Official photos of the new leader of Kazakhstan have been met with criticism online, with accusations his appearance has been altered. Comparison photos appear to show him with significantly smoother skin, and less wrinkles.
RFE/RL were the first to point out the obvious differences, claiming the government-released photos showed a significant difference in interim president Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev’s face, when compared with images courtesy of photojournalists at the event.
Amos Chapple, writer at RFE/RL, said:
The aim, it appears, is to digitally nip, tuck, and smooth the 65-year-old ex-diplomat and former prime minister’s appearance — and possibly ease his path to a five-year term as the Central Asian powerhouse prepares for its snap presidential election in June.
According to RFE/RL, a Photoshop expert they spoke with said that he was “almost 100 percent” certain the official photos of Toqaev were retouched to change his appearance. He drew particular attention to skin smoothing, and what looks like a reduction in the size of the chin. It was also pointed out that other people in the frames remain untouched.
Many of the official photos released by the Kazakhstani government have since been spread by international media outlets, many of whom are likely oblivious to the photos being doctored.