What does 2017 bring for Kazakhstan?
EXPO 2017, the transition to the Latin alphabet, participation in the Syrian settlement and stabilization of the domestic political situation are those events of this year that are remembered by Kazakhstan more than everything else, the head of the Central Asia Department of the CIS Institute, Andrei Grozin, said.
According to him, the World Exhibition Astana EXPO 2017 was the most media event for Kazakhstan. "For Kazakhstan, the exhibition has become not only a notable PR event, but also a good experience in holding large-scale international events," Andrei Grozin noted.
At the same time, stabilization of the internal political situation and the elite's demonstration of a high level of unity became more important for the country. "It happened due to the competent personnel policy of the president. Many expected that the system of leadership in the Cabinet will be radically changed, but this did not happen," Andrei Grozin concluded.
During a year, the severity of the topic of the transit of presidential power has decreased. "The issue is not so acute now, the system of possible transfer of power is gradually forming," he explained.
The degree of influence of power structures has also increased this year. It's primarily about the National Security Committee. Under the new head Karim Masimov, the legal support for the degree of security officials' work has grown, the structure of the Committee has been restructured, new lines of work to maintain stability have appeared and the number of mutual clashes has decreased. Reshuffles in the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General's Office, the anti-corruption agency indicate that the degree of competition between law enforcement agencies is decreasing," the expert said.
The year will also be remembered by Kazakhstan's transition to the Latin alphabet. "This topic has taken a significant amount of public opinion. The president has to explain his position at each meeting with journalists," Andrei Grozin noted.
"If we turn to the results of foreign policy, the year will be remembered as the time of Kazakhstan's active participation in the settlement of the Syrian crisis. And in my opinion, it was the main achievement of the year in the international arena. The Astana talks demonstrated the republic's peacekeeping capabilities as a platform for dialogue between the conflicting sides. The format will continue to operate in the future, since issues related to the post-conflict development of Syria will be relevant in the next year as well," he predicted.
In 2017, the country managed to avoid the recurrence of the terrorist attacks in Aktobe. "In security terms, this year was quite prosperous for Kazakhstan. Of course, the alarming sentiment about the return of terrorists from Syria and Iraq has increased. The realization of these forecasts depends on where ISIS will go: if it is Afghanistan, then threats for the whole of Central Asia will only increase," Andrei Grozin warned.
"If we draw a line, the year of 2017 is characterized by the fact that there were no major conflicts inside or around Kazakhstan that directly affected Kazakhstan's society." The economy has started to level off, although problems remain in second-tier banks and in the monetary and financial sphere. In addition, there are problems of disbursement of the National Fund's sources and problems of a payback of some large-scale fuel and energy projects, but overall the dynamics is positive. This year was better for Kazakhstan than the previous ones," the head of the Central Asia Department of the CIS Institute concluded.