The main discussion this week in Kazakhstani blogosphere was caused by the suggestion that was voiced by a number of MPs to rename the capital city Astana to Nursultan, in the honor of the long-ruling president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who retains power for more than 18 years already. It is worth noting that he was the one who initiated the move of a capital from Almaty to Akmola, which was later renamed – again at the nazarbayev's initiative – into Astana (“the capital” in Kazakh). He is also presented as the “main architect” of the city, which proves to be not just his “pet project”, but a also huge illustration to the Dutch disease with all its grand but useless expenditures.
Adam says [ru]:
The MPs showed the best example of gross flattery and promotion of the Turkmen-style personality cult by making a present to the president's birthday and the 10th anniversary of Astana, which by the way happen to be on the same day.
Slavasay is ironic [ru]:
What a timely and courageous suggestion! I recommend not to stop by renaming the Capital. Almaty should be renamed into Nazarbayev. It would be cool to take a flight from Nazarbayev to Nursultan in the morning and from Nursultan to Nazarbayev in the evening.
Itsuken was anxious: “There is only one party in the parliament, so probably they will do it” [ru]. However, the president himself was very straightforward in rejecting the suggestion, saying that this issue is in the competence of the future generations. Meanwhile, the rumors about the possible new parliamentary elections are getting more well-shaped in official statements. The last election were held last year, but resulted in the one-party parliament, which is quite embarrassing for a future OSCE chairman-in-office. Megakhuimyak opines [ru]:
The opposition party AZAT was re-registered with the Ministry of Justice in a one-month term – it is approximately the same time as the propresidential Nur Otan party earlier. The opposition's main media outlet “Svoboda Slova” [“Freedom of speech” Weekly] is distributed by the state agency KazPost – until recently even private newspaper sellers had hard times with it. The Central Election Commission does not exclude the chance that the threshold for parties will be reduced from 7 to 5 per cent. It seems that the new parliamentary elections will let AZAT enter the legislature in the capacity of a “constructive uncompromising liberal opposition”.
It is hard to suggest that the new parliament would substantially improve the governance in Kazakhstan, which experiences serious problems in all fields. Ehot informs that the first Kazakhstani sputnik KAZSAT, which was widely and heavily advertised as the “breakthrough” project of the country, has been lost. In another post he asks rhetorically [ru]:
When will we feel the cumulative effect of decompensation following the continuing aggravation of unprofessionalism and corruption?
Meanwhile, Mantrov reports that according to the Statistics Agency of Kazakhstan, the salary in Kazakhstan makes up 57,897 tenge (~480$):
Certainly, such stats can't be deemed unbiased due to huge gap between the rich and the poor in Kazakhstan. These figures more likely reflect the growth of well-being among the rich people. Thus, according to the report released by Citi Private Bank and Knight Frank, the number of dollar millionaires in Kazakhstan increased by 8 per cent over the last year in Kazakhstan,
he says [ru].
Also posted on neweurasia.net.