By Andrei Prigor, Astana
On 22 December last year, the president of Kazakhstan signed amendments to the Administrative Code which mean everyone has to register with the police wherever they happen to be. This applies whether they are on a private visit, getting treatment somewhere, on a work visit or any other reason.
Everyone has to register their presence in a particular locality and their reason for being there within 10 days of arrival and the length of time they will be staying.
After a warning, punishment for non-compliance can be meted out within 30 days.
Total control over the population is being established by this ruling. The authorities say the reason for it is the intensification of the fight against terrorism. But the public thinks otherwise. By introducing this registration scheme, large sums of money will be collected in penalties for non-compliance.
The regulations came into effect from 7 January and most people feel it is a form of totalitarian control and repression comparable to being put in some form of concentration camp and just adding to the financial burdens they already have. They believe it is no accident that this form of taxation is happening at a time when the national budget has been plundered and the national EXPO exhibition is not far off!
Refuse to implement!
We are calling for people to boycott this law and conducting a campaign to explain that this initiative of the government goes against the country’s constitution and infringes the freedom of its citizens. Mass disobedience could lead to the law being abolished immediately. Alternatively, in the future, once the police begin to impose fines, there could be big protests.
Eighty per cent of Kazakhstan’s citizens have to move around the country or stay in places other than where they have had their original permanent address. It seems as if now everyone is supposed only to stay in the place they are registered in. But the conditions do not exist in Kazakhstan, nor are likely to, for living permanently in one place.
Incidentally, a visa-free regime exists in Kazakhstan for the residents of many foreign countries; but for its own population, it is shackles and handcuffs! It is said that the Nazarbayev regime is trying to turn Kazakhstan into a ghetto under totalitarian control. All this is probably due to the regime’s increasing fear for the future.