Aliyev, America and New Parliament

The Rakhat Aliyev’s most recent exposure in the media was dedicated to the U.S. Helsinki Commission’s hearings on Kazakhstan. The exiled former presidential son-in-law accused Nazarbayev of corruption, and this obviously impressed the participants of hearings – the  Aliyev’s interview was on the first page of Wall Street Journal. As reported, US lawmakers questioned the selection of Kazakhstan as the next leader of the OSCE.

Kazakhstan: Astana Birthday

Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, has become such ten years ago, moved from the country’s largest city Almaty. It is believed to be a pet city for the president of Kazakhstan, who is often called in the pro-governmental media (which heavily dominate on the information field) as an “architect” of this new booming construction spot, magnetic for the world’s most renowned actual architects. Not surprisingly, the Astana Day is celebrated on the president’s birthday in an apparent attempt of the authorities to create a mild personality cult – not direct, but through a city, which was recently almost renamed…

Kazakhstan: Olympics Blogwatch

On the eve of the Beijing Olympiad, the Kazakhstani bloggers discuss what chances their country has to performs decently in summer sports. The composition of Russian olympic team is public for a long time already, including in the Internet. But it is still not knownwho will go there from Kazakhstan! I searched for this information, but in vain. The website of the National Olympic Cimmittee is totally quiet. How shall I believe in the bright future of the Kazakhstani sports now? If people don’t know who goes from your country, it is hard to expect mass public support. says grunge-amir…

Hot Blog: A Momentary Relapse of Reason

Here is a new blog called “A Momentary Relapse of Reason”. It is in English and written by an American, who has just moved to Almaty, Kazakhstan nearly a year ago. Here’s a small self-presentation from the blog’s “About” section: After graduating from with a BA in International Studies in 2006 I began looking for a way to come to Central Asia, where my interests had developed. After a stop in Sofia, Bulgaria I finally made it to Almaty in August, 2007. Although not quite the exotic place my father had told me about (I still haven’t ridden a horse…

The Rise of Kazakh Military

Kazakhstan used to be a home for a number of Soviet “closed” factories, producing ammunition and missiles, not to speak about several test grounds for weapons of various kinds. After the collapse of the Union, many of them stagnated, conversed or were just plundered. But today one can confidently speak about the rise of Kazakh military. “New types of ammunition made in Kazakhstan comply with the world trends in the sphere of design of high-precision weaponry. Our new quick-firing systems “Aibat” (self-propelled mortar), “Semser” (120mm howitzer) and “Naiza” (missile volley complex) include the fire control component – a pilotless vehicle,…

Mittal’s Business Still Under Risk in Kazakhstan

As we reported earlier, Arcelor Mittal’s enterprise in Kazakhstan has been facing severe criticism for the conditions of work on the mines. Hundreds of miners perished in repeated accidents on Mittal Steel Temirtau, but only in last year the authorities of Kazakhstan took a firm stand in this issue after a series of workers’ strikes in Karaganda region, where the enterprise facilities are based. The Emergency Agency on behalf of the government even threatened to delicense Arcelor Mittal for repeated accidents and failure to address the safety problems. According to the Kazakh law, the authorities are eligible to abrogate contracts…

Mega Media Holding

Last week Lena on the Russian blog of neweurasia-Kazakhstan posted a story about creation of a new Kazakh media holding company, made up of state-owned and – of course – pro-government outlets. The official reason for that is increase of competitiveness of the country’s information space. However, as EurasiaNet reports today, independent  media and free speech activists are, at the least, “suspicious” about the initiative. “If we believe that we are a democratic society and one of the signs of this democracy is media freedom, then we should be against the government’s decision,” Ms. Azhenova from the journalists’ umbrella organization…

Any Chance for Democratization?

In the aftermath of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session in Astana the biggest question remains on the agenda – whether the Ak Orda people are going to  take up qualitaive reform efforts or the OSCE will have to submit to the idea that it lost the game and was fooled by the cunning Kazakh regime. The opposition in Kazakhstan and some western observers and human rights groups have been warning against granting the chairmanship in advance – in exchange for promises of democratization. Eight months later, the promises remain void, but 2009, the year when Kazakhstan will join the OSCE…

Opposition wants reforms

and offers its own draft legislation to be adopted in order to enhance democratization of the political system and “earn” a grounded OSCE chairmanship of Kazakhstan in the OSCE. So far, as the two opposition parties – ANSDP and AZAT – believe, the authorities do not dare to conduct real democratic transformations, confining themselves to mere attempts to imitate those. The oppositionists take the initiative to come out with four draft laws, which they believe can change the way the power-society system operates in Kazakhstan. The draft laws include the election law amendments, media law, legislation on political parties and…

No commitments

General Secretary of the Parliamentary Assembly of OSCE R. Oliver Spencer has said in Astana (where the annual session of PA has been held this week) that Kazakhstan will chair the OSCE in 2010 even if the commitments, undertaken  in Madrid last year, are not going to be fulfilled. “The decision has been made, and Kazakhstan will take over chairmanship in the OSCE”, he said at the press conference, answering to the question on whether the Ministerial Council’s decision will be altered in case Kazakhstan fails to meet the commitments it made. “Certainly, nobody will ever be ideal – especially…

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