It is the USA that regularly criticizes Kazakhstan for violating democratic norms
US ambassador at the OSCE, Stephan Minikes, arrived in Kazakhstan two days ago. The American official conducted several meetings with the Kazakh administration and parliamentarians. The talks were presumably devoted to Kazakhstan's plans to chair the OSCE.
The chairmanship at the OSCE in 2009 has been the dream of Kazakh President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, for several years already. Mr. Nazarbayev constantly talks about the issue, saying that it is extremely important not only for Kazakhstan alone, but for the entire region of Central Asia. Experts share the position of the Kazakh president: they are certain that Kazakhstan's chairmanship at the OSCE will acknowledge political pseudo-democratic systems of Central Asian states. It is worth mentioning that both the USA and the OSCE accuse the leaders of those states of authoritarianism, in which all international democratic principles are violated radically.
Quite a number of countries have already expressed their support to Kazakhstan in the intention to chair the OSCE. The USA has not released any comments on the matter, though, but the secrecy was removed yesterday. Stephan Minikes stated that the US administration had not made a final decision as to which country it would support. The official added, though, that all states running for the OSCE chairmanship must meet all fundamental standards of the organization.
It became a serious blow for Kazakhstan, taking into consideration the fact that it is the USA that regularly criticizes Kazakhstan for violating democratic norms. It was ambassador Minikes, who expressed the concern of the US administration about amendments introduced to the election law of Kazakhstan. The official particularly said that the draft law cast doubts on Kazakhstan's willingness to run democratic reforms. Needless to say that the republic's chairing position might be considered inappropriate.
Mr. Minikes also urged Kazakh President Nazarbayev at a session of the OSCE Council in Vienna (on April 14th) to delay the signing of the above-mentioned law until the parliament reviewed OSCE's remarks on the matter. Nursultan Nazarbayev disregarded the statement. The Kazakh parliament has already approved amendments to the local election law; the president has signed the papers as well.
The Office of the Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan and the financial police of the republic are meanwhile checking all local non-governmental organizations that receive foreign grants. The majority of such organizations have already proclaimed current inspections as politically motivated and connected them with events in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz authorities fear lest “secret foreign services” should fund another revolution on the territory of the republic.
The majority of experts believe that the USA decided to have the wait-and-see attitude to Kazakhstan's OSCE plans on account of the above-mentioned measures that are being taken by the government of Kazakhstan. The USA needs Kazakhstan to “behave:” it is important for the US administration not to revise previously concluded oil and gas contracts.
On the photo: President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev