Tag Archives: Kazakhstan politics.

Kazakhstan: Adventures in Democracy

9 Oct

Lord Venal has been on the observation trail once again – here are his reflections from his recent trip to Kazakhstan to observe the Senate elections [Editor’s note: This was in an unofficial capacity as Lord Venal is barred from observer missions after last year’s vicious smear campaign orchestrated by the Azeri authorities]

Democracy is inching along in Kazakhstan with the free and fair elections to the country’s upper chamber, the Senate, paying testament to this.

“We have been witnesses to an open and democratic electoral process. We congratulate the people of Kazakhstan and the election organizers,” Kazakhstan’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) told Spain’s EFE news agency, reported Fox News Latino.

The ruling Nur Otan party, loyal to the Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev, swept the board gaining every seat in the new-look Senate.

Some 250 observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were present for the vote on October 1.

Those party-poopers at The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe did not send observers due to the “indirect” nature of the elections, CEC Chairman Kuandyk Turgankolov said.

The Senate consists of 47 members – 15 are appointed by President Nazarbayev and the others are elected by the lower house, the Mazhilis, with 16 places up for grabs every three years. The senators serve a six-year term.

Could not the UK learn a lesson from Kazakhstan in these matters? The House of Lords, where I sit, is an unelected body. Maybe the Queen, as Head of State, could appoint some of its members with the rest selected by a vote in the House of Commons?


Kazakhstan: Praise Heaped on Leader’s Hagiographer

5 Jun

Tory jailbird turned hagiographic biographer, Jonathan Aitken, has received a glowing review for his latest masterpiece Kazakhstan Surprises and Stereotypes from UK academic Andrew Massey.

Massey, a Professor of Politics at the University of Exeter, was full of praise for the old lag’s lavish take on Kazakhstan’s twenty years of independence.

It’s surprising that an academic who specialises in politics seems to have taken Aitken’s line without question on last year’s presidential election which saw the Leader of the Nation romp home against very tame opposition

Indeed, when in 2010-2011 the old Soviet era bureaucrats engineered a referendum to extend the President’s term of office by ten years, Nazerbayev [as received] himself simply called an early Presidential election instead and declared anyone could run against him. There were three other candidates and the incumbent won with over 95% of the vote.

“Anyone could run against him” ??? Maybe Massey’s remit doesn’t spread as far as Kazakh politics. Whatever next – that Kazakhstan has a multi-party democracy? Pull the other one!

Massey also marvelled at Aitken’s unprecedented access to the movers and shakers of Kazakhstan

He visited a large range of institutions and interviewed people at all levels, including opposition leaders, when he could contact them.

Does the “when he could contact them” refer to when the opposition leaders were not sitting behind bars for exercising their right to free assembly?

Maybe the University of Exeter is angling for a piece of the Nazarbayev University action, and such gullibility on the part of its academics will surely help that process along.

Massey’s geography  also leaves a lot to be desired

The last twenty years have seen the birth of a new nation, throwing off the fetters of colonialism and seeking to chart a confident path squeezed between the Russian North, the Chinese East, the barbarous totalitarian regimes to the South and a resurgent Islamic west.

I’m sure Kyrgyzstan will not be pleased to be described as a ” barbarous totalitarian regime”,  and the resurgent Islamic west remains a mystery – could he mean Turkmenistan?

Kazakhstan’s Toy Protest

29 Mar

In another sign that Kazakhstan’s nascent protest movement is withering on the vine, kazaxia has received this photo of a toy protest, allegedly from Almaty.

While  toy protests in Russia and Belarus have targeted the authorities, Kazakhstan’s toys seem to be coming out in support of the status quo.

The toys can be seen holding placards proclaiming ” The leader is our leader” and  “We love NAN” [possibly a reference to the president’s initials or a flat bread cooked in a tandoor oven].