Kazakhstan pays the price for ignoring public dissatisfaction


The author is an assistant professor at the College of International Security Affairs of the National Defense University, Washington, DC

Nursultan Nazarbayev, former president of Kazakhstan, hopes to make his country a “post-industrial” state by 2050. For a time, his ambitious vision of strong economy and human development work. Wealth grew. His supervisors changed education, pensions and laws from the former Soviet Union. Compared with the Central Asian neighbors, Kazakhstan built strong government institutions.

But national protests last week showed that the change over the past 30 years has not improved the lives of many people. It exploded on January 2 in the oil-rich region of Mangystau due to rising gas prices, and is spreading rapidly across the country. Some political parties and activists began seeking political and economic reforms. Soon peace protests were stolen. they are said to be gangs who attacked law enforcement officials and set fire to government buildings. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has announced the tragedy and ordered a rifle to kill “terrorists”.

The violent repression of the protests is a sign of a power struggle within the government controlled until recently by Nazarbayev. Tokayev, who took office in 2019, has called on the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization to send troops to Kazakhstan to end the conflict. His protest thwarted Kazakhstan’s efforts to uphold Russia’s constitution, which led to Russia’s growing confidence in Russia. According to government reports, 164 people were killed and about 10,000 were arrested.

The problems that failed to change in Kazakhstan are many. Nazarbayev engaged in high-tech design, but the method was designed specifically to fit his vision. Kazakhstan was reinforced by Western practices and Singapore’s economic surprises. Nazarbayev’s supervisors hired well-paid counselors, including Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister, to provide advice on creating a positive image at home and abroad. These strategies provided clear but shallow answers to the complex problems of economic inequality, social inequality and political aspirations.

Authority too he relied heavily on it on research from government funding agencies to highlight key elements of the program. The agencies discussed various aspects of the Kazakhstan 2050 approach, but developed little knowledge outside of the legitimate vision. Thus, the government failed to understand the impact of its change on the ground. Economics and politics complaints grew. Well-organized organizations have launched a campaign against working conditions in the oil fields. The dissenting political parties in the cities demanded an open political system.

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. For ten years, the government has been testing western police types. But middle- and high-ranking police officers, lacking the skills and equipment to use such models, instead kept the government happy by reporting only positive results. When the protests began last week in Kazakhstan, police used tear gas to disperse, but only to see older people join in.

The problem of acne is another problem. Even Kazakhstan’s economic growth has been “amazing”According to the World Bank’s policy, political elites have benefited greatly from the country’s superpowers. The Oligarchs of Kazakhstan, including members of the Nazarbayev family, they increased their wealth in the UK real estate market. Rural areas lost. The oil-rich western regions are poor and less politically represented. Locals survive on small payments and loans from state-owned banks from internal government agencies.

The wealth of this world is not in the hands of the brightest. Since the 1990s, Kazakhstan has been a major driver educational program supporting student education at top universities around the world. More than 13,000 alumni have joined government and non-government organizations in the country. But only a handful of Kazakhstan’s new generation of highly educated professionals are responsible for making high-level decisions. The post-Soviet generation of Tokayev and Nazarbayev continues to hold the keys to political power.

Reconstruction work in Kazakhstan was expensive, but the cost of ignoring public concerns has grown significantly. The example of the country shows that it is difficult to make radical changes without the consent of the people. Kazakhstan’s access to the leading countries, industrialists did not fail. But in order for this to happen, the government must meet the expectations of its people.

Assel Tutumlu of Near East University contributed to the project



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