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Kazakh Report: January 18, 2000


18 January 2000

FIRE REPORTED AT QALAMQAS OIL FIELD IN WESTERN KAZAKHSTAN.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that special equipment is being brought to West Kazakhstan in order to eliminate a fire at the Qalamqas Oil Field in Mangystau Oblast, which started four days ago. 25-30 meter high flames were reportedly caused by crude oil that self ignited on January 14 after oil-well drilling had been resumed in the spot. Oil production at Qalamqas, which was frozen for about three years, resumed this month.

FORMER BODYGUARDS OF THE FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER TO FACE TRIAL THIS WEEK.
According to reports sent by correspondents of RFE/RL from Almaty, three bodyguards of the former Kazakh Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin, now a leader of the Kazakh opposition in exile, will be brought to trial this week. Officers Piyotr Afanasenko, Satzhan Ibrayev, Vladimir Ruchkin are accused of illegal possession of weapons. Mr. Kazhegeldin's aide Mikhail Vasilenko was reportedly interrogated by officers of the Kazakh National Security Committee and Almaty Interior Affairs Department on January 17 in the former Kazakh capital.

SUSPECTED KILLERS OF ALMATY RAILWAY DEPOT CHIEF BROUGHT TO TRIAL.
Three persons, two of them from Chechnya, were brought to trial on January 17. They are accused of organizing Qazybek Tarpanov's murder last year. Mr. Tarpanov was Chief of Almaty Railways Depot. Almaty City Court is trying to clarify whether or not the three accused persons were really involved in the crime. During the preliminary investigations, the suspects confessed that they had organized the crime in order to rob Mt. Tarpanov. Although later, they started saying that they had nothing to do with the murder.

ALMATY COMMUNICATIONS COLLEGE CLOSED.
Vice Director of Almaty Communications College - Alimzhan Duysenov - announced on January 17 that the College would be closed due to financial circumstances. It became clear that the building of the Communications College had been sold the private Kazakh-American University. Mr. Duysenov said that current financial hardships made it impossible for the College to continue its operations.

ALMATY MAYOR GRANTED AN APARTMENT TO THE FIRST KAZAKH BABY OF 2000.
Victor Khrapunov - Mayor of Almaty, granted keys of a new two-room apartment to the parents of Dastan Ospanov � Bauyrzhan and Aysulu on January 17. Dastan was born at 12:02 AM on January 1, 2000. His father is a policeman, and his mother is a physician.

FIRED WORKERS OF AQTOBEMUNAYGAZ TO SUE CHINESE NATIONAL OIL CORPORATION.
Workers of the oil producing AqtobeMunayGaz Joint Stock Company in North Western Kazakhstan, who lost their jobs last year, are going to sue the co-owner of the company - Chinese National Oil Corporation (CNOC). CNOC owns 60 per cent of shares of the industrial complex. It has invested $325 million in the facility. The Chinese Corporation fired more than 2,000 Kazakh workers last year. The workers who were fired say that they have never received any sort of social allowances after losing their jobs. They reportedly established a movement and are going to sue the CNOC.

KAZAKH PREMIER TO MEET HIS RUSSIAN COUNTERPART IN NEAR FUTURE.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Kazakh Prime Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev is expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who is also Acting President of the Russian Federation, in the nearest future. (No exact date reported). Among the issues reported to be discussed by the two Premiers are such matters as mutual debts, namely Russia's debts for the lease of the Baikonur Space Complex in Central Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan's debts for electricity supplied from Russia, and the situation within the Commonwealth of Independent States.

ALMATY OBLAST ADMINISTRATION TO RETURN TO THE OWNERS GOLD, SILVER AND CASH COLLECTED DURING THE "ADD YOUR GOLD TO THE GOLD RESERVE" CAMPAIGN.
Zamanbek Nurkadilov - Governor of Almaty Oblast - issued a Decree, according to which all the gold, silver and cash collected by the citizens of Qarasay District last year in order to support the state golden reserve, will be returned to the owners. Mr. Nurkadilov told journalists on January 17 that the initiative had never been supported by Kazakhstani citizens. He said that due to that, all the gold and silver collected from the inhabitants of Qarasay District will be returned to the owners. In all, 50 million Tenges worth of golden and silver items, as well as cash had been reportedly collected during the campaign called "Altyn Qorgha Altyn Qos" (Add Gold to the Gold Reserve). $1 equals 140 Tenges currently. Zamanbek Nurkadilov also said that the contribution his family made (1 kilogram of pure gold) to the state treasury will not be demanded by him to be returned. Mr. Nurkadilov's Decree was issued after President Nursultan Nazarbayev's statement on the necessity to return the gold and silver to the owners, made last weekend.

KAZAKH DISIDENT WRITER RELEASED FROM CHINESE PRISON.
Qazhyqumar Shabdanuly, Kazakh writer from Eastern Turkistan, was released from Chinese prison, RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty report. Shabdanuly, who is 76 now, has spend about 50 years in Chinese prisons. Last time, he was arrested in 1988 and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Amnesty International reported that no details had been available on Shabdanuly's case. RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty quoting Zharken Bodeshuly, a Kazakh poet who was born and raised in China, say that despite being released from prison Shabdanuly was still being kept under house arrest.

KAZAKH GOVERNMENT TO CONTROL ALL FOREIGN CURRENCY COMING INTO REPUBLIC.
The Kazakh government issued a special decree, according to which all foreign currency coming into country will be controlled by the government. According to latest data, Kazakhstan received more than $2.5 billion in 1997, more than $3 billion in 1998 and about $1.5 billion in the first 9 months of 1999. There are 2.381 foreign currency exchange offices in Kazakhstan, and the Kazakh government promises to tighten control over them.

WELL-KNOWN SEISMOLOGIST HELD PRESS CONFERENCE IN ALMATY.
Prof. Iliyshin, a well-known seismologist and member of the special commission in charge of seismological forecasting, held a press conference at the National Press Club in Almaty on January 17. Prof. Iliyshin said that his commission could forecast an earthquake even two months prior. According to Prof.Iliyshin, there is no fear of any earthquake in south-east Kazakhstan in the near future. Prof. Iliyshin talked about the necessity of cooperating in this area with other states like Turkey, Japan, China. He also asked about financial support.

SPECIAL FOUNDATION TO DEVELOP CULTURAL TIES AMONG TURKIC NATIONS.
RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty report that the Cultural Center of the Turkish Embassy in Kazakhstan has organized a special foundation called "For Good Intentions", which will develop cultural ties among Turkic nations.

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