Voices from Kazakhstan

Walking around the streets of Almaty, we picked up and brought for your attention the conversations from the Kazakh blogosphere.

The recent visit of Kazakh President Nazarbayev to the White House was discussed by LJ user adam_kesher (RU):

Roughly speaking, the United States have two reasons not to annoy Kazakhstan – oil and security, and two things that annoy themselves – corruption that prevents growth, and authoriarianism, which is so unlimited and unpunished, that it led to two political murders.

: This is a comedy. Interesting one, though.

adam_kesher: It is. Khabar (state TV channel) gives you an impression that everyone in the United States was so happy about the visit.

lunaric: And everyone puts up a good front. Borat's art though should be discussed on intercontinental level :). It is unbelievable how he spoils our image in front of international community!

adam_kesher: He's cool. Have you read about his visit to the Kazakh embassy and the White House?

lunaric: No :). Do you know when Otau Cinema (Kazakh cinema chain) will release his film?

adam_kesher: Otau first played fool and said – we will show the film but we don't know what it is about. Then Ministry of Foreign Affairs told them – we do not want to stop you but the film might insult some people's feelings and cause discontent. So, Otau Cinema is probably afraid of a civil war that Borat Sagdiyev might cause and will not show the film in the end. I will go to Bishkek to watch it.

ehot: I'll join you.

adam_kesher: Deal :)

More than anything, the visit is an image-boosting event, writes adam_kesher, though it is reported that Condoleezza Rice spread memo to OSCE-members’ embassies in the US on not giving in to Kazakhstan’s lobbying for OSCE chairmanship.

Esbergen writes on Russian-language neweurasia Kazakhstan that during his visit, Nursultan Nazarbayev stated that his country will always be a friend of the United States, a country that guaranteed Kazakhstan's security at the start of its independence (RU). These words, thinks Esbergen, can be regarded as a reflection of real situation since the United States play and will continue to play an important role in Central Asia. It is clear though that Kazakhstan will have to sustain a “friendship” with other influential centers of Eurasia, including Russia, China and European Union, and, possibly, India in the future.

Russian-Georgian conflict made Kazakh bloggers wonder what would be its impact on Kazakhstan. Stavros writes on neweurasia that since numerous Kazakhstan citizens work in Russia, many illegally, it is a central issue and touches all ethnic groups, not just ethnic Russians.

Nurzhan posts his written in February article on Kazakh investments in Georgia, thinking that it would be an interesting topic in light of the current developments.

…the relations between Georgia and Kazakhstan revolve around natural gas. During the recent visit of Georgian Prime Minister, Zurab Nogaideli to Astana, there was an agreement reached. In that agreement, Kazakhstan would supply Georgia with natural gas at a price of 68 US dollars for thousand cubic of meters. The agreed price is very favorable to Georgia given that the South Caucasus state is in desperate need for this high-value commodity after recent disruptions of gas supplies to Georgia as well as Russia’s energy dispute with Ukraine.

Pressing, a new blog on Kazakhstan journalism, reports on an unusual press-conference that the journalists of Pavlodar were invited to (RU). The press-conference was held by KNB (Committee on National Security) and after the news on catching the drug-dealers, the KNB official told journalists that one of their staff members was arrested for bribery. In a very subtle way, the journalists were told not to report the exact name and post of the official.

The news that the Russian media company “Soup” signed a deal with Six Apart, the owner of LiveJournal blog service did not get a positive response in blogosphere. According to this agreement, “Soup” got a license to provide services to 681 thousand of those Livejournal users who write in Cyrrilic, Kazakhs among them. Since Kazakh LJ users usually read Russian Livejournals, the Kazakhstanis’ response is similar to Russian. One of the Russian LJ users sartac writes (RU):

The deal means that Russian company of Nosik (Anton Nosik, dolboeb.livejournal.com) and Mamuta will control all our diaries, will get access to “friends only”, private entries. Maybe the Abuse Team (the conflict resolution division) will also get a right to close our journals. I suggest stating your attitude to these actions by virtual “relocation” to another country beyond “Soup's” control. Other possible actions – change of time zone, city and writing in Latin script.

Upd.: Read the official comments. Soup will have access to personal information. If you indicate that you are not in one of the fomer USSR countries in your profile, you are out of their jurisdition. They are worried.

Leila's post on Russian-language neweurasia Kazakhstan concluded that blogs can be regarded as online media and be regulated by media laws. In comments, Marat reacted that he would have to start using allegories and the language similar to Aesop's fables in his Livejournal.

Adam Kesher regrets that the Kazakh Government is occupied with propaganda rather than real reforms in his post on neweurasia Kazakhstan (RU), when he analyzes the reports of the state information agency Kazinform.

In July 2005, Congressman Chris Smith accused the agency of misinterpreting his words about the country's possible chairmanship in OSCE. The practice of filtration of the statements by authoritative politicians to present praises and brush away criticisms shows the final goal of a propaganda, which is to creat an illusory “international recognition” of the regime and unwillingness to make reforms, that the international community insists on.”

If you read Russian, or at least know what is “da” and “net”, you can guess along with Kazakh bloggers whether Kazakhstan will indeed become a chairman of OSCE in 2009. On November 3, one month before voting takes place in Brussels, we hope to open a poll on English-language neweurasia Kazakhstan too.

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