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Kazakhstan: Big politics and human lives

But politics first: Andy-taker draws attention to the fact that ministers in Kazakhstan are being reshuffled, migrating from one government to another in a manner which bears no particular relation to their professions. Pretty much the same happens on lower levels; maybe this is the reason for the people's dissatisfaction with the officials?

After visits to a number of government bodies and agencies, Astanchanka is very angry: “Bureaucrats are just killing me! They are rude and ignorant – ridiculously explaining this with low salaries and tiredness. Gorbachev was right: Citizens should start Perestroika from themselves” (RUS).

Raseyannaya from Ekibastuz (a town in Central Kazakhstan) is indignant towards those officials who are skeptical about non-traditional religions, consider Krishna followers as extremists and want to introduce religious education in schools. “Our state is secular”, she reminds people, “and even if I want to worship a Steam Iron, nobody shall have any objections” (RUS).

Probably, this official attitude has also led to problems with the supply of textbooks to the schools. Neweurasia's Ksenia reports on the matter: “The Kazakhstani children have entered the new school year with ambitious novelties: more Internet access and 1,000 “interactive blackboards” – everything necessary for the new era education. However, the main problems occur in the very elementary basics”.

Miss-crazy, a young mother, is amazed: “When I was of the same age as my son, we studied Ancient History in school. Now he brought home just a slim book on Kazakhstan's history. I regret that we threw all Soviet-time textbooks away”, she says (RUS).

Another possible outcome of the officials neglecting their responsibilities and lacking competence is a sad situation around the development of the Kazakh language. As neweurasia's Nurgeldy says, “the urban population prefers using Russian language; re-orientation of the people for state-language is very slow; Russian-speaking population is reluctant to study Kazakh language”.

Also on neweurasia this week there are Marat's reflections concerning Russian Gastarbeiters in Kazakhstan (a recent immigrants legalization campaign surprisingly revealed that Russians make up nearly 6% of illegal labor immigrants in Kazakhstan), Adam's review of the Central Asian blogosphere, in which the Kazakh segment appears to be three to four times more active than all others, and also his report about the strange award that has been given to President Nazarbayev by a department of Florida-based private university.

One of the most discussed issues after the August 18 parliamentary elections is inflation. Female-creature wonders if it is time to buy out salt and matches in the stores, like people usually did during crises in Soviet times. The main concern is bread, whose price increased by 30-40 per cent. The officials say it is caused by extreme demand on the external market due to a bad harvest in Europe, so the grain producers prefer to sell crops abroad. Megakhuimyak comments:

“There already is a 21 million ton harvest in Kazakhstan, which is a lot (last year it was 15 million tons), but the price for bread is growing. The officials have two excuses: we have bad crops and the price will go up, or we have great crops and we'd better sell it to someone else who is ready to pay more, so the price for you will go up” (RUS).

While epolet posts pictures made in the Beijing military museum, showing China's territorial claims to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, Steve is keeping a close eye on the oil intrigues. “Kazakhstan is deadly serious about getting its way on the supergiant Kashagan oilfield. Kazakhstan wants cash and effective control of the field. A renegotiation of terms on the field is bound to whet Kazakhstan's appetite. Look for future demands for better terms at both the supergiant Tengiz and Kashagan fields”, he warned.

And soon his warning was substantiated by a Kazakh senator's call to reprimand Chevron for alleged environmental violations. “That is the direction of events in the region, and around the world, and there is no reason to presume that Chevron will be exempt”, he concludes.

However, the main, most discussed and tragic topic this week was the human life. The Kazakhstani blogosphere was shocked by the news about the disappearence of a Russian blogger, who was visiting Almaty. A young girl went for a walk to the mountains and was missing for several days. The police refused to start searching her because of formalities, but a huge resonance on the web eventually forced it to take measures.

Many bloggers reposted a call for search for Irina, joining the campaign organized by cyber-gorynych, a popular Livejournal user and a friend of the missing girl (RUS). But the greater shock followed later — Irina was found slain in the outskirts of Almaty by tourists.

The issue of a human life's value came onto the surface also after the Russian rocket crash in central Kazakhstan. An unmanned Russian Proton rocket did not hurt anyone 30 miles southwest of Zhezkazgan, but – apart from a Japanese satellite – it carried more than 220 tons of highly toxic fuel heptyl, KZBlog reports.

He notes that the incident may hamper space tourism and lead to fewer people leasing Russian space services. But the crash was accompanied by weird statement made by the Kazakh prime-minister Massimov. He said, in particular: “How could we allow this rocket to crash near the place where our president was present!?” Nazarbayev was on the visit to Zhezkazgan on that day.

adam_kesher comments (RUS):

The president's body is sacred in Kazakhstan. Just like Orwell said: “All are equal, but some are more equal than others”. He appoints judges, part of the parliament and government; he changes the constitution, can rule the country for the rest of his life, and cannot be called to responsibility. Now prime-minister Massimov confirms how equal is the head of state, comparing to all others. Apart from the president, there were tens of thousands of people in Zhezkazgan, 80 kilometers away from the poisonous heptyl rocket, but you don't say a word about them. Can you allow this, Mr. Massimov?

2 comments

  • Nazgul

    Kazakhstan today has similar to Zimbabwe dieing condition. However, international media prefers not to emphasize on Kazakh dictator and the way he is managing the country for the last 17 years. Former communist Nazarbaev has occupied presidential position leaving no choice for people to live and think freely and no opportunity for others to suggest new democratic way of life. Just like in Zimbabwe, economics of Kazakhstan is out of professional control, corruption and greed of “public servants” has reached its highest level, only few close to the president benefit from wealth of the land. There is no application of Law in the country anymore, those who pay – they get what they want. As result, hundreds of thousands of people are leaving their country with hope to give better future for their children. Even screaming glamour of modern construction of high-rises in Astana and Almaty is not able to hide dieing hope for freedom and democracy. The ugliest ever management of the country with no background or education in capitalistic system or public service institutions has created environment where decent person turns into criminal.
    To date justice towards prominent opposition leaders and journalists has been handled under personal supervision of the president Nazarbaev. In 2003 death of 16 journalists in Kazakhstan, is this a coincidence? Strange! Nearly all journalists died in road accidence and nearly all those who opposed the hierarchy of Kazakhstan passed away with the courtesy of the gun short. And no investigation could prove that all these people were murdered in cold blood, but died due to their own fault. This act seems to have no concern for the champions of human rights globally. The sole dictator of Kazakhstan has turned into a billionaire owing to the budget deficit of USD 5 bln. in 1994-1995 which was revealed against him in legal “Kazakhgate” matter. It seems the case have got lost in the flow of events. Besides, those who aided him surprisingly also turned into billionaires.
    In spite, all the wealth of Kazakhstan, a major part of the population lives below poverty level. How come this act of extortion by the rulers of Kazakhstan is unnoticed by the eagle eye of the West whose major investment is placed in Caspian oil fields? The question is: Who is benefiting – the Western investors, Nursultan and his band of marry men? What about people whose inherent right to enjoy the benefits of their Motherland whose wealth has been squandered by hand full of people? Is there anyone to assess the equality and even distribution of wealth? My question really is – How are the standards determined by the West? For some it is with all the principles of morality and for others – the mighty and powerful – turned their faces away.
    How come so obvious “Stalin-style” Kazakh dictator is free from justice whereas president Mugabe is criticized by the world media every second day? How long double standards will continue to effect lives of millions of people? Colonial mentality of 18 century is still applicable with its true sense in 21 century as well.
    There is saying: “Hope is dieing last.” Well, in my case, there is no hope left anymore. I feel that I am a refugee living abroad who would never be able to comprehend present regime in Kazakhstan.

  • […] of the International Space Station [ISS], said this, welcoming the start of the exercises… Global Voices Online: Bid Politics and Human Lives But politics first: Andy-taker draws attention to the fact that ministers in Kazakhstan are being […]

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