Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 4.25

« Georgia roundup | Main | International organisations in the former Soviet Union »

Kazakh roundup

First roundup since Tuesday, but at least I'm gradually making my way through the region. Today, the news from Kazakhstan, international, domestic, and fluffy.

International politics

Kazakhstan continues to cooperate with China in abusing the human rights of Uighur dissidents. They're also still snuggling up with Russia. RFE/RL interprets this as part of a wider change in policy: before they were balancing Russia against the US, now they're turning against America and concentrating more on Russia and China.

The Iranian nuclear crisis is something Kazakhstan is trying to keep out of, but being inevitably drawn into. So it's taken a middle of the road approach, defending peaceful nuclear power, opposing the bomb, and pointing out the hypocrisy of the international comunity.

Also, Nazarbaev has been talking to just about everyone: Turkey, Tajikistan, the EU, even Dick Cheney.

This whirl is mainly about oil (who'da thunk it?). After years of 'will they? won't they?' speculation, Kazakhstan has finally joined the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. The US and Turkey obviously like that, but the US also wants Kazakh oil exported southwards to India and Pakistans.

Domestic politics

Freedom House doesn't like the state of democracy in Kazakhstan. Neither does anyone else, but I'm reluctantly coming round to the Registan viewpoint, that talking about it just pushes Kazakhstan (or other central asian states) closer to China and Russia. On the other hand elections are planned for October - how free they are remains to be seen.

I've no idea how big an issue media freedom? is within Kazakhstan, but outside pundits have been talking about it a great deal recently.

I suspect it's mainly connected to the falling-out between president Nazarbaev and his daughter, Darigha Nazarbaeva, who controls much of the country's media and is also launching her own political party

Nazarbaev is retalliating by nationalising Dariga's media group. The justification is 'information security', which sounds like a cross between trendy American military thinking and a post-Soviet bureaucratic mentality. RFE/RL has some more on this.

On the other hand, somebody is currently spending a year in jail because he accused Dariga Nazarbaeva's husband of involvement in killing an opposition politician.

More civil rights issues: a politician jailed for 5 years. The leader of the same party, For a Just Kazakhstan, has been barred from travelling to Astana, where he would have met Dick Cheney. So lets chalk this human rights abuse up to loathing of America.

Culture, environment, and similar fluffiness

I'm very disappointed to have missed Waldemr Januszczak touring the Kazakh modern art scene. Also, I'd love to know more about New Age religions there: it's wonderful to image the Hare Krishnas being a threat to national security on the Central Asian steppes.

Something slow-burning but major: the desertification of Kazakhstan. In the end, it comes down to Soviet farming policies and irrigation projects

Finally, some 'grand overambitious project' news: Kazakhstan has just launched a satellite into space. I don't know much about satellites, but apparently this is a TV/communications satellite. Does that mean we might see the emergence of more Central Asian regional satellite broadcasts?