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Kazakh Report: February 9, 2002


9 February 2002

ALMATY COMMUNISTS CRITICIZE PRO-PRESIDENTIAL DEMONSTRATION
On 8 February leading members of the Almaty branch of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan held a press conference at which they criticized the organizers of the rally held in Almaty on 2 February in support of President Nursultan Nazarbayev on the initiative of the Otan, Azamat and Agrarian parties and the Talapker Municipal Union of Youth. Arsentiy Apolimov, who is secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan's Almaty branch, said that the February 2 demonstration brought "shame on all the citizens of Almaty." He said that his party has evidence that the majority of the participants in the demonstration had been forced to attend.

The Almaty Communists also criticized the opposition movement Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan which had held a similar mass gathering on January 19 to protest President Nazarbayev's policies. Apolimov pointed out that all the members of Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice are former members of the Kazakh government. He added that bourgeoisie cannot become a real democratic force. The Almaty communists also criticized Communist Party of Kazakhstan leader Serikbolsyn Abdildin, whom they described as "one of those politicians who helped destructive forces bring the USSR to collapse."

KAZAKH FOREIGN MINISTER HOLDS TALKS WITH U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev held talks in Geneva on 7 February with Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Issues, according to the Foreign Ministry's press service. One of the main issues discussed was establishing the post of ombudsman in Kazakhstan. Mrs. Robinson said that UN is ready to provide Kazakhstan with the necessary equipment and technology to monitor the human rights situation the country. The two also discussed the current state of human rights in Kazakhstan.

CHAIRWOMAN OF STATE AGENCY ON MIGRATION AND DEMOGRAPHY: KAZAKHSTAN FACES DE-POPULATION
At a seminar on migration and demography held in Astana on 8 February and attended by UN representatives and Kazakh parliament deputies, Altynshash Zhaghanova, who is the Chairwoman of Kazakhstan's State Agency on Migration and Demography, said that one of the major problems currently facing Kazakhstan is that of de-population. At the time of the nation-wide census in Kazakhstan in early 1999 the population of Kazakhstan was 14.8 million people. Ten years earlier, at the time of the 1989 Soviet census, the population of the then Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic was 17 million.

BOOK EXHIBITION DEVOTED TO THE CENTENERY OF KAZAKH WRITER GHABIT MUSREPOV HELD IN ALMATY.
On February 8, a book exhibition devoted to the centenery of the birth of Soviet-era Kazakh writer Ghabit Musrepov opened in Almaty. Musrepov's daughter Evangelina Musrepova told journalists that her father was under pressure from the KGB all his life and that in 1944-1945 she and her sisters were officially designated "children of an enemy of the people."

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