Kazakhstan: Economic Crisis Aftermaths

In the aftermath of slight economic and financial crisis, which the government prefers to call a “correction of the market”, the bloggers keep on discussing its consequences.

Sarimov says that the annual Kazakhstan’s Congress of Financiers has been postponed indefinitely. Mr. Saidenov, chairman of the National Bank, explained that the “president gave us his instructions, so the situation is clear, and the tasks given to the banking sector are clear also. No need to discuss them”, he said. An attempt to curtail discussions raises concerns of the blogger. “They are frightened”, he opines, supposing that some kind of political backwash can be expected next year.

Syndikator reflects on the government’s stipulation that the “poverty line” is calculated as 40 per cent of the cost of living. “Apparently, if I fail to earn this 40 per cent of the living wage, I would hardly survive. But is I managed to obtain, say, 43 per cent, I cannot be regarded as a poor man. Dura lex…”

Meanwhile, Wondernews is wondering what were the roots of the recent real estate crisis in Kazakhstan. He listened to one of the forbidden materials – interception of the phone conversations that sporadically appear on the web – the one in which top officials are “collecting” funds for the ruling party’s campaign during the August 2007 parliamentary elections. Among the companies that “donated” money were both of the major construction companies of the country. “Maybe this is the reason of bankruptcy of the mortgage market?” he asks provocatively.

Xxrock analyzes another issue – a government’s crackdown on the illegally built villas in the national parks near the biggest city of Kazakhstan – Almaty. “The conclusion about corruption in the city administrations is an open secret. There is a much more interesting question – all of the facts [when the land was given to the top officials] represent breach of the law and should be prosecuted. But only those officials who pose a threat to the clannish system of power can be brought to court in Kazakhstan”, he says, referring to the prosecutors’ decision not to file criminal cases against those offenders.

Steve LeVine never gets tired to observe developments in the oil sector of the Caspian states, including Kazakhstan. He reports that a fresh concession by Chevron and ExxonMobil is evidence of the shrinking influence of the big oil companies in Kazakhstan: “After years of playing tough guy on the Caspian Sea, the two companies have knuckled under and paid their share of a whopping $309 million environmental fine to the country”, he says. Moreover, he opines that Italy's Eni, negotiating on behalf of many of the world's largest oil companies with Kazakhstan, will try to satisfy the government’s demands and proceed with the development of the giant oil filed Kashagan.

Note: All links lead to posts in Russian, except Steve LeVine's blog.


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