Oliver Stone (left) and Igor Lopatonok on the red carpet of the Rome Film Festival last year, where “Qazaq” was shown.
Released in 2021 as both an eight-hour miniseries and a feature film, Qazaq: History of the Golden Man turns a flattering lens on Nazarbayev as he reminisces about his years in power and shares thoughts about the country’s future.
As it turns out, a charitable foundation named after and controlled by Nazarbayev paid at least $5 million for the production, a conflict of interest that was not disclosed. Last year, Stone and the film’s director, Igor Lopatonok, told the Guardian that the Kazakh government was not involved, but refused to discuss who had funded it.
The film was not widely reviewed, but regional experts panned it as a “hagiographic ode” that became “part of [Nazarbayev]’s ongoing cult of personality.”
Nazarbayev ruled Kazakhstan for nearly 30 years, presiding over an oil-fueled development boom that enriched his family and close associates, even as ordinary Kazakhs saw little benefit. During his reign, human rights groups documented severe restrictions on freedom of speech and political expression, impunity for torture, politically-motivated prosecutions, and other violations.
I am sure that Oliver Stone won't comment on this report, nor will he actually tell us who paid for this ridiculous documentary.
Stone did not respond to requests for comment sent through his agent. Last year, he rejected criticism that his film was hagiographic and ignored human rights issues and other problems in Kazakhstan. “What’s wrong with celebrating Nazarbayev for 30 years in office?” Stone told the Guardian. “Give him credit for building up the country and keeping the peace and not turning it into a trash heap like Ukraine.”
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