THE POLITICAL INTERNET IN KAZAKHSTAN: TRENDS, PROBLEMS, AND PROSPECTS
Bakytzhan Temirbolat, Ph.D. (Political Science), Independent Expert (Astana, Kazakhstan)
The new wave of computer and communication systems has opened a new stage in the development of the information society; the Internet, one of the symbols of globalization, is developing into the main virtual arena of international business.
In the developed countries, the mechanisms of state administration and politics, along with the basic technologies designed to maintain stability and organize a dialog between the ruling structures and society, are undergoing qualitative changes: politics inevitably blends with technology, thus accelerating the development of electronic democracy. The state is rapidly losing its former monopoly on every kind of information; it is no longer capable of controlling the social and political processes unfolding on the Internet. Today, society is free to discuss any problem in virtual space; if it spilled over into real life, any such problem might trigger an avalanche of unpredictable events.
Today, the global processes are gradually making the Internet part of the political process of Kazakhstan; it has become an important arena of interaction of opinions and clashes of interests in the multi-pluralistic virtual community. New mechanisms of cooperation with public opinion are taking shape together with forms of self-organization of citizens and interest groups, namely, the electronic media, web portals used for political discussions, and virtual communities and groups united by shared goals, including political goals.
Today, the state structures, political parties, public movements, associations, NGOs, media, and private citizens of Kazakhstan are demonstrating a lot of dynamism in mastering virtual space.
The Internet in Kazakhstan’s Public Life
The problem calls for an integrated analysis of the potential of the Internet; I relied on a PEST market analysis (rarely used in political science) to identify the Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors of the external macro-environment that might affect or are already affecting the topic of this study. Although fairly limited in its applications, this method will become more pertinent when applied to dynamic electronic development which depends, to an equal extent, on social and economic indices and technological level. The PEST-analysis offers the fullest possible investigation of four closely interconnected factors which affect, to the greatest extent at the present development stage of the information community, the political process in Kazakhstan (up to and……………….