --------------

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¶2. (C) President Nazarbayev, like many of his countrymen, has a strong affinity for horses. In 2007, emboff visited the presidential horse farm XXXXXXXXXXX. The farm is located on the outskirts of Astana in a residential area, but is surrounded by a high-fence and security guards. Inside the gates are a large stable, indoor and outdoor riding arenas, and a clubhouse with a pool table, sauna, and exercise room. Emboff toured the stable and saw approximately forty horses from various parts of the world. XXXXXXXXXXXX told him that Nazarbayev visits the horse farm on occasion, though not too frequently. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that Nazarbayev's wife -- Sara Nazarbayeva -- never accompanies him, XXXXXXXXXXXX Taszhargan, an opposition newspaper, printed a sympathetic article about Sara Nazarbayeva XXXXXXXXXXXX

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