Expression in the article headline is very popular among American journalists and even has entered lexicon of local political scientists. It means American shadow groups of influence, which render direct influence on the process of acceptance of political and economic decisions. Thus, except for known lobbyist structures, not long ago in the USA a secret political society « Skull and Bones » has become known where only men of Anglo-Saxon origin and Protestants, who received education in Yale University, are accepted.
As it turned out, its members were politicians (including several presidents, including the present), businessmen, journalists, who within the last 174 years have brought vital contribution to the history of the United States of America. It is quite interesting if to consider the presence of secret and influential political clan in the country with the developed democratic institutes.
It is not surprising, that in the countries with the minimal number of such institutions such « under carpet bulldogs” are many. The main problem is that «shadow politics » strongly prevails over public political process, and «shadow actors» are more influential than the official institutes, whether it is government or parliament in most of the post Soviet states, including Kazakhstan.
At the moment, two main forms of political communication within the limits of activity of «Kazakhstan bulldogs», common for Kazakhstan can be singled out.
1. Communications through informal contacts (direct or internal lobbyism). The intermediary in such kind of communication is a person possessing « know how (to know how) » + « know who » (to know someone who can be useful). Such kind of communication is actively used by institutional groups of pressure operating inside of the political system. For the majority of the social groups, being outside of political system, such kind of communication is practically inaccessible.
2. Communication carried out through use of mass media (indirect lobbyism). Pressure upon the institutes of political authority is done through formation of public opinion favorable for the interested group.
Partially, this form of communication is used by NGO, but the problem is that in the majority of cases existing mass-media are either under state control, or the tool in struggle of various financial, industrial and political elite groups. The latter often refer to public opinion only to demonstrate the government real or imaginary public support of their initiatives.
For the last years, the second type of communication has become more and more popular among competing elite groups. Thus, for them formation of public opinion is not as important as attraction of attention to this or that problem both of the president and the corresponding state bodies is. All depends on ability to stir up information conflagration.
Use of some of our deputies, who through the inquiries can initiate the next information scandal, can be another source. The recent strange situation around Kazatomprom, where serious and, apparently, made to order information war with serious blames and public prosecutor’s inspections can be one of the examples. As a result, many Kazakhstan mass media turn into drain channels for compromising evidence that corrupts both journalists and the owners of mass-media agencies.
But all these were trifles in comparison with that powerful information war, which began not so long time ago. These are the audio files of telephone conversations of some high-ranking officials of the country. Hypothetically their source could be ex-son-in-law of the president Rakhat Aliyev, considering that those telephone conversations were regarding those people whom Aliyev accused in a number of interviews blaming them to be the reason of his escape from the country.
During the whole history of sovereign Kazakhstan, it has been already the second wave of war of compromising evidences, which can seriously negatively influence the image of the country and the ruling authority. The first wave was connected with the personality of the ex-prime minister of the country Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who made the first sensitive information blows on authorities of the republic being outside of the country. That resulted in the case Kazahgeyt, still having unclear prospects for all its figurants.
As for the second wave, it has been more dangerous and more powerful; as since that moment the former son-in-law of the president and the leader of the state had a falling out, many experts had no doubt that the result would be spread of juicy information from both sides. And this has happened. Now Rahatgeyt appeared that, without any doubt, will cause a new headache for the ruling elite.
Finally, war of compromising evidence with some of the elite representatives as the main actors, having flared up all over again in online publications of Kazakhstan and in some local printed mass media, in the beginning of November received response from the state structures. In particular, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan stated its skepticism regarding authenticity of the audio files of telephone conversations of the high-ranking officials of the republic appeared in the Internet.
To tell the truth, the answer was quite predictable, considering piquancy of the content of these conversations. Though denying does not mean the denying does not exist in nature. As Winston Churchill said, “enormous quantity of false conjectures can exist, and the most terrible thing is that half of them – is bold truth.
If to proceed from the opinion of the Ministry of Internal Affairs that « it is not worth paying attention to doubtful information», yellow press type, then blocking of those sites that published them and unexpected mass check of some newspapers of opposition character tempted by the information of scandalous character is rather odd.
At the same time, some lawyers quite seriously discuss legality of this wire tapping. It turns out, that the fact of audio surveillance has been admitted. This practice, by the way, is very widespread in all countries of the world, democratic or not. Even in the USA, the president Richard Nixon had to resign from the post for the same reason. One of these days ex-Minister of Defense of Georgia Okruashvili informed at the meeting with opposition of total wire tapping of all elite Saakashbili was elected to the post.
In political struggle legal and ethical side of these or those acts often become hostage of political conjuncture. Now it is important to neatly dot all i’s to understand what actually happened in Kazakhstan: publishing of yellow press or the beginning of “political struggle with the use of compromising evidences. The struggle is not really enormous for the present and on limited space, but with possible serious consequences.
By the way, recently, it became popular to predict a country’s future after resignation of the current president. Certainly, it is possible to elaborate on the topic with the claim for originality, putting forward various assumptions. But there is only one thing that is for sure is the beginning of large scaled information war of compromising evidences, which can seriously change the disposition of forces inside of elite and impact other groups of influence notwithstanding their current political importance. In the end, Winston Churchill’s compatriot, the English writer Mary Manly was right, when she considered that time and chance reveals secrets.
It is clear, that in any information wars of Kazakhstan “bulldogs”of power, role of mass-media considerably increases. Thus, it is necessary to be realists and understand that mass-media do not define the rules of political game. In spite of the fact that mass-media can be an important participant of political processes, the degree of this importance and the framework of their activity completely depends on specificity of the political system and existing economic conditions. Here, the border goes between more or ess adequate estimation, political advertising and mass-media propagation.
As for Kazakhstan, we observe an antagonism of two tendencies. On one hand, political and information space has ripened and is ready for expansion. The country possesses intellectual, personnel, organizational and financial potential. But on the other hand, there is a process of artificial restriction of this tendency. As a result, the existing rules of politics game in Kazakhstan do not provide four important conditions necessary for increase of the role and quality of mass-media: 1. Absence of self-censorship; 2. Absence of unreasonable interference in the work of mass-media; 3. Pluralism of opinions in mass-media. 4. Free access to the needed information.
As for possible prospects of development of mass-media, we should pay attention to experience of our neighbors. The situation in the neighboring Russia shows that even with the presence of more or less developed information space, mass-media do not carry out the above-mentioned functions, which make them the real social institute.
One of the reasons for this is that alongside with administrative resources political technological approach started to prevail over formation of information space. The problem of political technologists is that they basically think with categories of rigid political struggle, where value of mass-media consists only in manipulation capacities. Here once again social function mass-media is lost.
The English writer Anthony Sampson said that journalism in America is considered as extension of history and in England – as extension of conversation. As for Kazakhstan, in our native Penates, most likely, journalism is extension of policy, often tactical.
Otherwise, how else we can explain the fact that constitutional rights to freedom of speech, access and distribution of information exist by themselves and ambiguous positions in the mass-media legislation by themselves. All seem simple. There is Basic Law - Constitution.
There are universal human rights, which should be observed both by the state, and civil society, including in mass-media sphere. But not, it is better to invent their own bicycle, preferably such kind in order to surprise the whole world, with two handle bars and one wheel. Without coordinated policy of all the officials and journalists, no bicycle will ride and the information space of Kazakhstan will remind constant battlefield of «Kazakhstan bulldogs» of authority.