Kazakhstan: Politics and Society in Times of Crisis

Politics remain the major topic of the online discussions in Kazakhstan – much more frequently and intensely than in public life. One of the most recent events, widely discussed by the bloggers, was the establishment of the new state award – the title of the Kazakhstan’s Hero of Labor (an analogue of the Hero of Socialist Labor in the Soviet Union). A number of officials initiated a campaign in support of giving the first title of the Labor Hero to the president of Kazakhstan. Neruad writes [ru]: The process of bootlicking has started across the country, though it is compulsory,…

Kazakh Video Tube

On St. Valentine’s Day, February 14, a Kazakh video hosting project Kaztube.kz came to life. Dozens of videos with congratulations from celebrities and government officials had been uploaded for the opening of the website. Even the prime minister congratulated on the opening of new service — such PR is unheard of for a Web project. It is not surprising though since it was a state entity that supervised the service. Moreover, the project itself was sponsored by the state budget. As a matter of fact, there has been need for such project. Indeed, current basic Internet connection speed of Kazakhtelecom…

Opposition Insists on Government’s Resignation

The opposition calls recent economic measures of the authorities “inadequate” and repeatedly urges for resignation of the government. As in many other countries of the world, Kazakhstan has been struck by the global financial crisis. Moreover, it started here earlier – in second half of 2007 – and therefore had a lingering negative effect on the national economy and living standards. Also naturally, as in many other countries, the opposition is angrily blaming the government for unprofessionalism, corruption and lack of expertise. Again, as in many countries, it may be a rightful criticism. Up until fall last year, the authorities…

End of private banks

Recently, odd things have happened to a number of Kazakh banks and the Kazakh stock market. The spread of ungrounded controversial information sent stocks of three banks plummeting, leading to nationalization of two major private banks. Today, there is little doubt that the action was intentional. There are various hypothetical explanations to it. One of them holds that it is raiding, reports Arman on Russian neweurasia page [ru]. The hypothesis assumes that

Religious Issues Discussed by Bloggers

Since 2006, both Qurban Eid, the Muslim holiday, and Russian Orthodox Church’s Christmas (January 7th) are celebrated in this country as state holidays. Dass quotes president Nazarbayev’s congratulation on the day: “More than 70% of Kazakhstani population are Muslim…” and asks his readers if there is sense in legalizing other – in addition to Eid – Muslim traditions in Kazakhstan [ru]. However, the figure that had been voiced by the president raised eyebrows of the commenters: “This is a manipulation. In reality, it is possible that more than 70 percent of the believers are Muslim, but more than half of…

World MBA Tour Comes to Almaty

QS – a leading global career and education network, providing the platform for universities, business schools and employers to target, meet and select the best qualified candidates from around the world – regularly conducts an event called the World MBA Tour, which is deemed the world’s best and biggest business school fairs. World MBA Tour, featuring hundreds of influential Western business schools begins in Spring 2009 and comes to Kazakhstan at the beginning of March. Fair will take place in Almaty on 3 March. The Tour, in its 15th year, will visit over 40 countries with over 360 of the…

Kazakhstan: Youth, Urban Decay and Governance

Megakhuimyak is upset over the dramatically decreasing quality of education in Kazakhstan after he learnt who governs the faculty and administration at the university he had graduated from [ru]: Most of these people belonged to the category of odd-jobbers. Most of them were even not trusted to lecture. All skilled faculty members moved out to the private sector. None of the skilled graduates agreed to stay and teach students. Our education can be described in two categories: the first half pretend that they are studying, the other half pretends that they are teaching. Dass has also got disappointed at the…

Quantum of Kompromat

Sunday Times has reported on the new scandal, related to the chain of shady stories about Kazakhgate and subtle foreign activities of the Kazakh authorities. Once again the name of some Alexander Mirtchev is in the files – and once again it might be Rakhat Aliyev, who leaked the information to the media. As one of the world’s most prominent investigative journalists, David Leppard, informs the readers, this time two serving MI6 officers appeared to be the weakest link in the United Kingdom (last time it was none other but Prince Andrew, who sold his luxury house to a musterious…

Kazakh Student Killed in Moscow

It has been a month since Interfax Agency first reported that an 18-year-old student from Kazakhstan had been stabbed to death in south-west Moscow. About 9:20 pm the passers-by found a wounded young man at Butlerov street. The ER doctors, who arrived to the scene, certified death of the young man. The reason – loss of blood after he got knife directly into his liver. The killed person was identified as Erlan Aitymov, the native of Astana (Kazakhstan), who was the first-year student of Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas. Starting from 2007 LUKOIL covers education costs for…

LiveJournal Still Blocked

LiveJournal is still blocked in Kazakhstan – the national telecom operator started filtering it on October 7, although it never acknowledged this fact. Skullptor is sarcastic [ru]: I think it’s a step in the right direction. Kazakhs should be barred from Internet on the whole – there are viruses, porn, violence and social networks. The nation’s health is above all. When prime-minister Massimov was on a visit in Russia and took part in live interview on “Echo of Moscow” radio station, he was asked about the reasons of blockage. His reply was predictable – the head of the government said…

Kazakhstan: History, Culture and Internet

While Ukraine is taking a principle stand towards its history and calling Holodomor (famine of the 1930s) genocide of the nation, undertaken by the communist regime, Kazakhstani authorities are very quiet on the comparable disaster of the Stalin era, when more than 30 percent of the Kazakhs died. Schriftsteller says [ru]: Famine in Kazakhstan was not simply genocide, but also ethnocide, because it left significant changes in the Kazakh culture: the type of economy, settling , habitation and clothing changed dramatically. The previous complex of Kazakh nomadic culture, which was present in 1920s was eliminated during the years of famine.…

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