29/04/2003, Ivan Zakharov
24 April is celebrated for many years - since 1954 - as the International day of youth solidarity as per UNESCO decision.
That was a holiday! It smells of sombreros and muchachos, overall noise and internationally killing intoxicating drink (and as a consequence - beautiful mulatto babies), T-shirts with fists saying "Friendship!".
However, I think I'm confusing it with an international festival, which, in general, is very very close. The same sixties, the same feeling of brotherhood and an eternally bright life...
Times changed, but the youth itself, as well as calls for solidarity remain the same in the most different places of Earth. But not for all: Yugoslavs, Afghanis, Palestinians - and now also Iraqis - are not too much predisposed for a total brotherhood. And it is quite understandable. Let's see, with what success, as they used to say during the boom of internationalism, our chaps and girls celebrate the holiday.
There are many of them in Kazakhstan nowadays - around four millions. It is a vast multicoloured army of long and short haired, learned and not much, exemplary quite ones and law breakers - all sorts of folks. It's very difficult for too many of them to find their own place in this life. As per the official data, around 90 thousand Kazakhstanis neither study nor work today.
I believe that in reality this figure is much higher. It is enough to remember our so called small towns and villages, where the population is doomed to unemployment, progressive alcoholism and grey existence. Depression is rooted genealogically here. Even if on this poor soil a unique genius is born, it will be impossible for him to leave the narrow space - he'll have no money to get to cities and Universities. If only he won't go on foot with a packet of crackers, like Lomonosov. Let's suppose, that such provincial manages to enter a University for free, without bribes and connections, which would be a wonder indeed seen how corrupted and imperfect the national higher education system is. But, tell me please, where is the enterprise that is going to pay for his studies, hoping to employ in a few years a priceless specialist? There is no such enterprise in the town, as well as in other towns. So, most likely, the country will never know about its young citizen, capable of making it famous for stupendous discoveries in some area - he will get old in his God forsaken village.
According to the results of a public interview carried out by the research company "Comcon-2 Eurasia" in Almaty - the biggest city! - more than a third of young city dwellers are thinking about a possibility to leave this country. 43.7 per cent would like to go to the far abroad, 24.3 per cent would prefer Russia. Almost a half of the potential emigrants explain their wish to leave this country by the lack of prospects here. They are not so naive, these would be travellers to hope for the instant well-being and a guaranteed career in the final destination of the alien uncertainty. But they have a possibility to compare - corresponding with their friends, reading newspapers, navigating the internet. And they see a contrasting difference in the attitude of the State and institutions in general towards the youth, the difference in salaries and career growth principles. In any self-respecting country the youth is seen as a gene pool and a nation's hope, accordingly, and thus soft regime conditions are created for them, allowing them to realise fully all their ambitions and talents, even against the traditions, but for the country's sake. Moreover, people with limited possibilites - or the disabled in our language - use their right on education and prestigious work in the same extent, as all the rest, confidently and without problems. Is it possible in our parts, where the disabled are rejected by both the State and the society, as an irritating burden? It's a rhetorical question.
Many of the CIS countries realised what a catastrophe would be for them an outflow of young brains and workforce. In the same Russia the law "On the State youth policy" was passed, allowing the federation subjects to pass their own responsible decisions locally, because due to the vastness of the territory it is impossible to foresee all nuances, related with the youth problems in various regions. Ukranian Rada established an especial commission, into which representatives of various groupings were included, even informal ones. Seeing that it was not for the sake of appearances and that their opinion really mattered the guys got involved into its work seriously. As a result three laws were passed, guaranteeing a real support from the State - for instance, benefits for the mortgage lending to young families and taxation of young businessmen. In Kazakhstan a number of draft laws on youth was prepared, one of which supposing costs in the amount of one quarter of the annual budget of the country was rejected, naturally. Endless languid amendments were introduced, one of the drafts seemed to be discussed even in the provinces. And now the document is in the parliament, but because in the budget-2003 not a single tenge was planned for it, the passing of the law, apparently, is postponed for an indefinite period.
The problem is not even in passing it - the experience of approving the crude and unreadable legal enactments is rich here. It is important to provide the mechanism of its observance, to define the responsibility of concrete organisations. Because, as it is known, appealing to the law in our country is a headache, it's costly and sometimes completely senseless. For instance, the law "On labour" considers that the employer is right in advance. In the Soviet times the notion of the "young specialist" functioned rigidly, automatically providing a University graduate with a job and a bed in the dormitory. It was impossible to dismiss him - in this case any court would return the offended one back to the same work. Today the owners of the firms practice the "trial period" trick cynically - boys and girls work for a month or two as on an assembly line, after which they are declared as unsuitable and are fired with a few pennies paid. There are no precedents of court proceedings, because the young men are not space cadets and they know very well how the court system functioned. The lawyers believe that a good law on youth will volens nolens contradict the preceding ones - so flat and ill-prepared.
As the registry office workers observe the marriages in our country "grow old" - bridegrooms are usually after 30. Demographers use the word "catastrophe" more and more often - last year by 2.5 thousand less babies appeared, than the year before. Proper unsettled life and vague prospects of course restrain the demographic urges of the lovers. The State, having promised the lump sum payments to the recently confined women is not in a hurry to pay - traditionally there's no money in the local budgets. According to inquiries, 10 per cent of modern Kazakhstanis would prefer not to work and not to make kids, if a desired quantity of money would somehow rain on them magically.
...Once komsomol under the guidance of the party dealt with the problems of youth, brainwashing the younglings also with human and moral basics apart from socialist stupidities. Modern angry old women are right: twenty years ago they drank and swore much less, and they knew about the "scag" only through hearsay. In the last ten years the number of young people registered in the clinics for drug addicts of Kazakhstan, has grown by 18.8 times. Since 1992 crime has doubled among the youth, with the majority of offences being grave. During the last year the number of murders has grown by one fourth, and that of rapes - by one third...
Meanwhile a generation has grown up that is forced to bring itself up by itself: their parents are too busy in the national economy, or with their own affairs which is most often is one and the same thing. These girls and boys "fourteen to twenty nine" did not do in time to believe in God, but they already believe nice slogans. They don't even know that there was such a warm holiday - the Day of Solidarity. Ontherwise from what sort of damned solidarity they are killing each other?