Reg825: March 2011 Archives
Fighting deportation to an almost certain death: the Bulatov Family.
What happens when a country with significant oil supplies is considered to be an ally of the United States but is, according to Wikileaks, riddled with corruption and mafia-style autocratic rule? Lately we've been hearing a lot about what has been going in the Middle East due to media coverage of the recent pro-democracy populist movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and now in Lybia to break free from despotic rule. Yet, we have not heard very much about what is going in Central Asia, where it appears that authoritarianism is alive and well, post-Soviet era. In Kazakhstan, it is currently a crime to insult its President and it seems that even our own U.S. government has been trying to call for a more open government in that country but doing so very carefully so as to not "offend" Kazakhstan's President too much.
When the Soviet Union fell, the western world rejoiced at the prospect of freedom and democracy coming to the former Soviet Republics; but what progress has been made towards this end? In the case of Kazakhstan, its oil and gas supplies have been opened to capitalist markets, and that is almost certainly viewed by Wall Street as "progress". Yet, the country's record on civil rights has lagged behind, having a direct impact on the livelihood of its citizens to the point that some of them have been seeing themselves as having no other choice but to flee to the United States in fear of their very lives. So what has really changed since the fall of the Soviet Union? Who are the rulers of Kazakhstan and what are their relationships to U.S.-based business interests?