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№5 (190) 14 - 27 March 2007

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Urgent issue:     Conservative values
On 28 February, 2007 , in his annual message to the nation Nursultan Nazyrbaev delivered his vision on the prospects of development of Kazakhstan. His concept is based on gradual political and economic modernization of the country

Sultan Akimbekov

This time the president dwelt on details. He emphasized importance of reforms in political and economic spheres. The government plans to spend more in 2007 than in the past year. Public spending is expected to increase by 108 billion tenge. Generous sums will be pumped into regions, development of infrastructure and welfare. The president promised to allocate money for different governmental projects in order to improve system of government and ensure effective management. The president is about to give more authority to the parliament. Kazakhstan will remain the presidential republic but political parties might play greater role since they will be given a right to participate in the important political process (in cooperation with the president they will appoint cabinet ministers). In addition, parties will get extra funding from the federal budget. Local authorities (maslihats) will be also charged with additional duties and granted more powers.

According to the president "Kazakhstan is not a country of the third world anymore". Kazakhstan is viewed as the influential regional power. Actually, our state is to become a global actor as well. In future Kazakhstan may provide a tribune for forum between different religious confessions. As the issue of civilizations clash is getting new urgency this mission of our state may become really useful for the world community. President also mentioned in his speech what important role the Kazakh Assembly of nations played in our state. It is important to care about balance of interests in multicultural and multinational society. There is no any better alternative to the concept of the universal Kazakhstani citizenship combined with that of equal rights for all nationalities of our republic. It is in the interests of the state to shape its policies in accordance with this doctrine. The state should bear in mind that in some conditions there is always a place for rivalry between numerous ethnic groups. At the current stage of development The Kazakhstan Assembly of nations is the effective instrument of governing. It helps to reconcile implacable ethnic groups, elaborate optimal decisions, look for compromise and eventually reach consensus. It is true only if the state sticks to its current policies of economic liberalization and improve its management skills. This is a key to stability and comfortable life of all people, that live in Kazakhstan despite some disappointment about the status quo. In fact, Kazakhs are more represented in governmental structures than any other ethnic groups.

The president said everything that people wanted to hear from him. He talked about eternal values, traditions, adherence to current political course, ability of the state to assume risks. He said that the government was aware about all flaws of the current political system and was able to solve problems that arose. The government knows what to do next to make our life better - said the president. His speech produced good impression on the public. The president met expectations of his audience. The majority of Kazakhstani people is against any social turmoil. Gradual evolution, positive changes are in the interest of the society. That is why the slogan "preserve, nurture, multiply" looks a solid foundation for conservative ideology of Kazakhstani development. Conservative ideology is based on the idea of liberal economic policies, gradual modernization of political system and transition to Western values. Kazakhstani partners are quite satisfied with the about mentioned concept. The fact is that Western countries have formed quite realistic view on Eastern democracies. It is impossible to build democracy of, say , Switzerland type. Strategic partnership with Kazakhstan, that seems to be popularly seen as say Japan or Singapore, Malassya is in the interest of the West.

Kazakhstani opposition is in quite an uncomfortable situation. It feels less robust than before. The opposition has to form new ideas and deliver them to the public in fair competition. Washington and European capitals are loyal to the authorities, ruling elites. They don't exert open support to the opposition. We shouldn't take seriously the statement of D Cheini, who said at the Vilnius meeting that there was more democracy in Kazakhstan than in Russia. Nevertheless these words knocked the bottom out of the opposition. The opposition couldn't adjust to new conditions and continue criticize everything that has been done for the last 15 years. The opposition calls for radical reforms. This stance doesn't add to its popularity. Conservative sentiments are domineering in the Kazakhstani society. Few people in Kazakhstan side with Kyrgyz revolutionaries or Shanirak bandits.

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