Atyrau rally on April 24, 2016 with the requirement to prohibit the sale of Kazakh agricultural lands to foreigners, in my opinion, was a good reason to return to the issue of resolving peaceful rallies and demonstrations in Kazakhstan.
The Atyrau people showed that our people grew out of the diapers of wild anarchism and that we are ready to become a civilized society. It is noteworthy that during the rally in Atyrau not a single person was injured, no lantern was broken, as one of its participants said. On the other hand, the authorities themselves for the first time tried the mechanism of peaceful dialogue with the unorganized mass of people. I want to give credit to akim of Atyrau region. Clearly aware of what a tense atmosphere reigned on the square at that moment. It was a stone’s throw to a dangerous excess. However, Mr. Nagaev took the liberty, entered the crowd and was able to convince it to disperse. It was a good school for a representative of power.
All this time, while we are afraid of rallies, in my opinion, we are in captivity of old Soviet stereotypes, when we perceived authorities as “fathers” and the society cultivated a paternalistic mood. Today, people are not unreasonable children, from whom matches and sharp objects must be taken in time, but a formed society. The power declares that the people are not servants of officials, but, on the contrary, officials are servants of the people. But unfortunately, the case does not go further than the slogans. Paternalistic, masterly attitude is still felt by many officials.
To better understand the allegory about the hosts and servants, imagine some noble house of the times of Leo Tolstoy somewhere in Yasnaya Polyana. The owners and servants live in the house. If the servants want to gather on the lawn in front of the house owners and something vigorously discuss or complain about something, then, of course, the servants should ask permission from the hosts for such a rally. And now imagine that the assembly is not intended to be held by servants, but by the owners of the house. Will they ask permission from the servants to hold such a meeting? Of course not. The most they will do is warn the servants about the upcoming party so that they can prepare for it: clean the yard, ventilate the rooms, wash the floors. That’s what servants should do if the hosts decide to hold a meeting. So it is in our case. Our servants, officials, having learned that we, the people, their owners, decided to hold a rally, should clean the area of garbage, remove the adjacent streets from unnecessary trash, at the extreme, if we know about a possible confrontation at the rally, mobilize the police for protection order and to protect rally participants from aggressive opponents. But not in any way to beat the protesters.
This is how the relationship between masters and servants in real democracies is built.
If we declare the beginning of institutional steps to develop democracy in our country, then it is necessary to introduce the mandatory attributes of this democracy, among which the right of citizens to peaceful rallies and demonstrations.