After the disintegration of the USSR, independent Kazakhstan faced a lot of challenges it had to get over. We have already told you about events which happened in 1991 and 1992, and now it’s time for 1993 and 1994.
So, in 1993, they began introducing economic reforms into the country, such as turning citizens of Kazakhstan into potential shareholders and creating its own currency – the tenge.
On January 28th, they established the Constitution of Kazakhstan which later turned out to be the most democratic one. The country became a parlamentary republic and the Kazakh language became the state language.
People could see the Head of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakhstan triumphing over it.
However, his triumph lasted not for long. The same year, the Supreme Soviet declared its voluntary dissolution because since it had too many powers, the principle of separation of powers was hard to comply with under the given Constitution.
Alma Ata was renamed into Almaty.
People faced lack of public transport, fuel and manpower and had to wait at bus stations for hours.
They let a contract, which was named ‘Conract of the Century’ with an American company Chevron.
That year, Kazakh Soviet communist politician Dinmukhamed Konayev died on August, 22nd. He had been the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Kazakhstan up to 1986. He preferred going to work on foot to company’s cars and only after his death, they found out that he had neither a car, nor home of his own, but donated most of his money to Alma Ata Children’s Home #1. Thousands of people came to say their last good-bye to ‘the Great Man’.
In 1992, thousands of Kazakh families from neighbouring countries began coming back to their neck of the woods after the official invitation made by the President. However, in 1993, government established an immigration quota, and by 2000, very few people expressed their willingness to come back to Kazakhstan.
In 1993, they launched a program of mass privatisation. According to the program, they distributed coupons among all the people of the country which they had to give in at privatisation investment funds, which, in their turn, had to privatize state enterprises and pay dividends to the people. As a result, enterprises passed into the hands of a small group of people who never paid a dollar to their shareholders.
People learnt what the term ‘ghost city’ meant. These were usually cities which economy was based on just one industry. Stoppages and interruptions in heating, power and water supply were turning to be a norm.
People had to leave their homes. Some of them moved to other cities, others immigrated to other countries. Those who remained, made their living by disassembling abandoned homes and selling everything that could be sold.
People began purchasing used cars abroad (which were more reliable than domestic new ones) to deliver them to Kazakhstan.
‘Philips Morris International Corporation’ purchased the charter capital of ‘Alma Ata Tobacco Company’, thus making cigarettes a luxury.
There appeared a new trend – turning apartments on the main floor into stores and naming them after themselves or their children.
People went into business. These were mostly former teachers and doctors who had to make their living by reselling commodities (mostly clothes) brought from China or Russia.
‘Impose fines for delayed pensions!’
1993 was the hardest year for retirees who didn’t receive their pensions, which were in addition devalued by inflation.
Kazakhstan began sending its students to study abroad.
Russia took the lead in creating the Ruble Area and was the one which broke the contract by establishing its own national currency. So, Kazakhstan’s currency had to be established too.
They gave people just five days to exchange their money for tenges.
They depicted prominent Kazakhs on tenges and even prepared a sketch of the one with Nazarbayev but he refused to be printed on denominations.
Next year, they issued coins.
Now let’s get to the 1994. Capitalism was developing more and more, so lots of people wanted to get rich, which resulted in appearance of first financial pyramids; business was flourishing too.
After the disintegration of the country, people were in search of new values and some of them found them in Islam. Muslim communities were growing, new mosques were built. In schools, they began teaching the Arabic language.
The same year they began to catch illegal immigrants and deport them. So, according to customs officials, since 1993 till 1995, out of 150-200 thousand Chineese peole who visited Kazakhstan, 30-50 thousand stayed in the county illegally. Thousands of Uzbeks and Kirghizes worked in Kazakhstan as well.
Hardly had coins been put into circulation, when they lost their value. The tenge kept devaluing too. Government managed to reduce fall of the tenge and inflation making it 1260% in 1994 (as compared with 2500% in 1992).
Every Kazakh was proud by the fact that he had dollars in his pocket and at the first opportunity, paid his bill with them to show off in front of a girl.
In the picture: a man carrying a ‘Currency Exchange’ sign board.
Government saved electricity by shutting it off. Most of the country had electricity for several hours a day.
Housing and communal services became one of the most pressing problems in Kazakhstan.
People sovled the problem of gas shortages by purchasing gas cylinders, even though it was prohibited by law.
МММ was a Russian company that perpetrated one of the world’s largest Ponzi schemes of all time, in the 1990s. In Kazakhstan, it was represented by Nurlan Smagulov who cheated over 35 thousand depositors.
The small privatization program gave the country its first small private companies.
All kinds of factories opened at that time. They had to take loans to launch production but interest rates were so high, that many of them became bankrupts and closed down.
Kazakhstan rented out the Baikonur Cosmodrome to Russia but the agreement they concluded had some mistakes. As a result, first time Kazakhstan received its money was in 1999.
The second Kazakh astronaut reaching space Talgat Musabayev.
His first spaceflight was as a crew member of the long-duration mission Mir EO-16, which was launched and landed by the spacecraft Soyuz TM-19. Musabayev was designated Flight Engineer; the mission lasted from July 1, 1994 to November 4, 1994, for a total duration of 125 days 22 hours 53 minutes.
After his second flight he received the title of Hero of the Russian Federation and Hero of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan and China officially agreed on the border line between the two countries.
Also, they began to assign money for diplomats to purchase good suits and shoes to look decent at meetings with foreign officials (3.5 pays early!).
They won their first Olympic gold medal in skiing. The Kazakstan’s team took the 12th place in the Olympics. Kazakhs were triumphing.
Most advanced Kazakhs began wearing beepers on their belts showing how cool they were.
‘Altel’ was the first mobile telephone company in Kazakhstan. Back in 1994, only rich people could buy cellphones because cellphone prices were outrageous. For example, the Motorola MicroTAC bought in sale was 2000$!
They announced amnesty for miners, elderly and disabled people. The reason for that was the fact that the country didn’t have enough funds to support overcrowded prisons.
Best state universities of Kazakhstan were remaned into national universities and obtained increased financing. The number of teachers who worked at universities increased too.