Kjell Magne Bondevik wrote a debate post in connection with Kazakhstan’s 30th anniversary. He was paid for the assignment.
It writes Our country. The post from the former Prime Minister of the Christian People’s Party was published in Vårt Land last year. The title was «Kazakhstan – a bridge builder between east and west?»
It is quite far from an accurate description of the current situation in the former Soviet Republic. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has cracked down hard and brutally on protesters’ demands for democracy and a better everyday life.
According to the authorities, 164 people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured. The figures are based on the authorities’ own reports. It is difficult for outsiders to get a correct picture of the situation in the country. This is partly due to that the authorities for a period shut down the internet.
Tokayev has described the rebels as “armed bandits”.
“Those who do not surrender will be eliminated,” Tokayev said before the weekend.
He made it clear that negotiations are out of the question.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that terrorists, trained abroad, have taken part in the violent clashes, writes BBC.
“More than usual ambitions”
Bondevik’s post was also published in a PR magazine for the country. It was produced by the communications agency Geelmuyden Kiese and distributed in Dagbladet. The magazine was to mark the country’s 30th anniversary last year.
On the same occasion, Bondevik participated in a webinar to celebrate the country.
– The article was part of an assignment that also included a webinar, and I received an ordinary fee for this. For me, it is always a prerequisite that I can say and write what I want, and no guidelines were laid at all on what I was to perform, says Bondevik to Vårt Land.
He does not want to say how much he was paid, but says the amount was relatively modest.
Bondevik says that he regrets that he said yes to the post being in the PR magazine. He says he did not get paid extra for the post being there.
In the post, he praises the country’s former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The two met when Bondevik was prime minister.
“I registered a political leader with more than usual ambitions on behalf of his country,” Bondevik wrote. He also wrote that the country is concerned about stability “to maintain security and peace in the region”.
Now the country is anything but stable.
Bondevik says that the development in the country now does not fit with the title «a bridge builder between east and west».
He is disappointed and surprised by the regime’s reaction to the protesters.
Became an honorary doctor in 2004
Bondevik visited Kazakhstan as prime minister in 2004. Many Norwegian companies wanted a piece of the pie in the then rapidly growing economy.
Aftenposten then reported from a visit to a university in the capital Astana, which in 2019 changed its name to Nur-Sultan to honor the former dictator who had just resigned.
“When Bondevik entered a large hall, he was greeted by standing ovations from several hundred students. The Prime Minister clearly seemed to enjoy the attention, and his grin did not diminish when he was soon named honorary doctor “, it was stated in the report from the visit.
There it went on
– It is a great honor to appoint them an honorary doctor here at the university, said the rector and wore Bondevik student hat and cloak to wild cheers and stomping from the hall.