Harry’s ski trip links him to a Kazakh dictator: how much backlash will he get?

Harry’s ski trip links him to a Kazakh dictator: how much backlash will he get?

Man, the Royal Holy Trinity just can’t win as of late, can they.  Prince Harry is now facing some backlash following his ski trip to Kazakhstan because of the human rights issue of vacationing in a country with a poor human rights record, and in association with an oligarch who is close friends with Kazakhstan’s dictator president who has been accused of all sorts of human rights violations.

To recap, Harry and Cressida took a trip to Kazakhstan from March 13-16.  They took a private jet to get there.  They stayed at a resort that is partially owned by oligarch Serzham Zhumashov, who is close friends with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.  Harry and Cressida, and their friends, were given free use of a government helicopter to take them to and from the slopes every day.

Prince Andrew may be the link here, although “sources” claim he wasn’t involved with this trip.  Andrew has gone on private goose hunting trips with Nazarbayev, and in 2007 Nazarbayev’s son-in-law bought Andrew’s old home for £15million—3 mil above the asking price.  I would assume Andrew met Nazarbayev during his stint as the trade ambassador.

“Sources close to Harry” are claiming that the trip was organized by someone else in their party and that he and Cressida tagged along.  Now here’s the publicist-approved “friend” quote denying culpability and claiming it was all for privacy:  “The Prince did not meet with any government officials while he was there and the trip was not at the invitation of any.  It was very much a private holiday. Part of the reasoning behind it was that he and his girlfriend were the subject of huge paparazzi attention last year [skiing in Switzerland] and wanted to go somewhere where, ostensibly, they would not be spotted.”

Kensington Palace says this was a private trip so is refusing to say who paid.  So did Harry pay, was the chalet lent for free by the shady businessman, did someone else in their party pay for everyone?  Questions, questions.

I’m not sure how big this backlash is, but it is being brought up.  It certainly isn’t as big as the backlash against William and Kate for their Maldives trip (whether it should be or not is a different story–hint, it should be bigger given the association with a human rights-violating dictator).  From a PR stand point, it is a really dumb move to be in any way associated with dictators, just ask Hilary Swank, Jennifer Lopez and Kanye West.  I realize Harry and Cress wanted something out of the way so they could have privacy, but Kazakhstan?  Kazakhstan at a resort that could link them to a shady oligarch and, through him, a dictator?  Stupid.

It amazes me how horrible the Royal Holy Trinity’s PR team has been lately.  There has been so many poorly-timed vacations and so much backlash against them in the last few months, it’s unusual.  Why hasn’t anyone on their team stepped up and said something to them?  Clearly the team is aware of the backlash or else they wouldn’t be talking about how they want William to get a full time job at the Foreign Office to stem the criticism that he doesn’t work.  Harry’s trip was stupid. Any vacation at this time would have been dumb given the public’s royal vacation fatigue and Will and Kate’s recent backlash, but if Harry and Cress were going to take a vacation, going to a country with a president who is on the Human Right Watch list is the stupidest place they could go. But it is interesting how the RHT’s office has fallen down on the job.  If anything, this trip is evidence that the RHT’s PR team is failing and the cracks are showing in their façade.  I wonder how many more incidents like these we will have.

20 thoughts on “Harry’s ski trip links him to a Kazakh dictator: how much backlash will he get?

  1. excellent work here in putting these facts together – I would add that Kazakstan has a Taliban presence – the same guys who have threatened vengeance against Harry – so in going there he placed himself and those with him in possible danger. Rather poor judgment all around. If it was a private visit and he got kidnapped – I guess the Brit gov would not have to pay any ransom since it was a “private visit”??

  2. Another cracker here and spot on but would just like to point out that the Maldives also has an atrocious human rights record so the Lamebridges don’t score any brownie points from that angle either.
    Looks like it’s open season on the young royals and deservedly so. Dim princes and greedy women. You couldn’t make it up.

    1. Thank you for pointing that out, re Maldives. They just don’t know how to pick their holiday destinations do they. Yes, it really seems like people are being much more critical of the RHT lately, which is unexpected, but welcome, I hope it continues.

      1. Hmmm, I wonder if William whispered in Harry’s ear to vacation in Kazakhstan to deflect heat from the Cambridges’ excessive Maldives jaunt. This is just what William’s PR needed to throw the spare to the wolves in order to boost William’s reputation, such as it is, once again.

  3. No private trips unless they are private citizens. While we pay for their sorry RF backsides, we should know

    1. I would agree. Even if they pay for their own way–which, really, isn’t “private” either since the money ultimately comes from the taxpayer somehow–their security that just has to escort them is funded by the taxpayer. Nothing they do is really “private”, it’s just an excuse for them not to comment on crap that makes them look bad.

  4. at least we know where they are and they are pics, kate and will are good at playing hide and seek

      1. Good point, they will be in New Zealand soon and I hope we will not be treated to views of Kate’s private parts!

  5. Bah humbug. They could ski in Canada or Scotland or Europe. But they didn’t.

    I don’t care how nice Harry might seem to be. A royal is a royal is a royal. They were all butchering, thieving despots before the rise of the middle class pinned them down with a few standards of common decency. Harry’s first priority will always be protecting the family wealth so he can keep feeding off it. He’s media savvy and until I see proof his charitable work is raising the standard of life for the recipients I refuse to get sucked in.

    Cressida Bonas looks like an idiot – perhaps not as bad as Middleton but still pretty low on the suitability (usefulness) scale. And why do W. & H. gravitate to such grungy looking women?

    It also appears that the latest girlfriend has ambitious family pushing her from behind. Seems like they, like the Middleton’s, might be using astroturfers in the press as well. Don’t be fooled easily.

    1. Harry seems to have charmed many, but he really isn’t that great. He may have a way with people, but he doesn’t do much either and has the same bad attitude regarding the media and privilege without responsibility.

      Cressida seems like a blonde, aristo version of Kate Middleton. I still haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary. It really does seem like her family is pushing for the tiara. There are a ton of leaks coming from her family and friends. Cressida seems to be playing a good game–it looks like she and her family have learned from Kate and Carole’s mistakes–but it is a game. And she seems to be winning.

  6. Reports state that both he and watercress posed for photos with “fans”. Some photos are in the country’s paper too. So to claim they went there for privacy is just one more big lie to throw on top of their mountain of lies and excuses!

    1. To play devil’s advocate, not being dicks to fans doesn’t mean they didn’t want privacy. They could have gone there wanting privacy but when fans recognized them they didn’t want to be rude, so they posed for photos. A lot of celebs do that, they want privacy from photogs, but they’ll pose for a few photos with fans if asked because they don’t want to be rude to their fanbase who keeps their career going.

      1. On many occasions Harry has refused to have his photos taken with the peasants! So a beg to differ on the disappointing the public.

        I really detest the use of the word “fans” because royalty is suppose to be above it all. It does not behoove the BRF to become just like other celebs. And who is she to be having “fans”? Just cause she is banging him? It is not as if the woman has done something on her own to become a credible person.

      2. Eh, it was just a suggestion. Like I said, devil’s advocate, another theory to be postulated. I didn’t know Harry had refused to have his photo taken with people before.

        Re BRF becoming celebs and Cress not having done anything to deserve fans, I agree with you.

  7. Well, well. More lies. Report claims no bodyguards were with Harry.

    Huge lie when I saw the same bodyguard who was with him in Vegas sitting on the porch while Harry & gf were messing with their boots!

    Really stupid! When they have complained and beefed up security in U.K. due to the claims Harry is in danger from Taliban why would he be permitted or choose to go there much less without bodyguards! Oh, that is right because it was FREE!!

    He is no different than his brother and Andrew & Fergie.


    1. Huh, that is weird. The British papers claim they went with a full security team.

      I became really disillusioned to Harry a good while ago. He is way more like his brother than people care to admit. He’s able to charm people, but he doesn’t really do that much more than William and has the same bad attitude.

  8. these windsor boys if they cant get the right girls to marry, why not try other countries,

  9. I forgot to add in my 1st comment- we should be ready for a PR visit from Harry soon. And yes he did go to a boys school today! Surprise? No, predictable!

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