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Kazakh Report: December 5, 2001


5 December 2001

LEADERS OF DEMOCRATIC CHOICE OF KAZAKHSTAN HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE
On 5 December, several former senior government officials who were dismissed from their posts by President Nursultan Nazarbayev after they founded the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan movement in the wake of their standoff with Nazarbayev's son-in-law Rakhat Aliyev (see "Kazakh Report," 20, 21 and 22 November 2001) held a press conference in Almaty.

Former Deputy Premier Oraz Zhandosov and former Deputy Minister of Finance Berik Imashev told journalists that their movement opposes plans to double housing utilities fees in Almaty starting January 1, 2002. They said that such a decision would hit mainly ordinary citizens of the former capital. Zhandosov also said that it is too early to say anything about the movement's further plans. He said that the movement has not been registered yet although all the necessary documents have been sent to Kazakhstan's Justice Ministry and the process is underway.

KAZAKHSTAN'S BUDGET FOR 2002 APPROVED AT JOINT SESSION OF KAZAKH PARLIAMENT'S CHAMBERS
A special conciliatory commission consisting of members of the Senate (Upper Chamber) and Mazhilis (Lower Chamber) of the Parliament adopted the draft budget for 2002 in the first reading on 4 December, RFE/RL correspondents reported. The two chambers created that so-called conciliatory commission to iron out some contradictions between their respective positions. Kazakh Premier Qasymzhomart Toqayev argued against raising revenues, saying it is not a "wise decision" in the current situation when oil prices on international markets are falling. The senators supported that argument, but Mazhilis members opposed it. The conciliatory commission duly decided to increase state revenues and expenditures were increased by 5 billion Tenges. Toqayev's Cabinet had proposed about 520 billion Tenges for state revenues and about 601 billion Tenges for state expenditures. $1 equals 148 Tenges currently.

ZHELTOQSAN VETERANS DISCUSS FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY OF DECEMBER 1986 UPRISING
On 5 December, veterans of the Kazakh Youth Uprising in Almaty in December 1986 and Almaty intellectuals gathered at the Ghabit Musrepov Theater to discuss preparations for marking the fifteenth anniversary of the first large-scale anti-Kremlin protests under CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. The protests were forcibly put down by police and army troops, leaving a still unknown number of young Kazakhs dead and thousands of young men and women jailed. Qaiyp-Munnar Tabeyev, who has researched those events, said that even now the whole truth about them is not known and that no official investigation has ever been undertaken. The uprising is known as "Zheltoqsan" (December) and its fifteenth anniversary will be marked on December 17-19.

Thousands of young Kazakhs gathered in Almaty's central square 15 years ago to protest the Kremlin's decision to replace Dinmukhammed Kunayev, first secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, by an ethnic Russian, Gennadii Kolbin. December 16 is the tenth anniversary of Kazakhstan's Declaration of Independence.

Current President Nursultan Nazarbayev is among those who supported Gennadii Kolbin. Nazarbayev was subsequently appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.

The 90th anniversary of Kunayev's birth will be marked on January 12, 2002. Kunayev spent the last years of his life under virtual house arrest. He died in the summer of 1993.

SARA NAZARBAYEV MEETS MEMBERS OF KAZAKH PARLIAMENT
President Nazarbayev's spouse Sara, who heads the Bobek Foundation, met with Mazhilis deputies on 5 December and asked them to pay greater attention to the problems faced by mothers and children in Kazakhstan. She specifically said that health facilities for famailies with many children should be improved.

MAZHILIS DEPUTY EXPRESSES CONCERNS OVER TRANSPORT OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS
Mazhilis deputy Ualikhan Qalizhanov has asked Kazakhstan's General Prosecutor Rashid Tusupbekov, Minister of State Revenues Zeynolla Khakimzhanov and Secretary of Kazakhstan's National Security Council Marat Tazhin to provide an explanation why a trainload of radioactive materials crossed the territories of Eastern Kazakhstan, Pavlodar and North Kazakhstan Oblasts last week. Official reports said that the train had probably been sent to Kazakhstan from China, but this has not yet been confirmed. Qalizhanov asked the officials how it was been possible that such dangerous material was not examined by Kazakh experts before it entered the country.

KAZAKHOIL AND JAPAN'S MARUBENI CORPORATION SIGN AGREEMENT ON ATYRAU OIL REFINERY
On 5 December, top officials of Japan's Marubeni Corporation signed an agreement on investments in the Oil Refinery in Atyrau, Western Kazakhstan. The Japanese side agreed to invest $35 million to rebuild the refinery. An additional $200 million will reportedly be invested in the form of credits from Japanese banks. KazakhOil State Company President Nurlan Balghymbayev told journalists in Astana that as a result of the reconstruction, the quality of gasoline produced at the refinery will improve and it will also begin producing aviation fuel.

INVESTIGATIONS OVER CASE OF TURAN-ALEM'S ROBBERY IS OVER
Almaty's General Prosecutor Bekzhan Musabekov told journalists on 5 December that the investigation into the Turan-Alem Bank robbery in May 2001 is over. Two persons were killed in an exchange of fire between the robbers and security officers. The alleged robbers were arrested one week later and Modan Mukhlisov, the son of prominent Almaty Uighur activist Yusufbek Mukhlisi, was identified as their leader. The group is to go on trial "in the very near future." Prosecutor Musabekov also said that it has been proved that the group committed other crimes before robbing the Turan-Alem bank.

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