Kazakh president decries foreign influences

Associated Press Modified: April 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm •  Published: April 25, 2012

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) — The president of the oil-rich former Soviet nation of Kazakhstan has criticized the West for what he said was its attempt to impose its values on the rest of the world.

Nursultan Nazarbayev told Russian state-controlled channel Rossiya-24 in an interview aired Wednesday that the use of modern mass media to influence internal political developments in certain countries creates security risks.

Kazakhstan has since 1991 adopted a flexible diplomatic position, cultivating warm ties with the West as well as its former Soviet partners and China.

But Nazarbayev's remarks, which chime strongly with the position adopted by neighboring Russia, appear to signal discomfort with the democracy embraced by Western governments.

Authoritarian governments in Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, have observed the overthrow of numerous regimes in the Middle East with palpable unease.

"The varying mentalities, histories and traditions of different peoples are not being taken into consideration," Nazarbayev told Rossiya-24. "Western culture, which is propagandized by the United States, cannot simply be transplanted."

Nazarbayev said economic development in countries gripped by revolutionary movements has been set back by 15 years. He also expressed concern that Islamist movements are on the ascendancy in countries like Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

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