DCK Shut Down

by Nathan Hamm on 1/10/2005

The opposition party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan has been ordered closed by a Kazak court for political extremism.

The decision to shut down the DCK came in response to a statement made by members at the party’s second congress on December 11, calling the current regime in Kazakstan illegitimate and accusing it of working against the interests of its citizens. The speakers recommended that the public be more assertive and protest against this state of affairs.

Senior Almaty prosecutor Almas Ramazanov claimed the statement “stirs up social dissension”. “By calling for acts of civil disobedience, the DCK creates a threat to the national security of Kazakstan…,” he said in court on January 6. “These actions constitute political extremism.”

Maybe Islam Karimov’s pretensions of being a great political theorist have something to them…

the current moves in Kazakstan appear to echo events in Uzbekistan following Georgia’s late-1993 “Rose Revolution”, when the Uzbek branch of the Soros Foundation failed to get its registration renewed on technical grounds. Uzbekistan at the time, like Kazakstan now, was due to hold elections in the near future.

Lawyer Evgeny Zhovtis, director of the Kazak International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, says the trial that resulted in the DCK’s closure included a series of irregularities and was clearly political.

“The political motivation of this trial and its prescribed nature were clear from the very beginning,” he told journalists at a January 7 press conference. “The task prescribed from the beginning was to liquidate the DCK.

And of course, part of the parallel is the reaction to events elsewhere in the CIS.

“It is also clear that the determining catalyst for this trial were the events in Ukraine. The suit by the prosecutor’s office was not brought immediately after the DCK congress, where the DCK’s political statement was passed, and not [even] two to three days after the statement was published in the media. [In fact, the suit was only brought] on the day after it became clear that as a result of the ‘Orange Revolution’… the leader of the opposition had come to power in Ukraine.”

Political analyst Sanat Kushkumbaev agreed that there is a link. It is natural to assume, he said, that “any radical approach – and Ukraine is a clear example of a radical approach to power by the opposition – [will worry] the Kazakstan authorities”.

He said DCK members had further worried the Kazak authorities by their participation in an opposition group that travelled to Ukraine to observe events there. Opposition newspapers in Kazakstan published photographs of members of the party shaking hands with their counterparts in Ukraine, and the DCK has since been particularly vocal in its support for Yuschenko. [Emphasis added]

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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