- Marat, in a speech to Russian colleagues as one of the defining and relevant trends in the development of Kazakhstan, you identified a reform of the public administration system, from which the “accompanying” qualitative changes in Kazakhstan’s society also follow. Let's dwell on this topic. What achievements of the republic in the state-society-citizen vector do you single out as the most important milestones of the last decade?
- In a given vector, of course, the main achievement of the last decade was a fundamental rethinking of the role of the state in general and the role of government bodies in particular. If earlier the state was traditionally viewed in two ways, as an apparatus of violence and as a “rent distributor”, then since 2007, it has become primarily a service provider.
That is, all processes in the state and in state bodies are painted as a specific service for the population or for business - the standard of each service is formulated, the algorithm for the participation of performers in it, the deadlines are set. At the same time, the execution scheme is extremely formalized and excludes unnecessary intermediary links.
In practice, the advantages of such a scheme are evident in the work of PSCs - service centers for the population, which have become a kind of “conveyors” in the design and issuance of any documents.
The activities of the PSCs are algorithmized, which, on the one hand, drastically reduces the workload of staff, on the other hand, it improves the quality of services provided to the public.
The system has been successfully operating for almost a decade, and, moreover, it is developing - at present, the Government for Citizens Corporation has been established, which practically excludes the interaction of citizens with government officials and government agencies. All requests that will be sent through this system will be executed in electronic document management mode, and the same format will be provided by the response from the authorized body.
As of now, half of the public services in Kazakhstan are automated. And this has a tremendous effect: the number of requests from individuals has decreased from 16 to two million per year. Accordingly, for legal entities - from 4,5 million to 570 thousand. There is a “withdrawal” from the public sector of a capacious segment of “grassroots corruption”.
Fully transfer the process of providing public services to electronic format will be possible after the launch of the National Geographic Information System, which will be tied to all government agencies, archives, inventories, etc.
In terms of the political process, which is not limited to elections alone, the development of the institution of mediation should be noted as a positive factor. About seven thousand cases are resolved annually by mediators in the pretrial order. The mechanism of public councils at ministries and local executive bodies, which take an obligatory part in the formulation of budgets and examination of legal acts, has also proven itself well. As a member of several such structures, I particularly welcome this direction.
The powers of local representative bodies - maslikhats - are expanding every year. Also, territorial local government councils will soon start working.
Our whole trouble is that there are not enough active and knowledgeable people who would find time to work in such structures, especially at the grassroots level.
- It is logical to assume that the above mentioned positive steps in the field of state-building also change Kazakhstan’s society, the mentality of Kazakhstan’s people, affect the development of civil society. Is it so?
- Of course, society itself is changing. But here it is necessary to highlight two multidirectional trends. On the one hand, globalization has a significant impact on the mentality of Kazakhstan’s people, people actively use its technological fruits, gaining simplified access not only to services and goods, but also to educational programs. But, on the other hand, along with civilizational advancement, there is also an increase in the archaization of society - the revival of tribal traditions, sometimes their inventing, the “Islamic renaissance” - an increase in the number of believers.
And, interestingly, practice shows: often the society artificially limits itself in using the benefits of globalization listed above, perceives the opportunities opening in connection with this, superficially and narrowly.
I will give an example. I recently conducted a class in which it turned out that only five people use e-government services in a group of 50, my age and older.
The most paradoxical and sad: young people do not know how to use the Internet to increase their own value. Yes, they continuously sit on social networks, download videos and toys, but there is no one for them outside the Internet.
This is a big problem, which, by the way, concerns both Russia and other post-Soviet states.
This, among other things, leads to the phenomenon of modernity as “virtualization of politics” - people start to hysteria about the information that they draw on Facebook or on other resources, trusting stuffing and outright fakes. They are not able to separate reality from fiction, to look critically at phenomena and processes.
By the way, this also applies to our officials, many of whom are on Facebook and clearly overestimate its capabilities and threats: “Oh, they wrote in the tape that tens of thousands of people will go to the demonstration tomorrow! What to do, what to do?
First, do not need hysteria. In the same Facebook, for example, a million 200 thousand people are registered. There are really no more than 125 thousands of writers among them, and most of them are so-called bots, advertisers, etc.
And our officials perceive their activity as a real policy, they seriously study trends and frighten themselves.
- Do you mean an epic with “land rallies”? They, as far as we know, actively unwound through social networks?
- Including. The picture emerges as follows: the mind, indignant, boiled over, people actively "weed" calls for rallies, but that was all. As a result, 21 May in the same Astana was waiting for the protesters, but mostly journalists came to Baiterek, who became “victims of the arbitrariness of the law enforcement officers”.
“This is as far as Astana is concerned, but, you see, in general, the excitement formed around the“ land issue ”, largely artificial, created serious tension in the society and became a cause for real concern of the authorities.
- Let's take a closer look at where the legs of this problem grow from: April 24 held a rather numerous rally in Atyrau and small pickets in a number of other cities. Then there was an attempt to organize mass protests in Almaty and Astana, in other cities scheduled for May 21.
The topic was really actively unwound by the organizers in social networks.
But as a result, the rally failed in Astana and other cities. And the scale of that which took place in Almaty is greatly exaggerated. I do not know where the data on the “thousands of detainees” from which the representatives of the opposition operate come from. There was no such amount in sight. We all know the Abai-Furmanov intersection in Almaty, if there were a thousand people there, people and adjacent neighborhoods would be filled with people. But this was not. I believe that the number of protesters across the country hardly exceeded 1000 people. There were more pretentious posts on Facebook.
For the Russian audience, I will explain some "nuances". I know many of the Atyrau activists who were at the forefront of the action. All of them represent the interests of certain NGOs, and not even political, but environmental ones. For a number of years, their activities were aimed at working with large foreign investor companies operating in the Atyrau hydrocarbon market, under noble slogans of environmental protection, the struggle for nature conservation, etc.
On this, people lived safely for decades, creating a viable “protest machine” in the region, which can be launched for any reason.
This year, at the elections to Maslikhats, the aforementioned activists suffered a fiasco and decided to pour out their grievances, leading the protest actions on an internal problem. And, it seems, they themselves did not expect that this wave would be picked up. This is also connected with the trend of “Chinese phobia”, which is provoked by certain political circles, including oppositionists.
Who currently represents the opposition elite in Kazakhstan? This movement "Alash Zholy" - national populists, the former "Algovtsy", plus the representatives of the NSDP in the regions. Initially, they had nothing to do with the rallies, but as the topic was actively promoted, they actively supported it and now began to collect the fruits - to promote themselves, to receive certain “political buns”.
In this process, the actions of the authorities that promptly reacted to the situation are indicative. A Commission on Land Reform was created, which included officials, farmers, and public figures, including the opposition. Public discussions of the issue took place in the regions, and a collection of opinions and suggestions from the public was organized through special call centers.
But what is curious: 79% of calls received by phones from citizens correlate with the “land issue” exclusively in terms of the problems of individual housing construction. Interest in the topic in the context of the development of the domestic agrarian sector is shown only by 4-5% of subscribers.
That is, what will happen with agriculture, with the peasants, people, as it turned out, are not interested and do not care.
An example from practice: I sit at home, work, all of a sudden a call: “Marat, people gathered at the akimat about the land, you, as a member of the public council and a member of the land commission, urgently go there, you need to reassure the people.”
We come running with our colleagues, it turns out, through the social networks they have made a newsletter that in akimats they give 10 a hundred square meters of land, and half the country has taken it! All rushed to get their ten acres. Only in Almaty about 20 thousands of applications were received regarding the plots for individual housing construction!
It turns out that citizens patriotically beat themselves in the chest, they say, we are against private ownership of the land, but my 10 are, we have to give!
- You have brought very illustrative examples. But overall, Marat, taking into account the marked trend of “virtualization of politics” and precedents of the active inclusion of a large number of citizens in the development of the provocative themes, are more serious actions of influence possible in Kazakhstan to destabilize the situation in the country, unconstitutional change of power, etc.?
- I personally do not support conspiracy theories, I don’t like the theme of “color revolutions” and I think that the indication as the main reasons for such activities of NGOs, the influence of political technologies and the like is media noise.
Actually, such cataclysms are possible if there are two conditions: a split in the elite and betrayal of the siloviki. This is what we have seen everywhere: from Egypt and Tunisia to Kyrgyzstan.
Among the prerequisites are also the dependence of the state economy on guest workers, that is, on people who are outside the country; small scale of state and quasi-public sector; the presence of numerous oligarchs and large-scale shadow economy.
Based on the above criteria, is a “color revolution” possible in Kazakhstan?
I suppose not.
In reality, 9 millions of economically active population of 5 millions work for the state, including the giant quasi-public sector. There are practically no Kazakhstani guest workers. The activities of a few oligarchs, as they say, in plain sight. Plus - the ability of the authorities to take decisive action.
Well, also our president is not Akayev and Yanukovych. And the environment is different, no one is going to run away.
That is, the chances for a “color revolution” in Kazakhstan, in my opinion, are minimal. For this, numerous and quite unfavorable circumstances must come together. But it could just as well happen in the United States. We see what is happening there now.
“But nowadays there are plenty of examples of how external factors influence the destabilization of the situation in various states. One of such factors is terrorism, the manifestations of which recently took place in Aktobe, and precedents are also known in the earlier period. How relevant is the threat of terrorism for Kazakhstan?
- Terrorism is a global threat that is relevant to all states of the world without exception. And this is also a mass of evidence. In our republic history terrorist activity can be divided into several stages. If at the dawn of independence it was mainly "external" terrorism - representatives of the Islamic Party of Eastern Turkestan, Chechen militants and representatives of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan were operating on our territory, then later "home-grown" terrorists appeared. Their critical mass has increased by the 2011-2012 years. The last, until recent terrorist attack in Aktobe, a terrorist act took place in 2012 year. And the fact that for three and a half years there were no terrorist attacks on the territory of the country is an encouraging indicator.
In principle, Aktobe is an accident from which no country in the world is insured.
In Kazakhstan, around 350-400 convicted terrorists are serving sentences. That is, it is a very small percentage of the total population. Although it is no reason to ignore the problem.
It should be noted that after 2012, law enforcement and intelligence agencies successfully tracked terrorists on the facts of acquisition weapons. This time the criminals did not follow the thumbnail, they decided to take the weapon themselves.
This is another lesson to the special services, a signal that terrorists and extremists are acting more and more sophisticated methods.
The indisputable advantage of the situation in this area in Kazakhstan is that there is no large grouping here that opposes the authorities, there are only relatively few scattered groups. But they, as a rule, are unpredictable in their actions. This is the main danger.
Therefore, I do not exclude that in the long term terrorist acts on the territory of the republic will still take place in the form of single attacks.