Kazakhstan: A President for Life

On 18 May the Parliament of Kazakhstan adopted the changes into the Constitution in the second reading. According to one of the amendments, the first president of Kazakhstan will no more have limits on how many times he can run for the president's office. Let us see how the Livejournal users in Kazakhstan reacted on the day when the news broke.

LJ user yasharbek writes:

Nazarbayev for life. I'm in shock. A new Turkmenbashi :) I always used to say that the most democratic country in the whole CIS is Kyrgyzstan. The rest have a sort of medieval monarchy.

On the other hand, I do understand why it cannot be otherwise in Central Asia. The politicians are inexperienced in foreign policy. Maybe I am not the one to speak. But it is visible. Congratulations to Russia on good politics in the last days (the hydrocarbons).

mashenzia writes:

Today I was woken up by a hectic phone call: “Nazarbayev! Nazarbayev!”.
Nazarbayev did not shy away. But this is neither an extension of the duties, not a maniac will for power, but a result of internal fights we don't know about. It is a symbolic gesture, possibly, a declaration of war. He probably doesn't think about the forth term. Though maybe he looked at Berdymukhammedov this weekend and got jealous…

It is surprising how this was announced on Khabar – the message was blurred, boring, it was not the news of the day (the main news was the Israeli strikes even after parliament voted). Those who do write about it, even the opposition media are doing it unwillingly and without much moralism.

megakhuimyak thinks that this would prevent Kazakhstan from becoming the OSCE chairman.

Russian blogger kroopkin comments: Congratulations on a life-long term… Now it is interesting to see the “totalitarization” of the country…

megakhuimyak: The thing is that he can choose to run, or not. There are different tendencies here – the increase of the role of the parties and at the same time the strengthening of the president's real power.

sarimov: You have to have a f… fantasy to find a space in the constitution to increase your powers. The strife for perfection is never ending!

sibariana: We only have to make Putin life-long – and we'll be friends forever. The presidents will be, for sure. And then there is also eternal Fidel.

LJ user Sarimov is emotional:

Bastards! They decided the fate of the whole country in just 17 minutes!.. The unfortunate amendments came yesterday; 84 deputies of the Senate and the Mazhilis voted “for”. Mostly those who were “for” were from Nurotan. The wording is plain simple: “the first president of the Republic of Kazakhstan is not limited with the two terms rule”. The motive is funny: taking into account his historical role in political and socio-economic reforms and to let him finish what he started.

Today two people voted against, one abstained. As far as I know, Bulat Abishev was against (this is for sure). Another one was either Amalbek Tshan, or Tokhtar Aubakirov…


The discussion of the whole package of the amendments and the voting only took 17 minutes!

Kyrgyz blogger azzzik reflects on the news from the neighbors:

How many years did we moan about our “pocket” parliament, that it can adopt the laws and change the constitution as the president desires. Here we go with the Kazakhstan's example :)

The Constitution of Kazakhstan has a new amendment, according to which the first president of the country, Nursultan Nazarbayev, can run for presidential elections unlimited number of times.

The Kazakhs might be right – a person who did so much for the country (or NN thinks so himself), can afford it.

Now it is important not to cross this thin line, after which you can become an analogy of Turkmenbashi, the eternal president of Turkmenistan.

P.S. Our Akayev either didn't manage to reach this point or he didn't want to.

The 101almatinec community is busy discussing the news, LJ user dass writes: Who is good at politics? Is Nazarbayev forever now?

zerlegmuur: Nope. Only for life…

pacifisttt: It's horrible.

dass: Why?

pacifisttt: Because I don't want to live in a backward country with a life-long monarchy and have absolutely no freedom of choice. Because I don't like when a corrupt and shameless person has a power, and he doesn't even think it is necessary to hide his greed and his longing for power. Because I don't want my children to live in such a country. Because then we shouldn't have laughed at Turkmenistan. We are going towards it. We'll rename Almaty into Nursultan city.

dass: You want to live in a legal state? They say there you have to be responsible for words like “corrupt and shameless” – in court.

pacifisttt: And you don't have to be responsible for thefts? For murders?

dass: Surely.

pacifisttt: Well, I'd like to try living in such a state.

voronxxi: I am afraid you are not lucky then… the whole world is like that. The countries differ only how the corruption is organised there, and some are better at presenting themselves … KZ is not so bad! At least, you still don't have to eat the genetically modified food, your children are not fed with the toxic pills against the syndrome of under-development, if they – children – do not want to accept that the families of two dads are no good…

chernyi_sobak: Interesting, does he steal from your own pocket? And overall, I am just interested, does anyone prevent you from working? Are you discriminated on sexual or national grounds? You don't have a right to leave the country?..

If you wanna live better, work better. Cause everyone is used to sitting on the benches and chatting about “how we have so much oil in Kazakhstan, we should live like in Emirates and have the servants”…

pacifisttt: Yes. You pay the taxes, they buy yachts. I am often harassed on the grounds of nationality. I cannot make a career in state bodies with my surname. They are bringing me the papers from the government in a language I don't understand and they don't want to translate. I can keep listing. You know, I have other interests, besides eating and going to the toilet. That is why I am not satisfied with the level of culture in this country, the level of self-consciousness, I don't like when they lie looking into my eyes, without even blinking. Not everything is measured in money.


  • Once I wrote an opinion on the long-term-presidency in our countries (Central Asia) especially Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and I had always met with the opinion of Kazakh youth that there is no better candidate but Nazarbayev.

    The question is: Is that true? Or do poor oppositionists fail to introduce themselves or fear something, or may be the fact that there is nowhere to show yourself(advertise/start campaigns), as all major influential media in the hands of Nazarbayev’s family members(his daughter) and those who close to him?

    извиняюсь за свой английский надеюсь понятны мысл.. давно я неписал на этом языке :)

  • yashar, that is what I am asking myself too! it’s all combined I think. The opposition does not have channels – all administrative resources and media are dominated by the regime. Also, people do live better now, comparing to the 90s. There are jobs for young people, opportunities for business, there is (relative) ethnic stability. They compare “stable” Kazakhstan with revolutionary Kyrgyzstan or tyrannic Turkmenistan and decide it’s better to stay with the same leader, they haven’t tried any other, right. People tend to choose the easiest ways. I think so…

  • yashar: There really is no better candidate than Nazarbayev. Partially that is because no one is given national access to the media, as Leila wrote, so people are unaware of what other people in the gov’t are doing, let alone any opposition or independent candidates. Also, since all roads lead to Ak Orda, no one has the experience necessary to prove that they would be a good President (or so it would seem). Unfortunately everything is signed by Nazarbayev, so everything appears to be his idea, as if no one else has any good ideas or ability to get anything done. It’s a mess and this new law is just putting off the inevitable when someone else will have to become President, but within the mess we have, Nazarbayev really is the best option.

  • Will happy to see you, guys, at my original blog in Russian on http://www.yashar.ru

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