ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev defended on Thursday the Central Asian nation’s cautious path towards democracy and dismissed calls from the West that he pick up the pace.
“They have told me many times: ‘Introduce democracy as in the United States, as in the West.’ But we are Kazakhs! We are not Americans, nor Germans, nor English,” the Kazakh leader said.
During the presentation of a series of textbooks incorporating for the first time scientific terms translated into the Kazakh language, Nazarbayev argued that the political system of his country was a reflection of the idiosyncrasies of his countrymen.
He said the mentality of Westerners differed from that of his fellow citizens, who have “their own conscience, history, language, religion and traditions.”
“We are a people that, like all the world, we follow the path of democracy, but in one day we cannot advance a thousand years.” Fifty years ago in the United States blacks and whites could not share buses and blacks did not participate in elections. Why is that forgotten?” Nazarbayev said.
“In Kazakhstan we respect the elders and our women. The son respects the father, the father respects the grandfather, and we should not depart from this. I always explain this to the West.” he added.
Nazarbayev said Kazakhstan would march down the road to democracy with a Kazakh gait.
“But this does not mean that the country will depart from civilization. Kazakhstan will be on par with developed countries, going its own way,” he said.