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Kazakh Report: February 4, 2002


4 February 2002

ALMATY'S WORKERS MOVEMENT CRITICIZES PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTIES
Saqyp Zhanabayeva, one of the leaders of the Almaty's Workers Movement, held a press conference in Almaty on February 1 where she told journalists that her movement is very frustrated by what she termed the "attempts by pro-Presidential parties to neutralize the political activities of the opposition alliance called the Forum of Democratic Forces of Kazakhstan." Three pro-Nazarbayev parties - Otan (Motherland), Civic party and Agrarian party - announced earlier last week that they intended to hold a mass gathering in Almaty on February 2 in order to express their support for President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his political and economic reforms. According to Zhanabayeva, the aim of such a gathering is to overshadow the mass gathering held by Forum of Kazakhstan's Democratic Forces a fortnight ago, where President Nazarbayev and his politics were harshly critisized.

Kazakh politician Dos Koshim told RFE/RL correspondents that any political party or movement in Kazakhstan has the right to hold a mass gathering or demonstration, including Otan, the Civic party and the Agrarian party, but that he does not approve of either Nazarbayev or the parties that support him .

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT'S LOWER CHAMBER DEMANDS CHAIRMAN OF KAZAKHSTAN'S CENTRAL BANK SHOW UP
Members of the Mazhilis - the Lower Chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament - angrily demanded on 1 February that Grigoriy Marchenko, Chairman of Kazakhstan's Central Bank, come to the parliament to brief deputies. Earlier in the week the majority of Mazhilis had officially invited Marchenko to attend a Parliament session in order to give details on the bankruptcy of Business-Bank, one of Kazakhstan's major banks. Marchenko failed, however, to show up in the Parliament, which irritated Mazhilis members. Mazhilis chairman Zharmakhan Tuyaqbayev said on 1 February that according to Kazakh law, any person invited to a Parliament session by Parliament deputies is obliged to appear. Tuyaqbayev warned that if Marchenko continues to ignore the parliament's request he may be brought to the Parliament by force.

KAZAKH PEACE-KEEPING BATTALION BEING FORMED IN SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN
According to the press service of Kazakhstan's Defense Ministry, the process of recruiting volunteers to the Kazakh Battalion to be sent to Afghanistan is currently under way in South Kazakhstan Oblast. In all, the battalion will consist of 63 soldiers. The recruitment is on a contractual basis, and priority is given to veterans of the Marine troops. It is very likely that the Kazakh battalion will take part in peace keeping efforts within the framework of the international peace keeping program in Afghanistan.

RUSSIAN EMBASSY MOVES TO ASTANA FROM ALMATY
President Nazarbayev, newly appointed Kazakh Ambassador to Russian Federation Altynbek Sarsenbayev, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Presidential Envoy on Caspian Issues Viktor Kalyuzhnyi and other officials attended the formal ceremony of opening the Russian Embassy in Astana on 31 January. Almost all foreign embassies in Kazakhstan are still situated in the former capital, Almaty.

On 31 January President Nazarbayev held telephone talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. According to the Presidential Press Service, they discussed the agenda for the CIS summit to be held in Almaty. One of the main issues to be discussed at the summit in March will be cooperation between CIS states in the energy sector and definition of the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

WELL KNOWN KAZAKH HISTORIAN DIES AT AGE OF 71.
Renowned Kazakh historian Manash Qozybayev died in Almaty late on 31 January last night at the age of 71. Qozybayev was rector of Kazakhstan's Institute of History and Ethnology.

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