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Hitler Issue Lands Kazakh Magazine In Hot Water

Kazakh celebrity magazine "Zhuldyzdar Otbasy-Anyz Adam" came under fire this week after its latest issue, dedicated to Adolf Hitler, hit the newsstands.
Kazakh celebrity magazine "Zhuldyzdar Otbasy-Anyz Adam" came under fire this week after its latest issue, dedicated to Adolf Hitler, hit the newsstands.
Tabloid-style celebrity magazine "Zhuldyzdar Otbasy-Anyz Adam" ("The Family of Celebrities-Legendary People") has come under fire in Kazakhstan after devoting its latest issue to Adolf Hitler.

Kazakhstan's State Agency for Communications and Information said on April 18 that is investigating the magazine for possible violation of the country's constitution and the law against "inciting social, national, tribal, racial, or religious hatred."

While the 52-page Hitler issue provides the usual biographical information and photos from the Nazi leader's life, it appears to have stirred up authorities' ire by including some flattering assessments of Hitler and his role in history.

"Hitler Isn't A Fascist" reads the headline of an article by Kazakh civic activist Naghashybai Esmyrza.

"For me, Hitler is a great personality," Esmyrza writes.

"I accept that Hitler was a dictator but he fought for the future of his country. He wanted to make people's lives better.... Hitler was criticized for experimenting with people in concentration camps. It's true he did those experiments. But that was nothing compared with what the Bolsheviks did."

The magazine has not yet responded to criticism over its Hitler issue, which was published just a few days before the Nazi leader's 125th birthday.

However, chief editor Zharylkap Kalybay had previously announced on his Facebook page that he was going to devote one of the magazine's issues to Hitler, and asked for readers' comments and questions.

On his Facebook account, Kalybay drew comparisons between what he described as growing nationalism in Russia and similar sentiments in Germany under Hitler.

He also mentioned parallels being drawn between Hitler and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Are Putin and Hitler's activities similar in some ways?" he wrote. "We are trying to find the answer."

The private, Kazakh-language, 25,000-circulation magazine is popular across the country.

Its success and survival is attributed to staying clear of politics and political families.

The magazine's previous cover photos included well-known Kazakh actor Asaneli Eshimov, French Emperor Napoleon, and characters from a Kazakh love poem, Kozy-Korpesh and Bayan Sulu.

While the magazine has always played it safe by distancing itself from politics, chief editor Kalybay is no stranger to controversy.

Kalybay was briefly arrested in 2013 over a row aboard a "Skat" airlines plane, where he demanded that stewardesses speak only Kazakh with him.

The editor was accused of hooliganism, and spent three days in jail.

-- Farangis Najibullah and RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

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