interviews Yerzhan Kazykhanov, Kazakhstan's ambassador to the UN:
EurasiaNet: How would you characterize current domestic political conditions in Kazakhstan?
Kazykhanov: The political situation is normal. There is a strong executive branch, headed by the president. ... [But] it is obvious that there is a division of power, where each branch of government has its influence, [and] they all work independently. There is constructive political opposition that expresses its opinions and analyses on current political events in the country. ... Of course, we can not really claim that we have achieved a certain level of Western-style democracy. Our government repeats that every country, especially an Asian country such as Kazakhstan, has it own specific traits and traditions. Therefore, just applying the Western experience of the development to Kazakhstan would be completely wrong because we have our own mentality. ... Sometimes Western analysts write that many Central Asian countries have totalitarian regimes, mentioning certain names. This shows an absence of understanding of the situation in Central Asia. ... I think that many of the so-called [Central Asian] specialists in the West, people who can still confuse the names of capitals, cannot know what the people of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are thinking and feeling. ... So, repeating myself, I think that we [in Kazakhstan] are moving in the right direction. A presidential election is going to be held in the near future ... We shall see how events unfold. ... The main thing is that both the opposition and the government know that stability is needed for investment and the continued development of the economy.