New Problems Melted Ice Between Russia and the NATO

ALMATY, Feb 21


Both western and Russian media characterized the results of the meeting of the Russian acting President Vladimir Putin and the NATO General Secretary Jorge Robertson held on February 16 as warming relations and the end of the new cold war.

We remind you that due to the NATO bombings in Yugoslavia, relations between the West and Russia significantly worsened. After mutual serious accusations, many observers and media spoke of returning of the �cold war� era. These thoughts strengthened after the Kremlin conducted the anti-terrorist campaign in Chechnya that was greatly criticized by the western community.

Few people dared to forecast improvement of relations between the NATO and Russia. At the same time recently leading western analysts announced that it was possible to work with Putin. So, in his interview to THE GLOBE a western diplomat said that the Russian acting President was pragmatic, moderately responded to criticism and was striving for a dialogue with the West.

The Chechen campaign is still criticized, moreover taking into account the vague situation around the reporter Babitsky. But, the NATO General Secretary announced in his interview to BBC, criticizing Russia they would negotiate with it.

Wording of the concluded agreements is very vague. The joint declaration stipulates that both parties are eager to intensify contacts with each other and to become a corner-stone of security in Europe.

�There are some new problems, that we will settle together,� the Russian Foreign Minister declared at the ORT TV channel. Possibly, Robertson mentioned these problems in his interview to BBC saying that he feared that the Chechen conflict spread to neighboring countries.

On one hand, the West�s concern that the military operations in Chechnya could become the start of the Russia�s rigid policy regarding its southern neighbors, especially in the Transcaucasus did not come true. This proved by the normalization of Georgian-Russian relations after some tension in November-December 1999.

The statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry that nobody compromised, seems noteworthy. However, after the Russian Security Council secretary�s visit to the U.S.A., according to unofficial information, he acknowledged the cooperation between Moscow and Teheran on nuclear and rocket technologies, Gazeta.ru stated.

If this information is true, this is a serious turn of the Russian policy towards the U.S.A.

Radio Liberty

From the editors: In the mid last week ballyhoo around the Kazakhstan�s joining the Russian-Byelorussian union reached the critical point. Among other statements, there were announcements by two communists � Isakhan Alimzhanov and Serikbolsyn Abdildin. The Alimzhanov�s statement was more definite. In his opinion, Russia is becoming the second world pole and Kazakhstan should make its historical choice. But the main thing is that the President has said his word at last: no union! The Kazakh Service of Radio Liberty devoted almost all today�s review to this topic.

Another urgent issue touched by the material is the state language. The text contains opinions by two Kazakh old people. They both spoke pure Kazakh language (the KSRL broadcasts only in Kazakh). Why the country�s establishment that is represented mostly by Kazakhs, speaks mainly Russian, asks the reporter?

In fact, for example, in Ukraine, which Russia often calls Malaya Russia, the authorities namely shifted to the state language. Once Kuchma spoke Ukrainian, the entire Ukraine spoke it. At the same time, they do not forget Russian.

It seems that the situation similar to Kazakhstani one, is now observed in other 3 former Soviet countries � Byelorussia, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. The situation in Turkmenistan is interesting. Despite the Russians have almost left Saparmurat Niyazov�s country, official information is presented there in Russian. Seems to be nonsense. But according to many analysts, first of all including Turkmen emigrants, it is easy to explain this. Turkmenbashi decided to protect himself. He fears any sign of national self-consciousness, including the language. People may rebel and overthrow their benefactor. Do we face a similar situation in Kazakhstan?

One of famous Kazakhstani journalists-polyglots Ahas Tazhutov thinks that strengthening of the dictatorship always makes the elite give up its national language. This happens in the above-mentioned countries. What is happening in our country?

Week of the UNION

Initiatives and Problems of the Language

The political campaign on Kazakhstan�s entering the Russian-Byelorussian union started in Astana. That time President Nazarbaev explained the shift from Almaty to Astana as it was necessary �to Kazakhify� northern Kazakhstan. Now the new �Russification� threatens Celinograd-Akmola-Astana. First, it is difficult to initiate a Russian-supporting event in Almaty. Top national-patriotic circles are concentrated here. Amantai-Hadji wanders in the streets, and Hasen Kozha-Akhmet keeps the order in the museum.

Kazakhstanskaya Pravda newspaper announces that the editors received a lot of letters from people wishing to protect country�s independence by weapons. Second, it is dangerous to initiate this at the Kazakhstani borders, as you may be blamed for separatism. Hence, the Kremlin�s call was not sounded in Almaty, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Uralsk, Petropavlovsk, but in the very center of Kazakhstan.

In this week the event was supported in Almaty. The country�s leader either did not trust to national-patriots or just in case, but he spent the working week in the southern capital. On Thursday the Cossack chief Gennady Belyakov, leaders of the Russian Community Yuryi Bunakov and Fyodor Miroglov supported the idea of a referendum. A day before the secretary of the Communist Party Central Committee, the parliamentarian Isakhan Alimzhanov announced general thesis:

- Today the one-pole world established after the Soviet Union collapsed, is changing. Russia rebirthing from the former amorphous condition, again becomes the second world pole, that is able to oppose the other pole, first of all the United States. We think that Kazakhstan, as well as all other former Soviet republics, should make its historical choice right now. They should determine whom they support.

Hastening the events, Isakhan Alimzhanov becomes especially notable. Being elected to the Parliament, Alimzhanov did not face any resistance by the authorities. He burst into the big policy fast. Alimzhanov was the first who raise the question of unprecedented outflow of oil dollars. He passes ahead all functionaries� innovations. May we conclude that Alimzhanov is �the secret weapon of the government�, a mild variant of Zhirinovsky? If this is correct, soon the government may support all today�s arguments by Isakhanov.

On the same day President Nazarbaev spoke at last of the Slavic Union. He seriously criticized statements by Cossack organizations and communists. Then the General Prosecutor Yuryi Hitrin juridically formed the President�s announcement:

- Today Kazakhstan is a member of the CIS, the Customs Union of five states. Neither the first one nor the second one function properly. Hence, Kazakhstan will not enter any other unions or organizations. We do not even think of this. This is not the issue of the government. It is not even the political issue. This is people�s matter. For Kazakhstan the country�s independence, sovereignty of Kazakhstan is the priority issue.

Thus, the President personally is categorically against of the idea of joining the new union. Hence, the situation is indeed alarming. Otherwise, the President�s press secretary Asylbek Bisenbaev had explained the situation. The President holds the situation himself. Can it be otherwise? Alash party awakened in the afternoon, if we may say so. Their belated announcement consisted of a half of page. In this week the Writers� Union of Kazakhstan discussed dramatic problems. That time true drama was outside. Most Kazakhstani writers seem not to notice dramatic nature of transitional moments, one of the experts of the Independent Informational Agency states. We may either agree or disagree with him. Maybe, it is true that writers are outside both the political conjuncture and everyday troubles. Besides, the President meeting cultural workers reproached �spiritual leaders� for their aspiration for prizes and premiums, but not for creation. Why do such politicians-writers as Sherkhan Murtaza and Fariza Ungasynova keep silent? The outstanding German writer and public figure Gerald Belger expressed his opinion to Radio Liberty:

- It is impossible to touch this problem in this situation, because it has a philosophic aspect. The Kazakhstani population has not revealed its potential yet. What can the Kazakhstani people do? Are they able become an independent people? Can they govern an independent state? Until we do not have answers to these questions, it is useless to initiate the joining the Russian-Byelorussian Union. The Kazakhstan�s population should demonstrate its independence in its country, on its land. Hence, I am against of the initiative by Lad movement, other Russian and Cossack organizations. Possibly, this will happen. At first we should watch Russia and other countries.

In this week the Kurdish problem became obvious. A year passed since the arrest of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ojalan. Thereupon, on February 15 the Kurds living in Kazakhstan sat at home, as they participated in the world-scale event. The leader of Kazakhstani Kurds Academician Nadir Nadirov announced to Radio Liberty:

- In January it was supposed that Ojalan�s case would be submitted to the Parliament for consideration. There were proposals to hand the case directly to the European Court. They decided to submit it to the European Court, but did not appoint the date of the trial. All over the world the Kurds are expected Abdullah Ojalan to be discharged. We know the European Court�s opinion. When will they submit the case to the Court? This problem is not being settled.

You must have noted that two representatives of non-Kazakh nationalities participate in the today�s program of the Kazakh Service of Radio Liberty. They spoke pure Kazakh language. Gerald Belger is a recognized polyglot. He speaks three languages and knows Kazakh better than many Kazakh writers. Why does the Kazakhstani establishment speak Kazakh worse than the Professor of Chemistry, oil specialist Nadir Nadirov? We did not hear any Kazakh word by such responsible guards protecting President�s rest as the director of the Institute of Strategic Researches Yermuhamet Yertysbaev. Can we expect Kazakh statesmen to be patriotic, if they cannot defend Kazakhstan�s independence in Kazakh language?


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

(Translated from Kazakh by THE GLOBE, full text)

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