Silenced Voices from Kazakhstan

For the past ten years Kazakhstan has been the third fastest growing economy in the world after China and Qatar – especially due its large-scale oil fields. There is a will to expand the economy, but economic growth is overshadowed by the forthcoming distribution of power.

Since 1991, the country has been led autocratically by a 72-year-old President Nursultan Nazarbayev who has gathered huge fortunes in billions of euros for his family and circle of acquaintances. Along with aging of the president the human rights situation is intensifying at extreme, while the country has no experience of democratic and legal elections.

In December 2011, at one of the main oil production areas of Kazakhstan in Zhanaozen close to Caspian Sea hundreds of civilians were shot by police, the aim was to defeat months-long workers’ strike that had slowed down oil production.

According to official data 17 were killed, but the citizens told nobody knows the exact number by hidden corpses, the figure is close to hundred. After the massacre hundreds of citizens were arrested and tortured to obtain false testimonies for the police and authority use.

At the moment practically there is no opposition parties nor independent media in Kazakhstan. Many politically involved people, human rights activists and journalists have fled the country. Read more in english.

Kukka Ranta visited in Kazakhstan during October-November 2012
after an invitation by the human rights organization Open Dialog Foundation.
For more information:
odfoundation.eu.

See also: Kazakhstan’s silenced voices in Finland | 15.05.2013 by the ODF:
On 11 May, the Finnish Centre for Art and Design in Fiskars held an exhibition of photographs from Kazakhstan, entitled ‘Silenced Voices’. The author, photographer and journalist, Kukka Ranta, visited Kazakhstan in autumn 2012 within the framework of the mission, organised by the Open Dialog Foundation.

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