What do I want to say about this event?

I am extremely disappointed that the draft amendments were not submitted for public discussion, people were not given the opportunity to make their suggestions, comments. As a consequence, we see that the project does not reflect the aspirations of many citizens of Kazakhstan, the changes in society that have become obvious to everyone are not fixed.

I don’t like that the referendum is being held in a very short time, just a month after the announcement. In 30 days it is impossible even to really understand the essence of the proposed changes. From this I conclude that the authorities were not going to consult with the people, to listen to any proposals. Dialogue was not provided here.

In addition, as a citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan, I am outraged that about 65 amendments to 35 articles of the Constitution were submitted to the referendum in one package. The voters are not given the opportunity to support this or that amendment or reject this or that amendment. You need to vote either for everything or against everything. This is also a sign of the authorities’ disrespect for the people. The old Soviet approach, when everything was decided for the people at the top and ready-made solutions were given.

What should citizens do in this case?

To spite the authorities, ignore the vote and disrupt the referendum (if less than half of the voters come to the ballot boxes, the referendum will be declared invalid)? Or come and vote “against” (if the majority of those who voted against the amendments, they will not be adopted)?

I believe that despite all the above I have said, it is necessary to go to the referendum and vote “for”.


I have analyzed all the amendments submitted to the referendum (see my previous post) and I must say that there is nothing in the new version of the Constitution that would worsen the lives of Kazakhstanis, there are only improvements. However, the improvements are timid, inconsistent, so I would call this referendum as “half a step in the right direction.”

It is worth voting for these amendments for at least one reason: to remove from the Constitution all articles concerning the first president, his special status, inviolability and privileges.

This referendum should be a turn in the history of modern Kazakhstan from the dictatorship and cult of personality of Nursultan Nazarbayev.

But where we turn: to a new dictatorship or to a free democracy, this is the second issue that we need to address immediately after we solve the first issue.

Therefore, I believe that after the adoption of these amendments, the civil society of Kazakhstan should immediately begin work on the preparation of the next referendum. At that second referendum, we have to prepare carefully, carefully discuss in society all possible ideas for improving the basic law of the country, hold debates, rallies, and so on, and only after that put to the vote article by article new amendments.

This should be a truly popular, conscious, hard-won referendum.

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