Kazakhstan: Fears of aggravation of crisis

Although Kazakhstan, enjoying booming economy fueled by extractive industries, remains the leading state among Central Asian republics, the volatile situation in the country's economy gives grounds for anxiety among bloggers.

Marat recollects the 1990s, when Uzbekistan was believed to become the regional locomotive of growth and notes:

In actual fact Islam Karimov, the preisdent of Uzbekistan largely contributed to the Kazakhstan's success. His policies brought Uzbekistan to the desperate poverty and decreased regional competition in favor of Kazakhstan… Perhaps, the Kazakhs owe a monument to Karimov in Astana.

Slavasay is concerned over deteriorating situation in the country's outdated infrastraucture, which the authorities seem to be unable to maintain effectively [ru]:

I knew that we could have problems with water and electricity supply in the future, but I didn't expect to face them now. I, my folks and several friends don't have hot water in flats. There was a two-week interruption in natural gas supply. Electricity blackouts have already become a regular thing. Now the mayor of Almaty, the largest city and business capital of Kazakhstan, says that we are going to have troubles with heating during the coming winter. I'm glad he is an honest man. But I'd really like to live in 2008, not like in mid-1990s.

Dass is anxious about possible interethnic tensions in Kazakhstan [ru]:

There won't be massive renaming of the northern cities in the near future [those cities, situated near the border with Russia are having Russian names, and the campaigns are taking place to rename them in a “more Kazakh” manner]. The authorities understand that it would have been too dangerous to give another reason for tensions against the background of economic problems. But it won't help – there will be a reason in any case.

Mantrov-kz reports on his recent ride in a taxi in his town called Shymkent in the poorest southern part of Kazakhstan, when he was shocked by the sincerity of the cabman [ru]:

At first he actively expressed his irritation about prices for gasoline and criminality level. Then he suddenly said: “I wish there was war. I'd fight – it's better fight than to live this way”. The popular discontent is growing…

Another highly debated issue in the Kazakhstai blogs is toughening of the penalties for violation of traffic rules, including fines for failure to use safety belts. And here's some place for humor and quick wit of the people:

I am glad that the traffic regulations have been made stricter – people now drive more carefully and use belts. However, lately I've been told that there are t-shirts availabl, which havean image of worn safety belt on them!

globuszz writes [ru].

Cross-posted on neweurasia.

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