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Kazakh Report: December 4, 2001


4 December 2001

INTELLECTUALS OF ALMATY TO APPEAL TO GOVERNMENT
The president of Kazakhstan's National Press Club, Seiytqazy Matayev, told RFE/RL that intellectuals of Almaty will hold a press conference on 5 December at which they will announce a gathering of the city's intellectuals at Cinema House on 7 December. At that meeting, a large group of Kazakh intellectuals will discuss the results of 10 years of Kazakhstan's independence, including the shortcomings of the reforms conducted by Kazakh government and the drastic situation faced by Kazakh literature, music and cinema. A further topic will be the upcoming 90th anniversary (on 12 January 2002) of the birth of former Communist Party of Kazakhstan First Secretary Dinmukhammed Kunayev, who was replaced in December 1986 by an ethnic Russian and spent the last years of his life under virtual house arrest.

KAZAKH PRESIDENT MAKES NEW APPOINTMENTS
Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev issued several decrees on 3 December. One dismissed Qusman Amrin from the position of Undersecretary of Kazakhstan's National Security Council and appointed him Deputy Defense Minister. A second dismissed Erik Otembayev as a Department Head at the National Security Council and named him deputy chairman of the State Strategic Planning Agency, replacing Qanat Ospanov.

ALMATY PENSIONER DEMANDS INVESTIGATION OF DECISION TO INCREASE HOUSING UTILITIES FEES
On 4 December, Petr Deyev, an elderly citizen of Almaty, held a press conference at which he demanded a special investigation into the city administration's decision to increase housing utilities fees in Almaty starting next month. Deyev said that he had worked for many years as a technical engineer at Almaty's energy and heating system and knows every detail of the true situation in that sector. Deyev said there are no grounds for increasing the housing utilities fees. He added that private, international companies owning heating and electricity supply systems in the city should be questioned. Deyev blamed Almaty Mayor Victor Khrapunov personally responsible for the situation.

BALKHASH MINE WORKERS TO START PROTEST MARCH
As reported earlier, employees of the Beskempir, Munaral and Ush-Soqy mines in the Balkhash region plan to begin a protest march on 5 December. The workers have been on hunger strike since 30 November to demand payment of their overdue salaries. The mines have been privatized by the ABS company owned by Boris Luzhin, an ethnic Russian who is a citizen of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan Workers' Movement leader Madel Ismailov told RFE/RL that he plans to visit the town of Zhezqazghan on 5 December in order to study the situation there.

COTTON PLANTS IN SOUTH KAZKAHSTAN DEMAND ELECTRICITY
Three major cotton-ginning plants in the Maqta-Aral region of South Kazkahstan Oblast began a strike on 4 December to protest problems with electricity supplies that began last week after the local privately-owned Turan-Energo Company decided to raise electricity tariffs by 300 percent. The directors of the cotton plants refused to pay the increased fee, and the electricity provider switched off supplies. The stand-off continues.

COLD-BLOODED MURDER IN ALMATY SHOCKS THE CITY
An entire family was slain by unknown persons in Almaty's Auezov district during the night of 3-4 December. All six members of the Sarmanov family were found dead in their home by neighbors and police. The youngest member of the family was a 13-year-old girl. The motive for the crime is not known yet. Investigations are underway. Local police told RFE/RL correspondents that a man named Bagautdinov is a possible suspect..

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