Cablegate Chronicles: Relaxation the Good, Old Soviet Way

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.

new story button.png


An American ambassador describes the less exotic Kazakhstani recreational activities of Defense Minister Akhmetov.


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

¶9. (C) 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. While most of our accounts of Akhmetov's indulgences with the bottle are hearsay, we do have "eyes on" for one episode which supports the rumors. In June 2007, Akhmetov showed up in grand form for a meeting with a visiting senior U.S. Defense Department official. Making no attempt to conceal his condition -- slouching back in his chair and slurring all kinds of Russian participles -- Akhmetov explained to this very senior guest that he had just been at a cadet graduation reception "toasting Kazakhstan's newly-commissioned officers." Who was toasted more -- the Defense Minister or the cadets -- is a matter of pure speculation. Akhmetov's excesses do not solely extend to the bottle. An insider at Astana's Radisson Hotel recently told us about preparations for the unbelievably lavish and expensive wedding of Akhmetov's son. In the Kazakh tradition, the parents of the groom are responsible for the wedding -- so it would seem that Akhmetov must have footed the bill.

Browse the Cablegate Chronicle archive.

Presented by

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

More in Global

Just In