Gerald Frost was 'Director of the London based Centre for Policy Studies from 1992 until 95 and head of the Institute of European Defence and Strategic Studies, which he founded in 1981.' He is editor of the Eurosceptic magazine Eurofacts.
An article by Jeremy Page in The Times reports Frost's role in "a team of British politicians and academics, led by Lord Parkinson", which was accused of "whitewashing a rigged election in the oil-rich Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan".
The incumbent, President Nazarbayev, won a third term as leader of the former Soviet nation with 91 per cent of the vote.
Observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which sent 460 observers, were not impressed. Page's article states:
- The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) ... said that the election did not meet international democratic standards. Flaws included restrictions on campaigning, interference at polling stations, multiple voting, pressure on students to vote, media bias and restrictions on freedom of expression, it said.
- “There was harassment, intimidation and detentions of campaign staff and supporters of opposition candidates, including cases of beatings of campaign staff,” said the OSCE mission, led by Bruce George, the British Labour MP.
This is where Lord Parkinson's team, which included Gerald Frost, intervened. Page continues:
- But Lord Parkinson’s seven-strong team, calling itself a “British parliamentary group”, pre-empted the OSCE report with a much more positive assessment. “The presidential election of 4 December represents a very significant advance,” said the report by his team, which also included Peter Lilley, the former Tory Trade Secretary. “The election was genuinely competitive and voters were given a real choice between candidates. We found no reason to doubt the integrity of the election process.”
- One of the main opposition leaders accused the team of toning down its criticism because of Britain’s interests in Kazakhstan, which has vast reserves of oil and gas. “They are lying,” Oraz Zhandosov, a former Finance Minister and co-leader of the Naghyz Ak Zhol party, told The Times. “This must have been funded by a large energy company or a front for the Kazakh Government.”
- Russian-language media reported the team’s conclusions as though it was an official observer mission from the British Parliament. The group was in fact organised by the Caspian Information Centre, which describes itself as a London-based non-profit think-tank. Its website says that it is supported by a growing number of contributors who are developing stakes in Kazakhstan’s international businesses.
- The centre’s director and sole employee, Gerald Frost, initially told The Times that it had a single private corporate sponsor, but refused to identify it. He later named it as Typhoon Media International, based in Hong Kong, but denied it had interests in Kazakhstan. Its website says Typhoon is “best known for working on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and other gameshows in the Asia-Pacific region”.
Publications, Contact, Resources and Notes
- Jeremy Page in Moscow British team accused of Kazakh poll whitewash The Times December 6, 2005