WAISers: John Brademas in Kazakhstan
The conference was funded by the Andreas Papandreou Foundation. George Papandreou and Nurtai Abykayev convened the meeting. Abykayev is chairman of the Kazakhstan senate, and must be at odds with Nazarbaev, who fortunately was not there. He would not have tolerated the criticism of his regime. John Brademas took part in a roundtable on "The Western Perspective: United States and European Strategic Interests in Kazakhstan and Central Asia". The strategic importance of Kazakhstan is obvious. It is a huge country, stretching from China to the Caspian, and it has important oil reserves. Brademas was blunt in his account of the shortcomings of democracy in Kazakhstan; its one-man rule and the obvious intention of President Nuzarbaev to stay in power. Since Almary is resentful about its demotion by Nazarbaev. the criticism was welcome. As a good Democrat, John Brademas balanced that with a less than flattering account of the Bush administration. A reference to the Ukraone suggests that the next undemocratic domino to fall should be Kazakhstan. Among the participants was the former prime minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien. It remains to be seen what impact the conference will have on Kazakhstan politics. Bill Ratliff visited Kazakhstan a year or two ago. He may have some comment.