Kazakhstan: Bloggers discuss politics

Not a week may pass in the Kazakhstani blogosphere without the president getting a mention. It’s quite natural, taking into account the power he enjoys – sarimov posts (RUS) a very indicative joke on this topic:

- Investments in fixed capital decreased by 0.6%!
– It’s again Nazarbayev behind this.
– Why?!
– If not he, then who? Me?

Mursya (RUS) is amazed how fast things can become when the matter is about the president’s will. Another city in Kazakhstan, Semipalatinsk, was renamed just two days following the president’s suggestion. The new name, Semei, means nothing both in Russian and in Kazakh, being rooted in slang.

The alleged reason for renaming is to cut away negative associations with the Semipalatinsk nuclear test ground, which had been heavily used in Soviet times. “It’s interesting, what would be the use of that for the towns’ inhabitants, who have problems with receiving their social benefits as victims of the test ground”, mursya says.

The Aliev affair” (in which the President's former son-in-law is being held in Austria for charges brought against him in Kazakhstan) is still discussed by bloggers, even though the news from Vienna are very few. Tuganbaev, a Kazakh born and living in Moscow, believes that Nazarbayev had to sacrifice his son-in-law for the sake of gaining legitimacy (RUS).

Weathercock, a Kazakhstani living in Australia, says the Aliev story foreshadows inevitable future problems that will come up in the post-Nazarbayev epoch (RUS). Megakhuimyak, pondering over the ban on use of right-hand steering wheel cars, opines that information flows within the power structures are biased, and the president doesn’t receive objective data (RUS):

“The Security Council doesn't check or deliberately distorts information that it is discussing. The Presidential Administration also does not check the information that is being voiced by the president. The President's control over the force structures has weakened – in earlier times they would not have dared to misinform him”.

Meanwhile, members of the youth movement Nur Otar are posing like mock monarchists, and in continuing their public actions “in support of the president-for-life amendments” are wearing sheep’s masks. Ivanalmazoff posted a brief report on the movement’s last flash-mobs, featuring also a couple of videos (RUS).

Adam Kesher hosts a discussion on the low level of patriotism in Kazakhstan in his livejournal, where most of the Kazakh bloggers concluded that the main reason of that are lacunas in information policy, ideology and education, as well as in fragmentation of the society, and a lack of civicism (RUS).

Irene posts review of migration trends on cj.kz: “Although Kazakhstan is the 9th most attractive country for migrants in the world, most of the migrants work here illegally, have low salaries and bear high risks due to poor working conditions”.

These two weeks on neweurasia-Kazakhstan were most notable for Irene’s shocking story of how impudently the Kazakh officials sometimes behave – it’s about bandit-type not paying the bill in a restaurant (RUS):

We can speak a lot about democracy in Kazakhstan, the government can spend lots of taxpayers’ money for PR-campaigns and receptions for foreigners. But until we don't get rid of such cases of impudence, we will be perceived as a “third world” country, and the inflow of investments will be very low.

Georgex criticizes the poor implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Kazakhstan: two years of participation in the initiative, but so far no results (RUS):

It looks as though Kazakhstan's joining to EITI was a sort of PR-action, a government's concession to the West. Now EITI commitments in Kazakshtan are totally overlooked both by the authorities and the oil companies.

Elena keeps on updating about the situation around Mittal Steel Temirtau – workers reached out to the British trade unions telling them about their poor working conditions (RUS). Adam informs about a new Kazakh billionaire (as usual, it’s an “inner circle” man, this time the president’s confidant Bulat Utemuratov), problems with car parking in Almaty and the destiny of casinos in this city, which was declared as “the most Russian among non-Russian cities” by a BBC blog.

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