Year in Review Poll Shows Curious, Proud Nation

ASTANA – According to a recent opinion poll by the Institute of Philosophy, Political Science and Religious Studies under Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education and Science, the citizens of Kazakhstan today perceive themselves as living in a full-fledged, self-sufficient state with a sound economy and political system.

One main trend in 2013 is a surge of public interest in national history. This is attributed to President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s programme, The People in the Flow of History, part of his Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy.

Sociology Professor Zarema Shaukenova, director of the Institute and a member of the National Academy of Sciences of Kazakhstan, tallied up the findings of the poll and the respondents’ attitudes about the past year.

What significant events of the past year did respondents name?

The poll showed a high public interest and trust in the President and in what he said. The respondents especially liked his criticism of the government over the failure of pension reform. President Nursultan Nazarbayev definitely associated it with the failure of its information policy—insufficient work with the media, poor coordination of outreach activities. [They also liked] his part in the expanded meeting with the government in October.

In this harsh criticism, he largely relied on the support of the population, for whom these reforms were initiated. People have more confidence in the policy, since the problems have been openly exposed in their true colours. The share of respondents strongly supporting the state policy rose from 30 percent to 39 percent. The share of those inclined to approve of the political course is up too, from 82 percent to 86 percent.

However, the survey showed a decline of confidence in local governments. Respondents say they fail to address acute social problems such as the creation of new jobs, employment for people with disabilities, housing and other problems.

What are the poll findings concerning Kazakhstan’s international standing?

Firstly, all the respondents mentioned our country’s participation in the G20 summit in September 2013, in which Kazakhstan relayed the experience of the Astana Economic Forum and countering crises in the world economy.

It should be noted that in May 2013, along with the regular Astana Economic Forum, our capital hosted the first UN World Anti-Crisis Conference. Kazakhs are proud of this, and they appear to be well informed about these events. According to the responses, [these events] improve Kazakhstan’s international standing, increasing its chances for membership in the UN Security Council.

One of the major steps in this direction, respondents said, is the December 2013 decision by the Parliament to approve a bill to send Kazakhstan’s peacekeeping officers, under UN auspices, to international areas of tension. People think this will be important both in terms of the operational experience that our military would gain and for boosting Kazakhstan’s geopolitical image.

Do the respondents believe Kazakhstan will be among the 30 most developed nations?

In this respect, we have asked how relevant the idea of the Universal Society of Labour is. Most respondents believe that the perception of the value of work should be key in ranking the 30 most developed countries. But the value of work and its efficiency need strengthening, they believe. That’s the task for 2014, to be attained through further social modernisation.

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