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Kazakh Report: June 18, 2002


18 June 2002

OPPOSITION PARTIES UNDER PRESSURE
Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan (RNPK) Executive Committee chairman Amirzhan Qosanov told RFE/RL that some branches of his party and of the movement Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice (DVK) continue to experience pressure from local authorities. Maria Abenova, the leader of the RNPK branch in Semey (Semipalatinsk), has reportedly been under surveillance of Eastern Kazakhstan Oblast police department since last week.

Abenova is also a leading member of the Eastern Kazakhstan Committee for Liberation of Mukhtar Abliyazov and Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov. Abliyazov, a former Minister of Trade and Industry, and former Pavlodar Oblast governor Zhaqiyanov are charged with financial crimes. Abliyazov's trial is scheduled to start next week.

The committee for Abliyazov's release is stepping up its activities across the country on the eve of his trial, which in turn has resulted in an intensification of efforts by local authorities to strengthen their "control" over DVK leaders and activists in the regions. Aset Assandi, one of the leaders of the DVK branch in Shymkent, South Kazkahstan, told RFE/RL that local police interrogated him and tried to take him to the police station by force last weekend.

TURKISH STATE MINISTER ARRIVES IN ASTANA
Turkey's State Minister Faruk Bal is expected in Astana on 18 June. During his four-day stay in Kazkahstan, Bal is scheduled to hold talks with Vice Premier Baurzhan Mukhametzhanov, Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev, Minister of Trade and Economy Mazhit Esenbayev, and the speaker of the Mazhilis (the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament), Zharmakhan Tuyaqbayev. One of the main issues to be discussed will be possible cooperation between Ankara and Astana in assistance to Afghanistan. Bal will also meet with the heads of Kazakhstan's major construction companies and the Kazakhstan-Turkey Committee of the Mazhilis.

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT TO REVISE DECISION ON FILM ON HISTORY OF NOMADS
Some Kazakh Parliament deputies raised on 18 June the question of shooting a movie called "Nomads." It was decided last year that Kazakh, Russian and Chineses cinematographers would jointly shoot a large-scale historic movie about the ancient steppe of Eurasia. The cost of the film was estimated at $15 million, of which Kazakhstan allocated $1.5 million. A scenario by well known Russian author Rustam Ibragimbekov was selected, but on 18 June parliament deputies advocated revising the entire project and asked if any other scenarios had ever been discussed.

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