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Showing posts tagged as "kazakhstan"
Showing posts tagged kazakhstan
In the End Is the Beginning: Kazakhstan after Nazarbayev | Deirdre Tynan
Kazakhstan has everything going for it: enormous natural resources from oil and gas to gold, uranium and rare earth metals; a young, multi-lingual population; and thousands of young foreign trained graduates, who return home every year under President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Bolashak scholarship program.
But behind Nazarbayev’s strong leadership are weak institutions, a puppet parliament, fettered media and security services prone to excessive force, as demonstrated by the events in the oil town of Zhanaozen in 2011, when 16 striking oil workers were shot dead during protests on the nation’s Independence Day.
Heavy hangs the head | The Economist
THE man in the photo is immune from prosecution. Special laws protect his property and that of his family. In his country, Kazakhstan, it is illegal to insult the man or to deface his image. Nursultan Nazarbayev is, according to the constitution, not only the president but also the “Leader of the Nation” and he can stand for re-election as long as he lives. Since there’s never been any serious challenge, many expect Mr Nazarbayev, a 73-year-old former steelworker, to stay in office until he perishes from this earth (he is still mortal, last we checked).
The president is genuinely popular, winning credit for the political stability and rising standard of living in his oil-rich nation. A generous visitor might suppose that is why his photo appears on billboards all over the place, strongman-style. With more than two decades at the helm, Mr Nazarbayev has not built a system based on rule of law; instead he oversees a patronage network in which he stands as the final arbiter. It’s not just that Kazakhstan has never held a free and fair election. There are no institutions to manage a transition, which makes it likely that the country’s next leadership will be determined by struggles within the power elite—if that is not happening already, behind-the-scenes.
FULL ARTICLE (The Economist)
Heavy hangs the head | D.T.
The man in the photo is immune from prosecution. Special laws protect his property and that of his family. In his country, Kazakhstan, it is illegal to insult the man or to deface his image. Nursultan Nazarbayev is, according to the constitution, not only the president but also the “Leader of the Nation” and he can stand for re-election as long as he lives. Since there’s never been any serious challenge, many expect Mr Nazarbayev, a 73-year-old former steelworker, to stay in office until he perishes from this earth (he is still mortal, last we checked).
FULL ARTICLE (The Economist)
Photo: Presidential Press and Information Office/Wikimedia Commons
Kazakhstan: Waiting for Change
Bishkek/Brussels | 30 Sep 2013
In its latest report, Kazakhstan: Waiting for Change, the International Crisis Group examines the prospects for stability as the era of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, 73, who has ruled for more than twenty years, comes to a close. His government has spurred the country’s role in the global energy sector but left it with weak political institutions, corruption, censored media and frequent infringement of human rights. Popular resentment is slowly growing. Consolidating the state’s stability, in particular through a smooth succession, is urgent in a situation of internal but also external challenges. The 2014 pullout of international forces from Afghanistan could well further weaken stability in Central Asia as a whole. Young Kazakhs, like their peers in neighbouring states, have been drawn to the jihadi struggle and may be tempted to bring it back home.
The report’s major findings are:
- Since Kazakhstan hosted the 2010 OSCE summit, it has enacted laws that systematically curtail political and personal liberties. Opposition politicians, the media and civil society face fines and imprisonment for criticising the government. The concentration of power in the hands of a small group, the weakness of the political institutions and the overwhelming concentration of economic growth in the cities of Astana and Almaty threaten to undo gains made in the past two decades.
- Young Kazakhs, especially in the western regions, are turning increasingly to Islam as a means of political expression and a source of identity distinct from the self-advancement they associate with the ruling classes.
- In a post-Nazarbayev era, an individual or group will likely need to tighten control in order to consolidate power. Kazakhstan’s political institutions are not designed for competition or pluralism. There is a strong danger of infighting, and thus further instability, among the political and economic elites. In the event of popular protests, demonstrators would run the risk of exciting security forces already prone to deadly crackdowns.
- Nazarbayev should swiftly put in place and explain his succession policy. The West should push harder for compliance with basic human rights norms. Without meaningful progress here, Kazakhstan’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2017-2018 should not be supported.
“If it doesn’t make a significant effort to push forward with political, social and economic reforms, Kazakhstan risks becoming just another authoritarian regime that squandered the advantages bestowed on it by abundant natural resources”, says Deirdre Tynan, Crisis Group’s Central Asia Project Director.
“Kazakhstan needs a stable system of government harnessed to an independent parliament and judicial system that works because it has inherent integrity, not because a supreme leader is pulling it along”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Crisis Group’s Program Director for Europe and Central Asia.“If there is a lack of political will to do this, Kazakhstan will face a period of stagnation and ideological upheaval that will move the country backwards”.
“[Kazakhstan] has found that China is an easier economic partner and has more cash,” said Deirdre Tynan, Central Asia project director of the International Crisis Group. “China is able to step in and provide massive loans without strings attached.”
Communications Officer Ben Dalton recently returned from a trip to Kazakhstan with the International Reporting Project. Check out some of his photos of Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, on the Christian Science Monitor.
"They haven’t mentioned that even once in the Iranian press — the background and history of Kazakhstan in terms of nonproliferation. Insistence is on the fact that Kazakhstan has not sanctioned Iran."
—Ali Vaez in The New York Times’ “Negotiators Find in Kazakhstan the Perfect Place to Disagree”