On the Efficacy of Government

Translated by Andrey. How professional is the government? Is it rigorous enough in performing its functions? How often does it interfere in matters beyond its competence? These are among the most popular questions discussed in the Kazakh blogosphere. Izhanov writes a gloomy, ironic post on the “sensitive” subject of bidding in the process of securing government contracts or finding investors for projects: “In Astana, a good half of the population is involved in the Kazakh national game: the tender. What do the others do? They either serve the players or spend their prize money.”

A Kazakh from China wins hearts of London

Mamer, a musician and singer and ethnic Kazakh from Xinjiang, has already become a celebrity in China and Europe, recorded his album in London and still he is totally unknown in his historic Motherland. One of ten children, he was singing and playing dombra since childhood. Mamer, 30, from Urumqi works with folk melodies and also writes his own songs, all in Kazakh language. “The great old Kazak folk songs were born when people were shepherding. Living in cities we are often too busy to allow this sort of tranquillity. I have to return to the grasslands once or twice…

Kazakhstan: Internet Regulation Amendments Adopted in First Reading

Yesterday the Kazakh Parliament’s lower chamber has approved the first reading of the draft law on online regulation, which is meant to equate all websites (including blogs, social networks, chatrooms, forums and even online shops) with mass media. On the other hand of this law, the authorities will be granted the right to block any local or foreign website for “violation of the national legislation”. The decision to block it would be issued by the general prosecutor, and approved by the city court of Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan. Many bloggers believe that the government wants a legal tool…

Kazakhstan Pushes for Global Uranium Reserve

This is a republication of the post by Josh Foust from Registan.Net Via Steve LeVine, it seems Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev is continuing his years-long push for a global “bank” for uranium. The idea behind the bank is simple: a consortium of uranium-producing countries (and maybe other stakeholder countries, such as uranium-poor-but-nuclear-armed-and-powered France) create a stable, registered, and tracked reserve whereby non-nuclear countries can purchase uranium for power generation. This still isn’t especially big news: Nazarbayev has been proposing this for a good two years now (maybe longer). What is big news now, according to the Wall Street Journal, is…

Banking news update

As the turmoil in banking sector of Kazakhstan continues with de facto nationalization of two major domestic banks (including the largest private bank in CIS – BTA Bank), some of the international financial conglomerates seek revision of their policies in Kazakhstan. The South Korean Kookmin holding, which owns part of the Kazakhstani retail bank CenterCredit, does not give up plans of expanding its shareholding up to 51 percent. Italian UniCredit Group excercised acquisition of Kazakhstan’s sixth-largest lender ATF Bank in 2007. Since then, the country’s banking sector underwent dramatic changes and the bank has scored considerable losses. However, the ATF…

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