عنوان مقاله [English]
The concept of development, which was formally introduced to the international community after World War II, has undergone various changes. Initially, development was a one-sided term that could mostly imply economic progress. But by the passage of time, it gained different facets and definitions. Therefore, in modern time development is a multifaceted concept that includes different aspects of life, from economic growth to social, political, and the latest and most prime one, human development. Nowadays, development is a key issue in governments’ national plans and these governments try to use all their potentials and possible opportunities to pave the way for the progress and development of their country. Central Asian states are also attempting to consider special programs for progress and development. This issue is highly regarded in the policy-making process in the third decade of independence of Central Asian States.
Kazakhstan for instance could turn into a developing country by preparing the required infrastructures. They could even do better than other neighboring states in the region. However, it was a long bumpy ride for this country. In the first decade of independence, there was a lack of ruling power in the region. In addition to the domestic problems that Russia and Kazakhstan were facing at that time, Kazakhstan had no choice but to boost its economic ties with western powers like the U.S that had already planned to gain the advantage of the region’s hydrocarbon resources. This period of time is referred to as the discourse of distancing from Moscow and turning to the west. Having regained power, Russia tried to return to Central Asia. Therefore, five states began improving their ties with Russia again. But in the third decade, the CIS countries including Kazakhstan realized that they need a better understanding of development based on their national potentials and demands. Kazakhstan for example, perceived that it can neither ignore Russia as an old ally nor neglect the rapid pace of progress and development in the world and the western countries, in particular, therefore it tried to take a novel stand on both national and foreign policy to provide progress and advancement in the country.
In this regard, this research is an attempt to address the important question as to what is the development pattern of Kazakhstan during 2010-2020? To answer this question, authors introduce a hypothesis which suggests that Kazakhstan development pattern during 2010-2020 was based on exogenous and balanced development pattern. Kazakhstan implemented this pattern by employing multilateral diplomacy, using international opportunities, improving relations with both Western/Eastern powers especially the U.S and EU on the one hand and with Russia and China on the other. To make this clear, the article unfolds the programs and policies employed by the government of Kazakhstan and will also discuss various aspects of the development of Kazakhstan in brief.
Not so long after the independence, the government introduced a brand new strategy called Kazakhstan strategy-2030. In addition to this early strategy, several other national strategies were introduced during the coming years. Among the main goals of these strategies were boosting economic growth, human development, citizens’ prosperity, social and inter-ethnic integrity, sustainable development, etc. Addressing the economic development of Kazakhstan, it had lots of fluctuations but in recent years it has been improved. Thanks to exporting hydrocarbon products, Kazakhstan is one of the main energy providers of the EU. China and Russia are amongst other top destinations of Kazakhstan exports. Aside from the statistics, it can be understood that Kazakhstan’s economic strategies are based on a balanced policy and multilateralism to gain the advantages of all possible economic opportunities. They mostly import from Russia and simultaneously export mostly to the EU via Russia. They are also benefiting from cooperating with the Chinese companies in building the infrastructure for the Belt and Road initiative in addition to connecting their national infrastructure program (titled Nurly Zhul) to the Chinese programs. All this indicates that Kazakhstan has chosen a balancing policy in its relations with great powers so they can benefit from every possible opportunity to enhance their developments.
From the political aspect, Kazakhstan has seen Nazarbayev as its one and only president for 30 years. Even though he resigned from power, his leverage in political affairs is still felt. He is in charge of Kazakhstan National Security Council and Nur Otan, the most powerful political party in the country. He is also called the Father of Nation and is exempted from some issues such as investigations. Furthermore, his family members have critical positions in important economic sectors. However, in 2017, a series of constitutional amendments led to the transfer of some power from the government to parliament. But as observers report, parliament is not doing well in effectively overseeing the presidency. According to the statements of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, elections in Kazakhstan have consistently failed to meet international standards such as neutrality, consensus and transparency.
The next important factors about Kazakhstan development are human and sustainable development. Over the past decade, Kazakhstan has been able to meet most of the indicators of human development and has made good progress in important indicators such as social welfare, health, education and employment especially when compared with its neighbors in Central Asia. The growth of these indicators is another sign of the correct implementation of a balanced policy in the internal affairs of this country. Even if there were some challenges in implementing sustainable development goals, but as the recent national reports show, the situation has become better and more efforts are in progress to meet the whole criteria of sustainable development.
Finally, Kazakhstan’s relations with its key partners including Russia, China, EU and the U.S show that this country has succeeded in implementing a balanced foreign policy and multilateralism. Having close military-economic ties with Russia as well as cooperating in infrastructural projects with China plus having strong political-economic ties with the EU and the US, all have made Kazakhstan the most successful country in Central Asia that could have implemented the balanced and multilateral policies to pursue its goals towards progress, growth and sustainable development. Therefore, it could be said that the pattern of development in Kazakhstan is an exogenous development one.