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Representatives of large and medium business don’t influence the political life of the country

- To you opinion, what is the attitude of Kazakhstan’s society towards large and medium business?
- The situation is changing now. The state authority is becoming more loyal to large and medium business. With respect to the society I can say that it consists of different layers. For example, the business society respects an owner of a large business, especially if he has created his capital himself, at least to some extent. Traditionally, the other part of the society had a negative attitude towards the business, and unfortunately, it was supported by most of the politicians. Now the situation is changing dramatically.

- What is the reason for the negative attitude of the society towards the business?
- The main reason is the difference in incomes.

- How would you describe the relations between large and medium business with the state power?
- I’d describe them as tolerable. The government dominates in setting the rules of the game with the business. However, if democratic principles are followed, another situation will prevail. Actually, they have created special contact points, where the business can have a discussion with the government. At least, they listen to us.

- How interested is the government in making the business transparent, after all, the is a connection between large business and our elite?
- We have already had two waves of legalization; the government has become cleverer and understands that there is nothing to be afraid of. There is capital that requires transparency, investments, financing. And it is impossible without the transparency. The elite has already grown up to a certain level, it can be seen from the list of billionaires in the “Forbes” magazine.

- If the state authority wants the business to be transparent, the corruption needs be reduced, but the officials don’t want to do it. How can we talk about any transparency in this case?
- Any business has a transition period; it cannot become transparent in an instant. The state power understands that if we want to competitive and move in the right direction, we need to be transparent. Unfortunately, the qualification of not all of our officials is high enough to support the ideology of transparency.

- By the way, what do you think about the administrative reform, suggested by the government of Karim Masimov?
- In general, the standards of corporate governance were developed for business; they consist of the actions related to earning income and fair distribution of the income among the partners. Of course, the ultimate goal of business is to acquire a definite market share and earn more money. It is not the same in politics. However, introducing corporate governance is not bad for the politics. It will increase transparency and enthusiasm.

- How will the relations between the business and government develop within five to ten years?
- The business is interested in stability and further democratic reforms, because they increase our chances to become a normal society, where people could prove their cases in courts, and it should be perceived adequately. The President is the guarantor of the stability; he has always supported the business and understood that middle class is the basis for civilized business. However, the relations between the business and the Presidents had ups and downs.

- How possible is a new conflict with participation of the President’s family and the business elite? After all, the family will be there in the future, and nobody will guarantee that the business elite will not have a critical period after the main guarantor of stability is out of office.
- True, it will be a critical period. A lot depends on the political reforms. It seems to me that the President and the government prepare for this time very seriously. Thus, they must have some scenarios. We understand that the power will be transferred within the family, because the scope of the interests is large. It is important for the business not to have any shocks during that time. Frankly speaking, the business doesn’t care who will be the successor, what we care about is preserving the principles of free economy.

- Does it mean that the business will not act during this period and will just be waiting and observing the build up of the democratic principles?
- Participating in political formation of the country and organizing own party are not the tasks for the business.

- In the future, the society may support the business, considering it a very important player that care’s for the public interests in case of some problems or conflict situations. Will the business rely of the society, considering it a basic aid, or will you somehow conflict with the state power?
- It is unlikely. The business society is politically inactive. However, politicians can set their electorate against the business.

- Do the representatives of large and medium business influence the political life of our country today?
- Don’t influence.

- What is the business’s main mission in the country’s economic and social spheres?
- First of all, our mission is economic with social responsibility. We should pay the taxes, while the government should fairly distribute them. Our business should become transparent and competitive. We should expand to other countries. While we are politically inactive, we should be very active economically, because currently there are great economic opportunities. There is a problem with the activity of the business.

- Could you list the main problems of the Kazakhstan’s business society?
- First. In general the business is passive. Second, the large business is owned by different elite groups. Third, in general the medium business is uncoordinated. Fourth, we don’t have confidence and understanding of efficiently using what we own, and benefiting from the opportunities created by business association. This diffidence creates corruption.

- What actions should be taken to solve these problems within the business society?
- We need to develop the mechanisms for defending our interests through creation of different associations, industrial and regional chambers, and specialized juridical companies. The reform of judiciary is required to increase its transparency and fairness. All of these can be done within 3 – 5 years, but it would require government support. 

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