Kazakhstan and Its Consequences: A Preliminary Approach
The recent events in Kazakhstan are still in their beginning, and it is still difficult to sufficiently comprehend and understand the causes or anticipate the consequences. Nevertheless, it is possible to establish some facts, as well as preliminarily approximate the expected outcomes and their broader effects.
• Kazakhstan is one of the largest Central Asian countries in area (2.7M square kilometers, more than two and a half times the size of Egypt, for example). Its population is relatively small compared to the area (about 18M in 2018). It is also a country rich in natural resources, especially natural gas, uranium, and other resources. Its economy is mainly dependent on the extraction and export of underground resources, especially gas and oil (in 2014 oil and gas contributed more than 56% of GDP).
• Although governmental and international figures say that there has been continuous growth in Kazakhstan during the past twenty years, albeit strong in years and weak in others, and that the average income per capita is constantly rising, the most important fact is the way that income is distributed under the liberal policies adopted by the authorities that have remained in power since before the collapse of the Soviet Union, which led the collapse and transformation, These policies resulted in an economy with high corruption and low productivity.
At the same time, the authorities worked on steadily restricting political freedoms. This correlation between neoliberalism and the restriction of political freedoms has become a clear law that we see in all countries of the world, as we have seen and we see in Syria, for example, where the more pervasive the great corruption becomes, the more it needs to control the impoverished people to prevent them from protesting the organized plundering in which they are living.
• Kazakhstan has long borders with both China and Russia, and it is an essential corridor and an essential part of the “Belt and Road” and Eurasian projects. It also has a great weight when it comes to the entire Central Asian region.
The above is just the tip of the iceberg of available information about Kazakhstan’s situation and importance, which can be easily accessed via search engines. Following are some initial thoughts about what is going on:
• What is currently happening is essentially what happened in Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and other countries during the past ten years. These all have two basic things in common: economic conditions that are cumulatively over many years heading for the worse, in parallel with increasing authoritarianism and extreme wealth of a dominant few within low-productivity economies.
• In parallel, Western interventions are always present and rely on corrupt authorities and the fragility of societies resulting from low productivity and long-term misdistribution of wealth. In addition to this, there is the relative importance that geography gives to some countries over others. This is the case in Syria, for example, and certainly also in Kazakhstan, where interventions are becoming increasingly severe and ferocious.
• The people’s movement into the streets is a combination of the spontaneity produced by long-term accumulation, as well as external interventions, Western ones in particular. However, the main factor is the internal accumulation.
Conclusions and Consequences
Within the preliminary image that is before us currently, the following can be said:
• What is currently happening in Kazakhstan, carries with it, in part, an explanation for the reasons for the Americans’ exit from Afghanistan, and the way in which they exited. It seems clear in the American calculations, based on the reading of the facts, that Central Asia as a whole is on the verge of waves of widespread protests, and the possibilities of chaos that can be exploited, primarily against China and Russia.
• The quick intervention by the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and before that the rapid way in which things developed in Kazakhstan, as if within days it condensed the course of years of experiences that preceded it (Syria, for example), indicates an attempt to deal with matters in a different way, whether on the part of those trying to invest in the situation towards sabotage, led by the Americans, or by those who have no interest in chaos in this region, led by Russia.
• Immediate intervention may help reduce the possibility of a rapid slide towards total chaos, but it will certainly not prevent it without internal changes that rise to the level of objectively imposed tasks, that is, the tasks of radical and real change in Kazakhstan itself.
• Perhaps more importantly, what is happening in Kazakhstan is a warning sign for Russia and China, and for Russia more than for China. The sign raised by reality is that the “imperialist club” is closed to Russia, and the time for a radical transformation within Russia has come, and Russia, as a country, cannot protect itself from Western interference and the dangers of comprehensive chaos without a radical shift in the way wealth is distributed internally. That is, the shift towards the left in the social sense has become a national necessity with regard to Russian national security. This is something that the People’s Will Party stated previously in its documents since 2006, as well as one of the main results of the study published by Kassioun in 2017 entitled “Russia: The Imperial Phantom” (Arabic).
• The successive eruption of crises during the past ten years implies that the previous crises remaining suspended and standing at the limits of cordoning off fires, is not only unable to reach stability in crisis areas, but it also is a ground for the expansion of the fires. The process of stopping the existing crises by radically solving them has become a main prerequisite to prevent the continuation of the series of fires, which cannot be controlled using the same method as they continuously expand geographically. Stopping this series requires a new model in ending crises. In the international and regional sense, the most mature crisis for such a new model is the Syrian crisis in particular.