Kazakhstan: The artists took off underwear in support of new management of BTA Bank

altOn August 24 the legal system of Kazakhstan faced «double strike» from Almaty intelligentsia. The Almaty artists, musicians and actors decided to support the journalists of Respublica. Business Review. Bank Turan-Alem (BTA) filed a lawsuit in the amount of 80 million tenge against the newspaper due to the damage, caused to business reputation. On the other hand, creative people had own opinion on that situation. (photo: Kanat Ibragimov is taking off his underwear in support of BTA-Bank)

 

 

 

 

On August 4, the inter-district economic court of Almaty decided that all funds, spent by Alem-Art foundation in three years, must be returned to new management of BTA Bank. This is over 5.5 million US dollars that sponsored Kazakhstani art in various cultural projects.

 

Besides, the decision to satisfy the lawsuit of BTA Bank can be viewed as the strike on modern culture. Today, creative people found themselves involved in political and legal conflict between previous and new management of one of the largest banks in the country.

 

While the Respublica.Business Review journalists were running their protest flash-mob near Medeu district court, another couple dozens of famous Kazakhstani artists, several musicians and Aksaray theater actors (which was shut down due to lack of financing) gathered near inter-district court, which made the decision to close Alem-Art.

 

 

The unofficial «leader» of unauthorized protest is the leader of Kok-Serek creative association, Kanat Ibragimov, whose scandalous happenings are famous outside of Kazakhstan. In Moscow Kanat Ibragimov and Kok-Serek association is famous for performance during Art-Moscow fair, when the artist slaughtered a sheep.

 

«We initiated legal precedent. – Kanat Ibragimov noted. – BTA Bank wants all artists, which received sponsorship money, to return funds. Moreover, the journalists of Respublica newspaper are being sued for damaging business reputation».

 

Kanat Ibragimov also shared his opinion on why new managers of BTA, Arman Dunayev and Anvar Saydenov, are mad at creative people:

 

«The backroom chats reveal funny picture that says that these guys, Dunayev and Saydenov, envy us because they have inferiority complex. When they are drunk all of them want to be artists, musicians, but they are forced to be the servants of capitalism and they revenge us.

 

The cultural resistance leads to spiritual liquidation of capitalism servants. The outstanding thing is that artists, poets, musicians and journalists got spontaneously united. Creative «scum» gets active in the times of crisis. We feel that artists and creative people are being «hunted». Therefore, I am challenging all corrupted leaders and servants of capital: may they feel anger of artists. This is the resuscitation of my protest experience. Each of the artists has own instruments», the radical artist concluded.

 

By that time, the «choir» of Respublica newspaper employees gathered by the fence, separating the economic court. They sang the song about tough life of Kazakhstani bankers (to the tune of «Sand pit Generals»). Meanwhile Kanat Ibragimov was the first one to «erotic masochism»: first he took off pants and put them into the basket, designated to support Dunayev and Saydenov. Afterwards, he put his last underwear there. Other protest participants turned out to be less radical and gather the underwear, which they prepared in advance…

 

After filling the basket, the artists disappeared. The court officers showed no interest in the event. No police, whatsoever. Perhaps, bearing in mind that «everyone can insult the artist», the law enforcement officers decided not to interfere.

 

Kanat Ibragimov also promised to organize big exhibition, dedicated to «Kazakh dream», in October of this year. To the point, one of the previous projects, presenting the vision of Kazakhstan 2030 by the Kok-Serek members, «lived» only two hours in the Almaty museum and was prohibited afterwards.

 

The Alem-Art foundation President, Daniyar Shabdukarimov, informed Ferghana.Ru about current events:

 

«We gathered the collection [of pictures] and now, most likely, it will be owned by the state. Those are real masterpieces of our artists. Some works were highly demanded by foreign collectors, but were able to outbid them from, for example, such museums as Guggenheim’s. Now the pictures will become the property of Kazakh officials that will not even understand them because these are not simply «horses and mountains», but abstraction».

 

Besides, the chairmanship of the Alem-Art President is also uncertain:

 

«We are also talking about my personal responsibility. Therefore, in cooperation with law enforcement bodies, the tax police department filed the claim for 30 million tenge that, allegedly, we never paid. Needless to say, this is another stupid action because sponsorship money is free of tax. We already paid about 500 thousand US dollars in the form of taxes in three years. Now this money will be charged not from the founder, but from the executor…».

 

BTA Bank is among top three banks in Kazakhstan. However, after resignation of its CEO Mukhtar Ablyazov in February of 2009, new management has faced serious problems with the repayment of foreign debt. Today, the total external debt of the bank is about 12.5 billion US dollars.

 

The office of Public Prosecutor in Kazakhstan filed criminal cases against Ablyazov and six former top managers of BTA Bank. They are accused of big-scale financial machination. Today, Ablyazov resides outside Kazakhstan.

 

 

«Ferghana.Ru» information agency, Moscow

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