Tag Archives: Belarus

Russia to Quit Eurasian Economic Union?

30 May

After Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan inked the Eurasian Economic Union treaty in Astana yesterday, observers have started to question whether the treaty is valid by raising concerns over territorial issues.

Lord Venal told kazaxia that Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in March, widely condemned by the international community, could result in complications for the fledgling economic union.

And then there were two?

“Kazakhstan has insisted that Armenia will be allowed to join this exclusive club only if it does so within its internationally-recognised borders thus excluding the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Lord Venal told kazaxia.

“This decision could have serious implications for Russia as it has illegally-occupied sovereign Ukrainian land. This could mean Crimea being excluded from the Union or even Russia having to leave the bloc,” he continued.

This would leave Belarus and Kazakhstan as the leading lights of Eurasian integration. The possible inclusion of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan would be unlikely to make up for the loss of Russia’s economic clout.

Abkhazia, a largely unrecognised breakaway region of Georgia, has also been mooted as a potential member. Doctor Gött, of the Gött Institute of Serious Thinking (GIST) thought it highly improbable that Abkhazia would be able to join the union.

“It’s not even a real country, is it?” he told kazaxia. “The actual details of the [Eurasian Economic Union] treaty have not been made public but I’m sure there’s no provision for including pretend countries”.

Doctor Gött suggested that if Russia were to be kicked out and these other countries (even pretend ones) were allowed in then KABAK (marrow or courgette) could be a suitable acronym for the grouping.

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Moscow: Eurasian Economic Union Name Dispute Rumbles on

8 May

More top-level meetings are taking place in Moscow as the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan talk with other possible member states about the expanding Eurasian Economic Union project. The sides are believed to be trying to come up with an acronym for the regional grouping.

Kazakhstan is said to favour KRB while Belarus is said to be leaning towards BRK. Russia has proposed Armenia be fast-tracked into the fledgling economic union to bring a much-needed vowel to the possible acronyms. Kazaxia likes the sound of BARK, other observers are keen on KRAB.

This ‘A’ is a significant development as ‘U’ is currently off the agenda as it doesn’t look like Ukraine or Uzbekistan will be joining any time soon, and Azerbaijan won’t join anything that involves its arch rival Armenia.

Further complications could be on the horizon as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are possible contenders for membership. It is not clear where these letters would go. Syria is an outside bet for inclusion in this intercontinental economic club – an ‘S’ is always useful, as any scrabble player knows.

Sting Proves Astana Party Pooper

4 Jul

It looks like  Sting has taken Kazaxia’s advice, as the veteran British rocker pulled out of his planned concert in Astana, Kazakhstan amid concerns over human rights abuses in the country. He came under pressure from Amnesty International to cancel his show scheduled for 4 July because of the

repression and crackdown against oil workers, their union leaders, their legal representatives and of the human rights NGOs working with them

Sting got into trouble for playing a concert in Uzbekistan for Gulnara Karimova in 2009. Now he seems to have rediscovered his conscience and is once again positioning himself as the great human rights defender.

Earlier in the tour a date in Minsk, Belarus was cancelled, allegedly because of concerns over the economic situation in the country. Surely Lukashenko’s regime is much worse that the relatively benign one in Kazakhstan so it’s strange that Astana is taking the flak over its human rights’ record, whereas Belarus escaped criticism from Amnesty International.

The gig was to have been a central plank of the celebrations for the anniversary of the day Astana became Kazakhstan’s capital, 6 July, which also happens to be the birthday of Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The Leader of the Nation is likely to be not very amused at this latest turn of events and heads could well roll in Astana. His birthday treats have a tendency to fall flat – in 2008 the birthday boy looked on stony-faced as a somewhat tired and emotional looking  Whitney Houston stumbled around the stage.

Kazakhstan: A Young Country on the Threshold of Maturity

29 Apr

Thanks are due once again to Lord Venal who has contributed this opinionated piece to Kazaxia.

This December will see the twentieth anniversary of the epic struggle of Kazakhstan to gain its independence from the Soviet Union. In just 20 short years the country has managed a truly amazing turnaround to become the economic powerhouse of Central Asia and the undisputed champion of democracy in the region.

I feel that it is high time that the world stood up and took notice of these achievements. Kazakhstan, which likes to describe itself as a ‘young country’, should be recognised as the mature country it has bloomed into and inducted into the ranks of GoGUN (The Group of Grown-Up Nations) without any further ado. Then Kazakhstan’s politicians can stop banging on about it being a ‘young country’ and start taking some responsibility for their own actions.

Like any adolescent, Kazakhstan has spent hours in front of the mirror agonising over its image. It has lavished considerable sums on brushing up this image with glossy spreads appearing in international media outlets and is now seen around the world as a maturing, go-ahead nation with a very bright future.

Kazakhstan’s politicians often talk about it being a ‘young country’ but this should not mask the remarkable steps that have taken place in its short lifetime. From inauspicious beginnings, the economic miracle led by President Nursultan Nazarbayev has helped ensure the country’s smooth transition to a market economy.

On the political front there has been unprecedented stability with one leader occupying the highest office in the land for all those 20 years and as the recent elections showed his popularity is in no way diminished after he received an amazing 95.55% of the popular vote in April 2011.

Let’s compare this with other ‘young countries’ that emerged from the ashes of the Soviet Union. If we look at Lithuania we will see it has had a chaotic transition with no less than seven presidents since 1990. One of those, Rolandas Paksas, was impeached and removed from office in 2004. Estonia has fared little better with three presidents thus far.

Kazakhstan is a founder member of the up-and-coming Customs Union with Russia and Belarus, in stark contrast all that Lithuania and Estonia could come up with is membership of the debt-ridden European Union.

Kazakhstan is increasingly being seen as a leader on the world stage. It is lucky for the Organization of the Islamic Conference that Astana will chair this august body from late June. With the Arab world torn asunder by rebellions, Kazakhstan’s valuable experience as head of the OSCE in 2010 will hold it in fine stead here. After successfully dealing with the crisis on its doorstep in Kyrgyzstan last year, there is no better choice to lead the Islamic world on the path to reconciliation and stability.