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2 Oct, 2023 19:35

Central Asian state bans unsympathetic foreigners from entry

Kazakhstan has a “blacklist” of foreign nationals who publish critical comments about the country, the Foreign Ministry confirms
Central Asian state bans unsympathetic foreigners from entry

Astana maintains a list of foreigners whom it considers to be “belligerent” towards Kazakhstan, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aybek Smadiyarov said on Monday. Individuals that are placed on the list are barred from entering Kazakhstan, he added.

“We do maintain such a list,” Smadiyarov told journalists at a regular briefing, when asked about Astana’s policy in this regard. The official explained that it is a “working list” designed for internal use only, and added that the Foreign Ministry does not plan to make it public. Nor did he name the exact number of foreign nationals currently on the blacklist.

The spokesman also said that “the border is then closed and such a person cannot enter.” His comments came in response to a social media scandal surrounding a popular Russian endocrinologist, Ilya Magerya, who has around 1 million followers on Instagram.

During an online chat with followers, he briefly touched on the situation in Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has seen a massive exodus of its Armenian population in the wake of Azerbaijan taking control of the area. He also criticized what he called the rise of nationalism in Kazakhstan, adding that nationalists are often to blame for military conflicts.

His words sparked an angry reaction from some people from Kazakhstan on social media. In particular, the Russian doctor was accused of “threatening” Kazakhstan with a “war” with his warning that nationalist sentiments could lead to one. In a video cited by Kazakh nationals on social media, Magerya was making an argument against such a conflict.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman insisted on Monday that Russia and Kazakhstan have “very good... neighborly relations.” The two countries are “working [together] as friendly, strategic [partners],” he added, while nonetheless calling on the Russian doctor to refrain from any “unnecessary” comments in the future.