Rational Bureaucracy in Kazakhstan?

January 1, 2000 the Law �On State Service� Came into Force

Anastasia LAIKO


Feb 14


On January 1, 2000 the new Law �On state service� that is supposed to improve professionalism and efficacy of the state administration, came into force.

This was not the first law of a supreme juridical force regulating the state service and legal status of state functionaries in Kazakhstan. In 1995 after the Constitution of RK was approved, the President issued a decree having a law force �On state service� that introduced main principles of the state service in Kazakhstan, its goals, tasks and structure, that were not significantly changed in the new law.

The Kazakhstani legislation is obviously influenced by the western European state service model, based on �rational bureaucracy� conception, that became widely spread in the West after the War. Qualitative characteristics of the rational model are stability, perfect structure, strategy, trained staff, and purposeful management. Anyhow, there are some weak elements � inflexibility, insufficient fastness, and disconnection with the society. Beginning from 1970s, the rational bureaucracy theory was the subject to serious criticism, and state service was reformed to liquidate these defects. The reforms were executed according to four main principles: democratization, orientation to the human being and final result, simple management and profitability of state service.

The new Kazakhstani law is more democratic, weighted and thought in comparison with its predecessor. Let�s comment on its main provisions. First, the law divides state functionaries into two categories: political and administrative, i.e. it divides functionaries into people working out policy, and people realizing political decisions. Political functionaries have a special juridical status, are either elected or appointed for a definite time (as a rule, for a short period). Functionaries of the state apparatus are selected on the basis of a competition to estimate their professional and personal features. Administrative functionaries compose the constant professional part of the state service.

Political and managerial functions are being divided in many countries. This division is to free main part of functionaries from political influence and to make the state managerial system more stable, protecting it from serious organizational changes depending on victory of this or that party.

However, in Kazakhstan this division is conventional. Even at present state structures and functionaries and functionaries participate in pre-election events lobbying interests of blocks and movements loyal to the government. There are no legislative restrictions to functionaries� party activity.

The law also changed the system of governing the state service, having introduced the new state body on state service affairs. This body is subordinate directly to the President. The so-called Russian Council on State Service established in 1996 and the French Department on State Governing and State Service were the models for the new organization. The authorized body has a wide authority to follow the policy regarding state functionaries, in particular, the body will monitor the observation of the legislation, determine the order of competitions for administrative posts and supervise them. Undoubtedly, this body complies with the current situation.

The most significant innovation of the law that aroused a wide public resonance is the provision on competition for administrative vacancies. The objective of the competition is to create real conditions to realize the population�s Constitutional right for an equal access to the state service. If before the Decree stipulated only possibility of the competitive selection, according to the new law, the competition is obligatory to estimate professional and personal features of candidates. Moreover, the competition also guarantees the professional growth and career of a state functionary,, as he will occupy a higher post also by the competition. The law stipulates two types of the competition: the open one, in which everyone may participate; and the closed one, held only for administrative state functionaries. The information on the competition is to be published in official editions in two languages � Kazakh and Russian. The competition procedure has also changed. The state body having vacancies or an authorized body (according to the President�s decision) will hold the competition. Before the competition was held only in the form of a competition of documents. Now the organizations use modern methods to select candidates. So, after the competition of documents, a candidate is to pass the test to prove his knowledge of the main laws: the Constitution, Civil Code, and the anti-corruption law. Candidates are also to pass psychological tests. The final stage is the interview held by members of the competition commissions. If the commission approves the candidate, the head must employ him. The competition commission may also recommend the candidate for the state service. In this case the candidate is included in the so-called staff reserve and has the right to occupy the corresponding state post within a year without any additional competition. Candidates may dispute results of the competition in the authorized body or in the court.

Thus, the order stipulated by the new law is obviously more democratic and objective. However, the competition may settle problems of professionalism and corruption only partially. Another aspect of the problem, unfortunately, was not settled by the law. This concerns the social protection of state functionaries. It is not a secrete that many people associate the state service with a low salary. Salary of administrative functionaries is 5,000 to 6,000 tenge per month. Other social privileges, including a longer leave, medical servicing, accommodation from the state fund cannot compensate a low salary. The low social protection makes possible employment of experienced and professional staff doubtful. Reasons for corruption are the same, as the low standard of life often makes them infringe the law � beginning from an additional job to crimes. Obviously, the system on financing the entire state management, including the state service is to be reconsidered.

However, speaking of merits and demerits of the state service, we should not forget that it is a mirror reflection of the current social-economic situation, its political system, national traditions and culture. Apart from the legislative work, only deep democratization of the society along with reasonable and sufficient economic reforms will allow to create state institutions complying with the highest international standards.

Radio Liberty

From the editors: For the time being the situation with the Radio Liberty reporter Andrew Babitsky, who disappeared in the last week, has not clarified. The press and representatives of the Russian authorities propose different versions. The national Radio Liberty Bureaus did not stay aside off the event. In the last week the Kazakh Service of Radio Liberty presented a material devoted to the incident. The author expresses his opinion regarding the Russian authorities� position in the Caucasian war and Andrew Babitsky.

Everybody should worry about Andrew Babitsky�s fate

The fate of the reporter of the Russian Service of Radio Liberty Andrew Babitsky should disturb not only his colleagues, but everybody who knows such terms as truth and justness. Despite Babitsky live in Moscow and is a Russian citizen, he understood that in that war Chechen people, whose land had a lot of victims due to continuous bombing by Russia, were right. Running risks, he was there and gave the true information. He managed to say the Russian audience who was who in that war. Many Russian radio, TV channels, and other media, especially newspapers, gave the one-sided information based only on data presented by the Russian army. Before the New Year�s Day even NTV, considered the most independent TV channel, worked in the same way. Only later NTV began to listen to the objective opinion by Reuters, Associated Press, and other foreign media.

Before January 16, the Russian audience could receive the objective information by Andrew Babitsky. The Russian audience as well as the entire Russian population cannot share the single opinion. All Russians cannot support Putin�s policy. There are people who are against of the Chechen war. These people namely need variable and objective information which Andrew Babitsky could gather.

Possibly, because of this Russian generals decided to �get rid of� the journalist at any price.

According to top officers, the fact that the Russian citizen said truth about Chechen gunmen, was a treason. Hence, they invented the operation to capture Babitsky. According to Russian media, he was arrested by the Chechen militia headed by Beslan Gantemirov and handed out to the federal army. Then during 10 days Babitsky was in the Russian filtration camp for Chechen gunmen. Gantemirov, having betrayed his people has to fight against then in this war for the sake of his personal profits (we remind you that he was imprisoned in Moscow). There is the information that Babitsky was tortured. Arrested people, who stayed in the single cell with the reporter, say that.

Further events cannot be understood by a normal human being. Special forces declared that Babitsky was exchanged for Russian prisoners of war, according to the agreement with the Chechen party. At first, three, then � two federal soldiers was exchanged for Babitsky. The international community was extremely astonished, how they could have exchanged the Russian citizen for Russian soldiers. When the world could not collect itself from this news, it was found out that spokesmen of the FSB, Army, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of Public Prosecutor and the Ministry of Justice did not know for whom and how the Radio Liberty reporter had been exchanged. Now we ask, if Babitsky is alive now? Maybe, fearing that he can say about the Russian �concentration camp�, they sent him faraway? To excuse themselves the authorized bodies state that they handed out Babitsky to Chechen commanders. As if to avoid responsibility, they say beforehand that they cannot answer for his further fate, which worries every Russian man who is not liable to nationalism.

At present the entire world follows the story: if it will have a happy end or one more man will be a victim of the political game? That is why, the international community, including Radio Liberty, the U.S. Congress, international organizations on human rights, the OSCE, are to do their best to release Babitsky. It is not just a fate of a separate individual, this is the opposition of nationalism and democracy. For democracy to win in this fight, the reporter should be freed. Babitsky�s freedom will prove that the dictatorship has not taken shape in Russia yet.


THE GLOBE based on materials from the Kazakh Service of Radio Liberty

(Translated from Kazakh by THE GLOBE, full text)

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