TWENTY YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE IN KAZAKHSTAN AND KYRGYZSTAN: WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT—POLITICAL OR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT?
Bakhtiar BAKAS UULU, Kadyrzhan SMAGULOV
Bakhtiar Bakas Uulu, Ph.D. (Econ.), Board Member, Chairman of the Audit Committee of Dos-Kredobank (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
Kadyrzhan Smagulov, M.A. (Political Science), Ph.D. Candidate at the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
In Lieu of an Introduction
The dispute about what is more important, political or economic development, is like the philosophical discussions of what came first, the chicken or the egg. However, despite the ongoing debates, the answer, we think, is obvious: long-term and stable development of society is only possible with mutual agreement and complementarity, as well as parallel (joint) advancement of political and economic reforms. This is clearly shown by the 20 years of independence in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, two neighboring countries which chose different paths of development.
“The Economy Should Be Economical”
(General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee Leonid Brezhnev)
Since the beginning of 1991, the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have been pursuing a path of independent development and market economy-building. During the 20 years of reform, both countries have passed through various stages of internal transformation. But although both countries started off on essentially the same foot, they have achieved very different results.
It is probably not right to compare Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, since they differ significantly in essentially every parameter (beginning with the size of their territories and ending with their political system). But they do have one thing in common: no clearly positive results.
Let us begin by taking a look at the economic situation and evaluating the size of Kazakhstan’s and Kyrgyzstan’s economy.
In 2010, Kazakhstan’s GDP amounted to $146 billion, while Kyrgyzstan’s was only $4.5 billion. At the beginning of the year, Kazakhstan had an external debt of $115.3 billion (whereby the state debt amounted to only 3%, while the rest constituted the debts of private companies), while Kyrgyzstan’s debt amounted to $2.6 billion (whereby the state debt accounted for almost all of this amount). Kazakhstan’s population comprises 16 million people, while Kyrgyzstan has a population of………………..