Currently, all Kazakhstan’s opposition movements, organisations and groups are mostly active and noticeable in the context of their infightings and bringing accusations that certain structures and figures are dummies and serve the interests of the authorities. And this mere fact clearly testifies that the opposition wave generated by the collapse of the USSR and by the opportunities that opened during that complicated and turbulent time is coming to an end.
In view of this, a question arises – when will the country have a new, real opposition to the current authorities, what is it going to be like, what is it going to try and accomplish and by which means?
Since life resents void, it makes sense to begin answering this question now. Therefore, we suggest to start an online dispute on who may become the force capable of truly opposing the Kazakh authoritarian political system and the “super-presidential” vertical – if not today than at least tomorrow.
In our opinion, this issue is crucial since, as history teaches us, the word is capable of becoming that very material force that may change the country, the society and us.
As part of discussing the subject, we would like to point out several circumstances (factors) that, in our opinion, must be taken into account by the participants of the future discussion (of course, if it does take place).
The first one is the openness of Kazakhstan as a state and, simultaneously, the readiness of other countries, first of all, Russia to receive migrants.
For this reason, nowadays, any more or less pro-active Kazakh citizen has to face a crucial choice (crucial not only for himself and his family but for the country as well): try and change something about his life while unavoidably encountering the indifference of others and the resistance of the state machine or leave the country and settle in another state where he will get a better chance to fulfil his personal and professional potential.
Let us suppose that most Kazakhs who wish and are ready to be more pro-active than the majority of their fellow citizens choose emigration.
Speaking from Akorda and the Library’s viewpoint, this is, one one hand, a good thing since it reduces the risk of destabilising the internal political situation; on the other hand, however, it is a huge disadvantage since it deprives the country from those who constitute or may constitute the core of professionals in any sphere – from healthcare and education to agriculture and digital technologies.
Speaking from the society’s perspective, it is nothing but a huge disadvantage since the percentage of pro-active citizens among emigrants is a priori higher than average. In other words, those capable of displaying the social and political activity and leading others are being washed away from the country.
The second circumstance (factor) that, in our opinion, has negatively affected the quality of the Kazakh opposition lies in the total computerisation of the country and society. First of all, we are talking about the availability of the Internet thanks to which it is no longer necessary to meet personally and share opinions.
Consequently, the protest energy is mostly being splashed out on social networks and messengers which cannot but worry the Kazakh authorities. But, on the other hand, Akorda and the Library should thank Heavens and the web that now all the Kazakhs have got an alternative outlet: they can splash out their emotions on Facebook or Telegram and save time and physical effort instead of taking to streets and meeting with the likeminded people to express their wants and needs. By the looks of it, the overwhelming majority chooses the first option.
The third circumstance (factor) that must be considered when forecasting the start of the new opposition wave in Kazakhstan and the way it will (or not) become a counterbalance to the authoritarian political system and the “super-presidential” vertical is the ideological want of the current opposition movements, organisations and groups.
We are not going to analyse the ideas and slogans they are promoting in order not to offend their activists. But we will say that they lack ideas and ideologies completely. On the other hand, without them, there can be no true teaming-up of the citizens and forming of politically important structures. At the same time, in our opinion, the Kazakh authoritarian political system and the “super-presidential” vertical do have such an idea albeit unofficially so. We will express it by using two two words – get rich!
The First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, his closest relatives and allies as well as the entire ruling elite including the top of the official apparatus and the quasi-governmental structures embody this idea to the fullest.
And, for most Kazakhs, their example is much more eye-catching than any urges of the opposition to start and defend the civil rights of themselves and others or change the existing political system.
To be continued