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KAZAKSTAN


 

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 29,749 24,205 22,400 60
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,780 1,510 1,350 119
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 324 - (19/12/07)

The benign dictatorship?
Kazakstan, Central Asia's top oil producer, offers Europe a new source of oil and gas as it seeks to diversify its energy supplies away from Russia. This is really important.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has ruled with an iron fist since 1989. He tightened his grip on power this year by seizing the right to remain in office for life and holding a snap parliamentary election which handed his political party all the seats. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) criticised that election as flawed.
In the summer Nazarbayev's Nur-Otan party won all seats in the new parliament, prompting opposition parties to cry foul play. Nazarbayev called the election two years ahead of schedule in order to amend the constitution, expand parliament and remove limits on presidential terms in office.

Kazakstan to chair OSCE in 2010
The international community takes a more relaxed view than the opposition. Kazakstan has been rewarded with an accolade of rare distinction, the presidency of the OSCE in 2010.

Kazakstan's election for the OSCE 2010 presidency on November 30 “is an important milestone in the history of our country,” said the Prime Minister of the republic of Kazakstan, Karim Massimov, on the government's session in Astana on December 3.
"It is the important milestone in the history of our country on the threshold of the 16th anniversary of state independence. This once again shows the role of Kazakstan and the president of Kazakstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, to the world community", - said the prime minister of Kazakstan, opening the government's session.

Karim Massimov congratulated the president and all Kazakstani people with the country's election as OSCE 2010 chair country.

The opposition affronted
The Kazakh opposition accused Europe's main human rights and security watchdog on December 4 of putting oil before democracy by choosing the Central Asian state to hold its chairmanship in 2010.
Kazakstan has never held an election judged free and fair by the OSCE. The main opposition party, uniting key opposition leaders, said the former Soviet republic had no right to preside over an organisation meant to defend democratic standards."The OSCE decision on Kazakstan's 2010 chairmanship ... is an opportunistic, diplomatic compromise defined by energy politics and a deepening crisis of geopolitical interests," the Nagyz Ak-Zhol party said in a statement.

Slovak ‘connivance’ with Kazakstan
The Slovak police were under fire for detaining a Kazakh activist during a November 21 visit to Bratislava by President Nazarbayev. Actually, the decision to do so was certainly cleared at the highest level. Slovakia is urgently trying to diversify its energy supplies away from Russia.
The police detained peacefully-protesting Kazahkh opposition journalist Balli Marzec to prevent her from disturbing a welcome ceremonial, which was under way in front of Bratislava's presidential palace.
However, the activist, who is reported to be based in Poland, registered her protest against the authoritarian leader with city authorities. 'During my protest ... I thanked Slovakia for being democratic. I had no idea the police would grab me, bring me over here and beat me up,' Marzec told TA3 news channel before midnight November 21, when the police released her after 13 hours in detention.
The Slovak police were under fire the next day, as lawyers and media found the move illegal and unacceptable. 'Instead of support and understanding in a country, which calls itself democratic, she was humiliated,' the daily Plus Jeden Den wrote.
Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak met with a Polish consul to smooth over the scandal. 'I expressed my regret that something like that had happened,' he told reporters after the meeting.

Tax regime tightened for oil investors
If foreigners are lenient towards Kazakstan, the reverse is not necessarily true. It has warned of a tightening of the fiscal regime on oil investors, and for international oil companies in effect to stop living "in ancient times," as it prepared to tighten the fiscal regime at oilfields and increase state ownership of its flagship Caspian Sea development.
Daulet Yergozhin, Kazakstan's deputy finance minister, said in December that draft revisions to the tax code, to be debated in parliament early in 2008, would increase budget revenues, be "simple to administer and collect and very understandable for oil and mineral producers."
There are plans to introduce a new blanket tax covering all oil production to replace existing royalties and rents charged only on oil exports. The tough tax proposals reflect widespread frustration in Kazakstan about the advantageous contracts secured by foreign oil companies in the 1990s, when oil prices were low and the republic was sunk in an economic recession that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Foreign investors would be consulted about the tax amendments, Yergozhin said. His comments came as Kazakstan appeared close to asserting greater control over the giant Kashagan field as part of a settlement of a dispute with an oil consortium led by ENI of Italy about surging costs and production delays at the Caspian project.

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