I’m a big fan of Twitter. While there seems to be a fairly vibrant community of Kyrgyzstani tweeters, it’s still pretty limited. Nevertheless, I get some gems from the people I follow every once in a while.
“Watched ‘Night at the Roxbury‘ – it’s swag!”
Oakland is a rap duo that I’ve featured on Kyrgyz Music Friday before. I especially appreciate the transliteration of swag as “svegg” (there’s not really a decent replacement for a W in Russian). It always warms my heart when people from Kyrgyzstan seem to discover some bit of pop culture I’ve cherished since the 90s or early 00s. Most of these instances occur when people here discover Radiohead for the first time (if I had a dollar every time I read a Facebook status praising the genius of “Creep”), so the shout-out to Night at the Roxbury was a nice change.
This was brought to my Twitter feed by Erica Marat, a Central Asia expert in DC. The original tweeter is a member of Nur Otan, the president of Kazakhstan’s political party, and is constantly tweeting her praises of her courageous and wise leader. To me, it seems obvious that there’s a strong dose of teasing going on by retweeting her, which could then be seen as making fun of President Nazarbaev’s whole regime and the bizarre cult of personality built up around him.
This tweet in particular suggests that the president of Kazakhstan should be awarded a Nobel Prize (the category isn’t specified). Why? I guess that’s a topic too deep for 140 characters.
A decent parody account that is sadly not updating anymore, but I really enjoyed the daily updates from the Manas Statue in Ala-Too Square that let the world know whether or not there was a protest going on. Most of the tweets were similar to the first picture, “Today there was no meeting” but sometimes things get a bit exciting, like when he tweeted, “Osh Bazaar moved to the square. Yes, soon there’s a meeting.” (‘Meeting’ is a clever euphemism for a protest.)
“On Thursday, June 21, 2012. Centerra Gold share price was USD 12.63. Share value of shares of Kyrgyzstan – USD 977 million”
“On Wednesday, August 29, 2012. Centerra Gold share price was USD 8.02. Share value of shares of Kyrgyzstan – USD 621 million”
Kumtor is Kyrgyzstan’s only functional gold mine and it gets plenty of flack from the Kyrgyz media, population and government for apparently ruining the country (while also contributing 12% of its annual GDP). Everyday the account tweets an update of their stock prices and calculates the value of the Kyrgyz government’s shares (because they own 1/3 of the mine). Since the Kyrgyz parliament started investigating Kumtor and threatening to sue the mine’s management, nationalize the entire mine and/or other (somewhat fantastic and harsh) punishments, I’ve gotten to sit back and watch as Kumtor reminds its followers the economic damage the Kyrgyz government is essentially inflicting on itself.
Funny, right? Or not…