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PROSPERITY, SECURITY AND EVER GROWING WELFARE OF ALL THE KAZAKHSTANIS
Message of the President of the country to the people of
WE ARE IN FOR A NEW CENTURY,
NEW TIMES ARE COMING...
EACH EPOCH SETS ITS OWN GOALS
NOTHING IS MORE REMOTE AS YESTERDAY,
NOTHING IS MORE CLOSE THAN TOMORROW
Kazakh folk proverb
I appeal to you, the people of
Time has come to say once and for all what future we want to build for us and for our children. What do we need it for? I believe, with each of us there has ripened a profound awareness of the fact that one can no longer live for the day only, merely in an incessant turmoil of settling present day tasks.
We must have a clear-cut knowledge and understanding of what we mean to construct, what should be the trajectory, the highway of our development which is to ensure our gaming the objetives we've set. Through correct identification of our priorities, in choosing relevant strategies, by manifesting our firm will and persistence in following this path, we shall dispense with unnecessary off-tracking, with waste of energy, time and resources. When provided with well-considered strategy and firmness of purpose in accomplishing our goals, we shall be able to overcome any serious obstacles blocking our way.
Hard conditions we have to tackle with today must not deprive us of hope and enthusiasm. Clear awareness of our prospects, honest presentation of eventual difficulties and privations empeding our way will help in mobilizing the efforts of all the citizens of our society for settling this task common to all. We must well remeber that apart from the goals set for the period of today, our generation bears tremendous responsibility to future generations, it is in fact responsibility of parents and grandparents to their children and grandchildren.
What will our children and grandchildren be - the way we want to see them in that remote future - when they are our age? Will they be well-off, well-fed, healthy and well-educated? Will they live in a prosperous and democratic society? Will they live in peace? Will they feel safe, safe as to themselves and to their children? Will they be able to feel safe walking along the streets, feel safe for their property? Indeed, will they succeed to a strong state and to friendly relations with their neighbours, whether remote or close? It is today that we must answer these seemingly simple but pretty important questions. Once some man of wisdom remarked that if one doesn't know his way, he may reach the goal following any path. Having this in mind we must always have a clear-cut vision of the model of the future presented both generally and as specific short-term objectives. What's the wherefore of it? Taking some actions we shall permanently stick to a certain standard to verify the way we follow, whether we make progress or move off track, whether we outstrip the developments or lag behind them.
When mentally contrasting every passing day with the day to come, with the process being repeated time and again, one comes to somewhat different perception of the scope and import of problems set ahead. When we feel ourselves a part of the world and of the planet at large, we can't help feeling the nagging breath of the new epoch and new times drawing ever near.
Sure enough, we may and ought to study the experience of other countries and take advantage of auspicious tendencies in the world community. Yet only we, none other than we, are capable of coping with this enormous work which is indispensable for the implementation of our dream of and hope for building the Kazakhstan, which our children and grandchildren will be proud of when they are our age. Why is it particularly today that we set this task? It is because we were not ready for this yesterday, we were short of both experience and knowledge, we could hardly afford it because of unfavourable circumstances and all sorts of instabilities. And the task itself was quite different. The essence of the preceding period consisted in eventual survival of an independent state in stormy conditions of the budding transition period. Many prognosticated that we shall be a sheer failure, that we shall not cope with unprecedentedly tremendous tasks of building a state, that our social and economic transformations will collapse altogether. Yet, even today, it is quite clear that we have withstood the first trial with flying colours. Here we are - alive and kicking. Notwithstanding all the obstacles we safely emerged from the abyss of chaos and disorder. At present we pass over to the stage of stabilization. The fact that we have successfully settled our most urgent and paramount problems gives us a chance of retrospective analysis, of trustworthy evaluation of the way we've passed. From now on we can afford facing the future, contemplating perspective development, making elaborate plans. An experience in achieving our statehood, in implementing political and economic reforms, knowledge about the world and the laws that govern it, tolerance and understanding of the Kazakhstanis - all these gains won in the most arduous conditions make us ever stronger and more confident. Frankly speaking, we cannot afford putting off solution of this task for tomorrow, we can't afford waiting for the completion of our reforms. In other words it was too early yesterday but it might be too late tomorrow. A well-considered strategic plan summons one's efforts, it makes one more disciplined, enhances one's activity.
Such plan concentrates the attention of the state on a pretty narrow range of priorities, thus urging the Government to daily settle these tasks and strategies. Finally, it enhances daily and annual activities which -in the long run--would bring us to scoring our goals. Yet it is far from enough. Just as essential is to put these guidelines into practice, to realize the plans we contemplate. That's why it is utterly indispensable to set up a system in which each and every ministry and department would organize its work in such a way that each day, month and year could bring us ever nearer to the objectives we've set. Every day public servants must have the awareness of the strategic goals and priorities, and settle them without wasting their time in meddling with minor, daily chores. The laws and decisions we adopt must be correlated with our strategy whereas the work proper-be concentrated and purposeful. From the next year onwards our annual plans must meet our long-term priorities. More than that: a system of monitoring must answer the question - how far we have advanced in gaining the objectives we've set. Which is why we need a system of strategic planning, strategic control, accountability and responsibility. The main prerequisite for our sustainable, steady progress is consolidation of our society in achieving the goals we've set, unity of all the walks and groups of population as to the strategy aimed at settling common problems. It will become well feasible if we duly take into consideration needs of the society in general and various groups of the population in particular, if we identify relevant priorities and ensure realization thereof.
This should be done in an atmosphere of cooperation between the state, particular groups of the population and the private sector. This Message has been elaborated within the framework of my Constitutional duty to address annually to the people of Kazakhstan concerning basic trends in domestic and foreign policy. Yet, as I've mentioned above, our state and the society at large need a more global vision and a strategy to be guided by as a coordinate system which would enable us to draw up our annual plans of actions. That is why these issues are given particular consideration in the Message. Subsequent annual Messages of the President to the people of Kazakhstan devoted to major trends in the domestic and foreign policy will contain evaluation of implementation of the long-term strategy. Along with this they will identify specific objectives for the year to come.
1. WHAT ARE OUR WHEREABOUTS FOR TODAY?
THERE OCCURS A MOMENT OF HIGH TIDE IN A MAN'S LIFE
WHICH BRINGS LUCK IF ONE AVAILS OF IT.
BUT IF ONE MISSES IT, HE WILL HAPPEN TO FOLLOW
A WAY OF SHALLOW WATERS AND DISASTER.
BRIGHT OPPORTUNITIES COME TO ALL BUT
ALL TOO MANY DON'T EVEN SUSPECT THAT HAVE ENCOUNTERED THEM.
All along the latest six years we were involved in pursuing two major strategic goals.
First, Kazakhstan became a sovereign independent state. Today many take the fact for granted but the Kazakhstanis must have remembered that it was a fairly rare occurrence in our history.
Second, we have embarked on the way of implementing broad-scale social, political and economic transformations. The said goals are not yet scored though some areas clearly manifest tangible results.
Now, it is important to give this situation a profound consideration, to analyse our development from the point of view of world expertise and - consequently - to compare the progress of our transformations and that of forming our new institutions with the best world experience. Just as essential for us is to analyse our advantages and flaws.
Such work would serve an indispensable prelude to elaborating our own strategy. I'd like to start from analysing our domestic advantages and external opportunities which Kazakhstan enjoys as well as our weakest points and troubles we anticipate from without. As a matter of fact, our country may be proud of eight advantages.
First, we've laid the foundation of our independent sovereign state. We have already set up all the requisite state institutions and each passing month brings ever greater experience and knowledge. Yet development of our state is far from completion.
Second, we have parted with our former political and economic system for good and all. I mean the system that for seventy years dominated our lives. Today we have an altogether new state, and an utterly different political and economic system is at work now.
Third, under the influence of transformations unfolding in our society we all, though wholly unawares, have changed dramatically, while getting used to a qualitatively different system of values and to an altogether new standard of human relations. In short, we have become free. State-and-collective world outlook was replaced by a private-and-individual one and the event reversed each and every aspect of our life.
Sure enough, the discarded system offered more secure minimum social benefits and was a success in a number of fields. However, we must remember that this system fell apart because it proved to be noncompetitive from the economic point of view. It obviously failed on the social level too because living standards of the most people lagged behind those abroad. Likewise it meant frustration with reference to a man as a personality who was denied basic freedoms. With time our own experience is sure to prove that free market economy and democratically elected government are capable of bringing prosperity and freedom to Kazakhstan. During the transition period our citizens have suffered much and sacrificed just as much. Yet, we do all this not only for our own benefit but for the benefit of our children and grandchildren, first and foremost.
Fourth, one of our basic assets is undoubtedly quality of our population, that is of our human resources. By right, we may be proud of a highly educated population with a pretty high standard of scientific and creative potential. Few countries can boast of it and many strive to achieve such standard as one of their strategic goals. This indeed is a tremendous achievement of our people... and of the former system for that matter. We must do our utmost to further develop this invaluable asset of ours and grant it ever new, ever civilized opportunities of development.
Fifth, our natural resources are an enormous wealth. Yet, paradoxical as it is, the world experience testifies to the fact that many a country possessing substantial natural resources failed to dispose of them in the best possible way and - consequently - to this day they rate as poor. East-Asian countries marked with most effective and dynamic development happened to be the countries which could hardly boast of natural resources. All this is but to emphasize the fact that actually paramount factors are people themselves, their willpower, energy, persistence and knowledge. In fact, it is the very "key of gold" that would enable us open the door to welfare and independence.
However, a negative world experience is also a good teacher. It shows quite unequivocally that absence of strategies or that of the ability of realization thereof outweighs the notorious potential of natural resources. Hence-the major conclusion we have to make-we have to work out a well-considered strategy and to persistently put it into practice in defiance of all the difficulties. The wealth of the entrails of the earth is the property of all subsequent generations. However the circumstance must not lull us to relaxation. On the contrary, all of us, the Government included, must live and work as though we never possessed it.
Sixth, a truly omnipotent factor represented by our vast land areas, our arable lands. We have many parameters in common with Canada and Australia save for one though capital index-the level of their effectiveness, productivity and exporting potential. Here again, the main, the essential is a realistic and effective strategy, people and financial assets.
The seventh advantage consists in our political stability and in unity of our society. We are by right proud of the fact that we managed to escape direct confrontation within the society and stabilize the situation. Unfortunately many a developed and post-Communist country failed to gain the same.
However, so far there is a long way to go to gain the overall stability, the more so-consolidation and unity, and we have to do much for us to feel a single family, to know our objectives and to gain coordination in advancing thereto. Yet, the aim is not equality in poverty and misery, in constructing a new system of egalitarianism.
Naturally, it is out of the question that some ethnic or religious groups be granted any priorities against the other ones. Our strategic objective is a unity of multiform groups of the population, reasonable combination of personal and social fundamentals which add substantially to consensus and hierarchic traditions of our society. A society in which a dramatically huge gap separates a small group of the rich from masses of poor people will never survive and is doomed to misery. Just as equally there is no future for the country in which various ethnic and religious groups exercise different rights, in which some groups are granted all sorts of benefits and opportunities whereas the others are denied same, where political parties and movements tear the society apart, where there exists enormous unbalance between freedom and responsibilities of mass media, between liberalism and democracy and the might of the state. We have already suffered from one extreme, God beware us of running to another. I think that awareness of these sensible things has already fixed up in social consciousness.
Eight, I'd like to put particular emphasis on tolerance and patience of the Kazakhstanis, on their cordiality and affability. It is witnessed by all foreigners. I am only too grateful to my country-men for their enduring all the hardships and privations of the transition period with such understanding and patience and I deem these qualities to be a serious pledge of our success, of the consolidation of the society, of attracting foreign investments and involvement of the world community in settling our problems.
Along with all these advantages, we can enjoy quite a number of opportunities of purely external nature. The opportunities of that sort are determined, first and foremost, by the geographical, geopolitical and economic position of the country. It is worth while to distinguish three basic opportunities for Kazakhstan. The first opportunity stems from our geographical position on the very crossroads in the Eurasian region.
The process of globalization of international economic and political processes makes this factor a paramount one. Being a member of the single family of Turkic peoples, our forefathers used this important strategic factor to advantage: all along the legendary Silk Route they set up a broad channel of trade between European and Asian countries.
Today we initiate its restoration in cooperation with other countries pertaining to our region and substantiated by support extended by the world community. It goes without saying, that in future the system of trade, financial flows and migration of people between Europe and Asia would be on the rise. Actually it is the very reason, apart from politically stabilizing factors, which prompted me to advance and to further develop the idea of Eurasianism, which has, I am sure, a bright strategic future. Single-handed, Kazakhstan, as any other contiguous country, is unable to realize its profitable transit potential. It must be done jointly, in close and mutually advantageous cooperation.
Situated on such cross-roads we do afford a tremendous potential of major marketing areas for our produce all along the perimeter of our borders. Neighbouring markets embracing about 2,000,000,000 people are capable of absorbing- with a rare exception-any Kazakhstani product, provided, naturally, that it is competible and there is a network of related transport routes. These neighbours, more particularly Russia, China, a group of Islamic and Central Asian states, countries of the Near and Middle East, historically represent important world centres.
Establishing peace and good-neighbourly relations of confidence on the whole of the Eurasian continent is an indispensable prerequisite for successful development. Countries involved in wars, rivalry, competition and confrontation would impermissibly waste their resources, time and energy thus being doomed to stagnation and lagging behind.
Second, support lent on the part of foreign states and donor agencies to substantiate laborious processes of state construction and implementation of reforms offers us additional opportunities. When compared, quite a number of countries are less fortunate than ours. This factor, more particularly, at the initial stage of the transition period is very important for us because we do need financial assets and knowledge from without.
Third, the process of globalization and scientific and technical progress, especially in the development of new informational and telecommunication technologies, offers unique opportunities for such vast and thinly populated country as ours. Yet nothing guarantees that we shall keep abreast with these processes rather than lag behind them.
Consequently, it is utterly indispensable to understand these technologies, to succeed in complete integration thereof in our society and to support scientific and technological personnel. When speaking about negative features of our present-day reality, one should make note of the fact that many of our weak points are of temporary and transitory nature, rather they result from Soviet legacy and hardships of the arduous transition period.
First, our mentality is shaped up by several generations of people who were brought up in the spirit of Communist principles. Some people enthusiastically took advantage of recent changes, but quite many didn't. People are influenced by subjective and objective factors, they are slow to adapting themselves to eventual changes. As of old, they are waiting for assistance to be rendered on the part of the state in solving their problems.
Such philosophy and outlook prevent them from coping with the new difficulties, they deprive them of energy and wish to undertake actions on their own. It is but an open secret that many officials do not understand as yet that today the role of the state doesn't consist in taking decisions which should be taken by people themselves. On the contrary, it must consist primarily in shaping up conditions in which free citizens and the private sector will be able to take effective measures in support of their families and themselves.
We must be patient in our transforming mass consciousness. In this we must seek support in the younger generation which is more flexible in adapting to the new system of values and has a fresh vision of the future. In fact the state is unable to reverse established human mentality overnight. However, the state is capable of accelerating the process of changes through elucidation of objective trends, through bringing home essential information and-most importantly-by way of implementing social and economic policie aimed at self-sufficiency. It would take decades until a new world outlook comes into existence with us.
Second. Objectively, realization of economic reforms, disintegration of the USSR and integration of Kazakhstani economy in the system of world economic relations couldn't help resulting in substantial downfall in volumes of production and- consequently-in deterioration of overall social situation. A good portion of technologically outdated and power-consuming industries, poorly trained, hardly coping with new conditions economic management-such are basic factors that brought about non-competitiveness, shut-down of numerous enterprises, losses in traditional marketing areas, nonpayments and production downfalls. As consequence within the last eight years our country suffered from a more than two-fold decline in the level of production while budget receipts suffered ever greater reduction. If we remember that the said downfall coincided in time with high rates of economic growth in many developing countries, then the implication is that in relative terms our economy suffers from a more than three-fold lagging behind. It is only natural that such figures make us act as effectively and energetically as ever.
Third. As a result of the economic downfall we witness obvious deterioration in incomes and in living standards of most our citizens. Elimination of egalitarianism and creation of an actively functioning labour market resulted in an ever growing gap between the rich and the poor. Unfortunately, the section of the middle class-major support of the state and basic stabilization factor of the society-is quite insignificant.
Fourth. National savings and accumulation of capital which must act as a motive force in the economy proceed rather slowly. Consequently, short of internal capital and savings, Kazakhstan became ever more dependent on the foreign capital, both on the private one and on the international financial agencies. Further rehabilitation of the economy depends on a massive influx of investments which is possible only on condition of eventual improvement in the investment climate.
Fifth, painful transition from the command-and-administrative economy to the market one has given birth to most acute problems of poverty and unemployment hitherto unknown to us on such a wide range. They pave the way for crime and narcomania, they give rise to social depression and build up a potential for social instability. Quite tangible unemployment combined with delayed payments of pensions and wages is generated mostly by economic problems, shortage of financial capital and strategies inefficient in their solutions. Lack of effective programmes for reforming agrarian and social sectors (health care, education, science, etc.) and reduction of budget allocations in crucial conditions of the transition period has brought about deterioration and stagnation in these vital areas of our society. All these processes naturally generate the sixth weak point of ours-demographic depopulation which is fairly dangerous in any of its manifestations.
For the first ever time, over the last 50 post-war years, starting from 1992, we witness a decrease in our population. Just as negative is the seventh aspect-a poorly prepared and inefficiently organized state. Yet, we can't regard it as a purely Kazakhstani feature. In fact, all post-colonial, developing and post-Communist countries had to counter that phenomenon. Today solution of many a problem depends on this factor and it would take quite a time to cope with it. So far, we are miserably short of people capable of settling strategic problems, of doing it honestly, with a sense of patriotism and on a high professional level.
Long-standing habits of petty interference with all the affairs, altogether unnecessary and harmful halo of secrecy prompting concealment of information from the society and even from each other, bureaucracy and localistic tendencies, nepotism and clannishness, collective irresponsibility, dullness and inertia, inadequate multi-stage hierarchies, corruption - this is but a far from complete "bunch of virtues" of our bureaucracy brought up by the former regime and coming to the fore in the last years to acquire overt, undisguised forms. Another aspect of the problem is surely a painfully low quality of our corps of enterprise managers. Much has been done though to address the situation, and every now and then we had to resort to a sort of an administrative surgery.
But one thing is obvious - this problem is one of the first priorities. As the Head of State I must say the following: we thought it reasonable to spare a certain time for our officials to adapt to the situation and we did it. By now this term has already expired and we cannot afford being kind-hearted at the expense of other people, endangering the destiny of the country. Besides it does affect development of the country. We have to most seriously undermine this potential for reproduction of pernicious habits and step up capital reforms among the government staff and that of civil servants.
Finally, we must pay most serious attention to the incompleteness and instability of our legislation. It is not enough to build a foundation-it must be substantiated with floors, walls, roof and all. This is a fairly important issue whose solution determines improvement of the investment climate, reduction of poverty, elimination of crime and development of our social sphere. I enumerated these negative factors along with the positive ones in order to outline the tasks we'll have to tackle when implementing our national strategy. In identifying advantages and opportunities as well as weak points and potential troubles threatening our country, one has to bear in mind that they are dynamic in time and dialectically interrelated. An opportunity may turn into a trouble and vice versa. What is an advantage today might transform itself into a flaw and vice versa. Just how effectively we succeed in availing of the opportunities and in neutralizing troubles, in raising our assets and lowering our liabilities-all these depend on ourselves, on this specific way in which we set our goals and priorities, on timeliness and flexibility in implementation thereof.
2. KAZAKHSTAN'S MISSION
GIVE SOME THOUGHT TO WHAT LIES AHEAD
AND CHOOSING A GOOD AIM PURSUE IT TO THE END
WHEN A SHIP HAS NO KNOWLEDGE
WHAT PORT IT IS BOUND FOR, NO WIND WILL BE FAIR
Today we are on the threshold of great opportunities. Many of you know that some of the poorest countries in Asia extricated themselves of poverty within some thirty years to turn into prosperous industrial states. Korea, Taiwan and Singapore were pioneers, so say, followed by Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Our great neighbour, China, demonstrates amazing rates of growth. Likewise manifesting their power and abilities are India and Brazil. We are full of hope and confidence that friendly Russia too would soon acquire a new image of a great country.
Forty years ago when Singapore gained its independence, it was one of the poorest countries in the world with an annual per capita income less than $200. Today the per capita income of Singaporeans exceeds $20,000. Malaysia, a country similar to ours with respect to the population, ethnic composition and many other parameters, gained a 10-fold rise in living standards of its citizens within less than twenty years. Such staggering achievements made these countries world famous assigning them the name of Asian Tigers. Are there any obstacles which might prevent Kazakhstan availing of fine opportunities from scoring the same success? None whatsoever.
'I, for my part, am sure that by the year of 2030 Kazakhstan would have become a Central-Asian Snow Leopard and would serve a fine example to be followed by other developing countries. Tigers are not found in Kazakhstan while the Show Leopard inhabiting our mountains is but a stranger in the wold community. Though a relation to the Tiger in the animal kingdom, Snow Leopard bears some substantial distinctions therefrom. It will be virtually a Kazakhstani Snow Leopard with inherent elitarianism, sense of independence, intelligence, courage and nobleness, bravery and cunning. It will never be the first to attack anyone, ever prone to avoiding direct clashes.
However, any time when his freedom, habitation or descendants come to be threatened, the animal would defend them with all its might. The animal must be wiry and springy, it must not suffer from obesity and laziness for otherwise it would hardly survive in severe environment. He will be persistent and stubborn in mastering ever new peaks, in its indefatigable search for secret but sure paths that lead to the goal. He will neither be frightened by severe cold of threats nor made soft in intolerable heat of opportunities. He will exercise fine wisdom in bringing up its descendants: he would protect them against unwelcome visitor, he would share most tasty morcels with them attending to their health, education and world outlook thus preparing them for an early life of their own in conditions of ruthless competition in any environment. He would keep vigilant watch so that the water he drinks be pure and the environment he inhabits and the air he breathes be clear and healthy.
Kazakhstani Snow Leopard would also possess western elegance multiplied by the advanced level of development, oriental wisdom and endurance. He will be all at one in his strivings, victories and failures with his brothers brought up by a single mother, i. e. by Uzbek, Kyrghyz and other Central Asian Snow Leopards. He will be ever proud of their progress and achievements. But such Kazakhstan of 2030 will not shape up all by itself. We shall build it proceeding from our intentions and our will to succeed. If we don't avail of this opportunity, if we waste days and weeks without making plans for the future, without thinking of the future nor taking specific actions today, then we shall blame none but ourselves if we are a failure.
Nothing comes easily and at once. Objectively inherent to a successful and stable development are certain stages which defy overskipping at one stroke. We shall be unable to build a powerful state and its armed forces, to solve demographic, ecological and social problems, to raise the living standards of each and every person if Kazakhstan fails in shaping up a healthy, prosperous economy. In its turn, achieving high rates of economic growth demands political stability, energetic and purposeful reforms. This would require a highly professional, intelligent, courageous and patriotically minded Government capable of pursuing the right policy, of overcoming resistence offered by the old and the discarded, of inspiring the doubtful.
Success of these enormous efforts depends on the support extended by the Kazakhstani citizens. Yet it would be extended when people witness real improvement and justice. That's why ever growing well-being of people must be the basis of our everyday activities whereas our combatting corruption must be resolute and uncompromising. To build such future and not to go astray, we must have a clear vision of what we actually want. That's why when speaking about a long-term period, I, as the Head of State suggest the following as the mission of our country: to build an independent, prosperous and politically stable Kazakhstan with its inherent national unity, social justice and economic well-being of the entire population.
Prosperity, security and raising the living standards of all the Kazakhstanis-such are key words to characterize Kazakhstan we all want to build. In process of our advancement into the XXIst century they must remain our guides. What is Kazakhstan of 2030 the way I visualize it? Our young state would grow up and reach its manhood and with it our children and grandchildren would also become grown up people.
They would be responsible and enthusiastic representatives of their generation, would be in the prime of their life. They would be well-educated and healthy. They would be prepared to work in conditions of modern market economy sticking though to the traditions of their forefathers. They would have an equally good command of the Kazakh, Russian and English languages. They would be patriots of their peaceful, prosperous, rapidly growing country well-known and respected all over world. Our children would become highly skilled workers and farmers, engineers, bankers, men-of-arts, owners of shops, teachers and doctors, owners of plants and factories, stock brokers and sportsmen. They would produce oil, gas, electric power, manufacture various food items and supply all these to the world economy. Some of the Kazakhstanis would become producers of hightech commodities and such other items of produce, all - in demand on the world market owing to low price and excellent quality.
Certain representatives of our younger generation would become civil servants. Working in conditions of a new epoch they would be well-paid, professionally trained experts who would rate interests of Kazakhstan and the Kazakhstanis superior to their own ones. Citizens living in the year of 2030 would be sure that the state would protect their rights and uphold their interests. More than that: they would know that the state would take care of the few who - by virtue of some unfavourable circumstances-failed to win a proper place in the sun and had to appeal to the state for social aid. Kazakhstan of 2030 must be a clean and green country with clear air and pure waters. Industrial waste and radiation would no longer enter its homes and gardens. Our children and children of our children would live a full value life in healthy conditions. In the year of 2030 our descendants would live in a country which would no longer stay in the background of world developments. The Kazakhstan of theirs, being the centre of Eurasia, would play the part of a connecting link between the three rapidly growing regions - China, Russia and the Moslem world.
It would be inhabited by representatives of numerous nationalities sure of equal opportunities enjoyed by all the nations but deeming themselves to be citizens of Kazakhstan, first and foremost. I am afraid though that Kazakhstan of 2030 would not as yet be an epitome of perfection. It would not be the richest, the most educated, the most advanced country in the world but, nevertheless, it would be a country that has covered a long way with flying colours and is now entering the future with firm confident steps.
Sure enough all this is but a vision of the future, a model thereof, an ideal objective and a dream. Obviously many of you would just give a bitter chuckle, they would think it a sheer Utopia comparing this ideal picture with the present day reality when people are short of basic things. No, it is not so. My vision is quite attainable and the world experience supports feasibility of such plans. Yes, today many of us have it very hard. But when was it easy? Was it easy with our fathers and grandfathers all along this century, say, in the years of the Civil war, at times of famine and starvation, at those of mass repressions, in the years of the Great Patriotic war and in conditions of the post-war devastation? I don't think people had it easy in either the last or prelast century.
Naturally now it is but a mere history. Yet even today each year our planet as a witness to 800,000,000 of those who starve or can't get enough to eat, many hundreds of millions of people have no roof over their heads. Millions perish in murderous wars. Why then some of us sigh and moan wasting their precious energy to empty battles and grumbling? I don't believe that we have such a short memory not to remember that whatever the trials we always came out victorious owing to our consolidation, enthusiasm and faith in the future. We worked several days on end, starved ourselves giving all to children and were dead sure that they will have a better lot. What prevents us from doing it today and tomorrow? Why are we so despondent and losing heart?! And this - at the time when such bright vistas open to the country and to each of us.
Bright vistas and vast opportunities whose main medium is freedom- the very thing we couldn't afford before. All depends on ourselves only, on our faith. And enthusiasm. Cohesion and labour. "Don't ask what country can do for you, you'd better ask what you can do for the country". These words uttered by John Kennedy in his appeal to the American people sound today as topical as ever.
3. LONG-TERM PRIORITIES AND STRATEGIES OF REALIZATION THEREOF
THE MAIN THING IN THE WORLD OF OURS IS NOT
WHERE WE STAND BUT RATHER
IN WHAT DIRECTION WE ADVANCE
For our country to achieve the prospects I mentioned above we have to implement the following long-term priorities:
1. NATIONAL SECURITY: Ensure development of Kazakhstan as an independent sovereign state preserving its complete territorial integrity.
2. DOMESTIC POLITICAL STABILITY AND CONSOLIDATION OF THE SOCIETY: Safeguard and strengthen domestic political stability and national unity. It would enable Kazakhstan put the national strategy into practice in the course of the current and the upcoming decade.
3. ECONOMIC GROWTH BASED ON AN OPEN MARKET ECONOMY WITH HIGH LEVEL OF FOREIGN INVESTMENTS AND INTERNAL SAVINGS. Gain realistic, stable and steadily growing rates of economic growth.
4. HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELL-BEING OF KA2AKHSTANI CITIZENS: Consistently improve standards of life, health, education and opportunities of the Kazakhstanis. Improve natural enviroment in the country.
5. POWER RESOURCES: Effectively utilize power resources of Kazakhstan through rapid increase in extracting and exporting oil and gas with the aim of gaining revenues which would enhance stable economic growth and improvement of living standards of the people.
6. INFRACTRUCTURE, MORE PARTICULARLY TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION: Develop these key sectors in such a way that they add to strengthening of national security, political stability and economic growth.
7. PROFESSIONAL STATE: Establish an effective and up-to-date corps of civil servants and state-owned formations of Kazakhstan loyal to the cause they serve to and capable of acting as representatives of the people in achieving our priorities. For each of' these long-term priorities we must elaborate and consistently implement a special strategy concentrating our efforts on specific actions outlined in one-year, three-year and, finally, five-year plans. These long-term priorities must serve the purpose of focusing the efforts exerted by both the state and our citizens, they must make the basis of criteria in forming the budget of the country and personnel policy.
LONG-TERM PRIORITY 1:
EXTRA CAUTION PREVENTS EXTRA DISASTER
The entire historic experience in developing human civilization testifies to the fact that the first and foremost of all the prerequisite conditions which determines consistent and sustainable growth of the state is security of its nation and preservation of statehood.
It is not enough to gain freedom and independence, one should uphold and strengthen them and pass over to our descendants. Future generations would forgive us all those hardships, privations and problems that fell to our lot and the fact that we failed in overcoming them.
But we shall vainly await forgiveness if we lose our statehood, if we waive strategic fundamentals of sovereignty, our lands and resources. It is only natural that this logic in the vision of the perspective must be permanent in time whatever the internal and external circumstances as for the strategic course of Kazakhstan policy for a long-term period. In fact it is the topmost strategic priority in Kazakhstan's development up to 2030.
Priority status of security is obvious: if the country fails to survive, to preserve its security, we shall hardly be able to speak of the plans of sustained development. A retrospective look at the conception and subsequent development of the state of our forefathers graphically substantiates the fact that they waged a historically difficult and tough struggle for the benefit of their descendants and for the preservation of their statehood. And the necessity of incessant search for the solution of this strategic goal urges us to undertake a well-considered and adequate evaluation of the present day situation in the parity of geostrategic forces and trends in the changes thereof.
We understand only too well that all possible potential troubles threatening national security of Kazakhstan at present and in the nearest future do not imply and will never imply a direct military invasion or a threat to the territorial integrity of the state. It is perfectly clear that neither Russia, nor China, nor the West, nor any Moslem country has any impelling motive to attack us. And this relatively predictable state of calm and stability must be made use of to effectively strengthen economic potential of Kazakhstan which would serve the basis for our building a reliable system of national security.
To ensure our independence and territorial integrity, we .must be a strong state and maintain friendly relations with our neighbours, which is why we shall develop and consolidate relations of confidence and equality with our closest and historically equal neighbour - Russia. Likewise we shall develop just as confident and good-neighbourly relations with the PRC on a mutually advantageous basis. Kazakhstan welcomes the policy pursued by China for it is aimed against hegemonism and favours frienship with neighbouring countres.
Just as actively we shall consolidate our links and integration processes with Central-Asian states. No less active should be the level of strengthening reations with the countries of the Near and Middle East.
The second component of our strategy consists in strengthening relations with major industrial democratic states including the United States of America. By and by these countries come to the awareness of the fact that emergence of an independent prosperous Kazakhstan meets their national interests.
Third, in every possible way we shall use the assistance and promotion granted by such international institutions and forums as the UNO, the IMF, the World Bank, the Asian, European and Islamic banks of development as it will secure support extended to Kazakhstan on the part of the world community.
The fourth element of our strategy consists in developing rich natural resources which may serve a reliable basis for the protection of national sovereignity and territorial integrity.
Fifth-with all Kazakhstani citizens we must develop a strong sense of patriotism and love to their country. Long-standing firm links between the people and the state have become rather lax while the new ones i.e. those between personal and national interests have not yet established.
Fortunately, there appeared an understanding of commonness of interests of the people and the state. I have no doubt that such awareness would strengthen as living standards of people would experience improvement. In its turn it would enhance perception of such seemingly simple wisdom as, say, this: welfare of every citizen depends on sovereignty and security of the state he lives in.
Once our collective security is ensured, each and every would gain far more than when only one's personal interests are met, with the security of the society balancing on the brink of its being lost altogether. However lucky is a man, all the same he is defenceless if his country is in danger. It is the representatives of the domestic capital that must be particularly conscious of it thus demonstrating superiority of public interests as against private ones.
Yes, we must display to the world at large our unity, will to independence, civic motivation and patriotism so that any powerful country harbouring evil intents against us be already in the know that any attempts of using force or threats to use force would face tough resistance. Without clear-cut citizenship stand it would be too hard to implement other elements of the strategy whose aim is securing independence. As regards our defence policy, it must be clear to all that we are a peace-loving nation and lay no claims to anyone's lands, resources or wealth. As to lands and resources, we have all these in abundance, and as to the wealth we shall make it with our own hands.
We, for our part, shall expect adequate attitude to Kazakhstan, the one we exercise to other countries and shall be ready to react adequately. In our epoch, as the world abandons military confrontations, rivalry is being transferred from the military area to those of politics and economy.
We do hope that this trend would become predominant and shall do our utmost to enhance establishment of peace and good-neighbouriiness. Yet we must be well aware that Kazakhstan's consistent integration - in the course of its economic growth - in the world economy may willy-nilly involve the country in an unpredictable vortex of various regional conflicts of military, political, economic and confessional nature. That's why absolute priority in security belongs to our foreign political activity and to the formation of a close network of Kazakhstan's mutually-advantageous relations with its neighbours and leading countries of the world.
Even today, in the end of the XXth century, after our learning the lessons of the World War II and the cold war, we have not yet parted with the threat of the world being split up into blocks and alliences. However such way is unacceptable to Kazakhstan which ensues from our five-element strategy.
Ethnic composition of our country is too motley, our interests are too important and the prospects-too bright for us to afford dependence on the relations with some certain country or reliance thereon. Kazakhstani people and Kazakhstani government must exert every effort to shaping up an economic field tolerable and liberal for major transnational capital, they must encourage creation of "warm climate" for long-term investments in the country.
We must become extremely tough opponents of any military settlement in conflicts, we must advocate the principle of ..better a bad peace than a good quarrel". The best weapon of ours to ensure protection of national interests and parity of forces - for the nearest and remote perspective - must be conducting a policy of integration, primarily-consolidation of the Central-Asian Union among Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan and Uzbekistan, non-interference in affairs of other states, predominance of acts of consensus rather than confrontation.
Though we sincerely hope that the world has become conscious of utter uselessness of armed conflicts, let's not forget that any reasonable state relies not only on promises of other governments but also on the might of its own country. That's why there must be no doubt that we shall attach high priority to the construction and modernization of our Armed Forces, to improving the level of their occupational training, their combat readiness and equipping thereof with modern armaments. In order to build an up-to-date effective army, air force and naval forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan we have to strengthen their equipment and personnel and intensify the latter's training. It would continuously claim economical and effective spending of budgetary funds which we allocate and shall go on allocating for our Armed Forces.
Besides, our country would make use of the military assistance and would co-operate with its neighbours in sharing the burden of regional defence. As regards issues of security and integrity we must always be on the alert. Our affability and hospitality which we display and shall display should not be taken for open-heartedness and obedience. Rated among leading priorities of national security must be a forceful demographic and migration policy. If our government bodies treat this issue indifferently, then on the threshold of the XXIst century we shall follow Russia into the situation of a "demographic cross" when the size of the population would go down but this time - not only because of external migration processes but also in a natural way. This trend has to be stopped immediately.
LONG-TERM PRIORITY 2:
DOMESTIC POLITICAL STABILITY
AND CONSOLIDATION OF SOCIETY
NOTHING WOULD COME OF THE AFFAIR WITHOUT UNITY
Peace maintained with neghbours represents an issue of paramount importance but it would not be settled if the country is torn apart by internal discord. If various groups, irrespective of the thing which unites them, be it political ideology or religious, ethnic or class interests, are in a state of confrontation, it would result in a dangerous situation when people would be distracted from the goal of achieving general welfare, from realization of the national interests. Here it doesn't go about a state of direct confrontation or war.
Northern Ireland, former Yugoslavia, Peru, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Rwanda - these and other countries came to be a proof of the fact that not a single civilization, not a single culture is insured against fatal consequences of dissociation.
Our mission consists in destroying the old and preventing the appearance of the new barriers which create obstacles on the way to unity regardless of what these barriers are based on-be it habits, affections or particular interests, prejudiced attitude, religion, age community or such other factors.
Through inhancing all possible forms of a dialogue as well as by consolidating mutual links and relations among people, gradually, step by step, we shall deepen our national solidarity and build our national potential. Our strategy for gaining this priority constituting the society includes the following components:
- guarantee developing our own uniform civic motivation based on equality of opportunities for all the citizens of our country;
- ensure eventual elimination of causes for ethnic differences and mind that all ethnic groups have equal rights;
- narrow the gap between the wealthy and the poor in our society and pay particular attention to the problems of the country-side;
- steadfastly settle social problems which arise in the course of the transition and subsequent, periods;
- be more vigorous in building a reach Kazakhstan which would ensure both political stability and consolidation of the society in a long-term perspective;
- develop all forms of communication among people; - strengthen mutual respect, tolerance and relations of confidence between various confessions.
Today it is not everybody that can answer a seemingly simple question: "Who are we - the Kazakhstanis?". Settlement of the problem of self-identification would take certain time and require a certain level of historic development.
For over 70 years Communist regime failed to form a united Soviet people. Many a post-colonial multinational country, even after the expiration of several decades, failed in completing this process.
Several decades would elapse before this feeling takes shape and gets firmly established with us. Yet even today we can name a number of factors which unite us. It is our land in its borders, our parents who cultivated it, it is our common history in which we jointly suffered from bitter failures and shared the delight of achivements. It is our children who are destinied to jointly live and work on this land. And each of us is at one in the awareness of his duty to his parents, in his striving to make life of our children ever better tomorrow.
Today it is a real platform for unity and consolidation in the name of these specific objectives. During the first years of independence and reforms we did our best to rapidly depart from Communist-collective elements toward private and individual ones.
Rapid development of individualism based on private ownership not only promoted replacement of value reference points but also undermined indepth roots of inter-ethnic contradictions, it rapidly brought their potential down. Chauvinism and nationalism however are not yet forgotten for good and all.
Efforts to stir up these sentiments do not arouse the least interest with the population, rather the reverse: they only irritate people. Suffering rapid decline is russophobia, and regeneration of the Kazakh traditions and the language is perceived as quite natural. Unlike that of previous years, the society became more calm and constructive, it came to discuss ethnic problems with greater mutual understanding and openness.
Our movement to the market which is both cosmopolitan and international brings jts beneficial fruit - it relaxes inter-ethnic contradictions. However, even a free market without an adequate role played by the state is not free from flaws.
Like a pendulum, after gathering speed in transition from one system of values to another, it seems to have missed the point of equilibrium which we need so badly. Today we witness new poles of confrontation: between the poor and the wealthy, the rulers and the ruled, the country-side and the city. The society is fully aware that the above gap exceeds the admissible limits. If Kazakhstan is a state of a thin layer of the well-off, then, by virtue of too low vitality, instability both within and without, it will be doomed to vegetative existence at best. We have already been a state of the poor though not in its pure form.
First and foremost, the state must represent the interests of the middle class-farmers, "white" and "blue" collars, intelligentsia, petty bourgeoisie. Incidentally, these were the very groups that were so fiercely attacked by the Bolsheviks. They knew only too well where to deal the main blow to make a transition from capitalism to Communism.
They delivered mortal blows against the bulwark of the capitalist state. Just remember how persistently we were instilled hostile attitude to kulaks, to "rotten intelligentsia", labour aristocracy and petty shopkeepers. Doesn't this enmity persist to this day? Domestic political stability and development would rest on all the three classes: the rich, the middle and the poor. The society needs all of them, though naturally -'in a normal civilized proportion.
Polarization acquired a graphic manifestation in the relations established between the city and the countryside. In both cases we witness a global process of social differentiation with the gap therebetween growing steadily. Within the nearest decade the country-side must become a priority area from the point of view of giving an additional impetus to market transformations, to emphatic settlement of social problems and defelopment of infrastructure. We are to expect considerable rejection of a free labour force in the country-side, significant migration to the city from the country-side and ever developing processes of urbanization.
The country-side of today has become an epitome of major social problems: nonpayment of wages and pensions, backwardness, poverty and unemployment, poor ecology, poor infrastructure, education and health care. Meanwhile the country-side manifests the highest demographic potential. Badly needed resources laboriously "collected" at the central level don't reach the country-side accumulating in the city. We must do away with such practices. In the shortest possible time we must complete all transformations in the country-side substantiating them with a vigorous emphatic social policy. Our objectives are quite clear here. We' must grant peasants and countrymen an opportunity of more effective control over their lives and besides supply them with means to realize this opportunity.
Strategically these problems may mostly be settled with the help of economic growth. A well-off Kazakhstan would offer more opportunities for each and every. As the great world leader put it "high tide sets all ships afloat". Our strategy must be elaborated in such a way so that everybody has a chance of obtaining a portion of the ever growing national wealth.
Meanwhile many people will have it hard in the transition period and the Government has not enough means to help all of them. In this field our strategy would consist in directing state-rendered assistance to the most vulnerable groups of the population and to them only. However today we are more interested in raising the number of those who are able to cope with the difficulties on their own.
Speaking of the future for our children and relations among the people the way we see them, we must have a vision of the model of our future society, of the civilization which we intend to construct. Today when history discarded the dispute between a totalitarian and a liberal society, it became obvious that the models of the liberal society themselves vary greatly and differ from one country to another.
Basic difference is witnessed between the two types of models, Anglo-Saxon and Asian ones, which was demonstrated so graphically by Asian Tigers. Having common features, in certain aspects they manifested a striking dissimilarity. While individualism was specific of the first model, the second one was characterized by communitarism. In the first case they actively advocate a limited role of the state while in the second case this role is overemphasized: the state must be actively involved in planning and lead the private sector in the society an large. In the first model emphasis is made on the macroeconomy, in the second one - on the microeconomy, etc.
As I have already noted, in previous years we actively followed the Anglo-Saxon variant and the goal we set was rapid changes. Yet, today we face a strategic alternative - which way to choose.
There is no consensus on this score in the society. We are a small, but nevertheless, part of Europe and historically we gravitate to the Western civilization - that's what some say. Others argue that we are predominantly an Asian country and consequently have to stick to the experience gained by the "Tigers", Japan and Korea.
The third would say, however, that we are deeply imbued with Russian mentality and principles of collectivism and our choice must largely coincide with the perspective model of Russia.
The fourth would object to it maintaining that Moslem population is predominant with us and we must make our choice in favour of the New-Turkic model.
However paradoxical but all of them are right and wrong at the same time. We are a Eurasian country having its own specific history and specific future. That's why our model would bear likeness to neither model. It world imbibe the achievements of various civilizations. We shell face no alternative on this score.
We shall act dialectically using both, taking advantage of the best achievements of all civilizations which proved themselves effective. Our model would govern our own path of development combining elements of other models, but resting mostly on our specific conditions, history, new civic motivation and strivings, taking into consideration specifics of each stage of development.
LONG-TERM PRIORITY 3:
ECONOMIC GROWTH BASED ON THE DEVELOPED MARKET ECONOMY
WITH A HIGH LEVEL OF FOREIGN INVESTMENTS
THE GREATER FREEDOM ENJOYS THE ECONOMY,
THE MORE SOCIAL IT IS
Our strategy of healthy economic growth rests on a strong market economy, an active part played by the state and attraction of significant foreign investments thereto. It includes ten basic principles: Limited interference of the state with the economy combined with an active role thereof.
Success of economic reforms and braking thereof on certain legs of the route requires reappraisal of the role of the state. Authorities, both in the centre and in the periphery, must stop any interference with the economy, cease launching sowing campaigns, harvesting, etc.
In the economy the state must play a substantial though limited part in creating legitimate limits of the market in which the private sector is offered a leading part. We mean finalizing formation of the legal basis that would provide for registering ownership rights, on shaping up competitive markets and reliable means of antimonopoly regulation, on maintaining fiscal and monetary policy, on developing a network of social protection, on providing for the development of requisite infrastructure, education, health care, and on pursuing effective environmental policy. If, for the time being, the markets are weak and underdeveloped, if the market space is encumbered with fragments of the administrative system, the state ust interfere having in view development of the market and clearing of the space.
So far as the economy itself is lingering in a transitory stage of unstable development, regulating role of the state and its interference must be duly adequate. We must raise effectiveness and quality of state administration to at least an order, must help to enhance and supplement activities of the private sector and the national capital to correlate with the new world economic paradigm.
At the same time the state itself must be a guarantor of free economy. Its mission is to establish market rules and then safeguard their observance acting both just and impartial. We are a sensible and vigorous nation. If rules of the game are clear-cut and their observance is easily provided for on a just and impartial basis, then I have no doubt that citizens of Kazakhstan will be quick enough to adapt to the market economy.
However the fact that the state will play a limited role on developed markets in no way implies that it will be deprived of will and power, thus turning into a passive observer. Quite the contrary: it must be very strong for the laws to<