Jonathan Aitken has written an insightful and illuminating portrait of 21st Century Kazakhstan as it approaches its 20th Anniversary of independence from the former Soviet Union.
Surprises abound in Aitken's lively pages as he captures the creative tensions between Old and New Kazakhstan. Thanks to his unique access, the author has probed the darkest corners of the fading Soviet era, reporting from inside the prisons, the KGB and the Special Prosecutor's Office. He has also enjoyed the bright lights of the country's cultural renaissance, particularly in Almaty with its four orchestras, 19 theatres, 27 concert halls and Opera Houses.
Aitken is at his best unravelling the economic and political surprises which are flowing from the Caspian oil boom with its knock on effects on foreign policy, GDP, and political reform. 'Kazakhstan is the newest powerhouse of Asia. From its President to its painters, poets, economists and entrepreneurs, this is a nation confidently on the move.' says Aitken 'we need to understand the new national identity of this increasingly successful player on the world stage.'