Absolutely different phenomenon

Absolutely different phenomenon

By Robert Jan

At the dawn of Kazakhstan’s independence only few Europeans could show this country on a map - the exotic country as it seemed to everyone at that time. Today, the republic has received wide acclaim. Along with it – all that is attached to fame, including black PR of detractors. 


Active foreign policy, absolute economic achievements, sport and culture success – all of this brings Kazakhstan to fame. But there is always a fly in the ointment – the growth of the terrorist threat, some internal problems. In this regard, I would like to recall the tragic events in Zhanaozen, which will soon mark a year. If we summarize the common version – labor dispute of oilmen in this provincial town, located on the outskirts of the Republic, turned into riots and clashes with police – 17 people were killed and over a hundred were injured.


Some political scientists hold curious parallels, comparing Zhanaozen in the oil region of Kazakhstan with the Libyan Benghazi. But the similarity in this case consists only of one thing – some forces tried to destabilize the situation on the west, which is actually a closet of black gold – the main source of energy.



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For the rest, Zhanaozen is absolutely different phenomenon. It is rather a test, designed to find out the strength of Kazakhstan on one hand, and on the other – to create a platform of protest voters with aim to subsequent seizure of power. Here I want to point out one important fact – the oil company, where it was the conflict that fell into confrontation, is owned by Kazakhstan for one hundred per cent. Meanwhile, there are dime a dozen of investors in the Caspian region. Working conditions and wages everywhere are the same - but for some reason it «flashed» right on this local enterprise. This is worth considering.


Today, many sources, including the so-called free «Wikipedia», continue to bind together two really separate facts: seven-month oilmen strike and riots in Zhanaozen. Yes, formally, these events rank alongside and they don’t conflict cause-effect relationship. But they contradict logic.


To understand this difficult situation, let’s begin from a distance. Thus, the basis for the conflict was company «Ozenmunaygas» - daughter of KazMunaiGas - the largest integrated oil company of Kazakhstan. This fact by itself is amazing. Knowing what kind of policies is conducted by such corporations and what powerful analysts are sitting in this structure, we can only wonder for happened events.


But let's not get distracted. Thus, the contradictions in the work team began to mature in 2010, ironically with the election of the union. Activists could not decide on a leader, rejecting one candidate over the other, each new candidate was suspected in collusion with the administration. Naturally, the employer did not intervene to the situation. The law prohibits.


By that time on the production facility a strange situation occurred. The workers went on strike twice ... and twice the employer met their requirements. That is, the workers could not complain about the lack of attention to their problems. Despite this, the lawyer Natalia Sokolova and her supporting activists, had picked up the banner of the beheaded union and provoked a new round of confrontation. Due to casuistry of new union leaders – it appeared a new labor dispute, which actually had no basis. Let me explain. One of the starting points of the conflict was the demand of the workers that along with their solid wages they should get the allowance for severe geographical conditions and harm production. That is to get some "bonus" in the form of sectoral and spatial factor. For some reason, no one has explained to people that there is no reason for the disturbances. Sectoral allowance was already paid. It was also paid an optional territorial ratio of wages. It was not required for the reason that the law has left this decision to the employer: pay or not to pay. In this case, the company has shown good faith by interpreting the law solely for the benefit of workers.


And yet, there was a conflict. Maybe it was missed analysts just because in Astana the situation didn’t look critical?


Meanwhile, it was for the very reason that the absurd demands brought this labor dispute to a standstill, from which there was no escape a priori. An employer is not able to fulfill the requirements and break the law. The workers are not willing to back down. What happened next is known to all of us. The oilmen began a planned sabotage. This led to a multi-million dollar losses. Not wanting to suffer the loss the company laid off all specialists that didn’t come to work, acting strictly within the framework of labor law. So this is the real situation, if we consider the situation objectively, stating the bare facts, without politics and pathos of the violated human rights. Incidentally, in the U.S. and Europe the layoffs are a common practice. There is only one difference – in this case here were developed mechanisms of bloodless demonstrations, and in Kazakhstan which was used to stability and peace during all 20 years of independence, police elementary was not prepared. But more about this later.


One well-known lawyer in Kazakhstan once said that human rights end where the rights of others are violated. This quite understandable truth had completely collapsed in Zhanaozen. Conflict of oilmen and state authorities moved to the next level - political. Yes, probably, their dismissal was hasty, ill-considered decision. Yeah, I guess they should have been more flexible in relationships with workers. But there were attempts to correct the situation. Opposition convinces that every worker that became out of work and livelihood was simply forgotten. But it is not true. Government, realizing the scale of social confrontation, tried to solve the problem. One attempt was made as the decision of JSC "EP" KazMunaiGas " to place additional orders for suppliers and contractor organizations, serving" Ozenmunaygaz ", thereby creating 230 new jobs for the first phase. Wages were set at the rate of 170 to 270 thousand tenge.


Laid-off workers also refused to sign a conciliatory agreement. This happened because by that time a labor conflict went out of the legal field, acquired an unhealthy political color. It turned out that new job place for "activists" became the central square of Zhanaozen. And it was the impression that their purpose is not to solve the conflict, but to aggravate the situation.


Here I would like to digress. Studying the situation, I wondered whether to call the social protest that took place in Zhanaozen as a forced measure, dictated by despair. And I came to the conclusion that the situation in Zhanaozen was rather better than the situation in hundreds of other cities in Kazakhstan with no proximity to oil. There were a lot of people coming to work here from other regions of the country. Salary of the employees of « Ozenmunaygaz » was one of the highest in Kazakhstan for their professional profile - from 1500 dollars. Therefore, when the strikers were dismissed, it was easy to find new employees. But again, this does not mean that the laid-off oilmen were thrown into the streets, the trick is that they have chosen this way by themselves.


By that time, it was created the notorious "People's Front", initiated by the non-systemic opposition of Mukhtar Ablyazov, specially for Zhanaozen. And where there is a front, fightings definitely take place. It is an axiom.


By the way, Ablyazov - fugitive oligarch, who is wanted by the police in Kazakhstan, Russia and other countries - known thief and swindler - declared information war against the leader of "KazMunaiGas" (personal reasons by which the choice of location for the conflict was made). Oh, and also he pursued one strategic goal – discreditation of the government of Kazakhstan, rehabilitation of its own reputation, writing off billions stolen from one of the leading banks of Kazakhstan "BTA", which was put to the brink of bankruptcy by him.


Fugitive oligarch was given a political asylum on the shores of Albion (today he is also wanted by the British police), so he did his best to justify his political refugee status. That’s why the conflicts were needed.


I would like to consider that most of the oil strikers were just confused, were deceived by the supporters of Ablyazov - representatives of the unregistered party "Alga", Mr. Kozlov and other activists.


Actually, they could not help believing, because Ablyazov is master of so-called undercover games and informational provocations, he invited as an independent arbitrator MEP Paul Murphy to heighten the effect. How could the people know that this politician is known only by the fact that he migrates from one barricade to another, he is a fighter for the rights of various minorities, which by the modern theory are the revolutionary class. Paul Murphy is an omnivore. He actively promotes the full equality of gays, lesbians and transgender people and at the same time he participated in a failed swim "Freedom Flotilla II» in Gaza. Do you understand? He wanted to help Hamas militants who would mercilessly butcher all gays and lesbians.


Paul Murphy occupied with this doubtful activity in his native Ireland and other European countries. Ablyazov interested him with Kazakhstan. Moreover, this relationship cannot be questioned, for "honorable" guest arrived to the country, accompanied by Aynur Kurmanov - in the team of fugitive oligarch. So, the oilmen few knowledgeable in the intricacies of legislation and labor law became hostages to the political ambitions of the fugitive oligarch. It is uncertain at what stage Ablyazov joined the game, but the fact that the events in Zhanaozen lie precisely on his conscience is the fact. He figured it all out. Firstly, he prepared people - distributed leaflets calling for the violent overthrow of government in Zhanaozen. By the way, these acts, in any civilized country legally are considered as a criminal offense. For these actions Ablyazov, Kozlov and other activists were convicted. Ablyazov figured out that the local police although being on the alert, was not ready to repel such an attack, which is called today a peaceful demonstration.


It is said a lot about the events in Zhanaozen, but the main aspect is missed. Namely, the city was destroyed not by the strikers, but with a help of specially prepared and pre-armed men. It was pure crime - because first of all the local police station was burned, all the documents were destroyed, shops and banks were looted. If this is the triumph of democracy – do we really need this democracy?








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