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When Image is Everything

Written by on Tuesday, 19 September 2006
Kazakhstan, Politics and Society

The country’s bid to chair in the OSCE and the president’s visit to Washington are the main themes in the “Great PR Attack” of the Kazakhstani officials and news agencies.

For example, on August 8, Agence France Presse reported on the German non-paper in support of Kazakhstan�s bid for OSCE chairmanship. Kazakhstan Today informed on it only on August 28, on the day when vice-minister of foreign affairs, president’s son-in-law Rakhat Aliev (who is believed to be closely connected to the news agency – just like to a number of other mass media outlets) delivered his speech to the State Commission for Democratization. Aliev is responsible for affairs with OSCE and, in particular, for promotion of the country’s bid to take chair of the OSCE in 2009.

By the way, in the course of his speech, vice-minister Aliev again reiterated that there is no other country, except Kazakhstan, to seek for the OSCE chairmanship in 2009. It should be reminded that Aliev was fast to angrily dispel the rumors about alternative candidates that were confirmed by Reuters in July. However, Reuters did not publish any disproof.

According to Eurasia.Org.Ru, Washington made it clear for the Kazakh ambassador that the U.S. will not back the country’s candidacy and recommended to postpone the bid. “Problems” with America were indirectly admitted by Aliev, who said that the U.S. “is skeptical” and insists on fundamental democratization. Probably, this was the reason for Aliev to propose establishment of monarchy in Kazakhstan. It somehow ran counter to the president’s speech in the Parliament on September 01 (the pro-monarchy article of the son-in-law appeared on the same day), from which many were waiting the start of political reforms.

Another episode is a piece of information about the alleged bill proposed in the U.S. Senate on “expanding comprehensive aid to Kazakhstan”. It has been again a deliberate misinterpretation of the fact – by the way, pretty outdated (the bill was introduced back in May!). And the matter was really about the draft Silk Road Strategy Act, in which the demand for political reforms in Central Asian countries and Caucasus was predominant.

Caution: Some links are in English. But they are true. Sorry.

From the last issue of Economist

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