In August, Kaznet extensively discussed the performance of Yerbolat Dosayev, frequently delving into the topic of corruption. The analytical company ALEM RESEARCH presented an informational rating of regional and republican city akims (mayors), compiled based on media monitoring and social media activity for August 2023.
According to the monitoring results, the Almaty city akim, for the second consecutive month, has gained special popularity on Kaznet. In August, the name of Yerbolat Dosayev was mentioned 9,009 times. For comparison, the second position in terms of total mentions goes to the head of the Turkestan region with 5,718 mentions.
No other akim has achieved such popularity in both traditional media and social networks during the entire monitoring period. Over the course of two months, the head of Almaty has accumulated more than 20,000 mentions (14,000 in July). This number surpasses the yearly total for many other akims. However, Yerbolat Dosayev’s results are far from positive, with over 1,000 negative mentions in August. This is also a rarity among akims, and it marks the second petition for his resignation in just three months.
In August, Kaznet continued to highlight perennial issues in Almaty, namely curbs and roads. An attempt to shed light on this issue was made by the YouTube channel «Hyperborea.» The guest on their latest episode was a fierce critic of the Kazakh automotive industry and former MP candidate fo, Sanzhar Bokaev, who expanded his public activities towards Almaty city administration during the summer.
Bokaev presented a fundamentally new version of Almaty city officials’ favorite pastime – «change the curbs.» To remind you, the most common explanation for replacing last year’s curbs with new ones was that «someone in the neighborhood has a small curb factory.» Bokaev took it a step further. He stated that there exists a special fund that officials are obligated to replenish, creating the appearance of legality in financial flows.
Social media reacted favorably to Bokaev’s version. It explains a lot more than just curb games. For example, Kaznet understood why the city authorities began replacing the old granite decoration panels on urban objects, which had not seen wear and tear for 40-50 years, with new materials that are already peeling off.
«And this is so that they can allocate money for its repairs every year, just like with curbs,» social media summed up. According to Bokaev’s version, the task of the akims, not only in Almaty but in general, is not just to save as much as possible but to do it mainly by compromising on the quality of materials and work.
Silence of the Asphalt
In August, Almaty continued road repairs, and the approach of the school year, marked by an increase in the population of school graduates, significantly worsened the traffic congestion problem. Even the nighttime work on some sections did not save the city from criticism, including from Dosayev. If in July, Kaznet was mostly talking about the quality of asphalt, in August, constructive commentators raised the issue of the complete lack of communication between the akimat and the residents of Almaty.
«Repairing roads is necessary, there’s no dispute,» social media users stated. However, the key issue is the lack of communication. What prevents providing citizens, especially drivers, with information about the repair schedule? For example, informing them that a particular street will be resurfaced on a certain date at specific hours, allowing them to plan their routes accordingly. It’s understood that the number of cars won’t decrease on parallel streets, but this approach can help avoid situations where a driver sets out at their usual time on their usual route and unexpectedly encounters a one-and-a-half-hour traffic jam without understanding what’s happening ahead.
As for the quality of asphalt, it has been discussed, but rather passively. Kaznet cooled down the discussion with a magical explanation: the city is plagued by unbeatable corruption, so there’s no point in breaking lances over it.
Tariffs and Public Transportation
Even a superficial analysis of the data from ALEM RESEARCH’s monitoring reveals that approximately one-third of commentators, when discussing various issues in the metropolis, regardless of their scale, talk about total corruption inherited from the Old Kazakhstan era. Corruption is used to explain the construction of a bath complex on the site of the only parking lot near one of the residential complexes, problems with water supply in another residential complex, and warehouses instead of a children’s playground and that same parking lot in a third location.
In this case, the repair of the same section of road for the fourth time in a year is causing a lot of inconvenience to the residents of the area. Kaznnet gladly picked up a publication on one of the Telegram channels claiming that Dosayev is allegedly creating artificial obstacles for businesses that serve the city in order to promote his own companies into lucrative positions. They also enthusiastically discussed a document screenshot where the maslikhat raised the payment for the company responsible for street lighting from 1.5 billion tenge to 7 billion tenge. However, the biggest buzz was caused by the increase in public transportation fares.
The worst fears of the Almaty public transit segment have come true, as they suspected that with the increase in fares, public transportation wouldn’t improve. Judging by the sharp increase in complaints about public transit services after the fare increase, it seems like the transit operators were struggling to provide services. As soon as the fare was raised, the number of buses on many routes was reduced.
Last year, the city’s transportation department responded to screenshots from the Onai app, which showed five or six buses on long routes, by explaining that there was enough transportation, and these images were simply technical glitches in the system – not all buses were being displayed. However, when an Almaty resident waits for 30-40 minutes and then sees an overcrowded bus where not everyone can physically fit, faith in «technical issues» with the app dwindles.
This problem was also explained by Kaznet as being related to corruption. According to this explanation, transit operators receive substantial subsidies for each passenger, and it’s in their interest to cram buses full of passengers, especially since no one checks how many passengers they actually transport in a month. «The city administration takes their word because they have a share in it,» Kaznet observed.
ALEM RESEARCH emphasizes that they provide only the results of media and social media monitoring, which cannot be directly used to assess the performance and effectiveness of high-ranking officials. Therefore, the company is not responsible for any interpretations and speculations related to the monitoring results that may appear in the media or social networks.