Had U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney declared during his visit to Kazakhstan last weekend that "in many areas of civil society --from religion and the news media to advocacy groups and political parties --the government has unfairly and improperly restricted the rights of the people," human rights groups would have cheered. But he said that in Russia, a few days earlier. What he told Kazakhstan's dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev, was that "all Americans are tremendously impressed with the progress that you've made in Kazakhstan in the last 15 years. Kazakhstan has become a good friend and strategic partner of the United States."