Tue. May 24th, 2022

The report by Tom Burgis (“Power struggle over Kazakhstan’s future”, Great reading, 14 January) and the remark by Erica Marat (Opinion, 12 January) shed much light on the weak government, associated with kleptocracy, which led to popular uprising in Kazakhstan.

The failure to secure popular support for policy choices and to open up public institutions to all Kazakhs, on a meritocratic basis rather than relying on a close set of connected local and foreign elites, has the public support for policies that in reality a considerable success.

Over the past 20 years, Kazakhstan has maintained macroeconomic stability, despite external shocks, with a low level of public debt. Real per capita income rose two and a half times and the poverty rate fell to a quarter of its initial level. Modern institutions in support of a market economy have been built, in particular a capable central bank and a sovereign wealth fund.

It is a tragedy that blindness to proper governance and honesty over public assets has so far defined the growth of the private sector economy far below its potential. Ensuring genuine openness and competition should now be the government’s top priority.

Saumya Mitra
Vienna, Austria

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