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Kazakhstan: On the Efficacy of Government

Categories: Central Asia & Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Economics & Business, Governance, Politics

How professional is the government? Is it rigorous enough in performing its functions? How often does it interfere in matters beyond its competence? These are among the most popular questions discussed in the Kazakh blogosphere. Izhanov writes [1] a gloomy, ironic post on the “sensitive” subject of bidding in the process of securing government contracts or finding investors for projects [ru]:

“In Astana, a good half of the population is involved in the Kazakh national game: the tender. What do the others do? They either serve the players or spend their prize money.”

Pulemetchizzza is surprised [2] by the activity of a local representative in Pavlodar [ru]. Municipal and district maslikhats (councils) are often criticized for their lack of real power, puppet-like quality, and reputation as a common vehicle for businessmen seeking to lobby their interests and receive diplomatic immunity. Askar Bakhralinov, a deputy in Padlodar, has declared war on Harry Potter. In his opinion, the book contains messages of racial discrimination and criminally punishable activity; JK Rowling, he claims, is advocating violence and alcoholism.

“I also suggest that we prohibit the sale of all fairy tales in which the good hero kills the bad one – for advocating violence and the extrajudicial resolution of disputes.”

Rosvet, in the meantime, is monitoring [3] the implementation of the widely advertised government program called “Dorozhnaia karta” (“Road Map”) [ru]:

When the elevator in our apartment building was replaced, the stairwell fixed up, the courtyard laid with fresh asphalt, and new benches and swings were installed outside – all free of charge – I got worried. But then, when the following month the fresh asphalt was torn up to lay new pipes, laid again, and then torn up a second time, I realized everything was OK – I was still in my homeland. The Prime Minister has said that the “Road Map” will be extended into next year. My condolences to the asphalt.

Megakhuimyak writes [4] about the importance of democracy “as a system of nonviolent transfer of power from one elite to another,” because it “protects against military and palace coups, as well as civil wars” [ru]:

“Everyone understands that in order to reach power it is easiest and best to act through propaganda and compromise, rather than through the physical elimination one’s adversaries. It is a pity that our CIS elite have a weak understanding of this idea. This is why bloodshed and the murder of entire clans will accompany its departure.”

Also posted on neweurasia.net [5]