How did you treat Boris Yeltsin’s resignation?
That was an effective step – the new millenium with the new President. Of course, Yeltsin had some advantages. But the main thing is that this step is to be interpreted as a part of election and agitation campaign. On the other hand, I would not say as Kuttykadam does, that Yeltsin was doomed. If he was elected, he could sit till the mid of the next year. There was no urgency in such a retirement. Yeltsin did his best to save Putin. If Yeltsin is still criticized, it will touch Putin as well. By his nice step Yeltsin drew the election nearer and, second, tried to prolong Putin’s peak of popularity till the election.
Everybody knows that Putin’s rating grew due to the Chechen conflict. However, according to politologists, when the war ceases, i.e. by the moment of the official presidential election, Putin’s authority would gradually fall. He would not have such privileges as he will on March 26. Do you agree with this opinion?
Yes, I do.
Is Yeltsin’s dismissal a planned step by Yedinstvo or a realized step by Boris Yeltsin?
I don’t think Yedinstvo planned that, as I do not consider it a strong formation (except that it won the election).
Right after Yeltsin’s speech in Peking, when he stated “We will dictate the world how it will live, but not Clinton,” Putin ‘rehabilitated’ these words by his monologue. Don’t you think that this Peking story was planned to support Putin?
I do not think so. Yeltsin would not have done this. He had never been a fool. He did some extraordinary deeds, such as conducting an orchestra or his behavior in Reykjavik, but they were rather spontaneous than planned. Moreover, this time. Yeltsin would have never be a monster to raise Putin’s image. He is too respected person. First of all he respects himself.
When I studies in Sverdlovsk, that time Yeltsin worked as the secretary of the party’s oblast committee. I could see him working. All his political career consists of contradictory and extraordinary steps. He is not an ordinary man.
Do you wish Putin to become the Russian President?
Objectively, he is becoming more and more popular. I sympathize with him – he is young and active. But on the other hand, I do not like some of his statements. I admit thy could be a slip of the tongue.
Putin originates from the force structures and as far the Russia’s security is concerned, he is the most suitable man. He can restore the former authority of the country.
The conflict in Chechnya will soon cease and in this regard Putin has a chance to win. But the point is not whether he wins or not. I expect him to settle economic problems in other way.
For me the state is based on two whales – national security (economic, political, demographic, and territorial) and the standard of people’s life. I think Putin will professionally treat the first issue, and will try to gain new knowledge and skills on the second one. Being the Prime Minister he managed to improve the economic situation so, that he will be able to do his best by the election.
What economic improvements are you speaking about? Can you numerate them?
The Prime Minister’s work means management of the economy, and financial issues.
What do you think about the Chechen campaign?
I think, it is Russia’s affair. On the other hand, I consider the moral aspect of this war: how many refugees lost their homes and left their villages.
Officially, terrorist acts in Moscow morally justified the military operations in Chechnya. But they have not proved that Chechen terrorist are behind them. From the legal point of view I cannot think that these events are to be considered to start the war. But on the other hand, the state has right to introduce the order in its territory.
Interviewed by Aigul MYRZATAI
The name of Rashid Nugmanov has been included in the history of Kazakhstan. Social problems touched by the artist in the late 1980s in his film “Needle” impressed many people of the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. It is noteworthy, that the theme of liberty caused by his great love to his people, has transformed into his life credo.
The voice of an intelligent is the basis of our society, as namely the intelligentsia is the source of all power potential of the people. In this regards, the appeal by Rashid Nugmanov is an important factor, as there are not just pensioners and children , but brains of our republic, behind him.
Of course, somebody may say that Nugmanov is a RPPK member and living in Paris he is far away from the Kazakhstani reality. That he believes that Kazhegeldin is a wonderful man without any defects and intrigues. The point is not that in his appeal to the president Rashid Nugmanov touches serious problems of the country (problems of Kazakh language, emigration, and open society).
We expect the reaction to the letter that we publish to be normal, as public discussion of urgent pending problems is a necessary element of a democratic society.
January 1, 2000
Mr. Nazarbaev, I have to appeal to you, as I seriously worry about processes observed in my motherland. As a person concentrating practically unlimited power in his hands, you are directly concerned in these processes. As I remember that many letters and appeals to you are not responded to, I will not ask any questions. I will not give you any unwanted advises. I will mention only those facts, which, taking into consideration your public complaints that you do not know many problems, probably do not reach you through a firm wall of officials, advisors, friends and relatives. For the period of Kazakhstan’s independence, you, either willingly or not, have constructed an ugly system. Corruption, stealing, clan system, inequality of people’s rights, infringement of liberties, total lie, poverty and tyranny are just some components of this system, that are familiar to the pain. All these are cynically called ‘development of democracy’. At first we were ashamed for what was happening to the country. Then shame transformed into a quiet hatred. It seems that the corner stone of your conception of the world is despise of your people.
Your name depends on you
You and your ideologists continuously say that people are not ready for democracy. Thus, you not only infringe their rights, but also insult their dignity.
Democracy means just ‘power of people’. This right is as natural, as the air, as the first breath of a baby, as woman’s milk. This is what the man has by the right of his birth. You cannot be either ‘ready’ or ‘unready’ for it. This rights can be just MISAPPROPRIATED. That what are you doing. You try to justify your actions with a miserable theory of Kazakhstani ‘peculiar way’ towards democracy, thus, erecting another obstacle in its way.
For the multi-centuries history our people have seen many tyrants. It’s up to you whether your name will be included in this list. I hope, you still have time to avoid this inglorious fate. I dare to say the method you chose (lie and creation of myths) will not allow you to avoid this, but will just worsen it. Obviously, many people from your team think in a different way. Taking into consideration the same theory that the Kazakhstani people are an illiterate, foolish and credulous mass, they fill obedient media with the false information according to the best traditions of the Soviet totalitarian system, as the latter have been bought initially.
The term democracy is being discredited in Kazakhstan
Unfortunately, today we may ascertain: the term ‘democracy’ is being discredited in Kazakhstan, as democracy is now connected with negative processes. People have lost their trust to the honorable and responsible title of the President. I dare to say that nobody in the country, including your supporters believed that the President of the republic was really elected in 1990, 1991, 1995 and 1999. A friend of mine (by the way, a member of your party Otan – I do not think, by his belief) responded: “They will kill me” to the question, why he was not nominated to the President. Even children who in the early 1990s proudly said they wished to become the President, do not say this now. People’s disappointment is caused by lie, as it was in the Soviet Union. We all remember perfectly well that glasnost destroyed what seemed stable within some months. In this regards I understand your team’s strategy: to smother independent media, as there is no enemy more dangerous to your regime, as the truth.
Step of truly great political figure
The new year 2000 is marked with the wonderful event: the voluntary retirement of the Russian President. Yeltsin in his speech said that he had created the most important precedent of the voluntary transfer of the power. It is a significant signal to all CIS countries. Though Yeltsin’s step is too early, this is the step by a brave man. To ask his people to forgive his mistakes is a step of really great politician.
The below material of the Kazakh Service of Radio Liberty (KSRL) was broadcast on the last day of the old millenium. Due to the technical break of THE GLOBE, we could not publish it earlier. However, it is still urgent. Moreover, as far as we know, the Kazakhstani press did not mention any information about money paid to Washington Times.
The Reader could have noticed that Radio Liberty often broadcasts witty materials. We are confident that the administration of the media well-known all over the world would not publish the false information.
Well, we offer you the KSRL’s opinion regarding the President’s visit to America. Apart from the above-mentioned facts, they doubt in success achieved by Nazarbaev in the USA.
The society does not know some events happened during Nazarbaev’s last visit to the USA. State media one-sidedly estimating the visit stated that it was successful and that was the next victory of the Kazakhstani President. Khabar TV channel, which is headed by the President’s daughter Dariga Nazarbaeva, especially appreciates his success. The wave of the information seems endless. The President’s working visit is characterized as an official visit. According to the international media, the main objective of the visit was to hold the next meeting of the joint commissions of Gour and Nazarbaev. According to the agreement, this meeting was to be held twice a year. Official media interpreted the 40-minutes meeting of Nazarbaev and Clinton as a great event.
Despite this, we think the reasons for such a great attention paid to the visit were as follows. First, Nazarbaev has been a subject to criticizing by leaders of the developed countries and international organizations. The last presidential and Parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan and infringements observed during the elections contradict principals of democracy. They were perceived as impeding democracy in Kazakhstan. OSCE was the organization that criticized the election especially seriously.
To justify himself before the international community, and first of all, before his people, Nazarbaev tried to make the visit as profitable as it was possible. He seems trying to prove that the Kazakhstani foreign policy is the same, and the invitation by the USA proves that they are confident in Kazakhstan. The President and his closest people think that Clinton and Gour believe that Kazakhstan did not infringe the election law. As if to prove that the Foreign Minister Idrisov said that in the USA the parties had not touched the election at all. However, Alan Gour said to Azattyk radio (Kazakh Service of Radio Liberty) that ‘they are cautious, as democracy in Kazakhstan weakly develops and the election law infringed.” These words have been broadcast. Is a more serious criticism necessary?
Khabar TV channel showed how Nazarbaev was awarded a diploma by the public amalgamation Election Systems for raising democracy in Kazakhstan to a higher level. According to the correspondent of Azattyk radio Merkhat Sharipzhanov, who was then in the USA, no information of this organization and its meeting with Nazarbaev was available. Taking into consideration these facts, the meeting was organized by Nazarbaev’s people to impress the Kazakhstani population. Probably, in any country there are people who may be bribed.
During that visit on December 20 Washington Times published the article “Dining with Dictators”, which later was recopied by THE GLOBE dated 28.12.99. This article characterized Nazarbaev as a dictator who misappropriated all power in the country and manages wealth of Kazakhstan along with his relatives and friends. Moreover, Nazarbaev was called the eighth man among the richest people in the world. In short, the article by Thomas Evans, a former congressman, contained no good word of the Kazakhstani President.
It is noteworthy that the appendix to the same issue of the newspaper described Nazarbaev as a safety stronghold of democracy. According to some sources, the Kazakhstani party paid US$ 400,000 to Washington Times for this appendix. Thus, the newspaper, having received money for the positive article, at the same time published the critical material, as if justifying before its readers. Almost all Kazakhstani population believes the information presented by Khabar. Events happened in the end of the 20th century indicate in what spirits Kazakhstan will celebrate the new millenium.
THE GLOBE based on materials from the Kazakh Service of Radio Liberty
(Full text, translated from Kazakh by THE GLOBE)
All Over the Globe is published by IPA House.
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