Nur-Kazakhstan - the country of one man
© 12.12.2013

For over than twenty years, Kazakhstan has been governed by the authoritarian President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The president exercises power through government and extensively developed presidential administration. The parliament, fully subordinate to him, continues to put forward legislative proposals to rename the capital city Astana, to Nursultan. Also, everything in the country bears the prefix ‘nur-’ in his honour – ‘nurtaxi’, ‘nur-entry phone’, ‘nurshops’. Every year on 1 December, ‘Nazarbayev day’ is celebrated. During national holidays, members of the administration are obliged to appear in public; in Kazakh television programmes and rectors of universities profess to love the president. This year, students of the University of Humanities and Law sang to Nazarbayev his favourite song whilst ceremoniously releasing thousands of red and white balloons. 

Nursultan Nazarbayev with George Bush, source: wikipedia.plThe President is a wealthy man, one of his daughters was included in the Forbes rich list. Both he and his family enjoy lifetime personal and property immunity. In the hands of Nazarbayev and the elite, centred around him, all income from exploitation of raw materials are concentrated. At the same time, in Kazakhstan there is huge income inequality and poverty; apart from Astana and Almaty, where people live at a relatively good level, the remaining parts of the country are often cut off from the fundamentals of civilisation. Before the very eyes of society, the president and his entourage live a very abundant life. In September 2013, rapper Kanye West performed at the wedding of Nazarbayev’s grandson, 23-year-old Aisultan Nazarbayev, who married Alima Boranbayeva, the daughter of a high-ranking manager of the Kazakh state energy company. Reportedly, West charged over $3 million for his performance.

Since 1991, the OSCE has not considered any elections in Kazakhstan to be democratic.
The president’s party consistently emerges victorious, while government-approved opposition are employed in the role of a fig leaf. Genuine opposition is persecuted. When the workers of oil companies in Zhanaozen were on strike, demanding better working conditions and decent salaries, Nazarbayev issued an order to the militia to open fire on strikers.

Due to the fact that Kazakhstan is the richest country in Central Asia due to its abundance of oil, the West sits in acquiescence to the undemocratic practices of the authorities. There is an Advisory Group, operating under the aegis of the President. It consists of well-known politicians, such as: former Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski.


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