«Le Monde»: Our Dear Kazakhstan

By Anna Stroganova

“Le Monde” writes about another visit of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to France – the visit which has not been officially scheduled within the visits of foreign leaders to the Elysee. On Monday September 19th Kazakh President was also received in Paris by the President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Since the moment when Nicolas Sarkozy became the President of France relations between France and Kazakhstan have intensified. One of the key sectors of this bilateral cooperation is nuclear energy. French company Areva together with Kazatomprom has established a joint venture “Katko” that produces about 4000 tons of uranium annually.

“Le Mond” reminds that on April 3rd 71-years old Nazarbayev was reelected for the post of the President with 95,55% of votes.

“From the point of view of West these 95% are incomprehensible, - explained to “Le Monde” Kazakhstani Prime Minister Karim Masimov during his visit to Paris.- But we should understand the situation. The President Nazarbayev is the father-founder of the country as George Washington in the USA. These 95% illustrate the will of people».

However, as the newspaper notes, this Middle Asian “George Washington” incites great critics in the sphere of freedom of press and human rights. Although representatives of West prefer to ignore this to the benefit of their economic interests.

Kazakhstan has many precious friends among French members of Parliament. For example, the Minister of Transport and former deputy of the ruling party “Union for a Popular Movement” Thierry Mariani had been unofficial “Ambassador” of Kazakhstan for a long time, writes “Le Monde”.

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In the Senate, Aymeri de Montesquiou, who called himself “in love with this region” assists the establishment of business relations between Paris and Astana.

Kazakhstan also thoroughly maintains its image in Mass Media. They arrange all-included fully paid trips for western reporters. French magazine «L’essentiel des relations internationales» in June devoted to Kazakhstan a special file with a comprehensive titles of articles: “Kazakhstan – the Land of Great Promises”, “Kazakhstan – Energy Giant”, “Almaty the Sweetness of Life and Financial Revival”, and finally classic “Nazarbayev the Creator”.

The editor-in-chief of the issue claims that the Kazakhstani Government has nothing to do with financing of the magazine. “We wrote praising articles absolutely sincerely, - he says. – We’ve been 10 times to Kazakhstan for the last two years. The country has impressed us greatly”. 10 trips worth splurging, - concludes “Le Monde”.
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from RFI