Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Kazakhstan: Who Lives Well in Kazakhstan

As long as Kazakhstan still aspires to enter the top 50 most competitive states of the world (although these efforts have so far resulted in decline of its competitiveness, as the World Economic Forum’s annual reports show), the republic has managed to enter another list of countries, unfortunately, a shameful one. Ehot reports that Kazakhstan has been included in the blacklist of Ebay web-shop as a country, to which they don’t ship any products due to the theft of packages in these countries [ru].

However, Kazakhstan – being rich in mineral resources and, at the same time, lacking proper law enforcement – still attracts a lot of foreigners. Nemtschin often communicated with such expats and finds that those of them who live in Kazakhstan for 10 years (or so) become mentally very similar to the native Kazakhstanis; however, with a “larger share of pragmatism” [ru]:

There is just one distinguishing feature. We, the natives, always hope that something can be done by the rules, according to the law. The foreigners always know from the very beginning the schemes that are functioning – and they do not expect fair play. I know a couple of such expats – they love Kazakhstan. One German told me that in his homeland he would have never got rich so quickly – and here he is overhappy.

Meanwhile, azoo recollects the government’s decision that had been taken last year – then all Western experts and markets were critical about the Kazakhstan’s intention to buy out shares of the Kazakh companies abroad. “Now [G.W.] Bush announced state support for quotations of the system-forming companies, leave alone the earlier similar decision of Russia”.

Meanwhile, some of the governmental expenditures in the time of lingering economic difficulties raise eyebrows of the bloggers. Dojdlivoe-leto wonders why it is so necessary to change the standards of state symbols and oblige all state bodies to change the national flags and emblems until December 1 this year.

“Only in Ekibastuz [a mid-size industrial town in northern Kazakhstan] more than 6 million tenge [50.000 US dollars] is allocated for these ourposes from the city budget”, she writes [ru].

Meanwhile, dass is skeptical and ironic about the novelty that has been introduced on the newly opened parliamentary session in Kazakhstan – each deputy’s seat is now equipped with laptops having broadband Internet access with the purpose to raise effectiveness of the MPs’ work. “Well, I think, there is no need to explain how free Internet affects the job to the modern people”, he notes [ru].

Mumo-cult reports that president Nazarbayev will present his book “The Kazakhstan Way” in Washington on October 1 and marks out that usually such events last around 1 hour, but the Kazakh leader’s appearance is scheduled to last 3 hours [ru].

also posted on neweurasia.net

1 comment

  • The eBay mention is a bit off-base I think. That is a note from one eBay seller, kandrsolutions, and not eBay. eBay does not sell or ship anything. It is only an auction site. Individual sellers ship, and they choose who and where they will and won’t ship to. That a single GPS vendor I never heard of chooses not to ship to that list of countries probably doesn’t mean much. If Kazakhstan gets on Amazon’s no-ship list, that would mean something. So far that situation is getting better, not worse.

    Also… the locals want to do things the right way, and the foreigners go with the flow? Think I might disagree slightly with that. For those who have become fantastically rich in the “wild west” of Central Asia, no doubt this is true. For average locals and average foreigners, it’s a different situation.

    Far more often I deal with locals who not only don’t think or want things do be done “the right way” but they have only a vague idea of what “the right way” might be unless they’ve seen how things are done elsewhere.

    Traffic cops and driving licenses are a good example. Many locals think nothing of paying outright for licenses for themselves or their relatives, and don’t bother to take driving classes or examinations (and it shows out on the roads). I tell people that you cannot hand a US traffic cop cash and drive away from a speeding ticket and they are dumbfounded. Whereas here, most would vastly prefer you do that than to do things “the right way”– because nobody makes money that way.

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.