New East Digital Archive

Kazakh Prime Minister’s Twitter strategy backfires

Kazakh Prime Minister's Twitter strategy backfires
(Image: Spencer E Holtaway under a CC licence)

15 August 2016

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov recently tried to foster national pride through Twitter. It didn’t go quite as he planned.

Mr Masimov recently posted on his two Twitter accounts in honour of the upcoming 25th anniversary of Kazakh independence on 16 December, calling upon his online followers to list Kazakhstan’s greatest achievements in its quarter-century as an independent nation.

Although his audience did, indeed, use the suggested hashtags #25KAZ and #25YearsOfIndependence (#25летНезависимости in Russian), things probably did not turn out exactly as Mr Masimov had hoped.

Rather than an outpouring of pure delight at the miraculous achievements of the state, the hashtags prompted a wave of angry tweets, revealing outrage over a range of issues, including healthcare, police, democracy and corruption.

“To deliver a healthy baby you have to pay a bribe in the maternity ward, to get a place in a kindergarten—pay bribes again. At school? Guess what,” tweeted @iKairat, making reference to claims of widespread bribery in schools and hospitals.

Twitter user @kasymjanym hit out against police violence, stating that “We fear police more than bandits and terrorists.”

Others decided to make the prime minister himself the target of their tweets.

“We’ve never had a chance to elect another president!” wrote another user from Almaty.

While his tweet did produce some positive feedback — in the most part from the Twitter accounts of the state-run Kazinform news agency and Kazakh embassies abroad – perhaps Mr Masimov will be less eager to garner support through social media in future.

Source: Radio Liberty