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Kazakhstan Transforming from Totalitarianism to the Democratic Constitutional State

aneeshaneesh 1 year - Expatriate
edited October 2015 in General
In the turn of the 20th century world witnessed enormous change on an unmatched scale across the vast geostrategic territory of Eurasia. Fifteen new independent states appeared on the political map of the world within a short span of time. Kazakhstan situated at the heart of the Eurasia, is a country where diverse culture and ethnicities have lived harmoniously over centuries. Kazakhstan, one of the significant state of Central Asian Republics is important post Soviet state to study and examine how it emerged successfully after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the year 1990 amidst profound uncertainty and disorientation. It is also interesting to learn how it is managing to successfully shape its post-Soviet transition from totalitarian to the democratic constitutional State.

Kazakhstan, with its enormous land locked territory, with a 6,477 km long border with the Russian federation, 2,300 km with Uzbekistan, 1,460 km with China and 980 km with Kyrgyzstan, occupies a territory as vast as that of the Western Europe. It is also known as the 9th largest country in terms of the territory with the population of 16 million. Kazakhstan is highly developed and an industrialized country. Here one can find nomadic lifestyle co-existing along with the sophisticated science and technology as well as developed space programme with enormous natural resources. Kazakhstan, is a multicultural and multi-ethnic states and maintains unity in diversity with secular values.

Sovereign Kazakhstan has been developing as an independent actor in international relations. Kazakhstan's geo-strategic location and its politico-economic and military strength defines the country as a significant regional power and a zone of good neighbourliness based on the principles of peace loving nation. Kazakhstan pursues consistent, predictable and advanced foreign policy. Kazakhstan has voluntarily abounded its nuclear arsenals contributing towards world peace and security. Since its independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has been deeply engaged in managing the process of nation building. Today, Kazakhstan is one of the most transformed, prosperous and stable post soviet republic.

Kazakhstan, has maintained its Sovereignty under the leadership of President Nursultan Nazerbaiev and it boasts the highest standard of living among all other newly independent Central Asian States. Kazakh nationals shows extreme gratitude towards their leader Nursultan Nazarbayev for his contribution and achievements. Kazakhstan's annual GDP growth of around 8 to 10 percent since 1999, is fuelled almost by its growing oil exports. It is expected that by 2015, Kazakhstan is going to be one of the top five oil exporters envisioning bright future for the country and its people.

People of Kazakhstan elected president Nazerbaiyev as per the constitution of the country. Public opinion polls in Kazakhstan showed President Nazarbayev's popularity continued to be well over 90 percent. President Nursultan Nazerbaiev, assumed top position in Kazakhstan as the ruling leader of the State since its independence and maintained close connection with its neighbours and extended neighbours like India and with big powers like Russia, China, US and with all other post Soviet States. President Nazerbaiev has successfully lead the country for more than two decades now, bringing economic reforms, prosperity, maintaining ethnic harmony and peace in the country.

Since its independence, Kazakhstan has been trying to convert the Soviet style political system into democratic system. The people of Kazakhstan are united by the common historic fate and wants to develop strong and independent civil society. Today, in Kazakhstan the civil society is growing on the path of democracy. Kazakhstan has also increased the access of information for its citizens and strengthened citizen initiative groups. Today, the Political system of Kazakhstan is more democratic and modernized. Kazakhstan declares itself as a democratic, secular, legal and social state and considers its people's right and freedom as the highest value for the development of the nation.

Kazakhstan encourages the private sectors along with the government sector for achieving economic prospect. Most of the Kazakh financial institutions follows western models. Kazakhstan adopted market economy and at the same time encourages diversification of its economy. Kazakhstan has also managed to reduce its poverty level and today the unemployment level has also decreased considerably. Kazakhstan's sound macroeconomic policy has also helped to reduce inflation. Kazakhstan's growing participation in the international Institutions and Organisations has increased its importance and opportunities.

In Kazakhstan, the Constitution has huge significance for maintaining law and order of the country. The Constitution of Kazakhstan was adopted through national referendum on 30th August 1995. However, subsequent amendments were made in the year 1998 and 2007. On 18th May 2007, the constitution was amended in accordance with the basic law at the Parliament and as per the Constitution, Kazakhstan was considered as a unitary state with a presidential-parliamentary form of government. Constitution of Kazakhstan gave the people of Kazakhstan the right to choose and elect their leader.

Kazakhstan is moving towards full democracy and President Nursultan Nazarbayev is leading this move successfully. President Nazarbayev in his Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy outlined the democratic reforms that he would continue to implement for leading the country towards democracy. As per Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy, people of Kazakhstan should be able to hold firmly in their hands the helm of country's future. President Nazarbayev has been gradually moving towards more free and more open system of government. He has developed new plans for political reforms, tried to enhanced the role of Parliament, formation of new political parties are being encouraged, media became more free and the judiciary system became much more transparent under his leadership. President Nursultan Nazerbaiyev feels that the strategic planning is the most important thing in today's politico-economic scenario. As per him no country can succeed unless it is clear about its route and the destination. President Nazerbaiyev wants to make Kazakhstan as one among the 30 most developed countries of the world. In the recent years, Kazakhstan has achieved huge progress, though lot more needs to be done. Nonetheless, it is expected that under the leadership of President Nazarbayev much more is expected to achieve in the coming years.

Kazakhstan, since its independence in the year 1991, has moved ahead overcoming numerous difficulties. Kazakhstan became most favoured nation in the region for the international business communities and for the diplomatic forums. Kazakhstan, concentrated on the gradual reforms where economic liberlization was given the prime importance followed by the political liberalization process. It is significant to note the prospects for the democratic transformation in Kazakhstan over the past few years. Though during the initial years of the independence, democracy suffered due to continuation of the post-Soviet tradition. However, gradually the trend has been changing in Kazakhstan, hence, today in Kazakhstan democracy has become vital for maintaining stability as well as for achieving progress of the state and society and is a significant component of the modernization process of Kazakhstan leading the country into a democratic constitutional State.

By Nivedita Das Kundu, Ph.D in International Relations from JNU, India and Post Doc from Woodrow Wilson Center,
US is a foreign policy analyst and expert on the region.


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