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Kazakhstan's unfinished revolution

Kazakhstan's black market: a very few get rich while
the rest don't like what they see

Listening to Grigory Marchenko talk you could be forgiven for thinking he was central bank governor of a booming first world economy. The budget is balanced - in fact there is a surplus; financial infrastructure is robust and the banking system in good shape. Marchenko himself is urbane, highly qualified and very persuasive. He is however the chairman of the Kazakhstan National Bank and the country he describes is not one its inhabitants are entirely familiar with.

In the bars of Almaty, where a returning visitor's five tenge note is viewed as an old-fashioned curiosity - the one thousand is a lot more useful these days - those locals who can afford to drink foreign beer do so slowly and they have little time for Marchenko or his statistics.

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