Dubai – Dr. Abdulrahim Abdulwahid
Kazakhstan for now is a name that is a complimentary to any world event. A country that emerged as the crumbling of USSR made its own image in its 25 years of history under the envisioned leadership of Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Nazarbayev as a leader has been successful in meeting any number of qualities of the charismatic-revolutionary leadership model which endeavors to create values, make sacrifices, define goals, accept state’s survival as the top priority, care experience more than ideology and meet the demands of nation-building.
Nazarbayev has been a practitioner of the Kazakh model in which he has successfully made the transition from a socialist economy to a free market economy model, adapted quickly to the world community and adopted the motto “economy comes first” to take the realities of post-Soviet Kazakhstan into account. Such pragmatic role depicts the Nazarbayev’s centrality to the unity and stability of Kazakhstan.
What we see Kazakhstan today is not what it was in past. Let me be hysterically historical in order to ponder over the in-depths of Kazakhstan. Once a part of the Golden Horde of Mongols, Kazakhstan saw the times of plunder and raids, dominance and disunity. For nearly a hundred years Kazakhstan people waged a struggle against the Dzungar who levied heavy taxes on Kazakhs and dealt ruthlessly with anyone who resisted.
The country was also a victim of constant raids carried out by the Volga Kalmyks. Kazakh people were on the brink of complete enslavement and even extermination. It was then that Kazakhs appealed for help to their neighbor, Russia and in 1731 an act on Kazakhstan’s voluntary accession to Russia was signed. It bought an opportunity of establishing direct economic and cultural links with Russian people.
The story doesn’t end here as the good opportunities didn’t last long. Instead the adversities started paving ways in the body politique of Kazakhstan. The Russian projects like “Virgin Land” project were not in line with the benefit of Kazakhs. Also the World War I trampled Kazakhs to the greater extent as it was with the whole of USSR. The first retaliation was made by Kunayev, the First Secretary of Kazakhstan installed by USSR. He set his own forces into motion and created the so-called “Alma-Ata” riots of the late 1980s, the first to shake the foundation of the Soviet Union.
Finally in 1991, following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan became an independent sovereign state. Kazakhstan declared its sovereignty on October 25, 1990, and full independence on December 16, 1991.
The Sovereignty didn’t came alone but with the heap of challenges to establish a single nation, nevertheless at same time it was an opportunity to take decisions of Kazakhstan by the people of Kazakhstan for the benefit of Kazakhstan.
A middle central Asian country, Kazakhstan is a vast territory that lies between Asia and Europe. This land locked location endows the country with geopolitical and economic opportunities in both the East and the West; varied and multi-directional. After independence the capital was shifted from Almaty in south to Astana, located centrally.
The rapid transformation of the capital was led by a dramatic construction boom directed by Nazarbayev and fueled largely by the country’s growing petroleum revenues. The development of its new capital Astana is an exemplar of its Architectural combo. Astana’s edifices combine both European and Oriental motifs, so for visitors from most parts of the world, somewhere, something homey can be found in the Kazakh capital.
One more archetype that belongs to the greatness of Kazakhstan is The Pyramid of Peace. The Pyramid of Peace expresses the spirit of Kazakhstan’s 140 nationalities and the multi-ethnic nation where cultures, traditions and diverse nationalities coexist in peace and accord. It hosts the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, and also houses an opera hall, the Museum of National History, the Research Center of World Religions, the Library of Spiritual Religious Literature and exhibition and conference rooms. The International Astana Action Film Festivals are also held here. The name and its constituent truly signify its peace and worlds cordial relations summed up under one roof.
Well, to the uniqueness of Kazakhstan adds, the Baiterek. The shape of Baiterek represents a poplar tree holding a golden egg. The images come from a folktale of the tree of life, a central symbol in Turkic mythology, and Samruk, the legendary bird of happiness, who is said to have laid her egg between the branches of a poplar tree.
These are not the only things that Kazakhstan serves you with but the list quite long which
includes Ak Orda: the Presidential Residence, Astana Opera, Emerald Towers, Kazakhstan Concert Hall and much more in the surprise basket of Astana. The story doesn’t end here only, the Kazakhstan has and is still in a drive to accumulate more and more in its name of fame. Abu Dhabi Plaza is one such project that is ready now. A high ended project that will emerge as one of the masterpieces.
The physical feature of the country were not the only things to be dealt with but the ethnicity of the country was also to be focused.
The ethnically diverse population of Kazakhstan presented a particularly unique challenge for the new regime and its approaches to the identity-building policies. It was an utmost necessity to carve out the relationship between Kazakhs and other ethnic groups living in the country, particularly Russians. The role of intra-Kazakh cleavages and continuity between Soviet policies and independent Kazakhstan’s approaches to the language situation were a point of concern and required a healthy approach which was wisely shown by president Nazarbayev.
In this regard the countries 1995 Constitution emphasizes willingness of the state to develop national cultures and traditions of all ethnic groups living in the country. Within the framework of this policy, each of the officially recognized minority groups had a so-called ‘national-cultural center’, which was usually granted some funding from the state and overseen by an umbrella agency called the ‘Assembly of the People(s) of Kazakhstan.’
According to the current Constitution of Kazakhstan, human rights are guaranteed by the state and discrimination is strictly forbidden on the basis of origin, social, official, and property status, as well as gender, race, nationality, language, religion, creed, and place of residence. At the same time, violations of the citizen’s rights on the basis of ethnic origin, race, language, and religious affiliation are explicitly mentioned in the Kazakhstan’s Criminal Code and are considered major crimes. Indeed it is an established fact that more than 130 ethnic groups live in peace in Kazakhstan.
Also the problem of language was given a thorough route that may suit both, the country and its people. Over 80 percent of Kazakhstan’s population were either native speakers of Russian or fluent in it, while only about 40 percent claimed to be fluent in Kazakh. The 1993 Constitution of Kazakhstan confirmed the status of Kazakh as the state language and Russian as a language of interethnic communication. In 1995, however, the new Constitution amended this situation and, while continuing to grant Kazakh language the status of only state language, it also allowed Russian to be used officially on an equal basis in the state agencies and self-governing local bodies.
Another bold step that was initiated by president Nazarbayev, which later turned to be the backbone of the country, was the emergence of middle class. The availability of natural resources played a major role in the middle class’ rapid emergence. The stable middle class acted as a guarantor of social stability against everything from religious extremism to agrarian riots.
One of the keys to Kazakhstan’s economic transformation was the emphasis on the privatization of the agrarian sector. The government decision to privatize much of the housing sector also played an important role in enabling middle-class development. At present, roughly 80 percent of the economy is in private hands.
A prolific concept that was devised by president Nazarbayev was “Eurasia”. For Kazakhstan, Eurasia is a unique region where all ethnic, cultural and religious groups live and co-exist peacefully through centuries of mutual trust, belief and understanding. The concept of Eurasia is based on the principle that Kazakhstan is located both in Asia and Europe and plays the role of a ‘bridge between Asia and Europe’.
Geographically, Kazakhstan is an Asian country and only about 10% of its territory is located in Europe but geo-politically, geo-economically and geo-historically it considers itself as a Eurasian state. Kazakhstan’s Eurasianism is promulgated as an official ideology focused to build peace, solidarity and unity among peoples on the basis of morality, spirituality, cultural and historical interactions of peoples of different ethno-linguistic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
Highlighting the physical endurance of Kazakhstan is to show the readiness of a platform for the inculcation of new aspects and projects in Kazakhstan.
One such achievement is the World Expo-2017 that currently is key domain of all developments. The preparations made for the Event and the post Event expected developments are high and of course should be high as foreseen by its President Nursultan Nazarbayev. 1 Billion Euros are expected through this event.
Investment attraction is one of the state priorities in Kazakhstan. The government has started to undertake a series of reforms to improve the country’s investment climate and bring an investment and economic policy into line with best international practices. Tax exemptions, investment grants, stability of laws, etc. are the reforms to increase the investment opportunities in Kazakhstan. According to the financial regulator, in 2016 the gross inflow of FDI to Kazakhstan was $20.6 billion, while in 2015 it was $14.8 billion.
The top four investors include the Netherlands, the United States, Switzerland and France. Kazakhstan occupies 42 place out of 180 countries in terms of ‘Index of Economic Freedom’ index. The investment sectors in Kazakhstan are Agriculture, construction energy production, free economic zones, industrial zones, mechanical engineering, mining and smelting, oil and gas, transportation infrastructure and public-private partnership projects.
Kazakhstan in its course of developmental projects, has had its major tie ups with the Arab world. Among the agreements it has signed with Saudi Arabia, is the agreements and memorandums of understanding for $ 182 million in joint agricultural projects. As for the Arab investments in Kazakhstan, they have recorded a gradual escalation since independence, including the UAE investments in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has witnessed a qualitative leap since 2005 to date, the most important of which is the Abu Dhabi Plaza project and the establishment of Al Hilal Bank in Kazakhstan. It also included the establishment of the Al-Falah Fund in cooperation with Mubadala and AIPC with a capital of 500 million dollars. While the value of Kazakh investments in the UAE $ 500 million.
It’s not only the economic, social, cultural and physical aspects that Kazakhstan flourished in but it all was possible when there was a political stability which was the key domain to be dealt with after the Independence and the role played by Kazakhstan in it has made it a model for transitional states. Kazakhstan had to raise from the slumber of income disparities and democratization of the country which achieved to its highest level in due course of time.
My point of view to bring such achievements to limelight is to show that in just 25 years what an envisioned perspective of esteemed man Nursultan Nazarbayev can do to elevate a country to the high level from a starting zero level. It’s really something worth appreciation.