History not likely to vindicate Nazarbayev President of Kazakhstan
The progressive megalomania of Nursultan Nazarbayev, presiden of Kazakhstan, keeps having the people in our country dazed. The international community is amused by his desire to exalt his own "Me" against the backdrop of the socio-economic sphere in the country that outstripped its critical stage as well as the intensifying impoverishment of the nation. An ordinary person feels ashamed of this president by right!
With the start of current academic year, Nazarbayev has once again decided to confirm his "concern" for the growing generation and the level of their education. Likewise, at the beginning of each March he displays "care" for the women's problems, in May - for war veterans and pensioners, and so forth.
On September 1 this year, brightest of students from schools and professional colleges started their academic year nowhere else but in the Museum of the First President of Kazakhstan. What is more - with Nazarbayev himself; in the role of teacher, of course. The next day, on September 2, "the principal teacher of the country" took in the minister of education and science J. Tuimebayev who reported on the "successes" of his agency and the country's accomplishments in the field of education.
On September 4, Nazarbayev presided over a meeting of the Council on Science and Academic Policy, where he ordered to name a whole range of state organizations after him, stating exactly the following: "I never sanctioned to call a farm or a village, a street, a city, nor even Astana after my name. But here I do permit. Let there be a Nazarbayev international university, a Nazarbayev school and a research center".
That is, Nazarbayev personally gave a start to the process of his name's "perpetuation in the national history". Now there can be little doubt that in the coming years, villages, streets, cities, in addition to educational institutions, will bear Nazarbayev's name. And not distant is the day when his bronze busts and monuments will be erected everywhere, as they say - in vivo. For example, a foundation called "Kazakh Khanate" has already initiated a construction of monument in Shymkent devoted to Nazarbayev's 70th anniversary (2010). The edifice will cost $330,000. The foundation has already been granted authorization to go ahead with the project; "Nazarbayev will preside on a throne based on the heads of two leopards".
The end results of similar frenzy ideas after the death of a "leader" can be seen in Saparmurat Niyazov's case. Participants dismantling numerous busts and monuments of his get ironical: they say the volume of non-ferrous metals in Turkmenistan has increased so much that they could make a separate item in Turkmenistan's exports.
Recently, Nazarbayev said that with the aim of upholding science "the government should think of a few hundred million dollars, and the rest, the same amount, we must collect from our sponsors ... The issue is treated on a par with the task of developing Astana ". As economists suggest, the heavy burden of Nazarbayev's new whims time and again will be laid on the state budget. Amid the crisis in the country, spending multi-million funds for the cult of personality in order to amuse Nazarbayev's sick self-importance, stirs massive discontent and protest.
One of them took place in February 2009, in front of the office of Nur-Otan. Janbolat Mamay, leader of the student movement Rukh pen Teal, stated then that "the abundance of portraits and references to the president makes an ordinary person cramped and stuffy even in a big city like Almaty". Chairman of the movement "Generation" Irina Savostina pauses: "Just turn around: Nur-Bank, Nur-Otan - what does this all mean? Nursultan Nazarbaev's banks? And whose party? You can call into any store. One can buy there "president's" cheese, "president's" butter, "president's" bread. The word goes as if somewhere in Astana there is even toilet paper that is "president's" as well. I have never seen this kind of personality cult in my entire life! "
All these years, Nazarbayev's cult has developed with his own blessing. 50 per cent of advertisement banners in towns have a commercial purpose, the other half contains Nazarbayev's photos, portraits, and maxims. The vast majority of broadcasting in Kazakhstan is "occupied" by the president - anywhere you turn he is there, whether full face or sideview. And the lexicon of inert officials goes like "on the initiative of the head of state", "as proposed by the first president", "on the instruction of Nursultan Abishevich", "thanks to the care from the head of state", and so on.
The palm of primacy in this "competition" belongs to the Kazakhstan's Prime-Minister Karim Masimov who proposed to assign educational institutions to bear the name of Nazarbayev. According to him, "the government will reconsider its position to ensure that the forename of school sucks in - like a vacuum cleaner - the most talented youth from all over the country, starting from childhood". And, further on, addressing to Nazarbayev himself, he added: "As You have compared this with the construction of Astana, then the university and schools as well as the fund must be at the highest level".
Hardly any practical outcomes during the routine meeting of the Council on Science and Academic Policy, except for trivial toadying to Nazarbayev, have been decided on. The question is: How is the country's leadership going to raise the level of education in the country? Just by naming educational institutions after the president?
Current realities in Kazakhstan convince that such initiatives will barely prove useful in the end. Not for nothing do Nazarbayev and Masimov refer to the construction of Astana. If this project does not eventually fall apart, and schools, universities and research centers will be built, then they, like Astana among all other poverty-stricken cities of Kazakhstan, will become mythical "islands of salvation", to which millions of our citizens, alas, are not destined to swim as far as.
The level of education and science in Kazakhstan deteriorate sharply with each coming year. The system of education during minister Tuimebayev's term has stuck in corruption, bribery, poor educational services. And the notorious program "100 Schools" has personified the widespread image of Kazakh corruption!
Serik Irsaliev, representative of Kazakhstan's ministry of public education says that currently, there are no schools in 1,434 settlements in Kazakhstan, and the shortage of teachers is more than 2.5 thousand people. Only in South Kazakhstan region, 560 schools are located in unsuitable buildings, 332 are in adobe buildings, and 69 are in critical condition. In most schools, the study process is carried through in three shifts to finish late at night.
For independence years, science has virtually been excluded from the list of government priorities. Little regard has been given to issues concerning the development of science that provides for technological renovation of production, manufacture of competitive products and, consequently, socio-economic growth in Kazakhstan.
Today, the reputation of scientific profession is experiencing a steady decline. According to the survey by «BISAM Central Asia», as few as 4.3 per cent of the country's population consider science prestigious. "The brain drain" basically has not been decreasing - the problem of low wages remains as the key reason for the vast majority (90%) of scientists to leave for abroad. Expenditures on scientific research and experimental development in 2008 amounted to $10 per capita. Figures from other countries for comparison: the U.S. ($892), Sweden ($875), Germany ($580), France ($478). Kazakhstan's Academy of Sciences, in an apt expression of scientists, is granted the rights tantamount to those "of a beer fans' club".
Amid the profound degradation of education and science, like, in fact, economic and administrative policies in general, Nazarbayev "sees the way out of crisis" in an ever deeper self-adoration, creation of a personality cult. The only thing he cares about is his health and his further rule of the country. "Medicine for aging, natural rejuvenation, immortality. That's what people are engaged in these days", he told scientists as he proposed the Academy of Sciences "think about issues concerning the prolongation of human life".
In general, Kazakhstan's further "development" by Nazarbayev way will inevitably lead to a complete collapse of the state. And somewhere in 2030, independent experts will report illiteracy rates in Kazakhstan at the level of 90-95%.
Yet by that time Nazarbayev will no longer be ruling the country due to the lack of "pills from aging", which the Kazakhstani scientists would not be able to discover during his lifetime. Man-made or not, statues in honor of "the first president" will be wiped out, and his name will be consigned to oblivion. History is unlikely to exonerate Nazarbayev...