tv This Is America With Dennis Wholey WHUT August 21, 2011 9:00am-9:30am EDT
>> the ambassador from kazakhstan to the united states, the former foreign minister from kazakhstan and a master to norway, sweden, and ireland. mr. ambassador, it is good to sit and talk with you. szczeszek stan, ninth largest kazakhstan, the ninth largest country in the world. what would be three facts that
we should know about it? >> you have mentioned one, the size. secondly, we are enormously rich with mineral resources. per-capita, it is $300,000 per head in value. the third fact is that we hail from 500,000 years ago. -- 5000 years ago. >> central asia, when we talk about central asia, people in america do not know that part of the world. what other countries are we talking about? >> classic central asia would
>> one legend says that it drew from a white swan. the other theory is that it was a freedom-like person. >> they were a nomadic people long ago, a pastoral people? >> yes. we hail from one of the early walks of life for the human race. our ancestors go back to syrian tribes. sometimes they're called saka tribes. then there were the huns. you remember attila the hun. >> yes. then there were ancient turks and on and on and on. >> if you put all of the kazaks
together, is very national characteristic? >> many. one which will it be immediately jumped out is hospitality. peacefulness. friendliness. >> a few years ago, there was a film, a borat film, that made fun of kazakhstan. did that hurt? >> i do not think it was a mocking kazakhstan. it was mocking other countries. he is a very smart businessman. we do not have any complaints about him. he invested $1 million into his project and he reaped more than
$100 million and he did not share a penny with kazakhstan. in my time in london, there was beneficial visit to the uk. that was a peak time for the borat mania. the prime minister was nervous because there were rumors that he had heard. the first question was indeed of about borat. he said he was so frustrated that he was not in the room because he would be happy to talk with them. >> kazakhstan is now central. it is a dominant country in central asia appeared >> yes. >> the economy is solid. the country is successful.
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communications, and the american life tv network. >> mr. ambassador, there was a full-page article in "the washington post" within the past few weeks. kazakhstan is counting on its new silk road. you have to be very proud of the article. tell us a little bit about this idea of this new silk road, china into kazakhstan and into russia. >> i am very happy that we were in the limelight. i think we're deserving that. of course, everyone knows that the soap road is an ancient bridge between east and west. we are exactly at the heart of this bridge historic plea.
for 300 years to 400 years, the silk road had gone into oblivion. and now with communication and transport mean, we're turning back. >> how long is the road? this is trade and travel, right? >> yes. it traveled ideas and cultures, concepts and many other things. >> it was not just products. >> it was through human beings. it is very long and very diverse because it is very big can stand alone, it is a huge country. there are so many centuries of the silk road that goes east- west and not south. we have rehabilitated the ancient silk road and we are updating the railroads, the motorways, the air links and many other ways of communication.
>> they said there was a reference that once this thing was completed -- is it hundreds or thousands of miles long? >> it is a thousand miles long. >> that kazakhstan could be one of the new emirates. that is going 3 for. >> if you go to our new capital, you will encounter this immediately. it is a state of the art new city. people who visit our new capital say that is the new emirates. >> that suggests that there was an old capital and the president moved it. what is that all about? >> we are the only nation which moved the capital in the 21st century and quite successfully. >> they talked about doing it in korea, but it did not fly. >> we were studying other of
examples. we did it our way and it was successful. it was a hugely important, economically and politically, project. >> geography was at play. >> geography, policy, environment, and a combination of that produce the the new face of kazakhstan. that was the push for the president to move the capital. >> so there was a psychological reason for the move as well. >> very much so. >> you mentioned the economy. oil, natural gas, minerals, uranium -- >> #1. >> the largest producer.
agriculture is mixed in as well. >> we are number one producers of uranium. and we are the no. 1 exporters of wheat flour. >> where does the iranian go? what countries are looking for uranium. >> it all goes to nice guys, like the united states, europe, china. it is all in state hands. we have a close relationship with a i e a, which set the rules for that kind of trade. it goes to a very diverse geography where the nuclear power is to peacefully used. >> we're talking about oil and natural gas. they say in 2015 that you will be the 10th largest oil producing country in the world. does a lot of the oil end up in china and russia? >> oil is also the verse.
most of it was going to europe, actually. through russia. when it became independent, russia was the only transit route for our products. >> is that pipeline? >> it is pipeline and railroad stuff. it is also not going to the caspian sea. china is moving dynamically, as you know. we open a pipeline to time and also opened a gas pipeline to china. >> you could just produce for china and be a hit. >> but you have to diversify your roots. >> why are we so dependent on the middle east for oil? is it because you are so far away and it would cost too much to ship oil from kazakhstan to the united states? >> no. partly, it was because we were part of the soviet union.
oil and gas development plummeted -- or skyrocketed, rather, sorry -- in the independent base. >> we can get in on the deal? >> yes. >> but geography and distance, would that be a deal breaker? >> geography and distance, it was one of the considerations. but when we became independent and made deals with the the oil majors, they addressed these cost issues. >> do we have many countries from the united states -- >> all of the majors. chevron, exxon mobil, you name it. >> this is the 20s anniversary of your independence from the soviet union, right? there was a price to pay for being part of the soviet union, whether it was the environment,
whether it was forced immigration, and also culture. i guess all of those things took a beating. how has that changed and what progress is being made? >> we have made huge progress both economically and politically. it is a free society and a liberal economy. dynamically building relationships into the four sides of the world. yes, the soviet union, unfortunately, brought kazakhstan various social experiments. like the nuclear testing, like to be forceful setting of different ethnic groups in kazakhstan -- we had to go through that. but this also created a fantastic transformation.
now kazakhstan is a melting pot. we do not distinguish whether you are a jew or a russian or chinese or whatever. they're all coz extending -- there'll kazakhstan -- they are all kazakhstanis. we changed these stolen atrocities into this amazing transformation. kazakhstan is proud of its transformation, in its diversity and religiously. economically, most of the economy is private and our gdp has grown twelvefold. in 1992, we were less than $500. today, we're near $10,000. >> i mentioned to the
environment in asking that question. there was an atomic testing and nuclear testing in kazakhstan. >> yes, the soviet union had testing grounds. more than 700 explosions were down there. >> russia still leases some land from you, does it not? >> no. the first act of independence and kazakhstan, in 1991, banned the testing grounds. >> do they still have a space centered there? >> we least some men out to russia appeared >> the population is what? >> 16 million. >> great diversity, as you mentioned, of ethnicities there now. >> more than 100 ethnic groups. >> what do people do for work
and what did they do foreplay? >> there is a strong private sector. they do their earning in the same way you do it here. leisure travel, they travel, they play sports, they go to plastic arts, modern art's. they have a very dynamic and full life. >> are they in pretty good health? do they exercise like we do here? >> yes. >> sports are big there, right? >> kazakhstan is very spotty. we feature very high in the olympics. being small by population, we do not take lower than 55th place in the olympics. >> what do you think about hockey. >> ice hockey is our national game. i played i spikey myself. people are surprised -- i play
ice hockey myself. people are surprised when a here "stan" and ice hockey. >> it is certainly cold enough there. >> that will give you immediately the understanding of where we are. >> the typography is amazing. steps, which is flatlands and planes -- >> you call them prairies' here. we call them steps. in english, it would be grasslands. these are huge areas of prairies'. we have majestic mountains and snowcapped peaks. we have a famous poet who was the hero of the anti-nuclear movement who once said, "let's elevate the step without diminishing the mountain." >> most of the people live in the cities or rural areas?
>> most people live in cities. the breakdown is roughly 60% for cities and 40% for rule. >> and in the capital city? >> astana. >> how many people are living there? >> we moved into a shabby provincial town which had virgin land projects. that population was 2000 people. now wait is nearly 1 million -- 750,000. >> presidential republic, what does that mean? >> by the french constitution,
if you want to understand presidential republic, initially, we are a young nation. we are building some things from scratch. we need strong presidential power. so we chose this structure and we will be moving into a parliamentary system. >> tell us a little bit about the president. >> he is the father of the nation, a very charismatic person. i have had the privilege of knowing him more than 20 years. i have worked with him and i am fully confident that he will deliver on all his promises. >> he keeps getting elected. everytime you turn around, he is elected again. >> because he is so popular. he has delivered all these years. >> can he be a president for life? >> it is one of the myths.
he has been given the privilege to not have the limits for his terms. the public wants him and he chose to go for the elections this time and he won the elections -- >> in april. >> with a huge majority. >> are those elections fair? >> we believe their fair. they improved election to election. they are not ideal but the gold standard, but we doubt that anyone has gone to that mark. we appreciate that there are shortcomings. but we try to do everything to make sure that our elections are becoming better and better. >> what about customs and laws as far as freedom religion, freedom of speech, human rights and things like that? >> they are all there. as laws, they are as good as your laws here.
the only thing is that, on the presentation part, we lag behind. as i said, we are a young nation. our critics confused two things. they criticize us for not being a full-fledged democracy. we are a fledgling democracy. we are a nation in the making. therefore, you cannot apply the gold standard route to kazakhstan we come from the soviet mentality and this is about a generation change. you cannot turn yourself overnight and be a completely different person tomorrow. >> what about foreign policy? what is the relationship between kazakhstan and the united states. >> we have a natural capacity and ability to balance ourselves on horseback. therefore, we have excellent relations with china, with russia, to the south, and with
the european union and the united states. one small example of that is, when president obama was elected in november 2008, he picked up the phone and called up with the president. he also called him just last saturday and had an important and very meaningful and substantial talk. >> do we know what is about? >> i can open up a small secret to you. they have global security issues like non-proliferation because kazakhstan's participation in denuclearization is huge. they have discussed nation- building in kazakhstan, the rule of law and governance. they have also discussed energy preparations. >> you have served in russia,
the united -- the soviet union, switzerland and sweden, london, and now here. hockey, you are into cars as well -- what is the single greatest lesson you have learned in your life that you used on a day-to-day basis to get you through? >> the lesson i learned and continue to learn and that i want to pass over to my kids is to be true to yourself and to be true to your nation. this is what i tried to do on an everyday basis. it is a very challenging task. i try to be honest to myself. let me say a few words. we have a model of four words -- freedom, stability, unity, and prosperity. as we enter into the 21st century, with the new government, and as people will
come from the other culture, we like comparisons. we like to put forward ambitious tax-cut. we have the model of modernization, people's welfare, innovation, and integration. these are the driving forces for the near future. i can tell you that we live by ambitions. we sent a very ambitious tasks. there is a very famous st. when we say that a good word is half the job done. we want to think positively, present nice words, and to our children. >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> for online video of all "this is america" programs, visit thisisamerica.net document.