Apr 08 2011

And In The Red Corner…

Category: In The Media,KazakhstanChrisM @ 11:21 pm

Foreigners don’t understand the reasons why Kazakhstan isn’t ready for Western style democracy. People want stability more than freedom. These are not the droids you are looking for…

Anyway, after following the official media output for the last few posts, I wanted to counter with a few articles that surfaced during the last couple of months or so. Obviously they are all wrong, things are just fine here, there is no corruption, freedom of choice to vote (if at all) for who you want exists for all state employees, and the other candidates in the presidential election were worthy adversaries who ensured the election was fair, free and transparent. Did I mention I’m submitting paperwork that needs rubber stamping soon?

So, on with the links to stories by misled, confused or lying people…
What is (was) Nazarbayev’s motive for early election? – Eurasianet’s article mention’s Nazarbayev’s apparent reluctance to publicly indicate who he would prefer to eventually succeed him. There was in face a report that surfaced on the 1st of April that he had decided and required colleagues to support his decision. I’m totally out of the loop when it comes to high up politics, however multiple people consider this an April Fool’s joke. This piece mentions that some felt having only a month to organize an election campaign was difficult for some parties involved.

Foreign election observer swoons for Nazarbayev – Eurasianet believes that Daniel Witt’s piece in the Huffington Post displayed a selective memory at work, especially for someone who already had intimate knowledge of previous Kazakh elections.

No one rigs an election quite like Kazakhstan – Attention grabbing headline. Though the first paragraph mentions that one of the candidates listed the eventual President as his inspiration, and a different candidate told the media whilst voting that Nazarbayev had received his little X on the ballot paper! If you click through to the Washington Post’s article attributed to Nazarbayev himself, do also check out the comments section. They raise the point that despite what outsiders may see as faults with the election, the President is genuinely popular in Kazakhstan. They also bring up the point that the President has been canny by using “multi-vector diplomacy” – by having good relations with multiple world super powers, and attempting to play one of the other, no one country is (supposed) to have too much sway over Kazakhstan’s policies. Finally, the independence of the Central Asia Newswire is bought into question.

Kazakhstan’s Nazarbaev wins landslide in poll slammed by observers – Radio Free Europe contend that things were not all fine with the election, and quote OSCE officials as stating that serious irregularities took place, and a lot more reform was needed before any elections could be judged as free and fair. Mention is made of a man who was arrested for setting fire to a Nazarbayev billboard, but not of situations where mothers voted without permission on behalf of their children who didn’t want to place an X next to any of the contenders. Towards the end, RFE brings up the point that many residents expect parliamentary elections this year or early next, with the possibility of returning to a slightly more balanced distribution of seats to the different parties.

Finally a piece more in line with the source material I was using in previous posts – The Jamestown Foundation’s piece on a close-up view of Kazakhstan’s presidential election – the author’s view appears to be closer to those of CIS election observers.