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A Creative Platform that Unifies the Nation

A Creative Platform that Unifies the Nation
Фото: © El.kz 21.05.2024 11:19 2307

Democracy is not a utopian concept of a wonderful life. It requires tireless work and a complex, long process. Steppe philosophy is a valuable initiative, representing the fruitful thoughts of various groups and tribes in society. The foundations of nomadic democracy were laid by the creative system that began in the Hun era and was established in the Turkic era.

What is the National Congress?

Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed the establishment of a National Congress in his address to the people on March 16, 2022. This new consultative-advisory body has since expanded its scope. Currently, the National Congress serves to promote creativity with its initiatives, innovative ideas, and cutting-edge decisions. It includes representatives from various fields across the region, parliament members, members of the People's Assembly of Kazakhstan and the Civil Alliance, public councils and organizations, prominent public figures, industrial and agricultural workers, business representatives, and other citizens.

The National Congress was previously held in lands sacred to the country, where khans and saints rest. They met in Ulytau, where the mausoleums of Alasha Khan and Joshi Khan are located, and in holy Turkestan, where the tomb of Aziret Sultan and the remains of great khans are located. At the first meeting, the main direction was determined, and at the second meeting, a concrete work plan was implemented. After the meeting in Turkestan, working sections were launched, including "Civil Society", "Culture, Art, and Spirituality", "Education and Science", and "Socio-Economic and Regional Development".

The National Congress provides a unique opportunity for people to raise issues, even if they are not included in the Parliament or Maslikhat. In this format, they can bring their concerns to the authorities, discuss them, and present them to the public. Its composition includes representatives from various spheres of society, and it is a tradition to rotate the members of the National Assembly regularly.

Currently, the National Congress has 117 members from various fields and regions. This includes parliament members, members of the People's Assembly of Kazakhstan and the Civil Alliance, public councils and organizations, prominent public figures, industrial and agricultural workers, business representatives, and other citizens. Each region includes one member from public councils.

 

The Manifestation of Democracy in Steppe Philosophy

In the history of the Kazakh people, inviting a Congress has been a long-standing tradition. Our forefathers, relying on justice and honesty, brought everyone together to consult, exchange opinions, and reach a common decision on matters of decisive importance. Living in the great steppe, they organized the state system of a nomadic country to meet the requirements of the time. Many constitutions in our history have directly influenced the fate of the nation. In 1269, on the banks of the Talas River, at the invitation of Kaidu Khan, the Great Congress declared the Golden Horde an independent state.

To protect themselves from the continuous invasion of Kalmak, brave Kazakhs gathered first in Karakum and later in Ordabasy to join forces against the enemy. These collegiate meetings hastened the formation of a united front, and the heroes of the three hundred joined hands to win the battles of Bulanty-Bileuti and Anyarakai, liberating the Deshti-Kipchak steppe from the Dzungars.

The foundation of the "Alash Party" was laid at the first Kazakh Congress held in Orynbor on July 21-26, 1917. On December 5-13, 1917, the second All-Kazakh Congress declared the autonomy of Alash, aiming to create a national autonomous state.

In the early years of independence, the first Congress of World Kazakhs was organized in Almaty. This gathering marked the beginning of the great journey to the homeland during a turbulent period, contributing significantly to the recollection and upliftment of our people.

Solving our people's problems through the constitution and coming to a common bond is a manifestation of the democratic values glorified by the West in field philosophy. It is not wrong to say that Kutyltai has become a real creative system dedicated to uniting the country, fostering national unity, and increasing solidarity.

 

A Symbolic Value

Meetings of the National Congress are organized in places dear to Kazakhs, carrying symbolic meaning. The first meeting was held in Ulytau, at the foot of the Joshi Khan mausoleum. The state history of Kazakhstan began with the Golden Horde era, was formed during the Kazakh Khanate, revived during the Alashorda period, and permanently fixed during the period of independence. The second meeting was held in Turkestan, a holy city with centuries-old history, the spiritual capital of not only the Kazakh people but the entire Turkic world. Turkestan played a special role in the country's history, becoming a foundational city along the Great Silk Road, radiating education and spirituality. Many significant figures in Kazakh history found their eternal home here.

During the meeting in Ulytau, Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev raised several issues, including the proposal to change the name of our country and personnel policy. He also discussed the transition to the Latin alphabet and the state language. Most importantly, it was decided to reinstate Republic Day, making October 25 a public holiday again. Issues such as strengthening national unity, explaining reforms to the people, and establishing historical justice were also raised. Furthermore, there was talk of involving the people in large-scale reforms through new technologies. The Quryltai mobile application was developed for this purpose, allowing any citizen to express their opinion. The "National Constitution" program also reaches viewers on the "Khabar" channel, expanding the possibility for public involvement in decision-making. As a result, the main institutions of power have acquired a completely new character in a short period, strengthening the system of human rights and freedoms.

At the second conference in Turkestan, many issues were discussed. The head of state focused on improving state symbols and tasked tracing and regulating regional symbols. Orders and medals will be named after historical figures. Additionally, a multi-volume history of Kazakhstan will be developed, and issues of onomastics, cultural heritage promotion, protecting young people from foreign religious influences, and stopping family violence were raised. The need to promote patriotism, environmental education, and hard work was emphasized.

At the national conference, discussions included restoring the title of "People's Writer of Kazakhstan", developing the domestic film industry, starting a book publishing business, and promoting the creative industry. K. Tokayev also shared his views on developing border areas and remote villages and improving the state language.

 

Issues Raised in the Congress

It is an invariable axiom that people go through different stages of development. That is why old structures are renewed and replaced by others. The National Congress was established to replace the previous National Council of Public Trust, and a lot of work has been done since then.

In general, the issues discussed within the framework of the National Congress have not escaped the attention of the public or the government. Some of the proposals raised by its members have been approved by law. In particular, the procedure for holding peaceful gatherings was revised, and changes were made to the relevant law. The Electoral Law now provides for a 30 percent quota for women, youth, and persons with disabilities. The threshold for the registration of political parties has been lowered, and the vote "I am against everything" was included in the ballot. The threshold for political parties to participate in the majlis was also lowered, and direct election of village mayors was initiated. It is now forbidden to sell and rent land to foreigners.

The Second Optional Protocol aimed at abolishing the death penalty was ratified, placing Kazakhstan among the countries that have completely abandoned the death penalty. This action was highly appreciated by Amnesty International. During the first conference held in Ulytau, about forty initiatives were raised, most of which were taken into account during the adoption of the law. Members of the National Assembly also participated in the adoption of constitutional draft laws after the constitutional reforms.

In recent years, concerns about the younger generation and increasing sexual pressure on children have been raised in society. The members of the National Assembly have spearheaded the adoption of several laws and the approval of comprehensive plans. In particular, the punishment for sexual crimes against children has been strengthened, and amendments to domestic violence laws have been proposed.

A comprehensive plan against drug addiction and drug trafficking for 2023-2025 has been adopted. A roadmap has been developed to prevent the use of e-cigarettes by teenagers and schoolchildren, and Parliament has passed a bill banning the import, export, sale, and distribution of vapes. A roadmap for protecting children from gambling addiction has also been prepared.

A 2.5 percent concessional loan policy was introduced to support young entrepreneurs. A comprehensive plan for 2023-2025 to promote the ideology of labor value in society was approved. New ways of celebrating Labor Day have been adopted, and schools now teach the subject of "Engagement".

The action plan for the implementation of the information doctrine of Kazakhstan for 2023-2025 was approved, and the roadmap "Children - Internet - Media Safety" was adopted. The roadmap for the development and support of volunteer activities for 2024-2026 has been developed, along with a roadmap for the development of analysis and research organizations. Significant work has been done in this direction.

The concept of language policy development in our country for 2023-2029 was approved. Special attention is paid to the study of our past, as al-Farabi said, "It is difficult to know the present and predict the future without knowing the past and history". A 7-volume academic edition of the history of Kazakhstan from ancient times to the present day is being prepared. A "Unified Educational Program" was developed, and a children's library program was approved. A list of fiction books that everyone should read has been created, including 1770 books.

Additionally, the "Village - Cradle of the Country" project is being implemented. Amendments to the Law "On Cinematography" were developed in the direction of culture and sports. The state historical and cultural museum-reserve "Aziret Sultan" was awarded the status of "National". The working concept and three-year work plan of the Yassauitanu Scientific Center have been developed. The title of "People's Writer of Kazakhstan" was reinstated. Special tax benefits have been introduced for representatives of the creative industry. Preparations are underway for the 5th World Nomadic Games.

The Last but Not Least

At the first National Congress, the main direction was determined, and at the second meeting, a concrete work plan began to be implemented. After the meeting in Turkestan, working sections were launched. Currently, there are sections on "Civil Society", "Culture, Art, Spirituality", "Education and Science", and "Socio-economic and Regional Development".

These sections continued their work at the third National Congress held in Atyrau. A special action plan was developed for the implementation of the recommendations made during the discussion. Several proposals were made at the meeting of the National Assembly chaired by the Head of State K. Tokayev.

Founding members Edyl Zhanbyrshin, Orazaly Sabden, Yevgeny Bolgert, Ayman Omarova, Nikita Shatalov, and Dinara Zakieva spoke at the meeting, then the Head of State reviewed the proposals and shared his opinions. Several directions were considered, starting with the cultural direction.

The President suggested looking at our history with honest eyes and accepting it as it is. “Lately, there has been much debate surrounding various events from the ancient past and famous historical figures. Discussions have escalated to the point where our writers and poets are fervently debating the origins of Genghis Khan, comparing and contrasting the leaders of the “Alash” movement and our Soviet-era figures.

Finding the truth in such discussions is challenging, and even if achieved, engaging in empty polemics that stir up society is unnecessary. Each era has its own unique characteristics. All our historical figures served their nation, guided by their individual beliefs and worldviews. This has led subsequent generations to debate who was right and who was wrong”, said Mr.President.

Highlighting the decline of library science in Kazakhstan during the challenging years of the 1990s, President Tokayev emphasized the need for comprehensive measures to revitalize this essential aspect of cultural heritage. He lamented the closure of thousands of libraries and the loss of a vast multimillion-book fund, underscoring the significance of libraries as custodians of the nation's memory and historical sources.

In recent years, efforts have been made to address this issue, with a focus on modernizing libraries to meet contemporary standards. President Tokayev lauded the renovation of libraries in Almaty as an exemplary initiative, providing the younger generation with enhanced opportunities for creativity and knowledge acquisition. He urged governors of other regions to emulate this successful model.

Several historical sites were recommended for inclusion in the UNESCO cultural heritage list. The 800th anniversary of Joshi Khan's founding was celebrated, and historical series will be filmed.

The President expressed concern about growing religious fanaticism among the youth. The Kazakh people have traditionally followed the Hanafism school of Sunni orientation, influenced by great field thinkers like Al-Farabi and Khoja Ahmet Yasawi. Destructive propaganda undermined traditional family values, urging a return to traditional religion. The Head of State also criticized the tradition of "elopement with a girl" and called for it to be given a legal assessment. Wealthy individuals were invited to build new schools, dormitories, hospitals, libraries, museums, or sports halls.

Acknowledging the need to streamline and standardize symbols across cities and regions, President Tokayev highlighted ongoing efforts in this direction. He stressed the significance of ensuring that these symbols not only reflect regional characteristics but also harmoniously represent the country's overall image.

During discussions, experts and public activists proposed modernizing the entire system of state symbols. President Tokayev expressed confidence in the stylistic integrity of the sky-blue flag, which he believes aptly captures the uniqueness and ideals of the nation. Similarly, he praised the national anthem for encapsulating the values and spirit of Kazakhstan, resonating deeply with citizens worldwide.

However, President Tokayev acknowledged concerns regarding the complexity and eclecticism of the current state coat of arms. In response, he suggested the formation of a special commission to thoroughly evaluate these concerns and engage in public discussions. This could pave the way for an open competition to design a new State Emblem of Kazakhstan, reflecting a consensus among citizens, including young people.

In addition to strengthening national identity through modernized symbols, President Tokayev emphasized the importance of honoring the memory of national heroes. He cautioned against the manipulation of historical events for political purposes, reaffirming Kazakhstan's commitment to upholding historical truth and preserving the genuine memory of World War II as the deadliest conflict in human history.

He explained the importance of celebrating the 80th anniversary of the end of World War II. A special order-medal named after heroes who stood out for their bravery in defending the Motherland will be awarded. The fight against drug addiction, gambling addiction, prevention of vapes, domestic violence, bullying, and vandalism were once again discussed.

Drawing inspiration from the wisdom of the great Abay, President Tokayev emphasized the importance of rejecting destructive behaviors and embracing virtuous ideals. He underscored the relevance of Abay's teachings in navigating the challenges of modern times, marked by globalization and technological advancements that have spawned new societal vices.

Chief among these vices is drug trafficking, including the proliferation of synthetic drugs, which President Tokayev described as a "real epidemic." With over 7,500 drug-related crimes detected last year and 41 tonnes of narcotics seized, he stressed the urgent need for intensified efforts to combat this scourge. While advocating for stricter penalties for drug producers and traffickers, President Tokayev also urged for a nuanced approach in prosecuting low-level couriers.

Addressing the growing threat of vape devices, President Tokayev highlighted the detrimental impact on youth health and the nation's future. Parliament is currently deliberating a bill to criminalize the import, production, and trafficking of vape devices, a step President Tokayev believes will curb their spread and safeguard public health.

President Tokayev also addressed the pervasive issue of gambling addiction, affecting an estimated 400,000 citizens and wreaking havoc on families and communities. He called for comprehensive measures, including the legal restriction of online gambling and the adoption of legislation proposed by the Amanat party.

In conclusion, President Tokayev emphasized the importance of promoting honest labor over easy gains, urging the nation to confront these social evils collectively. His remarks underscored the government's commitment to safeguarding public health, protecting families, and preserving the well-being of future generations.

The second direction is economic. The ultimate goal of the main changes in the country is to improve the well-being of every citizen. Accordingly, four large-scale infrastructure initiatives will be implemented this year. First, 55 heating centers will be repaired. A new housing program for residents of villages and district centers will be launched, with loan amounts not exceeding 7 percent. About 12,000 kilometers of roads in the country will be repaired, and approximately 300,000 people will be supplied with blue fuel. Additionally, the field of IT technologies will be developed, with a fiber optic communication network built across the bottom of the Caspian Sea. Saving budget funds is one of the main directions.

The third direction involves values that determine the appearance of society, including independence and patriotism. Every citizen needs to show their love for the motherland. The values mentioned by the head of state include unity and solidarity, justice and accountability, law and order, diligence and professional competence, and creativity and innovation. All these values pave the way for our people to make a breakthrough in development and join the ranks of leading countries.

In short, the National Congress organizes the people for a common goal and further strengthens public dialogue. It has become a unique platform where critical issues affecting the future of our people are discussed, and rational thoughts and fresh opinions are expressed.

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