I am a diplomat, and I have been in Kazakhstan for six months. I was sent here because I had worked in Russia for more than seven years and I am familiar with the Central Asian region. Before Kazakhstan, I lived in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Trinidad and Tobago.
The main advantage of working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the opportunity to get acquainted with a large number of people, to learn different cultures.
The Soviet Union still existed in the world when I started my career. I was the person who physically recognized the independence of Kazakhstan, I personally as the employee of the department of the protocol transferred a note of our Ministry to the representation of Kazakhstan in Moscow. It was my task as a diplomat.
About the city
I was in Astana ten years ago. At that time, I worked as an inspector of all embassies in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, travelled, watched, analyzed the work of all representative bodies including Kazakhstan.
I was surprised by how things changed here when I came back. I didn't expect the population of the city to double since then.
There are many tall buildings in Astana, and I used to live closer to the ground. In April I will get a house-residence, which I am glad, because I do not like to live in high-rises. I came from Berlin and maybe someone thinks there are a lot of tall buildings but in fact it is rare. Historically, in Germany houses are not higher than five floors. My apartment in Berlin is located on the third floor.
I love rivers, and they are important to the city. In the summer when I first arrived, I lived in the hotel The St. Regis Astana. Then I liked to walk along the embankment to the Arbat. Now because of the climate, the river is not visible, but I like skiing on the river.
I tried all the Kazakh food. Horse meat is unusual for Germans, but I like it. There are several German restaurants in Astana if we talk about my usual cuisine. For example, our Christmas holiday we celebrated in the German restaurant Pivovaroff, the cuisine there is similar to German.
I have a car in Astana, but for me, it is more convenient to use a taxi via the mobile application. I did not use public transport but in Germany, I regularly use the metro. Also, in Germany, I use a bicycle and in Astana, I do it less often because in winter it is difficult. I'm not that heroic a cyclist.
About Kazakhstan and Kazakhstanis
Kazakhs are hospitable people. The atmosphere here is conducive to communication, if you ask something then you will be kindly answered. I feel like at home in Astana. Although it was not everywhere where I happened to live.
People like to show their city to foreigners, and residents of the capital want people to know about them. Astana is a great achievement for Kazakhstan.
Family values in Kazakhstan play a significant role in society. I see that the priority of family helps people to be more united.
Another feature is that time in Kazakhstan is different. If the meeting is scheduled for a particular time then it is more likely to be later.
I travelled around Kazakhstan but so far I have visited a few places: Kokshetau, Karaganda region and Almaty. In April, when it gets warmer, I plan a big tour in Kazakhstan.
Near to Karaganda, there is town Saran, where we went to the opening ceremony of the largest solar power plant with an area of 20 square kilometres. I opened it with German investors and the head of the city administration. I also managed to visit Karaganda, where I met with the head of the city. There live 28,000 Germans and 180,000 Germans in whole Kazakhstan. I am interested to communicate with ethnic Germans. Kazakhstanis who once moved to Germany and come back, know German culture better than the local Germans. This is an interesting trend.
We usually work in the same country for three or four years. This period of service provides an opportunity to learn more about people and local culture.
I want to organize a program aimed at the rich biosphere of Kazakhstan. We have a well-known scientist Alfred Brehm, who studied the saiga and the local culture. There is a Museum in Germany, where many rare exhibits from the biosphere of Kazakhstan and I would like to bring this project here. I think the topic of animal welfare is serious and interesting. I am glad that the number of saigas is growing. We will hold this exhibition at the beginning of next year, but we have already started preparations.
On April 4, the German jazz group will arrive in Astana to perform at an open event. The group will also perform in Karaganda. On March 21, DJs from the most famous techno clubs of Berlin will perform in Astana.