Kazakh supremo’s life recast as fairy tale

The squares out there who don’t frequent the theaters of Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, probably haven’t seen this year’s movie and play about the life of Kazakhstan’s authoritarian leader Nursultan Nazarbayev. Luckily for them, his story is coming out as a children’s book. The AP reports: A newly published book heralds [Kazakh President] Nursultan Nazarbayev’s achievements ...

STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images
STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images
STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

The squares out there who don't frequent the theaters of Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, probably haven't seen this year's movie and play about the life of Kazakhstan's authoritarian leader Nursultan Nazarbayev. Luckily for them, his story is coming out as a children's book. The AP reports:

A newly published book heralds [Kazakh President] Nursultan Nazarbayev's achievements on the international diplomatic scene in the form of illustrated fables, state news agency Kazinform reported.

The book, titled Leader of the Nation Nursultan, is being published to coincide with the president's 71st birthday Wednesday.

The squares out there who don’t frequent the theaters of Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, probably haven’t seen this year’s movie and play about the life of Kazakhstan’s authoritarian leader Nursultan Nazarbayev. Luckily for them, his story is coming out as a children’s book. The AP reports:

A newly published book heralds [Kazakh President] Nursultan Nazarbayev’s achievements on the international diplomatic scene in the form of illustrated fables, state news agency Kazinform reported.

The book, titled Leader of the Nation Nursultan, is being published to coincide with the president’s 71st birthday Wednesday.

Government critics say such exercises are part of attempts to build a personality cult around Nazarbayev, who has ruled the oil-rich Central Asian nation since the 1980s, when it was still part of the Soviet Union.

Author Roza Akbolatova says the bright illustrations accompanying her stories will help make politics more accessible to children.

And if one fawning book wasn’t enough, Akbolatova has written another: an essay illustrated with photos of meetings between Nazarbayev and well-known figures in Kazakhstan that is confusingly also called Leader of the Nation Nursultan.

No doubt this one will be up there with Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, and all the other fairy tales about oppressive dictators of oil-rich nations.

Twitter: @ned_downie

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.