Kazakhstan: Politics and Society in Times of Crisis

Politics remain the major topic of the online discussions in Kazakhstan – much more frequently and intensely than in public life. One of the most recent events, widely discussed by the bloggers, was the establishment of the new state award – the title of the Kazakhstan's Hero of Labor (an analogue of the Hero of Socialist Labor in the Soviet Union). A number of officials initiated a campaign in support of giving the first title of the Labor Hero to the president of Kazakhstan. Neruad writes [ru]:

The process of bootlicking has started across the country, though it is compulsory, organized by the upper officials. Governors are competing whose bootlicking would be the most effective.

However, the president has again showed his excellent knowledge of PR and understanding of the public expectations – he thanked the people for nominations and refused to take this award. The parliamentarians also relinquished themselves of some privileges. The news agencies reported that the Legislative contributed to anti-crisis measures and cut down its expenditures for 2009. m-kaa comments [ru]:

The relinquished privileges appeared to be more than substantial – 160 million tenge ($1.4 million), which has been left from this year, plus 1.3 billion tenge from the next year's expenses. The MPs will not have foreign business trips (except for the urgent ones), new cars, furniture and computers. The autopark and ICT stuff of the parliament is being renovated almost every year with nearly 60 cars and hundreds of PCs being purchased annually! Poor deputies, how they will survive…

Meanwhile, the Kazakhstani economy is undergoing a major paradox – the government denied the presence of economic crisis in the country, but the plan of anti-crisis measures has been adopted. The authorities are very cautious of the verbal signs and formulations – the word “crisis” is perceived as a taboo. Cherry-eye posts a Kazakh bank holding's wicked advertisement poster in Moscow (BTA Bank has a number of subsidiaries in the CIS countries). The billboard reads as follows: “You would agree that a crisis without panic loses its charm – Tranquil bank deposits”. The blogger says [ru]:

Respect! Perhaps, there is no immediate desire to give all money to BTA, but the teaser is nice. I wonder why the bank does not use this print in Kazakhstan? The public is less advanced, or it was banally banned here?

Dorovskih, a former Almaty resident now living n the U.S., shares his impressions upon his return to the biggest city of Kazakhstan [ru]:

Almaty is still the same – catastrophically small amount of people are smiling and look enjoying their lives. The road traffic reminds of the children's sack race competition, and the quantity of Land Cruisers and BMW X6s three times exceeds the amount of expensive cars in Houston. The “stability” is all around you: policemen are everywhere on the streets, and the people are still fully convinced of the rightfulness of the status quo.

Meanwhile, Megakhuimyak adds another drop of humor to the discussion, reflecting on the issue of implications of crisis on mass media. Some people say that lack of money will force businesses to drift from investments in expensive TV ads, newspapers and billboards down to online advertisements.

They are mistaken. Advertisers are going onto the streets and paint the walls! It is the cheapest yet effective and creative advertisiment. Get a couple of punks with aerosol paint sprays and all blocks in the neighboorhood will get to know you!

Also posted on neweurasia.


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