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«The Institute of Economics and Social Sciences of Bilkent University by OZAT TOKHTARBAYEV In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of ...»

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The Institute of Economics and Social Sciences


Bilkent University



In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of







September 2001 To my country


A Master’s Thesis by


Department of Political Science and Public Administration Bilkent University Ankara September 2001 I certify that I have read this thesis and have found that it is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a thesis for the Degree of Master of Political Science and Public Administration.

-------------------------------- Prof. Dr. Ergun Özbudun Supervisor I certify that I have read this thesis and have found that it is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a thesis for the Degree of Master of Political Science and Public Administration.

------------------------------- Assis. Prof. Dr. Meryem Kırımlı Examining Committee Member I certify that I have read this thesis and have found that it is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a thesis for the Degree of Master of Political Science and Public Administration.

------------------------------ Assis. Prof. Dr. Ömer Faruk Gençkaya Examining Committee Member Approval of the Institute of Economics and Social Sciences

------------------------------- Prof. Dr. Kürşat Aydoğan Director



Tokhtarbayev, Ozat M.A., Department of Political Science and Public Administration Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ergun Özbudun September 2001 Thıs thesis focuses on the Kazakhstani way of transition to democracy.

After having analysed the history of Kazakhstan, the author examines social, national, political and state structures, political leaders and international factors have affected Kazakhstan’s transition to democracy. However, the thesis encompasses future perspectives of the Republic and includes suggestions on what should be done on the subject as well.

Keywords: Former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan, Democratic transition.

iii ÖZET Kazakistan: Demokrasiye Geçiş Mi?

Tokhtarbayev, Ozat

–  –  –

Bu çalışma Kazakistan’a özgü demokrasiye geçiş yolu üzerinde yoğunlaşmaktadır. Tez yazarı, Kazakistan tarihini inceledikten sonra, Kazakistan’ın demokrasiye geçiş yolunu etkileyegelen toplumsal, ulusal, siyasal ve devlet yapılarını, siyasal liderlerini ve uluslararası etkenleri ele almaktadır.

Bununla birlikte, çalışma Kazakistan’ın gelecek perspektifleri de kapsamakta ve konu üzerinde nelerin yapılması gerektiği ile ilgili önerileri de içermektedir.

Anahtar Kelimeler: Eski Sovyetler Birliği ülkeleri, Kazakistan, Demokrasiye

–  –  –








1.1 The First Kazakh State

1.2 Russian Colonization

1.3 Alash-Orda Government

1.4 Joining the USSR

1.4.1. The Initial Years The General Trends The Kazakh Soviet Apparatus

1.4.2. The Hard Decades The General Trends Soviet Policy towards Intelligentsia

1.4.3 Decades of Economic Revival The General Trends The Economy of Kazakhstan The Kazakhstani society The Kazakh Apparatchiki

1.5 After the Collapse of the Soviet Union

1.5.1 General Trends of 1990s

1.5.2 Developments in the Political Arena The President The Formation of a Multy-Party System Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)



2.1 Social Structure

2.2 The National Structure

2.3 State Structure

2.4 Political Structure

2.5 Political Leadership

2.6 Development Performance

2.7 International Factors


3.1 An Authoritarian State

3.2 A Democratic State

3.3 The Middle Way




APPENDIX A. Distribution of Kazakhstani Population by Selected Nationalities 116 APPENDIX B. Parties and Political Organisations in Kazakhstan

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1. Changes in Real Average Wage between 1990-1993, (Ruble)

2. Changes in Nominal Average Wage in Kazakhstan between 1994-1998............ 38

3. Macroeconomic Indicators (1994-2000)

4. Distribution of Reel Income among Kazakhstanis (after Taxation), (%)............ 42

5. Party Composition of the Kazakhstani Supreme Soviet Following the General Election of 1994

6. Party Representation in the Parliament of Kazakhstan, December 1995............. 54

7. Freedom Ratings in Kazakhstan, 1992-2000

8. The Results of the Presidential Election, January 10, 1999

9. Political Make-up of the Majilis after 1999 Elections

10. Inward and Outward Migration in Kazakhstan (1990-1997)

11. Reasons for the stability in interethnic relations in Kazakhstan

–  –  –

1. Types of NGO in Kazakhstan

2. Simplified Structure of Decision Making in the USSR (after 1977 Constitution)

3. Schematic Outline of Decision-Making Environment of Municipal Government in the USSR (after 1977 Constitution)

4. Powers of the President in Kazakhstan

–  –  –

Democracy... Although this term may mean different things “depending on the individual, ideology, paradigm, culture, or context”1, maybe, it has been the most popular term of 20th century. I want to clarify the meaning of the term “democracy” in the way adopted in this work, for its “changeability”. It was used in the way defined by Larry Diamond, Juan J. Linz and Seymour M. Lipset in

their “Politics in Developing Countries”:

The term democracy is used... to signify a political system, separate and apart from the economic and social system to which it is joined....

[D]emocracy-or what Robert Dahl terms polyarchy-denotes a system of government that meets three essential conditions: meaningful and extensive competition among individuals and organized groups (especially political parties) for all effective positions of government power, at regular intervals and excluding the use of force; a “highly inclusive” level of political participation in the selection of leaders and policies, at least through regular and fair elections, such that no major (adult) social group is excluded; and a level of civil and political liberties-freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom to form and join organizations-sufficient to ensure the integrity of political competition and participation.2 The path to be followed in order to reach “democracy” has not always been easy to cover and different countries have experienced different experiences before reaching the aim, i.e. democracy. Some of them are still trying to reach it or have 1 Diamond, L. et al (eds.). 1990. Politics in Developing Countries. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc, 4.

2 Ibid, 12

–  –  –

provided them with well-educated citizens; literacy is at the highest level in the

world. But the cost of the lack of democratic experiences was high for them:

some turn their backs to democracy, like Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan did, some after considerable time of authoritarian rule announced their commitment to democracy accepting it as a universal value, like Kazakhstan, others are still in chaos, e.g. Tajikistan. All these cases require specific attention and careful studying, since each of them has been shaped by many internal and external factors – each case is original in the sense of democratic experience; but what is the truth – especially Central Asian states have not been subjected to careful examination. Many Western political scientists are aware of this: “The time is clearly now ripe for a comparative study of transition from communism”.4 Also a lack of case studies, especially on FSU (Former Soviet Union) countries’ experience of democracy confirms this statement.

–  –  –

sense, actually it never was. Kazakh intelligentsia, mostly pro-governmental ones, although define the existing system as authoritarian regime, seem it as a necessary link between totalitarian past and democratic future.5 Although existing political parties represent pro-governmental as well as oppositionist interest groups, leader

–  –  –

is in “self-made exile” in England.6 Kazakhstan regained its statehood again in 1920, which was lost with the abolition of the institute of khan in 1820s, as Kyrgyz7 (Kazakh) Autonomic Soviet Socialist Republic within Russian boundaries. Soviet experience did a lot for Kazakhs: industrialization was undergone, new schools, health care organizations as well as higher educational institutions were opened, state boundaries were marked etc.

–  –  –

disastrous: mass collectivization in the 30s that led to a 40% loss of Kazakh population; Stalinist repression; establishing of a totalitarian regime etc. All of these factors have played very important role in the shaping Soviet as well as Kazakh mentality. I think, this point should always be remembered, because transitional processes towards democratic society which post-Soviet countries are undergone are unique ones in historical, political, societal and economical contexts and are dependent on the historical legacy of a considered nation(s). In addition, world has never witnessed transition of a country from communism to democracy before.

Nowadays independent multiethnic Kazakhstan is territorially the second largest country in post-Soviet area and ninth - in the world thanks to Soviet delimitation policies implemented in 1924. It has vast natural resources, but the 5 See for example Zhusupov, Sabit. 2000. “Demokraticheskiie preobrazovaniyya v Respublike Kazahstan: real’nost’ i perspektivy” (Democratic transformations in Kazakhstan: the reality and the future). Tsentral’naiia Asiia i Kavkaz. 4: 24-40 6 See following chapters about the motives of his “self-made exile”.

–  –  –

petroleum, several pipeline routes have been introduced8 but few of them seem to be feasible. Although Kazakhstani transitional (from central planned to marketoriented) economy has faced with the serious problems such as slow privatization, interruption of previous economic relations and building up completely new market-oriented ones, government managed to overcome them, and in the year 2000 GDP rose by more than 10 percent first time after the collapse of the USSR.9 Privatization completed by more than half.10 GDP per capita, based on purchasing power parity is 3,200 USD (2000)11 which seems to increase in the nearest future.

In addition, Kazakhstan is stable state in the political sense – what has been the result of authoritarian rule, government members are appointed by the President according to his own criteria which have always been the subject for doubting.

In sum, current issues include: establishing of a democratic state, speeding up market reforms, establishing stable relations with Russia, China and other foreign powers; developing and expanding the country’s abundant energy resources, etc.

7 In the following the October Revolution of 1917 years the Soviets firstly misnamed Kazakhs as Kyrgyzs and Kyrgyzs as Kara Kyrgyzs.

8 For example see Kubekov, Mikhail. 1997. “Problemy eksporta Kazahstanskoi nefti: pochemu Kazakhstanu nuzhna energeticheskaya nezavisimost’?” (“Problems of exporting Kazakhstani petroleum: why Kazakhstan needs energetic independence?), Tsentral’naiia Aziia i Kavkaz 9: 8For more information see [http://www.worldbank.kz/content/econ_ind_eng.html] 10 See [http://www.ipanet.net/documents/WorldBank/databases/plink/factsheets/kazakhstan.htm] 11 CIA World Fact Book. 2000. [http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/kz.html]

–  –  –

Republic. The main question to be discussed is: what are trends in democracy in post-Soviet Kazakhstan? It is a case study on the concept of democracy adopted by Kazakhstan: is it the Western style or something different?

A nation cannot be examined apart from its past since many historical factors determine a nation’s “today”. Therefore, first part of the work is devoted to the history of the Kazakh nation: how the Kazakh nation was formed, how it became the Russian subject, what were major changes during the Soviet era, and what significant events took place in post-Soviet period – these are topics that briefly discussed in this part. However, this part did not encompass all historical developments of the Kazakh nation and tried to show the history of the nation in general frames. Second part is about today’s Kazakhstan, its class, national, state and political structures; development performance and international factors have affected it. Third part is concerned with the future prospects of the Kazakh Republic, where three possible scenarios of Kazakhstani future development are examined; relevant suggestions are made and arrived at some conclusions on the democratization project of the country.

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