Public administration reform is a crucial step towards achieving higher efficiency of public service provision and more effective regulation of the petroleum industry, which is enormously important for Kazakhstan. In the article the role of reforms conducted within the system of public administration over the past 10 years is assessed, and also the effect the reforms have had on the petroleum industry in the country. The article assesses the theoretical basis of effective public administration and evaluates the effectiveness of public administration reform in Kazakhstan based on an analysis of 172 semi-standardized interviews conducted in the country in the period 2009 to 2012. The results are analysed by evaluating the role of electronic government, the system of education of public employees, the mechanism of rotation and promotion of public servants, and implications of the reform for the petroleum industry in Kazakhstan.
The article aims to explain how the relationship between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will be affected by current developments in Tajikistan’s hydropower industry. The main focus is on how the relationship between these states is deteriorating as an effect of Tajikistan’s hydropower prospects. The planned Rogun hydropower plant is expected to result in Tajikistan becoming self-sufficient in energy; indeed, with surplus energy to export to neighbouring states providing much needed income. Uzbekistan’s official worries concern the increased risk of environmental disaster in the form of flooding and drought in the downstream states of Central Asia. There is little doubt that Uzbekistan’s position as the leading state in Central Asia is under threat, and the country risks losing the Tajik market for its own export of energy, which is 98 per cent of Tajikistan’s energy needs. Uzbekistan also fears the competition that will arise from Tajikistan exporting energy to other states in the region. The relationship between these states is getting colder, with little sign of things getting any better.
The democratization literature has increasingly pointed to the importance of a strong parliament with its unique functions of representation, legislation and control of the executive. However, in countries such as Kyrgyzstan, parliament has had a subservient role in politics due to the strong executive power. In this context, the parliament has developed and served other functions and become a platform for business interests, rent-seeking and clientelism. Since the 2010 constitutional changes in Kyrgyzstan, the international community has launched several projects towards strengthening and assisting the Kyrgyz parliament in carrying out the core functions of a democratic parliament. This article examines the idea behind and content of these projects and argues that, despite acknowledging the alternative functions of the parliament on paper, international organizations have difficulty incorporating these insights within their project activities.
On the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the birth of Pavel Florensky, the aim of this article is to analyse the connection between Florensky’s mathematical approach to the physical space in the book Imaginations in Geometry and his influence on new theories of the space of the icon. The 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed a revolution in mathematics through the development of non-Euclidean geometry and the fourth dimension, which Florensky interpreted as rehabilitation of the philosophy of the Middle Ages. In Imaginations in Geometry he conceptualized a «Ptolemeic–Dantic view of the world» where by means of the Special Theory of Relativity he made an exact approach to the physical characteristics of objects in the border between Heaven and Earth. Although Florensky did not introduce any «divine geometry» when it came to the icon, the concurrent art theorist Nikolay Tarabukin was influenced by Imaginations in Geometry. Tarabukin interpreted the so-called «inverse perspective» as a non-Euclidean geometrical visualization of the metaphysical worldview of the Middle Ages that got lost in Europe in the Renaissance, and in Russia under Peter the Great, but is reborn in the 20th century, inspired by the experiments in mathematics.