Ermukhamet Qabidenuly Ertysbayev (Kazakh: Ermuhamet Qabi'denuly Ertisbaev, Ермұхамет Қабиденұлы Ертісбаев) served as the Minister of Culture, Information, and Sport in the Government of Kazakhstan until President Nursultan Nazarbayev split the Ministry of Culture, Information and Sport into a Culture and Information Ministry and a Tourism and Sport Ministry through a presidential decree on 27 March 2006. Nazarbayev appointed Ertysbayev the Minister of Culture and Information and Temirkhan Dosmukhanbetov the Minister of Tourism.
Ertysbayev has been called Nazarbayev's "wily political adviser."
A court sentenced Erzhan Utembayev, the head of the Senate administration, to twenty years in prison for his involvement in the assassination of opposition politician Altynbek Sarsenbayev on 11 February 2006. Dariga Nazarbayeva, one of the most powerful Kazakh politicians and daughter of the President, responded to the conviction by calling on Nurtai Abykayev, the Speaker of the Senate, to resign. Global Insight, an international think tank, linked her criticism of Abykayev to her rivalry with Timur Kulibayev, the husband of her sister Dinara. Global Insight reports that the move "backfired" and President Nazarbayev had Ertysbayev take control of the Khabar television channel while coercing his daughter to merge the Asar party with the Otan party. Bagila Bukharbayeva of the Associated Press also drew this conclusion. Ertysbayev said the take over of Khabar would help Kazakhstan improve's "information security."
In March 2005 Ertysbayev called the possibility of a color revolution occurring in Kazakhstan as it did in Kyrgyzstan. The weakness of Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev led to a "mass spontaneous riot". The political opposition in Kazakhstan will "have to wait for another 10 years" before they can take control of the government because Nazarbayev is popular and will be reelected due to the strength of the economy. He called Kazakhstan a "very strong state" that if need be, will "quell a mob... with clubs and tear gas."
Associated Press: Borat
Reporters for Kazakhstanskaya Pravda interviewed Ertysbayev in November 2006, asking him how he felt about British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Ertysbayev said the film "above all mocks American manners and rural people and their intellect. Sasha Cohen's 'art' clearly isn't a masterpiece... But in reality there are truly funny parts. And people like to laugh." However, he criticized Cohen's sense of humor as "black, insulting, insolent, and openly stupid... Paradoxically, after the film's release, we have seen a more ardent and avid interest in Kazakhstan."
Interfax Agency: Nurzhan Subkhanberdin
When Interfax interviewed Ertysbayev in November 2004 he referred to Nurzhan Subkhanberdin, chairman of Kazkommertsbank bank, as a Kazakhstani "Khodorkovsky." Ertysbayev, speaking in favor of legislation that would limit the abilities of "various elite groups" to influence politics through lobbying, told Interfax that "in the transition period, in the post-Soviet area, any attempt from the oligarchs to influence... the president, the Parliament and the government can result in serious political cataclysms." Critics, such as reporters for Respublika, said the government's de-monopolization campaign would give Kazakhstanis a chance "to see how the government will put monopolists and their protectors from the head of state's inner circle in their place."
Unknown individuals distributed a fake edition of the Assandi-Times on 4 June 2004. The paper, which has become the most read paper in Kazakhstan for its criticism of corruption, instead criticized political rivals of President Nazarbayev in the fake edition. Galina Dyrdina, deputy editor of the Assandi-Times, said, "We confidently state that the publication of the fake Assandi-Times was sanctioned either by the president's administration or by structures close to it." Ertysbayev said Dyrdina's statements about government involvement "did not reflect reality."
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