Accessibility links

Breaking News

Kazakh Prime Minister's Hashtag Fail

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov
Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov might be a longtime Twitter user, but that doesn't necessarily make him social-media savvy.

The official recently used his two Twitter accounts -- in English, and in Kazakh and Russian -- to put the call out for his thousands of followers to list their nation's biggest achievements in its 25 years of independence.

The apparent idea was to use the hashtags #25летНезависимости or #25KAZ to collect positive feedback ahead of Kazakh Independence Day, which is celebrated on December 16.

Masimov got a bit more than he bargained for from the Twitter masses, however.

The hashtags prompted a barrage of tweets revealing latent anger over corruption, the state of Kazakh democracy, the police, and the government in general.

"To deliver a healthy baby you have to pay a bribe in the maternity ward, to get a place in a kindergarten -- pay bribes again. At school? Guess what," tweeted Kairat Nyrmugambetov at @iKairat, referring to allegations of widespread bribery in schools and hospitals.

Twitter Embed Tweet

"A new factory for light-engine planes was built in Karaganda that hasn't produced a single plane in five years," wrote @AlmiriKarpykov from Almaty:

Twitter Embed Tweet

Another popular response to Masimov's initiative suggested that Kazakhstan -- whose president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, has ruled the country since 1989 -- has never had a democratic presidential election.

"We've never had a chance to elect another president!" wrote Aidos kapanov at @aidoseg from Almaty.

Twitter Embed Tweet

"We fear police more than bandits and terrorists," tweeted M. Gustav at @kasymjanym:

Twitter Embed Tweet

Twitter user @parfume_kz took the opportunity to complain that "free breakfast has been canceled for schoolchildren."

Twitter Embed Tweet

"In Kazakhstan, the government has created crony socialism, whose source of existence is legalized robbery, not collective labor," wrote @sakesha.

Twitter Embed Tweet

The initiative has generated some positive tweets, of course, although many are from the state-controlled @kazinformkz news agency and Kazakh embassies abroad.

And @kazinformkz hijacked the hashtags to highlight Kazakh athletes' achievements at the Olympic Games in Rio and to report domestic news, including Masimov's trip to an Almaty dairy farm:

Twitter Embed Tweet

-- Farangis Najibullah

  • 16x9 Image

    Farangis Najibullah

    Farangis Najibullah is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL who has reported on a wide range of topics from Central Asia, including the region’s ongoing struggle with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact. She has extensively covered efforts by Central Asian states to repatriate their citizens who joined Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.