Kazakh roundup

First roundup since Tuesday, but at least I’m gradually making my way through the region. Today, the news from Kazakhstan, international, domestic, and fluffy.


###International politics
Kazakhstan continues to [cooperate](http://eurasianet.org/departments/civilsociety/articles/pp042906.shtml) with China in abusing the human rights of Uighur dissidents. They’re also still [snuggling up with Russia](http://jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2371104). [RFE/RL](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/6/EDFB16F9-BC50-4CD7-A3C0-D78CFC0F684C.html) interprets this as part of a wider change in policy: before they were balancing Russia against the US, now they’re turning against America and concentrating more on Russia and China.
The [Iranian nuclear crisis](http://jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2371193) is something Kazakhstan is trying to keep out of, but being inevitably drawn into. So it’s taken a middle of the road approach, defending peaceful nuclear power, opposing the bomb, and pointing out the hypocrisy of the international comunity.
Also, Nazarbaev has been talking to just about everyone: [Turkey](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/5/67E2C1FE-CB75-4878-8424-307AB7E7019F.html), [Tajikistan](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/5/56B2CE26-4BC7-4523-B7D8-A6D9490D28EA.html), the [EU](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/5/E9DE867A-2322-43FD-9B5B-A7A828B5611F.html), even [Dick Cheney](http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2371058).
This whirl is mainly about oil (who’da thunk it?). After years of ‘will they? won’t they?’ speculation, Kazakhstan has finally joined the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. The US and Turkey obviously like that, but the US also wants Kazakh oil exported [southwards](http://eurasianet.org/departments/business/articles/eav050406.shtml) to India and Pakistans.
###Domestic politics
[Freedom House](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/6/EF14F0B5-E7B7-42DA-AFDD-04FBA9D28285.html) doesn’t like the state of democracy in Kazakhstan. Neither does anyone else, but I’m reluctantly coming round to the [Registan](http://www.registan.net) viewpoint, that talking about it just pushes Kazakhstan (or other central asian states) closer to China and Russia. On the other hand [elections are planned for October](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/6/927C11F7-7491-440E-86D3-BA25D6B76B4B.html) – how free they are remains to be seen.
I’ve no idea how big an issue [media freedom](http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/6/be04ebc9-7236-4d96-8c8d-7a6fbb077d0e.html)?
is within Kazakhstan, but outside pundits have been talking about it a great deal recently.
I suspect it’s mainly connected to the [falling-out](http://eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/pp052006.shtml) between president Nazarbaev and his daughter, Darigha Nazarbaeva, who controls much of the country’s media and is also [launching her own political party](http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/6/c31f91d8-dc33-47e3-9459-965b3a12daff.html)
Nazarbaev is retalliating by [nationalising Dariga’s media group](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/5/0671B344-D519-4591-9A36-BD619696F61D.html). The justification is ‘information security’, which sounds like a cross between trendy American military thinking and a post-Soviet bureaucratic mentality. [RFE/RL](http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/6/1a688624-452a-4ddc-835e-fabf08deb0f7.html) has some more on this.
On the other hand, somebody is currently [spending a year in jail](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/5/8379176A-4FA1-4621-B65D-AFE260DD6A16.html) because he accused Dariga Nazarbaeva’s husband of involvement in killing an opposition politician.
More civil rights issues: a [politician jailed for 5 years](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/5/F491FEBE-A3A4-4667-90D7-8BC8929CEFE3.html). The [leader of the same party](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/5/9903E732-3FC1-48C2-B66C-6EDB6DABDACE.html), For a Just Kazakhstan, has been barred from travelling to Astana, where he would have met Dick Cheney. So lets chalk this human rights abuse up to loathing of America.
###Culture, environment, and similar fluffiness
I’m very disappointed to have missed [Waldemr Januszczak touring the Kazakh modern art scene](http://www.channel4.com/more4/documentaries/doc-feature.jsp?id=54). Also, I’d love to know more about [New Age religions](http://jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2371063) there: it’s wonderful to image the Hare Krishnas being a threat to national security on the Central Asian steppes.
Something slow-burning but major: the [desertification](http://rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/6/FA3B660C-FFAF-4C63-9B10-014423E0041C.html) of Kazakhstan. In the end, it comes down to Soviet farming policies and irrigation projects
Finally, some ‘grand overambitious project’ news: Kazakhstan has just [launched a satellite into space](http://space.com/missionlaunches/sfn_060619_proton_kazak1.html). I don’t know much about satellites, but apparently this is a TV/communications satellite. Does that mean we might see the emergence of more Central Asian regional satellite broadcasts?

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