Five reasons why Kazakhstan doesn't deserve presidency in OSCE

In 2010 Kazakhstan for one year becomes chairman of OSCE, however the country leaders are not intended to carry out the reforms meeting the European standards.

The decision of the western countries on the presidency of Kazakhstan in many respects has been caused by energy security of Europe. Prospects of involving Astana in "Nabucco", support of Transcaspian pipeline, and also that Kazakhstan seemed then to be ready to deliver hydrocarbons bypassing Russia have played its role in making "the dream of Nazarbaev" come true.

Besides, OCSE approached far not in better quality to the meeting of heads of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of member-states of OSCE in Madrid in November 2007, when the question on presidency of Kazakhstan was being decided. In case of refusal to satisfy the request of Kazakhstan, seven states of CIS promised to adopt a document, capable to disorganize OSCE, which on top of that experienced a long evolutionary crisis. In other words, the application of Kazakhstan on presidency was considered as a collective petition of a greater part of the CIS countries, the interests of which were betrayed by the minister of foreign affairs of Kazakhstan M.Tazhin who made a traitorous declaration by supporting general CIS position.

The Euro-Atlantic community hoped also for democratic transformations, liberalization of a society, mass-media, economy, etc. promised by the Kazakh authorities. However for N.Nazarbaev the presidency in OSCE always was a matter of image connected with the desire "to join the family of European people".

At least, there are five principal reasons on which Kazakhstan has no right to preside in OSCE.

The first reason. Kazakhstan is an Asian country. Only owing to collapse of the USSR, Kazakhstan together with other post-soviet countries of the Asian part of Soviet Union has mechanically found itself in "the space of OSCE ". By virtue of geographical location and political orientations of the government, this country a priori has not right to be not only a president, but also a member of OSCE.

The second reason. In political life of Kazakhstan there is no democracy at all. In this country all is subordinated to an individual will of Nazarbayev who thinks himself a sultan. The lifelong president who usurped the power, has privately concentrated all powers in his hands, beginning from judicial and other prosecution of dissident people, and finishing with the control over financial streams. In the country exists the one-party system, visually "modernized" under formal requirements of multi-party system only on the eve of presidency in OSCE.

The Kazakh legislation regulating the freedom of speech, is the severe on the post-soviet space. The bill on mass media, brought forward in 2009 to parliament, allows the government to limit rigidly distribution of any information. In Kazakhstan the slander remains a criminal offence and is severely punished. The Kazakh journalists constantly come across with retaliatory prosecutions, and frequently receive direct threats. Even those journalists who do not recognize presence of direct censorship, privately speak about the total control and existence of "undesirable themes ".

In the course of hearings held on 12 May 2009 in Helsinki commission about forthcoming presidency of Kazakhstan, the representative of the state secretary on Southern and the Central Asia J.Krol said, that "political and democratic institutes of the country, and also a civil society remain underdeveloped". In his opinion, "the institute of the president dominates over political system, and the new bill on electronic sources of information lays huge barriers against freedom of speech in the country".

The third reason. In Kazakhstan there is no supremacy of law that has already led to fatal results. Corruption has got practically into all echelons of power. In conditions of merging of large business, underworld and authority there is an aggravation of crime rate in the republic.

According the Index of perception of corruption in 2008, published by "Transparency International", the world coalition on fighting against corruption, Kazakhstan ranks 145th among 180 countries of the world. In 2006 it ranked 111th among 163 countries. With the population of 15 million people, in Kazakhstan in 2008 more than 127 thousand offences, of them 1/3 are grave and very grave crimes and more than half - thefts. The crime detection rate is a bit more than fifty percent.

The fourth reason. Violations of human rights and murders of oppositional practiced in the country need a separate discussion.

Kazakhstan abounds with examples of ignoring and infringement of basic human rights, for example, freedom of worship, assemblies, will and many other things. Observance of human rights is same wildness for authorities of this country, as for an ordinary European citizen the Kazakh national game "kokpar", assuming torture of goatling.

After N.Nazarbaev signed in late 2006 the decree which considered as undesirable the participation of citizens in "nontraditional" and "extremist" religious associations, such religious minority organizations as "the Society of consciousness of Krishna ", Jehova’s Witnesses, followers of Scientology etc., were subjected to strict control and pressure by authorities, and they started to be labeled as "sectarian" or "nontraditional". And the campaign held in 2008 by the state mass media was devoted to spreading among people the image of non-traditional religions as a source of danger.

The UN special reporter on tortures and other inhuman treatment M.Novak who has visited recently prisons of Kazakhstan, has come to a conclusion, that law enforcement bodies of the country very often resort to beatings and other kinds of tortures of citizens, especially within first hours after detention, during interrogation in police stations with the purpose to obtain confessions or information from suspected.

The political life in Kazakhstan is characterized by frequent made-to-order murders of oppositional politicians. It became the same ordinary phenomenon, as well as tortures of prisoners. Altinbek Sarsenbayev and Zamanbek Nurkadilov, once high ranking officials, have paid with their lives for opposing the government policies. The list can be continued infinitely but it is all the same clear, that forthcoming presidency of Kazakhstan in OSCE in 2010 may undermine humanitarian principles of this authoritative Organization.

The main reason - fifth. Kazakhstan as a whole is not ready to a responsible role of a president of the all-European organization by virtue of both already stated reasons, and immaturity of the state itself. Moral and legal institutes in Kazakhstan are far from the European values the same as the distance from Astana up to the nearest European capital.

I order to fully understand the distinctions in the ways of thinking between the European and the Kazakh, it is necessary to note, that the national tale hero in Kazakhstan is not Borat as is seen by British comedians, but Aldar Kosa - the poor liar existing due to cheating others. Nobody will give guarantees, that similar distinctions will not be put on a paper in the form of destructive decisions of OSCE under presidency of Kazakhstan.

In its turn, mentally–civic features and standards upon implementing state, economic and social policy in Kazakhstan, and also aspiration of Astana to use " its own the experience " in the future testify to fast death of OSCE in that kind in what it should function according to the Helsinki Act and other basic documents accepted in Europe. The European public, naturally, will not sustain the situation in which vicious Kazakhstan will teach such democracies as Denmark and Sweden, for example, on how to reform the religious legislation,.

On this background, some groundless statements of European "friends" about Kazakh regime’s "achievements" in the field of democratization invoke feelings of shame and bewilderment among friends of OSCE. How, for example, to understand assessments like " Kazakhstan is a model for other countries "? In what way can we assess the statements that Kazakhstan is "the locomotive of integration processes and an anchor of stability in the Central Asia "? And what to do, if such statements come from deputies of the Bundestag and representatives the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany? Here we see the full victory of the policy of double standards.

In that case, it seems that the former rhetoric of the European politicians about any democratic principles simply is a bluff in order to get access to natural riches of Kazakhstan! It turns out, that for such European countries it is better to have in Kazakhstan a good warden who will provide profit, rather than some liberal and democrat?

Similar irresponsible assessments simply prove that OSCE protects interests of only separate countries-participants or the countries-founders of this organization, instead of idea of democracy, freedom and tolerance as it is stipulated in charters and the purposes of this institute. Thus, presidency in OSCE becomes a change in the big political game. Such commercial approach of the West leads only to a final loss of the rests of authority of OSCE in the eyes of the world community.

Author - Fuad Asimov, expert on Central Asian issues

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