rferl.org. “Kazakh Official: Don't Call IS Militants 'Islamists'” - The media is wrong to dub the militant group Islamic State (IS) and other extremists as "Islamists," Galym Shoykin, the chairman of the Religious Affairs Committee of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Culture, has said. "If gang members call themselves 'the Islamic State' but have no relation to Islam, should we also refer to them thus in the media, thereby distorting the notion of an Islamic state? I think not," Shoykin said.
themoscowtimes.com. “Putin Heads to Russia's Tightrope-Walking Neighbor Kazakhstan” - As President Vladimir Putin heads to Astana on Friday, Kazakhstan — with Russia's annexation of Crimea still visible in its rearview mirror — is balancing the competing political forces in its orbit by expanding ties with a wide array of partners, pundits told The Moscow Times on Thursday. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is set to host his Russian and Belarussian counterparts in Astana to discuss Eurasian economic integration and the ongoing strife in Ukraine, according to his official website. The meeting was postponed last week amid President Vladimir Putin's unexplained 10-day public absence.
“Culture Ministry to Probe 'Blasphemous' Novosibirsk Opera” - Russia's Culture Ministry announced plans Wednesday to launch a probe into a beleaguered Novosibirsk production of Richard Wagner's "Tannhauser," which has provoked the ire of certain powerful members of the Russian Orthodox Christian community. The Novosibirsk State Theater of Opera and Ballet's recent production of the opera, directed by Timofei Kulyabin, features a variety of provocative scenes starring biblical and mythical figures. At one particularly controversial point, a poster was shown depicting Jesus Christ standing between the open legs of a naked woman. That scene has since been altered.
akipress.org. “If Nazarbayev ruled Kyrgyzstan instead of Akayev and Bakiyev, everything would be different, says Atambayev”- “I've often thought that if instead of Akayev and Bakiyev we had Nursultan Nazarbayev as our president, everything would have been different,” said president of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev on March 20 at the opening of the school in “Ala-Too” residential area. “First of all, I'd like to thank the president of Kazakhstan. With each of our meetings with him, I am more convinced in that he is not only an aksakal [wise elder] in Kazakhstan, but in Kyrgyzstan as well.