Tales from KZ

Kazakhstan. Perry. A New Community.


Wednesday, June 9 2010
Pinckney, MI, USA
It’s already been 6 months since I was last in Kyrgyzstan.  As everyone who spent even one day on the road with me learned, I take a lot of pictures while traveling.  When I returned home, unfortunately, that has resulted in countless hours reviewing and deleting photos.  In my four months around Central Asia and the Caucuses, I took around 30,000 pictures.  I’m still deleting.
Like its neighbors, Kyrgyzstan had a case of Presidential Billboard Syndrome (PBS).  PBS manifests itself in poorly photoshopped pictures of the country’s president hanging over roads across main cities, provincial capitals, rural towns, and middle-of-nowhere roads.  Clearly, more billboards equals greater respect and appreciation of the President.  A main diagnostic factor in PBS is multitudes of children.  Everyone loves children, no one more than the President of any country, particularly when he is embracing a faintly smiling crowd in a stadium or a field of cotton.

Former Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev

I expected the pictures I took of President Bakiev’s smiling face would be up for a long time to come.  5 months later, I imagine these non-environmentally friendly huge sheets of plastic are protecting someone’s home from rain, or is still laying along the side of the road.
With the focus on democratic change, I imagine the interim government has so far avoided PBS.  That’s too bad for the advertising companies.
I’m told, however, it’s like the flu.  As soon as election season and a new administration arrives, I would not be surprised if it’s back.  The election may be all about the people and democracy, but the billboards will likely not stay away for long in some form.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev

President Imomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan and President Dmitry Medvedev adorning a Tajik-Russian school in Dushanbe

President Berdymuhamedov of Turkmenistan and the entire nation

While no longer the President of Azerbaijan, his picture is everywhere, unlike that of his son, Ilham Aliyev, the current President


June 9, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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