Kazakhstan: Language, Economics and Foreign Policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Oct 9 17:03:06 UTC 2008

 Kazakhstan: Language, Economics and Foreign
  <http://globalvoicesonline.org/author/adam-kesher/> Thursday,
9th, <http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/10/09> 2008 @ 07:16 UTC by Adil
Nurmakov <http://globalvoicesonline.org/author/adam-kesher/>

  Казахстан: Јазик, економија и странска

The Kazakhstani authorities have again brought up the issue of state
language. Kazakh language has been heavily depreciated in the Soviet times
against the background of inculcation of Russian language. Earlier,
officials restrained themselves from outright expulsion of the Russian
language (which still dominates in the official paperwork and in other
spheres), leaving this field to a few nationalist movements. Now everybody
is concerned over the plan to introduce a TOEFL-like standard Kazakh
language test, which will be required at employment starting from 2010.

"I repeatedly wrote that Kazakhs dominate in public service (no matter if
they know their mother tongue or not). Some good doctors or drivers will
leave the country – or just migrate to the private sector – but everything
will remain the same. In either way, my children will study in a different

writes <http://slavoyara.livejournal.com/234406.html> *slavoyara*, a
journalist from the northern part of the country, which is populated
primarily by the Slavic people [ru].

*dojdlivoe leto* from the same region is a bit more positive – and still she
wonders <http://dojdlivoe-leto.livejournal.com/25382.html>[ru]:

I wonder how they are going to work this out? Will they open free of charge
language courses? Or will they simply fire everybody who doesn't know Kazakh
language in 2010? I mean, if you want everybody to know the language, be
kind, create opportunities.

Meanwhile, *alim-atenbek*
studies<http://alim-atenbek.livejournal.com/41482.html>his pension
fund account [ru]:

During my short work experience, I saved 388,000 tenge. Now I have their
368,000. The "accumulative pension fund" ate away my 20,000 tenge – or 5
percent! Taking into account 20 percent inflation in 2007, I am losing a
lot. The fund's officers blame credit crunch, but here is a couple of
questions: does the state regulate activities of the funds – e.g., in terms
of top managers' salaries or assets they are investing into? And will these
losses be reimbursed?

*Megakhuimyak* is looking
<http://megakhuimyak.livejournal.com/496672.html>at another –
institutional – victim of the economic crisis. Nurbank is a
great example of how politics affect business. Its shares went down not due
to the credit crunch – they fell earlier, due to the conflict between the
bank's owner Rakhat Aliyev with his former father-in-law, Mr. President
Nazarbayev [ru]:

Its shares showed steady growth until January 2007, when the scandal with
the top-managers emerged [they were abducted and tortured by Aliyev]. The
shares fell down from 62,500 to 52,500 tenge. Then, as the issue evolved
into a bigger problem, the price was slowly going down. When the
investigations intensified, shares collapsed down to 27,500. Then the
financial crisis made a finishing blow – the current price is 17,000 tenge.

*Mumo-cult* reports <http://mumo-cult.livejournal.com/6923.html> on the
visit of Marat Tazhin, foreign minister of Kazakhstan, to Washington, D.C.,
where he presented the President Nazarbayev's book [ru]:

People were wondering why the author himself didn't come, whu Tazhin refuses
to sign the book, why he is so shy and laconic… However, open bar with
unlimited alcohol, delicious food and free books pacified the public.

Meanwhile, *weathercock* is
alarmed<http://weathercock.livejournal.com/130319.html>– against the
background of recent developments on the Caucasus – over the news
article <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/27/world/americas/27russia.html?hp>in
the New Yourk Times [ru]:

Did Kazakhstan anger Russia in some way? Russian army is conducting
maneuvers in 300 miles from the Russia-Kazakh border…


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