Saturday, May 26, 2007


I'm concerned about Kazakhstan. Not because of Borat (who probably has done more to boost the nascent tourism industry there than any one). Rather I mean the recent political situation. First the president introduced some changes into the constitution, according to which the terms of the next and any succeeding presidents would be reduced from 7 to 5 years. This would be considered a good sign. But after that the parliament introduced another change that would likely allow the current president to stay in power forever due to his historical role following the demise of the Soviet Union and independence of the former Soviet states. In addition, the government has cracked down severely on the media, such that it basically can't report anything that questions policy.

Unfortunately, the populace is way too passive about this following generations of soviet rule. The United Nations apparently can't do anything but hand-waving (assuming it even bothers to do this). The United States has certainly reduced any influence it could have exerted (assuming it had any influence in the region to begin with). What concerns me most is that all of this will go largely unnoticed by the world as we focus on more obvious problem areas.

Is this simply business as usual? Shouldn't we care more about the Kazakh people (and others in the same situation)? I wish I could do more to help.

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