Kazakhstan: Father and Daughter face-off

October 4, 2004, [MD]

The elections are over in Kazakhstan, in fact they were about two weeks ago, but never too late to write a few words. Politics in Central Asia is, though usually very interesting and sometimes quite incestous, rarely reported in big headlines. The four countries that I’ve been to and know a bit about, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan all gained their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and all of them have the same heads of state as they did then.

So in the current elections, the incumbent Nazarbayev ran against a party controlled by his daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva, who is a graduate of a Moscow university, and has worked in charity and media. Dariga’s party is newly formed from a social movement, and says it includes mostly young people who would like to work for liberal values and a more equitable distribution. However, her father won (among cries of foul from the opposition). Mr Nazarbayev has his work cut out for him - he has made a thirty year plan, and his vision is that by the year 2030, Kazakhstan will become - not the tiger, but the Snow Leopard of Central Asia. As unlikely as that seems, Kazakhstan is a land to follow, because it has oil. Add this to all the other mineral resources, and according to Asia Times, it is the richest country in the world. Doesn’t seem so for the Kazakh farmers though.

Stian\ PS: A good overview on Kazakh economy at Asia Times.

Stian Håklev October 4, 2004 Toronto, Canada
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