Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/878/21727
From The Socialist newspaper, 11 November 2015
Featured letter: 'British values'
UK trade props up Kazakh dictatorship
Blood on hand, photo by Giang Gong Du (Creative Commons) (Click to enlarge)
Mike Whale, Secretary, Campaign Kazakhstan
Following the much-publicised and criticised recent visit of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the British government is greeting Kazakhstan's leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Nazarbayev, like Xi, has no regard for human rights. Opponents of his regime are ruthlessly dealt with. He is a dictator in all but name as only tame opposition parties are allowed to contest elections.
Those who claim that the way to democratise countries like Kazakhstan is to do business with them should look at the facts.
In 2011, 70 oil workers protesting in Zhanaozen were shot by police. Survivors of the massacre have struggled to find work or get proper medical care. Instead of expressing remorse, Nazarbayev promoted the local mayor and gave the courts powers to jail union leaders.
Tony Blair has been paid millions by Nazarbayev for "consultancy". He should be ashamed that lawyers like Vadim Kuramasov, who have defended Nazarbayev's opponents, continue to be arrested and jailed on trumped-up charges.
Aron Atabek, a renowned poet, remains in prison after protesting against the destruction of workers' homes. Workers trying to organise independent trade unions face victimisation, harassment and often worse.
While the living standards of ordinary Kazakh peope fall, Nazarbayev has amassed a fortune. He is one of the richest men in the world - having sold off Kazakh oil, gas, and mineral companies to US, Russian, Chinese and British capitalists.
British business may profit from closer ties with Kazakhstan. But it will be on the back of further repression and increased poverty for Kazakh workers.
By welcoming Nazarbayev and continuing to support trade with Kazakhstan, the British government is propping up a dictatorship. Is this what Cameron and Osborne mean when they talk about promoting "British values"?
A version of this letter also appeared in the Guardian on 3 November
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In The Socialist 11 November 2015:
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The Socialist 11 November 2015 |
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