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Mukhtar Taizhan: Integration with Russia will lead to loss of independence

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A famous political scientist and economist Mukhtar TAIZHAN (on photo) and a popular TV journalist Kassym AMANZHOL met local public during their visit to Atyrau and shared their plans concerning the referendum in Kazakhstan to quit Customs Union scheduled for the beginning of the next year. Mr Taizhan explained the disadvantages of Customs Union to our country.

- Integration with Russia is a harmful process for our independence. Moreover, it’s not to our benefit in all terms. Previously, we could carry on agriculture development, macroeconomic and antimonopoly policies on our own. Now things have changed – we have to ask Eurasian Commission first and wait for their decision. Russian citizens make up 84% out of 2000 members of the commission. We should remember how we once lived under Russian jurisdiction. As the result we’ve lost half of Kazakh people during the years of forced famine (1930s); Semipalatinsk Oblast was turned into nuclear test base; Aral Sea has been ruined. Russia will never establish equal partnership relations with Kazakhstan and one must be naïve to believe in that. Let’s consider an example – car duties: to import a car you should pay bigger duties than in Russia, because Russia is in WTO now. We have no car production here; therefore we see no profit from duties: 89% of duty payments received then flow back to the Russian budget.

- Why Kazakhstan has agreed to create Customs Union?

- I can’t understand that. As a specialist in international economy I can surely say we don’t need Customs Union, because we haven’t had any obstacles in trading with Russia before. With Russia we have a treaty on avoidance of double taxation; there is a free trade zone and a mutual investment protection agreement. These are quite enough to run business and commerce. But a customs union is just the opposite. After implementation of Customs Union Russian customs officers now stand at our borders. Such a precedent never existed in the world history. Customs officer of one country should not be serving at a border of other nation. We should say ‘no’ to Customs Union and Common Economic Space. And we have the right to do so. Article 60 of 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties reads a country has the right to quit any treaty providing it sends a notice 12 months before. The same item is listed in the agreement of common economic space. We need to use this right.   

-  Is there a unanimous support to Customs Union in the ruling power?

- The latest events demonstrated there isn’t. The recent speech of Nur Otan Party Secretary Yerlan KARIN and raising this issue by Senator Gani KASSYMOV are an example. I think Nazarbayev himself is seeking for the ways out of the situation. What the people should do is to let the power know their opinion. Perhaps, someone will say “for what, look, everything is done already” But, everything depends on people, first of all. If we clearly express that we are against the current policy towards Russia, the power will have to lay our words to heart. That’s why we need the referendum.

Interviewed by Ainur SAPAROVA

November 26 2012, 17:12

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