KAZAKHSTAN Growing pressure from abroad on the Kazakh elections

Especially from Russia and the United States. It is unlikely that a real parliamentary opposition will emerge. Moscow claims rights to Russian-speaking regions in northern Kazakhstan. Ethnic hostility actually favors Tokaev’s stability in power.

Moscow () – With a few days to go before the general and administrative elections in Kazakhstan, many still hope that a true parliamentary opposition will emerge in Astana that will be capable of opening a new democratic phase in the life of the Central Asian country. At the same time, the international media observe strong pressure from Moscow, which intervenes to the point of “feeding hatred of the Kazakhs in the ethnic Russian population”, as political scientist Akhas Tazhutov states in Eurasia Review.

The Kremlin funds many publications fighting against Kazakh nationalism, although during the recent visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Kazakhstan, Kazakh Foreign Minister Tleuberdi assured that “we do not perceive any risk from Russia at this time; our country continues with its multi-vector foreign policy”.

Tazhutov notes that the Russian press has also echoed these statements, interpreting them as a sign of “full Kazakh support for Moscow’s policy” and a warning to the US not to interfere in Astana affairs.

It is no coincidence, observes the political scientist, that both the US and Chinese representatives, when they go to Kazakhstan, stress the “defense of territorial integrity”, obviously endangered by tensions with Russia, which does not spare continuous “information attacks and territorial claims garnished with misrepresentations of history”.

Zhukov cites a recent publication by Russian linguist Aleksandr Grishenko of Moscow University, which basically wants to remind ethnic Russians and other peoples of post-Soviet states how negatively Kazakhs were viewed in the ancient times of migrations and intergroup conflicts. ethnic Eurasians, and therefore to what extent they should still be considered a dangerous people.

An article was recently published in the Ural Week magazine with Russian voices from the northern regions of Kazakhstan, according to which the Uralsk, Petropavlovsk and Pavlodar areas “should be returned to Russia”, and should not be left in the hands of “apes Kazakhs”.

Expressions of ethnic hostility actually favor Tokaev’s stability in power, so as not to leave room for divisions at such controversial moments. However, the opponents expect to grow much more than before, when crumbs were only granted to the “marginal” parties.

Humanitarian activist Sergej Duvanov believes the authorities have a plan to further limit the influence of non-governmental parties, taking advantage of complex calculations for single-member seats. In his opinion, “despite some euphoria these days, the election results will show that nothing has changed in the political sphere since Nazarbayev’s time.”

The Diplomat notes limitations to Internet access, which ranks Kazakhstan, along with Turkmenistan, as the least “connected” country in the world. According to independent journalists Rustam Mukhametov and Dana Buralkieva, the use of the web in these countries is very different for business than for society,” and depends a lot on the value that elites place on internet connections in politics and economics. .

The internet network is limited and blocked especially in regions and cities where popular protests take place, as happened in Zhanaozen in 2011, in the 2014 anti-devaluation marches in several cities, and the 2020 pogroms in the Kordajsk region between Kazakhs and Dungans.

At the government meeting on March 13, Tokaev insisted that “destabilizing actions will not be allowed, we will do our best to prevent them and leave no room for those who spread hate inside and outside Kazakhstan.”

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Written by Editor TLN

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