Independent Kazakhstan: 20 years of peace, harmony and creation. Yesterday President Nursultan Nazarbayev chaired XVII session of Kazakhstan People’s Assembly (KPA) in Astana

Apr 19. Kazpravda

Independent Kazakhstan: 20 years of peace, harmony and creation. Yesterday President Nursultan Nazarbayev chaired XVII session of Kazakhstan People’s Assembly (KPA) in AstanaThe regular KPA session “Independent Kazakhstan: 20 years of peace, harmony and creation” discussed internal peace and stability, in which, as pointed by Nursultan Nazarbayev, chairing it, important innovative approach is needed in place of trumpeting the achievements as we are apt to do at times. The Assembly’s secretariat and the President’s office were tasked to work out the KPA Strategy until 2020.

The KPA session traditionally hosted in the Peace and Accord Palace was going on in a festive atmosphere for three reasons: recent election of the President and his landslide victory, upcoming holiday of Kazakhstan people’s unity and anniversary of Independence.

The forum was attended by leaders of national and regional ethnic cultural associations, MPs, Cabinet members, heads of political parties, religious leaders, diplomatic missions, clerisy and people of art.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has set long-term tasks for the assembly to work to.

Dear participants!

Dear Kazakhstanis!

-Seventeenth Session of Kazakhstan People’s Assembly is on the eve of May Day – a holiday of Kazakhstan national unity. This year we will first celebrate it in a new format, with mass rallies and patriotic actions countrywide. The spring festival on May 1 should bring still closer together all our country’s cultures. It is a main holiday created over the 20 years of our common home – Kazakhstan.

We have built it with strong walls. Our windows are transparent, our front door is open to all friends around the world. We are a single friendly family of Kazakhstanis. I congratulate you on the upcoming holiday, our holiday, dear compatriots!

N.Nazarbayev called the recent early presidential election a triumph of our national unity, in which the KPA’s part is important. The initiative to extend the powers of the President until 2030 was theirs. Thousands of KPA members were campaigning for him, of which the President was appreciative. He thanked all the people for the sent congratulations on the victory.

-The 20th anniversary of Independence – is the record of internal stability, friendship and harmony. In these years, a substantial legal framework was formed for interethnic and interfaith equality: laws on religious freedom, on languages, on Kazakhstan People’s Assembly, the Doctrine of the National Unity, adopted last year.

Raised to a constitutional status, the Assembly has become a core institution of inter-ethnic harmony in our country, comprised of 820 ethno-cultural associations. Development of all cultures and languages is encouraged and facilitated. 22 ethnic languages are taught in 108 schools and 88 schools teach in Uzbek, Tajik, Uighur and Ukrainian languages, 33 specialized schools provide tri-lingual tuition- in Kazakh, Russian and English.

Funding on support to ethnic media and coverage of interethnic relations quadrupled since 2005, the President cited, -state support to national theaters over the past two years upped by nearly 30% to make 500 million tenge. Financial support to ethno-cultural organizations in 2010 totaled 100 million tenge.

In March a new Friendship House opened in Almaty, a true palace of friendship, which has 19 ethnic cultural centers and 9 Sunday schools for the study of state and native languages.

-History of our independence is a chronicle of friendship between people of different ethnic backgrounds, who are all building up our country. Today members of the Assembly have seats in Parliament, people of different ethnicities are engaged in the public service, business, science and education, show their talents in sports and arts, opening up our Kazakhstan to the world.

At the Winter Asian Games Astana and Almaty were hosting the champions were Kazakhs, Russian, Ukrainians, Koreans, Germans, Tatars and Uyghurs. They did credit to our country. Together we are creating our country’s wealth.

We are developing our young multi-ethnic capital as a Eurasian metropolis, with mosques’ minarets and domes of churches alongside. Kazakhstanis and all our foreign guests admire the diversity of Astana, its spirit of tolerance, the traits other Kazakhstan towns are adopting. Dozens of friendship houses, monuments, parks, public gardens of peace and harmony, mosques and temples were opened countrywide.

-Our expats keep a close track of our progress too. Today many of them are coming back to their true homeland, realizing it’s the only place for them to unlock their potential for the benefit of the country they were born in. In the last 5 years alone tens of thousands came back, who for various reasons moved to another country, let alone oralmans – a separate topic. I mean more than 44 thousand Russians, about 5,000 Germans. And those who remained abroad keep the warmest, fondest memories of Kazakhstan, their birthplace. On the Internet you can find thousands of entries on this topic. The President quoted one of them.

We will do our best for our expats to keep in touch with their homeland, Kazakhstan friends and relatives. They are always welcome back, our door is open.

All the 20 years we have supported various religious faiths. Over this time the number of religious communities on Kazakhstan territory went up from seven hundred to four and a half thousand. I talked to outstanding spiritual leaders, who participated in the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, and they are unanimous that Kazakhstan is the only place in the world where Muslims Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Jews live in harmony, the only place where they can gather and talk about all their problems.

-We have created a perfect model of friendship and must protect it against external threats. Where do conflicts come from? From ignorance and selfishness. None of the traditional religions preaches violence, if you read the holy book. In Kazakhstan, no one tramples on faith; no one attempts to pervert the commandments.

Surprisingly, none of world and traditional religions was born in the Great Steppe, on our land, but it is here that a truly peaceful spirit found its true home.

More than 85% of Kazakhstanis say that our country has achieved absolute equality of citizens’ rights irrespective of their ethnicity. 75% of the population says that we have created all the conditions for different ethnicities to preserve their language and culture.

Very often in my meetings in different regions of Kazakhstan people, especially young ones ask what they can do for the country. I always answer: take care of peace and harmony in our common home. Cherish it, respect each other, be tolerant and work for the country’s good!

Interethnic peace and harmony is not something given to us from above. It is the fruit of everyday policies and practices of the state and all of us. We have a lot more to do.

First. Continue strengthening of our national unity with KPA at the heart of this work. The Assembly’s Secretariat has drafted the KPA development Strategy until 2020.

In this document we have to answer the main question: what is the essence of all work to strengthen our model of tolerance under the difficult conditions of the twenty-first century? And here an innovative approach is important, suited to economic and social modernization.

In the 20 years we have nurtured the first generation of Kazakhstanis – patriots, willing to work for the country and people. We will continue this work, it is our common task.

This is the main purpose of the KPA. It should be understood that we have created ethnic and cultural centers, ethnic media, theaters to support and develop them, not for praise. The entire infrastructure of the Assembly should work to instilling in Kazakhstanis, our youth in particular, a high sense of responsibility for peace and harmony in our common home.

– want to ask: Does the People’s Assembly take part in adopting programs of preschool education? – No!

Do specialists from the Assembly examine school history textbooks on the subject of tolerance, reflection in them of the multifaceted history of people’s friendship? – No either!

We must move away from trumpeting KPA achievements, as we are apt to do at times, the President bade. Internal peace and harmony – that’s the pivot of Kazakhstan’s national idea. This ideology must be based on an active, coordinated work of all the state bodies, assemblies – large and small, ethnic and cultural centers. Peace and accord is the starting point, without which there would be nothing – no economic growth, no prosperity, no unity.

These issues should also be the focus of every minister, every governor, every company leader. It is a sole way to ensure lasting stability in Kazakhstan.

The Assembly’s secretariat and the President’s office were tasked to work out the KPA Strategy until 2020.

Second. Today the people of Kazakhstan rally around the ideas of modernization, industrialization, innovation and technological breakthroughs in the future. Yesterday we held a special meeting with the executive branch; I invited to it many members of the Assembly to hear short- and long-term tasks.

Ethno-cultural centers of Kazakhstan can and should take most active part in it.

The President exemplified the experience of ethnic Koreans’ association, fulfilling in Ushtobe, Almaty region, a project on year-round growing of greengrocery on the latest technologies. Other associations could follow suit and do something useful for the country too. Governors should support such initiatives in business, agriculture, industry.

In the inaugural speech the President suggested selection of “one hundred absolute innovations”, that’s where the Assembly’s international ties could be tapped, in seeking authors of ideas and projects from around the world, and at home too.

-The Assembly should be at our nation-wide construction projects, like West China – Western Europe motorway and other projects, organizing there meetings and art performances.

Industrialization, moving away from dependence on resources – that’s the future to be working to. We will achieve this if we make it a national idea.

Third. We must constantly improve the work of the Assembly itself. It must fortify the status of the leading consolidating social force in decision-making on key issues of development. We need to create a center studying all aspects of interethnic and interfaith relations. It is a science, and a very serious one, a fine matter.

We need more specialists in this area, more research into it, particularly religious matters in our country. Our association of Muslims, Orthodox Christians should protect our religious relations against penetration of religious sects and organizations that have very different ideas.

The education and science ministry was instructed to take the matter under a special control.

Fourth. Learning Kazakh language by people of all ethnicities. The target is: 80% of Kazakhstanis speaking it by the year 2017, and still more by 2020.

In ten years 100% of the schools’ graduates should speak Kazakh. Speaking it by all the Kazakhstanis is not just a slogan, it means knowledge of our country’s, people’s history from ancient to modern times, culture and traditions of the people. This will furthermore seal the national unity.

And that’s the ultimate goal of the Assembly. The great Abay said: “Knowing the language and culture of another nation makes a man equal with these people.” This includes not only the Kazakh language. It is a necessity today in a globalized world where everything is mixed, people in the world socialize, the world is open to us and our children.

We must also continue to work to development of ethnic cultures, traditions, customs and languages, to preserve our common rich historical and cultural heritage.

Fifth. To foster tolerance through cultural and information sector. I think Kazakhstanis would be interested in new films about the life and fate of our fellow-nationals of different ethnic cultures. Kazakhfilm studio has made a new movie “Promised Land”, recounting the tragic time of deportation to Kazakhstan of different peoples – Germans, Koreans, Poles, Chechens, Kurds and others. Enhancing awareness of the Assembly’s work in the media is a must.

Sixth. May Day and 20th anniversary of Independence are the Assembly’s special focuses, as well as social modernization issues. The celebrations should not be reduced to feasts and concerts, it is important that everyone felt the meaning of the 20 years, what they have given him/her.

It is the constructed new schools and hospitals, housing programs, towns and villages with drinking water, landscaping, cleaner and trimmer towns.

Let’s help the needy, like it was in Kyzyl-Agash disaster, and in East- Kazakhstan oblast, when every Kazakhstani shared the pain of the people’s tragedy. All responded to it; that’s the template of the people’s unity. The Assembly members alone contributed 47 million of personal funds. The main thing is not so much the size of the sum, as the fact in itself.

Now West- Kazakhstanis are in need of support in the wake of flood. This support should reach the remotest corners of the country, every citizen in need.

That’s a deserving way to mark 20th anniversary of our Independence.

Dear participants!

In the Strategic Plan for our development until 2020, my Address to the nation, inaugural speech the tasks for the next decade are detailed. And yesterday the Government was assigned with the immediate tasks, on fulfillment of which Kazakhstan’s progress and future largely depend.

The coming decade will be critical, given the world developments of the first months of this year – protests in the Middle East, and in other countries. Economies of the so far successful nations are thrown decades back. The global crisis exposed humanitarian problems, aggravated by hypes in food prices, growing drug trafficking and terrorism.

Many nations are facing famine. Today, nearly one billion people suffer from hunger. Annually five million people die of it. Grief comes to millions of households, losing hope in peace and confidence in the future.

N.Nazarbayev cited a prominent English writer A.Huxley saying: “That people do not learn from the mistakes of history is the most important lesson of history.” Knowing this story, let’s enjoy peace in our home, cherish it all together.

Global economic prospects are balked by the protracted crisis in some eurozone countries. Many EU states openly admit failure of multiculturalism policy, waiving from it.

At the same time religious conflicts exacerbate in the world. Public mockery of the Koran has caused justifiable outrage in the Muslim community. In response bigots killed innocent people who worked in the UN mission in Afghanistan.

Many regions of the world have suffered natural calamities that killed tens of thousands of people, causing enormous material damage. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan – second largest world economy might complicate global economic development.

The “Fukushima” tragedy foregrounded safety of the peaceful atom. All these are real challenges of the new decade.

Today Kazakhstan is one of the few safe countries in the world. And we can continue to showcase stability, tolerance, and national unity. Mahatma Gandhi once said “I want freedom to my country, so that other countries could learn something from my free country.”

We can say we show others how to succeed. If I was asked I would say: Kazakhstan proved to the world that the only sure path to prosperity is people’s unity.

We have ample opportunities and resources to counter the global challenges of the next decade. And all our achievements are appreciated in the world. This is our main gift to the 20th anniversary of Independence.

In his speech at the OSCE summit here in Astana, the High Commissioner on National Minorities Knut Vollebaek supported Kazakhstan’s goal to provide a space for cultural diversity, that in turn is our country’s trademark.

The success of our chairmanship in the OSCE, the OSCE summit in Astana after an 11-year break is a global recognition of our model of peace and harmony, unity of Kazakhstan.

-Dear friends! We have withstood the hard 90-es, the global economic crisis, saw collapse of the empire. Out of all that Kazakhstan emerged stronger and united.