VIP-Refugees and the Strategy of Washington

By –ěleg Bychkov

Hardly the second Presidential term of Obama shall force the USA to revise radically its line in the issue of desirable (and not really) guests from the CIS states. However, growing activity of Washington in Central Asia region, related with the oncoming withdrawal of the troops from Afghanistan, gives ground to suggest that now the USA hardly shall welcome the persecuted by “criminal power” opposers from the states of this region. Moreover that in the USA, contrary to common views, not at all everybody is delighted with the growing number of VIP-refugees from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, other post-Soviet republics. According to a number of experts, now American authorities shall less decisively give positive replies for the kind of asylum claimers – it’s too serious challenge for the urgent dialogue with the official power in Astana, Tashkent, other capitals. Too serious is the challenge from the side of Afghanistan for everybody. 


Vanished for a long time from informational field, the former Akim of Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan Galymzhan Zhakiyanov suddenly has risen as Phoenix from ashes within the pages of the Internet Mass Media. Today a former businessman and politician lives with his family in the USA and attends Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And he maintains his interest in policy. Being released from prison after clemency, Zhakiyanov for some time kept silent. After a while he began again playing the role of a patriot, severe critic of the current power of Kazakhstan. Zhakiyanov in his interview for one of the web resources reported bitterly, that Kazakhstani scientists, businessmen and men of arts with their abilities stand at the same level with the best representatives of the world. But their talents and knowledge are not demanded in the motherland. And there, this almost political statement was perceived as a populist one. Their roles played personal insults of Zhakiyanov on the penitentiary system of Kazakhstan. The ex-official endows these insults into some public protest, trying to speak out for all businessmen, scientists and men of arts of his country. And in reality he is a horn of a group of escaped officials and businessmen. It seems that now Zhakiyanov and Co have chosen as the main target of their hatred Expo-2017 – International specialized exhibition, the right to hold which was granted to Astana. According to the escaped official, multiple imaging projects, conducted by Kazakhstan for the funds of the budget, can mislead serious investors. On their question about prospects of their investments in Kazakhstan he replies directly:  "We cannot afford paying all the corrupt officials". Thus, it turns out that the whole world permanently makes one big stupid mistake, to the mind of Zhakiyanov, when the countries of all continents are constantly fighting for the right to hold EXPO. At the same time it remains to be without answer, how the exhibition has managed to exist for 160 years, promoting “Potemkin villages” across the whole planet. 


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Should we explain that the specialized exhibition is not just a PR project, although there is such an element. These are millions of tourists, newest technologies, new investments. And no matter how hard Zhakiyanov would like to enjoy Kazakhstan marginalized, investors go into the republic quite willingly. In last year in the rating of the World Bank “Doing Business” Kazakhstan took the 49th  place. The “Fitch” agency increased the sovereign credit rating of Kazakhstan to “BBB+” which proves the growth of creditworthiness and trust of investors. The comments of Zhakiyanov about impossibility of having business in the country continue this series. And the main message is that he doesn’t exclude that he might get back into policy. As agreed, it’s quite stupid and imprudently to criticize not yet held EXPO-2017. What if Kazakhstan shall work it out?  


Many specialists think that the project promises to be quite successful. First of all the International Exhibition Bureau wouldn’t entrust just anyone to hold it, secondly multiplicative effect from it should be considered, thirdly the declared subject “The Energy of Future” is extremely important. Within its frameworks the country has a serious chance to develop alternative energy. And Kazakhstan with its potential in this sphere is one of the richest countries in the world – light presents about 300 days a year within almost all its territory and prairie winds almost don’t stop. 


The subject of integration of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus into the CU and CES was also criticized. In particular, Zhakiyanov claims that after joining the WTO the benefits of the Customs Union shall be leveled down, vanish. Its norms will have to be cancelled, as they are absolutely different in the World Trade Organization, regarding global economy the kind of union is naturally a step into past. This is extremely counterproductive – to distance, establish closed economic space when the whole world is globalizing, - considers Zhakiyanov. And as an experienced politician he once again manipulates facts the way he wishes. 


However we should note that this pseudo-politician somehow keeps silent about that the Customs Union is only one step of integration which is actively developed in terms of crisis, which in its turn forces many countries to take up the policy of defense from foreign markets. But the CU is only a part of the pyramid. On its ground formed is the Common Economic Space, the Eurasian Economic Union is being developed, which provokes among western politicians phantom pains. They are afraid of the USSR reconstruction, which is naturally impossible. In reality he suggests close economic cooperation, not more. The CU operation treaty suggests that the norms of the World Trade Organization, related to the sphere of the union regulation, shall become a part of its legal system. Of course, when all CU members join the WTO, the organization shall be subjected to transformations. Figuratively speaking this is a launch vehicle, which has performed its functions and managed to get the economies of the “three” countries to the new orbit. Russia has already joined the WTO, Kazakhstan is on its way. And this means that the market is opening, no one is closed within their borders. It’s just the process goes gradually. 


The main aspect of the latest claims of Zhakiyanov is his attitude towards the Strategy of Kazakhstan till 2050. He treated this issue even more skeptically. – I’ve never happened to hear about, for example, the Strategy “The USA – 2050” or even a strategy of one single state development for such a long period – he says. As if long-term program documents in democratic states have no sense as power is changing. Indeed. The power is changing. But it doesn’t change that cardinally, that even key national priorities have to be changed absolutely. The USA history proves that. And it’s foolish to suggest that the United States have no long-term forecasting and corresponding strategies. We also need to understand another thing. The Strategy 2050 is a set of living dynamic documents, which defines the key parameters of development. And the way the country will take to it, is upon life, those challenges and threats they always have to face on this way. And in general it’s very important, when there is a goal to strive for. The Strategy – 2050 in this aspect is more oriented at the journey of Kazakhstan.