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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhstan Defiant

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev blasted critics of his democratic record Thursday, saying the world did not appreciate the achievements of Central Asia in eight years of independence.

"Maybe some people are not satisfied with the pace of reform here but they do not understand the tremendous processes going on," he told delegates at a World Economic Forum summit.

"We have gone from totalitarianism to democracy, from a command economy to market reforms - how many countries in the world have gone through such upheavals?"

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who recently toured the region, said Central Asian states had far to go before they fully embraced democracy.

Nazarbayev said Kazakhstan would implement reforms at its own pace.

"As I indicated to Mrs. Albright during her visit, we will not hitch up our trousers to run after the United States," he said. "We do not accept any criticism of our democratic record or our domestic policies."