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Kazakh Report: January 25, 2002


25 January 2002

KAZAKH PRESIDENT SUMMONS LOCAL GOVERNORS TO ASTANA...
The governors of Kazakhstan's oblasts and mayors of large cities gathered in Astana on 25 January at the invitation of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Several Kazakh Parliament deputies also attended the gathering.

Parliament deputy Mikhail Troshchikhin said at the gathering that some opposition groups in the country are trying "to undermine social and economic stability in the country." He proposed that Kazakhstan should introduce a moratorium on all mass gatherings and public meetings until a new law on political parties and movements is drafted and adopted by the Parliament. He asked Nazarbayev not to pay attention to all the accusations levelled by some political parties and movements in a bid to "blacken the President," but to continue running the country. He said: "Mr. President, you used to run our country even in much worse days and you should not pay attention to any such insinuations now."

A second parliament deputy, Hakim Qoshqaliyev, said that the mass media's role and its place in such a "developing democratic country as Kazakhstan" should be constructive, not destructive. According to Qoshqaliyev, all the media outlets in Kazakhstan are owned by financial groups or oligarchs. "Newspapers and TV channels in our country are trying to support the economic and political interests of their owners, and that should be stopped", Qoshqaliyev argued.

Nazarbayev addressed the assembly personally, sounding very irritated. He said "... Some so-called independent media outlets in this country and political figures try to accuse Kazakhstan's leadership of deeds it has never committed. Whatever we see in our newspapers and on TV can be defined as a free-for all [balagan], and the time has come to stop this free-for-all. Those who call themselves opposition parties and movements have never said anything about the multi-ethnic population of this country and about inter-ethnic stability. The so-called Forum of Democratic Forces raised the slogan that there is no democracy in Kazakhstan. If that is the case, how did they manage to hold a mass gathering last Saturday in Almaty's circus? Why are our achievements forgotten? We shall have to implement strict measures, I am afraid," Nazarbayev warned.

... AS SLAV ORGANIZATIONS AND ALFA MOVEMENT OF ALMATY ROUND ON 'DEMOCRATIC CHOICE'
The Alfa movement headed by Zhaqsybay Bazylbayev and the leaders of the Semirechiye Cossacks and LAD, the organization that represents Slavs, gathered at National Press Club in Almaty on January 25. They harshly criticized the leaders of the Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan movement and those of Forum of Kazakhstan's Democratic Forces for what they termed their "attempts to destroy ethnic harmony and stability in the country." They also said that all the leaders of Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice movement are "yesterday's top officials of Kazakhstan," accuusing them of trying only to gain political power, without thinking of the future and present of the ordinary citizens of Kazakhstan.

COMMITTEE TO SUPPORT INDEPENDENT MASS MEDIA HOLDS GATHERING
Kazakhstan's Committee for protection of independent mass media held a gathering in Almaty on 25 January at which it was reported that more attention should be paid to the situation faced by some independent journalists. Speakers focussed specifically on Sergey Kozlov, an independent journalist in Almaty who was recently brought to trial, but Almaty's Medeu District Court found him not guilty. One of the local "oligarchs" who accused Kozlov of insulting his personal dignity and honor has announced his intention to file a new lawsuit against Kozlov, saying that he was not satisfied by the Court's decision. The Committee for the protection of independent mass media appealed to all journalists in Kazakhstan to pay more attention to Kozlov's case in order to avoid similar situations in future.

ASSOCIATION OF THE WORLD'S KAZAKHS DISCUSSES EDUCATION OF YOUNG KAZAKHS ABROAD
At a special session on January 25, in Almaty, the Association of the World's Kazakhs discussed opportunities for children of ethnic Kazakhs living abroad to get receive their education in Kazakhstan. Representatives of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Education and Science, parliament deputies and Rectors of some Universities attended the session. It was decided to draft a special program to enable young Kazakhs living in different countries to study at universities in Kazakhstan

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