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Kazakhstan: Birds, Polish tragedy and Governance

Discussions of the Kazakhstani bloggers this week were centered around three topics, all related to the deep-rooted problems of governance in the country.

SLAUGHTER OF THE BIRDS
Carcass-bride was one of the first to write [ru] about the incident on the Kazakhstan-Russia border and customs. An Uzbek citizen was trying to import 71 goldfinches from Russia to Uzbekistan. According to the rules, he had to pay for veterinary checkup of the birds, but the price of examination was too high for him. The customs control service withdrew the birds and… burnt them alive as counterfeit articles.

Pycm opines [ru]:

Customs and veterinary control in Kazakhstan is a narrow-minded monster, which don’t use the rudiments of their brains’ gray substance. I watched the report on a television together with my daughter and could not to explain her anything. […] I am not a great animal rights activist, but was it so difficult to apply some creativity in dealing with the living things?

Kobima is also condemning the shocking administrative decision [ru]:

When a living being is intentionally destroyed (no matter if it’s a human or an animal), this is called sadism. The Chikatilo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Chikatilo) stage is pretty much around there.

ACTIVE PESSIMISM
In another – Western – part of Kazakhstan (Mangistau province), more than 1,000 workers of OzenMunaiGas, a subsidiary of the national oil-an-gas company KazMunaiGas, went on strike to protest pay cuts. They demanded nationalization of their enterprise, stop mass sackings and guarantee the payment of wages. Several weeks of passive, though tense, opposition resulted in talks with the administration and satisfaction of most part of the workers’ demands. A-Strekoza writes about her trip to Jana-Ozen, an epicenter of the strike [ru]:

All hotels in Jana-Ozen are stuffed with police and internal security forces […] Oilmen are harsh people. They go on a rally wordless – stand, smoke and nibble sunflower seeds. They want all their bosses to be sacked and salaries to be increased. Policemen sit in the hotels and don’t show up. In order to put them in action, two things are to be done by the protesters. First is to move the rally from the bus station to the square near the local administration. Second is to put forward the political demands. […] The authorities try to “take them by starvation” – workers don’t work, managers ask them to cease the strike, officials watch.

“Kazakhstan is a country of active pessimism”, says izhanov [ru] and explains the logic of the last years:

Once the middle class started emerging, it was killed by the mortgage crisis. Now the people pay out their credits for the flats, which were not built. The distributive model of economy works, but the initiative is punishable – nobody wants anything [creative]. Intelligent people cannot apply their skills. Those who managed to make a little fortune now eat away the savings. Those who have none are just waiting.

Megakhuimyak is traditionally more harshly outspoken [ru]:

The society doe not need intellect. We have built a perfect society of consumption.

THIS IS NOT POLAND
The tragic death of the Polish higher officials in a plane crash a week ago has been also reflected in the Kazakh blogosphere – from the Kazakh perspective:

“Poland is in mourning and grief, but there is no panic. Here is an abstract question – what would have happened if the same happened with the Kazakhstani leaders? I think, there would have been harsh fight for power with unpredictable consequences. I hope such tragedy would never happen here”, Lord-Fame says [ru].

Ehot also sees such imaginary scenario as the interim result of the independence [ru]:

The incident with the Polish plane pretty accurately shows that after 20 years of being a “young and growing democracy”, the Republic of Kazakhstan would have hardly preserve political and economic stability – or even the territorial integrity – in case of similar loss.

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