Prepared by Sophia Balakina
The President of the
Freedom of Word Fund Adil Soz, Tamara Kaleyeva
- After 2001, it became clear that none of the countries of the civilized world, including Kazakhstan are free from external terrorism or religious extremist threats. In order to fight against these forces, it is vitally important to have a well-designed military doctrine. We cannot rule out the possibility for (God forbid!) aggression on the part of some of our “dangerously explosive” neighbors, such as, for example, North Korea.
One domestic danger is public destabilization. Conditions that might nourish this threat could be firstly unemployment, social vulnerability, or weaknesses in lingual and national policies. These are already issues with economic, social, cultural policies and we cannot resolve these questions with the help of an army, be it professional or voluntary.
journalist from the Vremya newspaper
- Traditionally, the threats are divided into two categories such as domestic and external. If we speak about external threats, this includes our proximity to China. The reason is that this country is over populated, and is having problems with resources and also has enormous financial and economic ability. Hence, Kazakhstani territory is a very tasty morsel for China, according to numerous experts.
Corruption is, without any doubt a domestic threat. This is a parasite, which is not only eating away, but has already penetrated into all possible areas of our society. Unfortunately, corruption has become an absolute symbol of the combination of politics and economics. Today, we can observe how two different areas hamper each other. However, domestic threats are problems that do not spread into the military sector. But when the army interferes with domestic problems, a civil war could occur.
Speaking of terrorism, this threat is very nominal in Kazakhstan. Political scientists, law enforcement officials, and representatives of public structures like to discus these subjects. Nowadays however, we do not have real groups (terrorist) that have the ability to achieve their goals through terror. As for religious organizations such as the Hitzb ut Tahrir, any expert will tell you that before approaching the terrorism stage, they would pave the way, gather adherents, and conduct seminars where they teach ideologies without anything in common with terrorism. This is typical, not only for Islamists but also representatives from all religious extremist sects. This stage of training takes from 5 to 15 years. It is only after this that people emerge who would bind themselves with dynamite and blow-up buses.
Speaking of the rudiments of separatist or religious movements like Hitzb ut Tahrir, it may be that they are attempting to lay down roots here. But I personally believe that Kazakhstan is nothing more than a starting point for them. That is, building and developing such projects is rather difficult in Kazakhstan, since the economic situation is improving. Oil is currently at a high price. If people were starving here, and were not able to make a living, these factors would create favorable conditions for catching Kazakhstani citizens into the extremists’ nets.
Renaissance Communications Management Agency
- For today, I can see threats coming from our closest neighboring countries. The events that have occurred in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan not only indicate factors of instability in these states, but could also damage our own country. Speaking of threats, I mean immigration, including the marginal layers of society as well as drug trafficking. I think that the state should pay more attention to its borders. As for international terrorism, I do not rule out its appearance. Considering the fact that in the modern world, no one can guarantee full security; any state should be ready for a collision with terrorism.
On the other hand, I am certain that Kazakhstan by itself is not an aggressive country and engages in a rather wise policy in relation to other states. Well planned work with investors would create a stable and predictable situation here. So, on behalf of the world community I believe that there is no threat to Kazakhstan.
Chairman of the Association of Equipment and Service Producers for Natural Resource Users, director of Belkamit JSC
- As a whole, I am an optimist, and I believe in the collective sense of humanity. I believe in stability and the relative balance of the world…but threats really do exist. I characterize threats of an economic character as the most serious ones. First, I would be cautious with China. Threats of a military character are not possible I believe, but I would connect their occurrence with the activity of certain terrorist groups, rather than states.
The most unfavorable variant for our state would be, I believe, to lose out in the international competitive struggle, considering our enormous reserves, and for this purpose, I cannot see a more present danger than our own laziness and stupidity.
Creative Director of PR Management
- I believe that due to the tradition of interethnic and intercultural dialogue that has been developed historically in our country based on principles of tolerant interaction between the different nationalities and sensible domestic and external policies on the part of the head of the state, who upholds a philosophy of peace and mutual understanding; as well as a government that abides by a firm position for resolving certain problems connected with the fight against international terrorism and extremism, the situation in Kazakhstan, which has over 40 different religious denominations, is fairly stable.
Naturally, there are some interethnic problems in Kazakhstan, for example, immigration of the Russian population, the number of which nowadays totals nearly 30% (earlier it was almost 50%). However, we cannot help but note that the immigration process has significantly decreased over the last few years in Kazakhstan. Economics have played an important role in this. One lives in better than average conditions, and our country today takes leading positions, not only in the Central Asian region, but in the entire CIS, according to its level of economic reforms.
As for terrorism, I would like to stress the fact that it springs up not only based on the grounds of poverty, corruption and religious fundamentalism. It is no secret that such defects are present in Kazakhstani society as well. However, when comparing our state with the other Central Asian countries, we can surely say that extremist and terrorist activities are not anyhow related to local organizations, these activities are being brought here from the outside, as we have a certain level of a liberal economy that allows people to obtain jobs and resolve their social problems.
In my opinion, it is worthwhile to think seriously of ways how to resolve another issue related to the spiritual life of the public, in regards to which, not everything is so smooth. The existence of pseudo-religions within and outside the country demonstrates the necessity for being vigilant. In reality, religious associations that exist in Kazakhstan are not attempting to overtake responsibilities from the overall political forces. We do not have military-religious organizations. However, such forces and organizations exist very near to us, and therefore pose a real threat to the national security of Kazakhstan. I believe that there are threats being posed to Kazakhstan from the outside, and therefore, we must consolidate our state borders through equipping them with the best technology and by increasing our military infrastructure, among other methods.
Marketing Department director at the Absolut real estate agency
- It is already quite obvious considering Iran, North Korea and some other countries that the formation of a new international configuration will be accompanied by penetration and increasing dual and military purpose technology in Asian states.
Kazakhstan could turn into a zone for the possible application of weapons of mass destruction, most likely nuclear. Surely, the probability of direct aggression is not high, but the aggravation of the military and political situation in the Central Asian region is likely inevitable by virtue of the distribution of extremist ideology. It is known that the latter develops especially rapidly on a background of a growth in international organized crime. There is no secret that Kazakhstan, as a neighbor to Afghanistan, is a territory for drug trafficking, and therefore is vulnerable from the point of view of the possible penetration of armed extremist groups and international terrorists.
In a word, a key factor for destabilization would more likely be if extremist groups or organized gangs obtain technologies that could pose a grave danger to people. This means that the future structure of the Kazakhstani army should be mobile, armed rapid-reaction forces, able to hold military and intelligence operations of an anti-partisan character.