вторник, 14 июля 2020
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Комиссия по земельной реформе появится в Казахстане Правительство и Нацбанк предложат план действий по экономической политике Казахстан начнет экспорт конины в Японию 94 человека выдвинули свои кандидатуры в депутаты Сената Эксперты ВОЗ прибыли в Китай для выявления источника COVID-19 НАО «Фонд социального медицинского страхования» подозревается в хищении средств Учебный год для студентов в Казахстане начнется дистанционно ВОЗ направит группу экспертов в Казахстан Антикоррупционная служба начала проверку компании «СК-Фармация» В Казахстане появится своя Бежевая Книга С 14 июля в Алматы запрещен въезд на территорию национальных парков, туристских и горных объектов 61 755 инфицировано коронавирусом в Казахстане Движение «HAQ» запускает мониторинг лекарственных препаратов Карантин продлён ещё на две недели ПЦР-тест сдавать не обязательно при легком течении КВИ Медики из России прибыли в Атырау Гуманитарная помощь будет отправлена из Турции в Казахстан Флешмоб Главврача областного туберкулезного диспансера в Шымкенте обернулся скандалом В Шымкент завезли препараты на более четыре миллиарда тенге  В России завершились клинические испытания вакцины против коронавируса Новый штамм коронавируса в Гонконге увеличил свою заразность на 30% Замакима Павлодарской области стал вице-министром Южная Корея ввела обязательное прохождение теста на коронавирус для граждан Казахстана Токаев посмертно наградил двух медиков Казахстанским абитуриентам могут разрешить въезд в Россию для сдачи экзаменов

Political theatre of one actor

 Dosym Satpaev

Most likely, the answer to the latter question is “No”, because these elections haven’t lead to the emergence of a competitive force that could take the baton from the President and support his successor. This is very important, because, as many political scientists agree, the main task of all of the post-Soviet countries is to transform a stability that depends on the authority of one person into one which is supported by political institutions. Considering the Russian experience, according to the opinion of Sergey Markov, Director of the Institute of Political Research, Putin today is at the head of three-sided coalition of law enforcement, liberal economists and technocrats. In Kazakhstan we don’t observe the features of such coalition. Everything is too blurry and unclear. Even the President’s family is no longer a reliable source of support for him, not to mention the oligarchic groups, which aren’t satisfied with the limits once defined by the President.
Unfortunately, the elections haven’t fulfilled their main task of creating the basis for consolidation of the elite within society. On the contrary, after the elections conflict emerged and grew not only between the ruling power and different oppositions, but also among the political elite. According to some experts, the real politics are still not visible to the public. The influential shadow players who engage in these politics still hope to resolve the disagreements, split the power and the businesses and avoid conflicts.
Ideally, the elections should have become the state’s immune system that protects it from political illnesses, some of which are already present in Kazakhstan. However, fair elections are not possible without an appropriate elective and party system. Currently there are few political “giants” and a lot of political “midgets” in Kazakhstan’s politics. However, there are reasons for that. Japan has a term, “hammering nails in”; this type of “hammering” has been conducted in our country for a long time, when the appearance of any strong political person was considered as a threat. There was a process of clearing the political area from such “nails”.
Unfortunately, even the staff members of the Administration of the President, who are very intelligent, don’t calculate until the end the results of their political campaigns. They think tactically there. Of course, at some point in time the main goal has already been defined, which is to be guided by the examples of such Asian Tigers as Singapore or Malaysia. Economic growth appeared to have a higher priority than development of democratic institutions. It doesn’t seem to be the worst case scenario. Democracy cannot be fully implemented in a poor country. However, in this case, it is not clear why we are always told about the uniqueness of our political development, if we use someone’s model. Moreover, this development model is rooted in the mind of only one person – the President. Actually, he is still the director and the starring actor of his own political theatre.
The main problem for the President is that he cannot rely on a strong political force, because, as mentioned above, there is no such force. For example, look at “Nur Otan”. The problems of the “Nur Otan” party are the reflections of the diseases of Kazakhstani party system. Its weakness is that most of Kazakhstan’s parties were created artificially because of political situations rather than serious political fights or activities of the electorate. Therefore “Nur Otan” is not a classic electoral party that can adequately solve current problems and assess its own prospects. Besides, the strong connections with the current leader of the country make the party’s future unclear, in terms of what will happen to it when the President steps away. Dullness, careerism and bureaucratism prevail within the party. Internal competition for the financial and administrative resources will increase, which may lead to new splits within the party.
Moreover, it isn’t clear whether the party members are true followers of the President or just his organization’s men and executors. Are there people in this country who really care about its future, rather than working in “real time mode” – overcome just another round of elections and report the fantastic results of the “properly arranged” elections? Of course, we can dismiss this question with an answer like “time will tell”. However, the issue is that the time can show us such a future that we wouldn’t like to see.
By the way, all of the above is applicable not only to Kazakhstan. When we try to analyse the political and economic development of the countries of Central Asia, we clearly see some common features, as well as differences.
The common features are political monocentrism (except for Kyrgyzstan), prevalence of the shadow policy over the public one (again, except for Kyrgyzstan), economic uncertainty and external policy pluralism.
The differences are in political and economic agendas, mechanisms of supporting the legitimacy of the President’s power, and the hierarchy of internal and external threats.
Although each country uses its own trajectory of political and economic development, we can identify some common tendencies. In all of the countries of Central Asia, the process of strengthening Presidential power is taking place; it is either done through the constitutional mechanism (Kazakhstan) or eliminating potential political competitors (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan).
The problem for the President of Kazakhstan is that he cannot foresee the actions of elite groups, although he is still able to react to their actions in order to neutralize the consequences. Actually, at the current stage of political development, Kazakhstan needs to answer the following two questions. Which, of three types, Kazakhstan’s authoritarian political system belongs to (mobilizational, conservative or modernizing {able to undergo political reforms})? What will the excessive Presidential power lead to; authoritarianism for the sake of authoritarianism itself, or authoritarianism for the sake of modernization?
Unfortunately, the parliamentary elections haven’t given a full answer to these questions. Here we could benefit from the experience of newly industrialized countries (Thailand, Southern Korea, Taiwan, Brasil), where authoritarian modernization was conducted while taking into account the opinions of the opposition, which to some extent participated in modernization. If history is politics that cannot be changed, then politics is history that may still be changed. A sad alternative would be conservation of current political relations, which, strategically, can lead to negative political consequences. Besides, conservatism would create another danger, which is often forgotten by many people and which is typical for most authoritarian systems. This danger is postponing socialization, which would eliminate effective mechanisms of youth entering the political life of the country. The result is either absenteeism or radicalism, which can be observed in some of our neighbours in Central Asia. The latter problem is quite important, because political stability is affected. According to Demosthenes, “There are two indicators of a country’s well-being: wealth and trust in the government”. Reliable indicators of the authority’s legitimacy and its support are absent in Kazakhstan at present. The result is when both the authority and opposition argue about the legitimacy or non-legitimacy of current political system, they don’t have a reliable tool to measure this legitimacy. The former don’t want to measure the legitimacy, and the latter cannot, because the tool is a free and honest election.
Remember the philosophical thesis: “Understanding yourself is achieved through understanding others”. This thesis is the basis for comparative political science, which would be beneficial to our primitive ideologists to study. Discussing the “third way”, Kazakhstan’s own specific way, shouldn’t impede taking into account the mistakes of the post-Soviet countries where presidential or parliamentary elections have eventually lead to violent change of powers.
First lesson. Take on jobs you can do.
Kazakhstan’s government should understand that it cannot imitate democratic elections and pretend to become a member of the European democratic club as the Chair of the OSCE.
Second lesson. Keep your enemy close by.
The government shouldn’t push the opposition out to the political periphery. Sooner or later, there may be a time when part of the elite will want to join the opposition or ask for support from the opposition. It is possible when the confrontation within the elite reaches the phase of equality; when a victory for one side is possible only at the expense of the other.
Third lesson. People are not always silent.
For example, in Georgia the reasons for excessive political activity of the population were poverty and weak economic reforms carried out by Shevardnadze. In Ukraine, with its comparatively high living standard and economic growth rate, the reason was that people believed in a strong opposition and that their voice can become decisive. Thus, the elite shouldn’t hope for eternal tolerance and the political indifference of Kazakhstani people. Appearance of a strong opposition may lead to social disorder. Moreover, the examples of Shanyrak and Malovodnoe show that there are many potential areas of conflict in Kazakhstan.
Fourth lesson. One shouldn’t underestimate the external factor.
The Western powers put pressure on the ruling elite only when they see a strong opposition, which has a significant support from the population. Nobody wants to cooperate with a “club of political losers”. In some cases, the Western powers would prefer a strong authoritarian leader rather than a weak opposition, which couldn’t guarantee political stability. Actually, this is the situation we observe in Kazakhstan. However, it cannot be like this forever.
Geographical factors also play an important role. I remember discussing the influence of geographical factors on political processes with the famous polish journalist and politician Adam Mikhnik in Krakow in 1997. We started to discuss this issue because I asked him what would happen to Kazakhstan if it had a common border with the EU, as Ukraine does. It was an interesting discussion, and we came to the conclusion that Kazakhstan is in the region that features patriarchal-traditional forms of social interactions. As a result of this, active external incentives for political modernization are absent in Kazakhstan. Maybe that’s why in our political development we try to invent our own bicycle, which wouldn’t take you anywhere, especially if it has only one wheel.

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