President Nazarbayev on political repression in Kazakhstan 01 июля 2013, 23:35
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Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. © Marat Abilov
When asked a question on human rights by a British journalist, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has invited British journalists [accompanying UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron on his visit to Kazakhstan] to stay in Kazakhstan longer and talk to more people to learn the situation first hand, a Tengrinews.kz journalist reports.
“I believe it’s the journalist’s first time in Kazakhstan. Such questions normally are raised by newcomers. The West tends to believe that the post-soviet space got stuck in the medieval ages and that we still ride camels, not cars. It is quite understandable (…) you’ve just passed three “stan” countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and now Kazakhstan (…) I hope you can compare attitudes in these countries”, President Nazarbayev said at a press –conference following his talks with UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron.
“As for human rights, I believe Kazakhstan does respect the fundamental human rights. Transparent presidential elections, three political parties represented in the country’s Parliament, functional opposition (…) There are about 3000 media outlets, including foreign ones. There are no political repressions; these are mere speculations (…) if one wants to claim someone is allegedly persecuted for political reasons, let him tell us the names and surnames of those allegedly persecuted”, President Nazarbayev said.
“We do admit that we might be behind the mainland Europe or the UK. But we should take into account the fact that the first bill on human rights was passed in the UK back in 1660, that is 360 years ago. The parliament democracy of Great Britain is 800 years old. It won’t take us that long. Our country has taken the right path. Genuine democracy is the end of the path for us. We are proceeding along the path”, he said.
President Nazarbayev emphasized that Kazakhstan gained independence a little bit over 20 years ago, with some generations of the Kazakh people living in the era of the totalitarian regime. “It’s impossible to make it to democracy for 20 years (…) we had better be cautious. We are grateful for advice and suggestions; however, nobody has the right to tell us how to build the nation and how to live”, he said.