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Kazakhstan to ban Russian TV executive from country in response to Telegram post about train station name changes

Source: Meduza

The Kazakhstani authorities plan to ban Tina Kandelaki, the CEO of the Russian TV channel TNT, from the country, the news outlet Tengri News reported on Monday, citing Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aibek Smadiyarov.

“If you don’t like someone, then you don’t let that person into your home. And that’s how we’re going to proceed. […] The state never forgives these kinds of things. [Kandelaki] will not come to Kazakhstan, and if she does, she won’t enter,” said Smadiyarov.

Earlier this month, Kandelaki published a post on Telegram about the “displacement of the Russian language at the state level” in Kazakhstan, after the country’s Transport Ministry announced it would translate the Russian-language names of some train stations into Kazakh.

In her post, the media executive called the name changes a “very dangerous pattern” and cited the “experience of the Baltics”: “There, too, it all started with small changes that ended up truly snowballing: they closed Russian schools, removed Soviet statues, banned Russian language, and, finally, cast pensioners out into the cold.”

After people in Kazakhstan began criticizing Kandelaki’s post, she wrote that she was following their responses “with interest and sadness”:

To not remember oneself and everything that has happened, to throw away history in all its forms, including historical names — that’s not just an ignorant practice but also a dangerous one.

In a response to Kandelaki’s second post, former Kazakhstani lawmaker Bekbolat Tleuhan called her statements a “deliberate provocation” and said they were an insult to the Kazakh people. “Every country has the right to decide for itself what names to give its train stations, streets, and cities,” he added.

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