December 16th, 2011 will figure in history not only as the 20th anniversary of independent Kazakhstan, but as a beginning of tragic events which took place in Zhanaozen, a small city located in the west of the country.
This is the commentary by Dosym Satpaev, a political analyst, on what could trigger the disturbance.
‘Don’t shoot at your people!’
According to Satpaev, it is neither the USA, Turkey nor Russia which stand behind the protest action. It is an inner conflict and a result of a ‘steaming boiler’ which had been boiling for so long that it finally exploded.
Government pretended that nothing was happening and thought that appearing problems could be solved by just firing or threatening people. Two thousand workers were discharged and as a result, people came out on the streets. Only after several people were killed, authorities began neutralizing reasons of dissatisfaction.
The Kazakhstan of today is two worlds inside the same country. The first Kazakhstan is a world of high-ranking officials who assess the work done not by results, but by the money stolen. The second Kazakhstan is a world of people who don’t receive what they have been promised to.
As for ill-wishers from the outside, it is unlikely that it was their work, just as Mukhtar Ablyazov and Rakhat Aliev have nothing to do with the demonstration.
Some people assume that it was the government of Kazakhstan that initiated the action. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has always been trying to make the world think it was the land of stability and well-being. The demonstration, however, undermined this belief and threw first of all the country’s goverment into confusion.
Unfortunately, government didn’t want to eliminate the problem beforehand and waited until the last moment to become a ‘butcher’.
In today’s reality, punitive measures and informational vacuum, which governments usually choose in cases like this, make the situation only worse.
Besides, all attempts of active population to come out with a protest, are regarded as negative. Thus, mass media will certainly call protesters ‘bandits’, ‘hooligans’ or ‘looters’. At the same time, government tends to present everything in pink, while demonstrations and demonstrators are always described with ‘black’. As a result, we have a war of contradictory opinions.
Governement has removed itself too far away from the people. One of the means how to make the two hear each other is elections. In Kazakhstan, unfortunately, people don’t believe that elections may change the situation for the better.
In addition, in Kazakhstan, labor unions and other society organizations which could act as a go-between, are not developed enough.
‘Government, keep your hands off the people!’
Kazakhstan has other weak points which governement ignores as well. One of them is inner migration when people with no professional or personal perspectives accumulate near large cities creating environement that is dangerously explosive too.