Kazakhstan: State of the Nation

The main event in the country’s politics never passes by the bloggers’ attention. This week it was the time of presidential State of the Nation address. All TV stations and state-controlled newspapers provided its aggressively propagandistic coverage, that bloggers were unhappy with [ru].

As megakhuimyak jokes, “our president does not need the always assenting people – that’s why when he says “No”, we all shall say “No”. [ru]

However, many observers felt quite sincerely positive about the speech, which was more realistic than the earlier ones, with more pragmatic and unpleasant things like the stressed need for economy.

A comprehensive review of the president’s address came from count-asylum, who notes the bookmarks – increased pressure on the foreign companies working in the extractive sector, taxation system reform, strengthening of the state-owned holdings and governmental regulation of the financial sphere together with a welcoming stance towards foreign banks [ru].

One of the most anticipated promises was facilitation of procedures and requirements for entrepreneurial activity, also declared by the president – however, not for the first time in recent years. But this time, few days after the speech, president Nazarbayev really commissioned the government to enact a moratorium on checks of small medium enterprises by the regulatory bodies.

“We have won!” reads the statement by Kazakhstan’s Entrepreneurs Forum, which nearly a week before the president’s address came out with a number of suggestions on improvement of business climate – and the lift of checks was among them [ru].

Another interesting development in the aftermath of the presidential speech was about his call for strict economy of resources and funds. Neweurasia blog portal featured a post on how this appeal correlates with the forthcoming celebrations of Astana’s tenth anniversary. The capital of Kazakhstan was moved to Astana from Almaty by president Nazarbayev 10 years ago. Then the Day of Astana was also moved to coincide with the president’s birthday.

Festivities were to last several months and include concerts of the world pop stars, Venice gondola show and Vienna ball and etc. etc. Few days after the post, president Nazarbayev urged the government to make the festivities more modest, Adam Kesher reports [ru].

Meanwhile, not everybody is rethinking politics in official terms. Nemtschin reflects on who could he be if the Soviet Union had not collapsed.

“Nine years after continuous work at one enterprise, I could receive a room in a “family-type dormitory”. I could be sitting now near a bad Soviet TV set, wearing old tracksuit and gym-shoes made in Vietnam, drinking bad Soviet beer and dreaming of bad Soviet car. Now I have a flat stuffed with electronic stuff, two cellular phones, tons of foreign clothes. I can afford a good cognac or red wine, and I drive a good foreign car. Life’s good” [ru].

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