Cablegate Chronicles: Skiing With the Oligarchs

More

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

A Kazakhstani oligarch, Aleksandr Mashkevich hosts a dinner at his house in Almaty for two visiting U.S. congressmen.

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

------------------------- Skiing with the Oligarchs -------------------------
¶5. (C) In September 2007, Kazakhstani oligarch Aleksandr Mashkevich -- the co-founder of metals and mining giant Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation and, according to ASTANA 00000760 002.4 OF 003 CLASSIFIED BY POL/ECON CHIEF STEVEN FAGIN, REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) Forbes magazine, the 334th wealthiest man in the world -- hosted a dinner at his house in Almaty for two visiting U.S. congressmen. Only two Kazakhstanis attended the event, State Secretary Kanat Saudabayev and his assistant. Judging from SIPDIS the friendly banter between Saudabayev and Mashkevich, the two have a quite cordial personal relationship. Mashkevich told a lengthy anecdote about a ski vacation that he and Saudabayev had taken together in Europe.

Browse the Cablegate Chronicle archive.

¶6. (C) Saudabayev had hosted a codel at that same Almaty residence in 2005, without Mashkevich in attendance. At that time, when the Ambassador asked Saudabayev whose house it was, he would only say that it belonged to "a friend." Saudabayev has twice hosted visiting USG officials for a meal at Mashkevich's Astana residence -- both times without Mashkevich. It is not clear what Mashkevich is spending his billions on, but it is certainly not culinary talent. On all four occasions the Ambassador has eaten at one of his houses, the menu has been similar and focused on beshparmak (boiled meat and noodles) and plov. The wait staff appeared to be graduates of a Soviet cafeteria training academy. The wine, at least, was somewhat upscale with reasonably good French vintage bottles uncorked for the guests. The Astana residence has wooden plaques on the doors that would fit in nicely in a Wyoming hunting lodge but are somewhat out of touch with the upscale "Euro-remont" that is so popular among the Kazakhstani elite.

Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


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

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

Just In