Eduard Poletayev: "In 25 years Kazakhstan has gone from survival to global tasks"
Yesterday, Kazakhstan has celebrated the Independence Day. Considering the fact that this is an anniversary - 25 years - the country will celebrate this holiday for four days. political scientist, editor in chief of "World of Eurasia" magazine Eduard Poletayev discussed what Kazakhstan went through to reach this day in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- Independence Day is the main state holiday for Kazakhstan. How can you describe past 25 years of this country?
- Actually, during these 25 years a new generation grew and socialized. It was born in the independent state and doesn't know the reality of Soviet Union. These people have a different mindset and behavior. Of course, independence is a period of not only wins, but also development and survival, especially in the 1990s. In 25 years Kazakhstan has gone from survival to global tasks. 25 years of history provide a lot food for thought, especially since more than a dozen of new states appeared on the ruins of the Soviet Union. Despite common plans and actions, they had to act differently in the most difficult conditions. Kazakhstan's economy, national economic complex was badly damaged. Most of Kazakh enterprises were controlled from Moscow, they were subordinated to Soviet ministries. Kazakhstan was the first of post-Soviet countries to adopt development strategy until 2030. It was adopted in 1997, when many countries didn't even discuss the future. This is an incredible precedent in the post-Soviet space. There was a long-term task - build a professional state. Liberalization of economic relations, introduction of private property, national currency, creation of their own financial system have played a positive role.
Kazakhstan became one of the leaders in attracting foreign investments and number of investments per capita among former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe countries.
Its work in the ideological sphere is also noteworthy, since we are talking about formation of united nation of Kazakhstan, tolerance and interethnic consent, which happened during the 1990s. They have already began to dominate in the 1990s. Such unique institution as the Peoples Assembly of Kazakhstan has political representation in the parliament. This is an important factor in achieving harmony of relations in multiethnic country. And it is no longer perceived as ideological concept, but as a reality of social life in this country.
- What can you tell about Kazakhstan's foreign policy?
- Leader of Kazakhstan Nazarbayev wanted to maintain relations between the republics back in the early 1990s. He also was a consistent supporter of integrational relations, when the idea of the Eurasian Union was announced in Moscow in 1994. Not everyone in Russia and not many other post-Soviet countries were ready for this idea. State systems of these countries were not built efficiently and overall, their economies didn't show the best prospects. Still, life showed that these ideas are well received by both societies and political elites of some post-Soviet countries.
By building international relations as an effective working mechanism, Kazakhstan has not quarreled with any country of the world. Thanks to this image, Kazakhstan is sometimes perceived as a possible mediator in complex negotiations, because it is trying to resolve conflict issues neutrally and peacefully. We must also take into account geopolitical features of our country - it is located in the center of Eurasian continent, it has no access to sea, it has large territory, ninth in the world, with a small population. It is necessary for Kazakhstan to be friends with all of its neighbors in oder to effectively carry out its economic policy. So it's a peaceful center of Eurasia.
- What are the prospects of Kazakhstan's development?
- President Nursultan Nazarbayev stood at the origins of independence, and the factor of Kazakh leader plays a dominant role in domestic politics. There can be no alternative. Members of his team should be mentioned as well, many of them are working together with President for many years. Right now Kazakhstan meets all criterias of a successful state - there is an effective government, there is a territory, there is a population that associates itself with this country. Many of tasks of strategic nature both in the economy, and in politics are addressed at least in a medium term. Political elite and population are working for the better future. This is the first major point.
The second point is that mo matter how much we want to become super successful, a lot depends on objective reasons. Until we diversify the economy, budget revenues are largely dependent on world oil and gas prices and other resources that Kazakhstan exports. Any problems in the world market will inevitably affect the economic well-being of Kazakhstan. There are attempts to neutralize it, and they are quite successful. There is a number of government mechanisms that neutralize negative effects. Nevertheless, it should be admitted that globalization affects Kazakhstan. This, in my opinion, is the main factor that will affect the future of our country. That is why Kazakhstan promotes integrational initiatives, because it is always easier to survive together, there is always some help in difficult situations, both moral and financial - China can give us preferential loans, Russian can sign some agreements on projects in the economic field. In other words, Kazakhstan's survival rate as a state is quite high, and the country can overcome difficult and unstable situation.