Kazakhstan: Political Economy and Blocked Blogs

It has been more than a month since Kazakhstan’s telecom monopolist blocked access of the users to Livejournal, the most popular blog platform in the Central Asian country. At the same time, the networks of online discussions did not get bleaker, still providing speedy reaction to the socio-political and economic developments and vibrant activity of the blogosphere.

Last week President Nazarbayev urged the Kazakhstanis to buy housing now, when the prices have decreased. Slavasay is wondering [ru]:

Obviously, neither me nor any of my friends having income “above average”, do not belong to the “people”, which the president means. I don’t have money to buy an apartment in Almaty at these prices. I have even less desire to mess with the construction companies now, when thousands of people are not able to get their flats for which they paid – and which were never built.

Russia – the closest ally and the Kazakhstan’s neighbor with which it shares the longest border line – follows the steps of Kazkahstan, blogger megakhuimyak says [ru]. Russian leader Medvedev delivered his first state of the nation address and suggested extending presidential term up to 6 years, parliamentary term – up to 5 years, and to extend the powers of both institutions:

“Kazakhstan today is Russia tomorrow!”. Last year Kazakhstan extended the term of presidency – now Russia does the same. Last year we’ve got crisis – now look at Russia. You can taste the validity of this slogan”.

schriftsteller addresses the issue of integration between the two countries [ru]:

Against the background of financial crisis, the talks about Russo-Kazakh integration resurrected – they say cooperation can be an effective tool in fighting crisis. But if you take a look at the facts, it can be seen that integration has been undermined – large Russian companies refused to let Kazakh business enter the market and blocked all projects, which could have promoted integration. Ultimately, integration is the ability to share with the neighbor.

Alim-atenbek, however, is not too happy with the direction in which the country is moving [ru]:

Sometimes it seems to me that all public officials, police officers, judges et al. get employed with the state structures because they are not intelligent enough, or just want to make money out of their positions, or – rarely – desperate patriots. When these people get power, they get infected with superiority complex of a man who rules the world. The country gets rotten in the official lawlessness and we often contribute to its further corruption.

Finally, here is a brief update on Livejournal accessibility from Kazakhstan. Yesterday, Livejournal was moving onto another server facility in Montana, United States. Of course, the IPs have changed during this procedure. And at night Kazakhstani users were able to reach their favorite website without proxies and anonymizers. Pycm imagines what happened next [ru]:

Then the censors came to their office, had some tea for a start. And at 10.25 a.m. switched Livejournal off again.

In this regard, rosvet remembered [ru] a Stalin-era aphorism: “If you are still not in jail, it’s not your desert. It is our omission”.

Programmila says [ru] that repeated blockage means censorship “by order from the upper levels” – so, technical problems with the routing are not an issue any more. Adam-kesher stresses [ru] that it is not serious for Kazakhtelecom to deny their implication in blockage, because it is clearly an IP filtering.

Also posted on neweurasia.net

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