Sunday, December 20, 2015

Astana Must Prepare for Moscow to Redirect Information War from Ukraine and Turkey to Kazakhstan, Expert Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 20 – If a conflict arises between Kazakhstan and Russia, “one cannot exclude the possibility that those very same Russian media outlets which very actively poured dirt on Ukraine and now do so on Turkey might tomorrow pour dirt on Kazakhstan, accusing it of all possible sins,” according to Dosym Satpayev.

            The head of a Risk Assessment Group in Kazakhstan says that despite talk about securing his country’s information space, “Kazakhstan has been transformed into a kind of information colony,” on where media from various countries dominate the scene and compete with each other rather than with national outlets (

            That means that society in Kazakhstan is split not on the basis of a consideration of its own national interests but rather in terms of the national interests of other countries, including not just Russia but China and Western countries as well.  To escape that situation, Kazakhstan must develop its own national media.

            Otherwise, Satpayev says, it will remain “an apple of discord” among other countries rather than an actor in its own right.

            The Kazakhstan government has done “something” over the last several years, but not enough, especially given the increasing importance of the Kazakh-language segment of the population and the desire of that population to get domestically produced and focused materials rather than having to rely on others. To rectify this will take a long time.

            Many Kazakhstan outlets claim that they can’t possibly meet the challenge posed by foreign outlets, Satpayev says; but “we will be able to compete with them if the state will not in words but in fact support not only state media” but all media and ensure the pluralism of opinions within Kazakhstan’s own media space.

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