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Kazakhstan’s President talks on Customs Union, terrorism, Zhanaozen riots, Olympic success and other things

08 october 2012, 16:27
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Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Tengrinews stock photo
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Tengrinews stock photo
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev gave an interview for the Itogovoye Vremya (Time to Tally Results) Program aired on the Russia’s 1st TV channel.

When commenting on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, Nazarbayev was confident that the concerted efforts would enable to effectively overcome the still-felt repercussions of the global crisis. “In fact the crisis is far from being over. Started in 2007-2008, it is still felt today”, he said.

“All this testifies to (…) erosion of the consumerism society that greedily relied on cheap loans (…) over time the bubble burst (…) the Customs Union is local way out of the adverse effects”, he believes.

Nazarbayev elaborated that the neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are willing to enter the Union. However he stressed that the intentions alone are not enough. “We have launched a supranational entity (…) any other state is free to enter; the union is open to new members; nevertheless, any potential member has to take the path we have taken”, Nazarbayev said.

When asked what his stance is on Islamic radicals and “on people of radicals-like appearance seen in Almaty, the biggest city of Kazakhstan”, President answered that “we do have to acknowledge that the Islamic world has seen extremists emerging. In North Africa, Middle East, Afghanistan (…) We do have to cope with extremism. It has been seen in Russia, in Kazakhstan, in other neighboring countries (…) We need to combine forces to tackle it”, he believes.

President also commented on public disorders that took place in the oil town of Zhanaozen last December. “It was a usual labor dispute between employers and workers. However, malicious people took advantage of the situation (…) As one could see, what happened spilled into looting of shops and banks (…) Those people behind what happened are criminals. The “puppeteers were not in (…) all of them have been apprehended. The trial is under way and is close to being over. The results will be made public (…) Now Zhanaozen is quiet. People have got back to normal work (…)”.

When asked about the recipe of success of the Kazakh National Olympic team [the team was ranked 12th], President answered “there was a strenuous preparation. There can be luck or bad luck. But Kazakhstan’s success story is a combination of government’s support to sports and hard work of the athletes”.

In a separate statement, Nazarbayev estimated what has been done since Kazakhstan gained independence from the USSR back in 1991. “Kazakhstan has been put on the map. (…) Its borders have been strengthened and its economy has transited to market principles [from the planned economy patterns of the USSR]. A major success is that for the 21 years a new generation of educated people have been brought up. Under state-run programs we have had 8 000 people trained at best foreign universities; 20 000 people are working on their degrees in Russia”, President said.

When closing the interview, President Nazarbayev said he was dreaming of turning Kazakhstan into a nation independent of oil, gas and other mineral wealth. “I am looking forward to having this goal reached and seeing how it works”, he said.

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