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Nazarbaev A No-Show At Book-Launch Event

Reports that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev was in Washington promoting his new book, "The Kazakhstan Way," were not in fact true, the Asia Society announced at their Kazakh event on October 1.

The attendees -- an odd mix of diplomats, military personnel, and Kazakh enthusiasts -- took the news peaceably over their chicken satay, perhaps distracted by the gigantic ticker rolling out reminders that "sometimes we in the West are in danger of expecting too much too quickly" from transitioning countries like Kazakhstan.

The only place you get an oversized news ticker as part of your event platform is at the Newseum, the U.S. capital's museum dedicated to the free press.

The line was taken from Margaret Thatcher's foreword to Nazarbaev's book. Never mind that she also wrote about "more to be done." Decidedly trivial. Same goes for other non-ticker-worthy lines, like: "Greater political opportunities, greater electoral transparency, and more open access to the media have been cited as areas where further progress is needed."

But those points weren't made at a venue -- the Newseum --- that exists to support and defend such rights. Ah well!

Had Nazarbaev been there, he likely would have been pleased with the event. His book was hailed as symbolic of Kazakhstan's progress ("there is much to praise" in Nazarbaev's leadership, gushed the ticker), and the event ended with a movie on the lives of Kazakh fisherman. All in all, certainly one view of "The Kazakhstan Way."

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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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