TIMUR KULIBAYEV is married to the daughter of Kazakhstan's dic-tatorial president Nursultan Nazarbayev. In 2007 he paid his golf partner Prince Andrew - fourth in line to the throne and Britain's special representative for international trade and investment - £15 million for his 12-bedroom mansion at Sunninghill Park, Surrey, paying £3 million over the asking price. It had been on the market for five years and is still empty and is now dilapidated.
Leaked US state department cables refer to Kulibayev as the "perfectly tanned" "manicured billionaire", "the ultimate controller of 90% of the economy". He paid Elton John £1 million to sing at his 41st birthday bash in 2007.
But while the rich oligarchy in the former Soviet republic enjoy a jet set lifestyle, Socialist Resistance Kazakhstan - the counterpart of the Socialist Party in Kazakhstan - and other activists have been subject to a vicious wave of repression by the authorities.
Censorship, beatings, frame-ups, imprisonment and torture were used by the dictatorial regime in an attempt to frighten campaigners and trade unionists in the run up to the 1-2 December 2010 summit for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This was a meeting of 56 heads of state in Astana, Kazakhstan, which holds the OSCE presidency for 2010. Mockingly, Nazarbayev opened the OSCE conference on 'tolerance and non-discrimination' earlier this year.
Joe Higgins, Socialist Party MEP for Dublin, visited Kazakhstan as part of a European parliamentary delegation to investigate the human rights situation last September and was able to report to the European Union (EU) Human Rights committee on the brutal, repressive regime in Kazakhstan and its blatant breaches of human, civil and political rights.
But this doesn't appear to concern the EU or the OSCE who have eyes only for Kazakhstan's oil and are keen to do business with Andy's golf and dining partner.
See www.socialistworld.net for more information about Kazakhstan.