Let’s export democracy - ours is a good brand
© mukhtarablyazov.org 29.01.2013

Polish experience with democracy should be a product for export, as some products or services are. Such was the conclusion reached by members of the conference organised by the Open Dialog Foundation, held on the first anniversary of the Kazakh opposition leader, Vladimir Kozlovs, arrest.

The conference entitled “A YEAR SINCE VLADIMIR KOZLOV’S ARREST - How Nazarbayev is preparing to give up power”was organised by the Open Dialog Foundation. The social and economic circumstances of the largest Central Asian country were commented on by Polish politicians who follow developments in Kazakhstan - the co-organiser of the event, Piotr Borys Member of European Parliament (representing PO (Civic Platform)/EPP), Marcin Swiecicki, MP (representing PO) and a member of independent media, journalist Igor Vinyavsky.

Piotr Borys MEP shared his deep conviction that Polish experience gained along the journey from a country where workers were shot at to a developed democracy can become our export product: Polands history of decentralisation, pluralisation of the media, reforms - both in economic and social spheres - constitutes a tremendous wealth of experience that should be exported along with Polish goods. Mr. Borys also confirmed that he would continue his appeals for Kozlov to be granted amnesty.

Marcin Swiecicki MP stressed that lessons from the Polish transformational experience “may help the authorities of Kazakhstan understand that such difficult situations which become out of control or end in tragedy can have positive outcomes, and taking advantage of Polish experience allows for speedier political and social reconciliation.

Igor Vinyavsky, editor of the delegalised weekly Vzglyad, told the story ofthe “black Monday”of 23 January 2011. At that time Vinyavsky was arrested along with Kozlov. As he himself says, this was the punishment handed down from the authorities as his paper had refused to adhere to the information blockade imposed by them and continued disseminating news on the Zhanaozen massacre that took place in December 2011. Today, Vinyavsky is a political refugee in Poland, owing his freedom to European Parliament’s resolution on Kazakhstan (thanks to the efforts of Piotr Borys, among others). However, his paper was shut down by the authorities in December 2012. Vladimir Kozlov is serving a 7.5-year sentence in a penal colony in Siberia.

The Chairman of the Foundation Board, Bartosz Kramek, pondered over the notion that the recent actions undertaken by Kazakh authorities, including legislative changes, attacks on independent circles and significant personnel reshuffling, such as replacement of the Prime Minister, Head of Presidential Administration and Chief of the General Staff, are indications that plans for a change of power are being formulated. There are suspicions that within the next few months Akhmetzhan Yessimov, Nazarbayev’s nephew, will take over from the ailing president.

On the first anniversary of Vladimir Kozlov’s arrest, the vladimirkozlov.org website was launched, which publishes information and news on the circumstances of this political prisoner, including his prison diary, reference materials, advice about how you can help him and international public opinion regarding developments in his case.

 

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About Open Dialog Foundation:

Open Dialog Foundation was established in 2009 to actively promote the real presence of such values as personal freedom, human rights, democracy and self-government in everyday lives of people, and to make them more than just declarations.

ODF’s goals: promoting European values, educating citizens of young democracies about their rights. The Foundation focuses its activities chiefly on Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. It works through public advocacy for human rights and civil liberties, open and non-invasive social pressure on politicians and governments, educational programs, training for social activists from Europe and Asia, financial and organisational support for social initiatives, NGOs, and individual citizens who are intent on exercising human rights; organisation of international, independent elections observation missions in post-totalitarian states; organisation and development of research projects aimed at identifying the real needs and social circumstances as well as gaining true understanding of public opinion in countries at varying levels of democratic transformations; and shaping public opinion within the EU to raise awareness of the importance of support for human rights and democracy in post-totalitarian countries.

 

Contact information:

Tomasz Czuwara

Open Dialog Foundation Press Office

e-mail: media@odfoundation.eu, tel: +48 534 670 800

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