On February 11, 2021, the European Parliament passed a resolution on the human rights situation in Kazakhstan. Together with the 2009 resolution, it is the fifth document that critically assesses the political situation in the country. The question is what comes next.
Here is the English version of the resolution. We will also cite the Radio Azattyk publication in Russian titled «The European Parliament Passes a Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Kazakhstan». It relates the content and the sentiment of the resolution quite meticulously.
In our opinion, the passing of such a hard-hitting resolution is a big success for everyone opposing the Kazakh authoritarian political system and the «super-presidential» vertical. However, much to our regret, it will have little affect on the country’s internal political developments and even on changing the collective West’s attitude to Kazakhstan.
The thing is that the European Parliament is one of the EU’s most politicised structures that is quite sensitive to everything happening in the world including the developments across the post-Soviet space. On the other hand, the European Parliament does not make final decisions regarding the EU’s and its individual members’ foreign policies.
This is the prerogative of the bodies that, although they do take into consideration the European Parliament’s position, try to implement it only partially. Among other things, this means that the resolution is not going to have a direct impact on Akorda and the Library and won’t make them change their attitude towards civil activists, independent NGOs and the protest activities in the country.
Moreover, it won’t make the EU have a more active presence in the Central Asian region not to mention impose sanctions against representatives of the Kazakh ruling elite. Not because the latter do not «deserve» them but because it is one thing to express one’s position publicly and support the civil rights of their advocates; quite another thing is to change «realpolitik».
It is the latter that forces European officials to consider a number of much more important factors such as Vladimir Putin’s Russia with its desire to take revenge, the need for the Kazakh oil and other primary products, China that is becoming the biggest global economy. It is these factors that make the EU be much more assertive in word (but not in deed) in its relationship with Kazakhstan.
On the other hand, for Akorda and the Library, this kind of resolutions are public slaps in the face. One can take them, certainly, but are they humiliating! For this reason, the Kazakh authorities are trying to make them worthless in the minds of their fellow citizens. Among other things, by using the help of the European deputies speaking against such slaps.
Unfortunately, in regard to the resolution of February 11, the feud among the opponents of the Kazakh authoritarian political system and the «super-presidential» vertical has already started. For instance, Mukhtar Ablyazov has accused Zhanbolat Mamay of allegedly trying to take credit for the passing of the resolution. In our opinion, Ablyazov and his ally from the Open Dialogue non-governmental foundation Lyudmila Kozlovskaya had themselves done a lot to get the European Parliament to examine the situation with the human right in Kazakhstan and to pass the resolution of February 11.
However, it was Akorda and the Library that’d made the greatest contribution to the matter.
Due to the acute political necessity of conducting the Mazhilis and the all-level maslikhats elections without any problems or surprises, the Kazakh authorities had gone too far. As a result, the number of the civil rights violations by various state agencies and in a relatively short period of time’d turned out to be so huge that most of the EP members (598 of 693) have voted in favour of the tough resolution.
Therefore, the resolution of the European Parliament on the human rights situation in Kazakhstan represents a tactical victory for those opposing the authoritarian political system and the «super-presidential» vertical. However, we must be realistic. Despite its toughness, the resolution is not going to have a significant impact on the country’s internal developments since it won’t convert into real support of the opposition — the way it is now happening in regard to Belarus and Russia.