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Is This The Oldest Woman In The World?

A Kazakh lady, Sakhan Dosova, will mark her 130th birthday on March 27.

Dosova lives in a small town of Prishakhtinsk, in central Kazakhstan, has 11 children and 37 grandchildren and great grandchildren.

According to Nuken Alkeshova, her granddaughter who takes care of her, the last national census several years ago revealed that her grandmother was the oldest citizen in the country -- and if true, the oldest citizen in the world by 16 years.

Alkeshova put her longevity down to eating cottage cheese and not eating sweets, and in an interview with RFE/RL's Kazakh Service certainly doesn't put it down to the $110 a month state pension she receives.

It's incredibly difficult to deny or support her claim. Dosova has both a Soviet-era passport and Kazakh identification card.

In the Russian and Soviet empires, the combination of non-Russian speaking locals and non-Kazakh speaking provincial officials meant bureaucratic errors were common.

Because of the distances involved in getting from remote parts of the steppe to regional capitals, documents like birth certificates were often processed every few years in mass batches thus widening the margins of bureaucratic error.

That's not to take anything away from Mrs Dosova though, who is clearly a remarkable lady.

In an interview with RFE/RL, Dosova said she hoped our correspondents wouldn't see what she saw in her long life and wanted the Kazakh authorities to realize how pitiful her pension was.

-- Luke Allnutt

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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