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Kazakh Report: March 4, 2000


4 March 2000

LEADER OF POKOLENIYE MOVEMENT BROUGHT TO TRIAL.
Irina Savostina - leader of Kazakhstan's Pokoleniye (Generation) movement, uniting elderly citizens of the country, was brought to Almaty's Bostandyq District Court on March 3. Mrs. Savostina faces charges of insulting and badmouthing Aldan Aimbetov � Editor-in-Chief of independent "Kazakhskaya Pravda" newspaper. It turned out that Aimbetov's newspaper had published an article criticizing Mrs. Savostina's political activities and inviting her to a dialogue. Irina Savostina, in her turn, harshly criticized Mr. Aimbetov in her interview given to Soldat newspaper and in KTK television channel's "Informbyuro" program, accusing the Kazakhskaya Pravda newspaper's editor of being "a person of the Kazakh National Security Committee and Almaty City administration". Aldan Aimbetov sued Mrs. Savostina accusing her of "groundless insulting of his dignity and honor". Trial started today and its next session is scheduled for March 7. Today, March 3, Irina Savostina and her lawyers expressed their mistrust to witnesses Erik Nurshin and Anatoliy Parshukov defending Mr. Aimbetov's interests. According to Irina Savostina and her lawyers, Nurshin and Parshukov used to be involved in the activities of Pokoleniye movement in the past and therefore they have no right to be witnesses at the process.

TRANSWORLD GROUP RETURNS TO KAZAKH MARKET?
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote Interfax-Kazakhstan News Agency as reporting on March 3 that a well-known Shodiev's group and Transworld Group seem to have reached agreement on some disputable matters on ownership of the Kazakh non-ferrous producing facilities this week. Transworld Group had to leave Russian and Kazakhstani market in 1997 after some scandals around privatization and misuse of power, allegedly committed by the company's representatives, had waken both in Russia and Kazakhstan. Now they seem to be back. Representatives of Shodiev's group told Interfax-Kazakhstan News Agency about their returning to the Kazakh market.

NATIONAL BANK OF KAZAKHSTAN ON STATE GOLDEN DEPOT.
On March 3, top officials of the Kazakh National Bank made a statement, according to which the volume of the Kazakh State Gold treasury became 1.2 per cent higher in February. By today the general volume of the Kazakh Gold Depot may be estimated by $1, 961 million reportedly. According to the National Bank's officials, the situation in the Golden Depot started improving after the introduction of the free floating regime for the national currency - Tenge in April last year.

NEW MAYOR OF SEMEY CITY APPOINTED.
Kazakh Presidential Office's State inspector Nurlan Omarov was appointed as new Mayor of Semey (Semipalatinsk) City, East Kazakhstan Oblast on March 2. Former Mayor Marken Chaizhunusov, who had marked his 60th anniversary recently, retired.

FREQUENCIES TENDER FOR ELECTRONIC MASS MEDIA SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 6.
Kazakhstan's Vice Minister of Information and Social Concord Nurali Bekturghanov told journalists on March 1 that next frequencies tender for electronic mass media of Kazakhstan would be held on March 6. Vice Minister Bekturghanov said that only newly opened radio and TV stations, as well as those without licenses would take part in the tender, which is expected to be held by Information and Social Concord Ministry and Ministry of Transports and Communications. TV channels will have to pay fees between $115 thousand and $150 thousand, while radio stations will be required to pay $50 thousand and $80 thousand to the tender's organizers. According to Vice Minister Bekturghanov the tender's participants will also be asked to present documents defining their financial and other capabilities, as well as their business plans.

LEADER OF AZAT MOVEMENT TO BE BROUGHT TO TRIAL.
Leader of Azat movement - Hasen Qozhakhmet told correspondents of RFE/RL on March 2, that he was invited to Almaty's Bostandyq District Court for hearings about his participation in the non-permitted demonstration held in Almaty's Republic Square on December 17 last year. Mr. Qozhakhmet as well as hundreds of other victims of the 1986 Almaty youth anti-Moscow protest came to the square in order to mark the 13th anniversary of the events. Since the gathering had never been approved by the city administration, Mr. Qozhakhmet and several other active participants of the demonstration were brought to police for interrogations on December 19. Today, March 2, Mr. Qozhakhmet received an official invitation to his trial scheduled for March 6.

TU-154 PLANE HAD TO SPEND 40 EXTRA MINUTES IN THE SKY.
On March 1, a TU-154 plane had to spend 40 extra minutes in the sky due to technical problems. The plane started from Almaty and its destiny was Astana. It had to do additional several circles over the capital. Chairman of the Kazakh National bank - Grigoriy Marchenko was among the passengers reportedly. The plane landed safely on Astana airport later that night.

TERRORISTS ABOARD A RUSSIAN PLANE DEMANDED IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF CHECHEN WAR PRISONERS.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that a plane belonging to a Russian air company was taken under terrorists control when fulfilling a flight from Almaty to Russian city of Samara on March 1. 30 passengers were aboard. The terrorists demanded all the Chechen war prisoners to be released immediately. The plane was made land in some remote town of Russian Federation and special anti-terrorist group of Russian military forces managed to solve the crisis without any casualties through special operation coded as "Nabat". Investigations are underway reportedly.

CHAIRWOMAN OF BOBEK CHARITY FOUNDATION SPOKE AT KAZAKH PARLIAMENT.
Sara Nazarbayeva - Kazakh President's spouse and chairwoman of Bobek Charity Foundation was given a floor at Kazakh parliament on March 2. Mrs. Nazarbayeva told members of the Kazakh parliament that her Foundation was working on special programs devoted to improvement of existing orphanages in the country. She also asked Kazakh Parliament members to start discussing drafts of special law assisting the orphans of nowadays Kazakhstan. According to Mrs. Nazarbayeva about 86 thousand kids are inhabitants of Kazakh orphanages currently, of whom about 80 per cent have alive parents unable to support their children themselves.

LEADER OF ORLEU MOVEMENT IN BRITAIN.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Seydakhmet Quttyqadam, leader of Orleu movement left for London, Great Britain, in the beginning of this week. Mr. Quttyqadam had reportedly asked correspondents of RFE/RL not to report about his trip to England beforehand, saying that he was afraid about possible activities of the Kazakh National Security Committee to create some obstacles for his travel. According to the Kazakh regulations, any citizen of Kazakhstan has to obtain so-called exit visa, in order to leave the country even for a short period of time. One of the leaders of Kazakh Republican People Party - Ghaziz Aldamzharov has been refused the exit visa by Almaty authorities earlier this month. Seydakhmet Quttyqadam also seems to have had some problems last week. He told journalists on Friday last week that some unknown persons, as he said presumably officers of the Kazakh National Security Committee, had filmed his being in sauna with his girlfriend. They tried to influence my political viewpoints using the videotape, said Mr. Quttyqadam to correspondents of RFE/RL.

Mr. Quttyqadam is accompanied by some members of Kazakhstan's Democratic Forces Forum, an organization uniting several political movements and parties of the country. Former Kazakh Premier, now leader of Kazakh Republican People Party - Akezhan Kazhegeldin is going to meet with Mr. Quttyqadam and his colleagues in London reportedly. They are also expected to meet with members of the British Parliament and representatives of British Foreign Office.

PREPARATIONS FOR CENTRAZBAT-2000 MILITARY MANEUVERS ARE UNDERWAY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote local and international mass media as reporting that special conference devoting to the international military exercises called Centrazbat-2000 was held in Tampa, USA last week. Spokesman of the Kazakh Defense Ministry - Aubakir Smayil told journalists today, March 1, that together with Central Asian Battalion (comprising Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Uzbek troops) military units of such countries as France, Georgia, Great Britain, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine would participate in the maneuvers. The exercises are held each year in the territories of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in frames of NATO's program called "Partnership for Peace". Special talks scheduled for April this year will be held in Kazakhstan and volume of financial support for organization of the exercises would be defined there.

LEADER OF WORKERS MOVEMENT'S BRANCH IN ALMATY HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
On February 29, Otegen Qabaziyev - leader of Workers Movement's branch in Almaty held press conference at Democracy House in the former Kazakh capital. He told journalists that his movement was against the idea about Kazakhstan's possible joining to Russo-Belarus Union. According to Mr. Qabaziyev it is too early to think about Kazakhstan's becoming a member of the Russo-Belarus Union. He said that it would never do to hurry up in such an important program, adding that Kazakhs are not ready for such a step. In general. said Mr. Qabaziyev, Workers Movement supports the idea of resurrection of the former Soviet Union, but not now and not in a form Minsk and Moscow tried to do. He harshly criticized leaders of Slavs organizations in Kazakhstan for their impatient behavior in that matter. Mr. Qabaziyev also expressed his negative attitude to Americans' presence in the country. Especially George Soros was criticized by him. Leader of Workers Movement's branch in Almaty considers Mr. Soros as "one of the foreign billionaires who took part in making the Soviet Union fall apart".

EXPLOSION AN NATIONAL SECURITY SCHOOL HEAVILY INJURED A STUDENT.
On February 29, an explosion occurred in the building of Kazakh National Security Committee's military school #27305. A safe containing explosives blasted and heavily injured a 25-year-old student of the school - Rustem Ismailov. He was hospitalized and his condition was reported as very critical. Investigations are underway.

NEW AIRPORT OF ALMATY WILL BE ERECTED IN QAPSHAGHAY.
Governor of Almaty Oblast - Zamanbek Nurqadilov made a statement on March 1, saying that new airport of the former Kazakh capital would start being constructed in May this year. He added that the new airport-to-be would be built in Qapshaghay town of Almaty Oblast. In all, said Mr. Nurqadilov, about $1 billion will be spent for construction of the airport and railroads connecting Qapshaghay with Almaty. Also highway system, connecting Qapshaghay with Almaty, will be repaired. All of that money will be investments of American, British and Japanese companies, said governor of Almaty Oblast. Almaty airport has burnt to ashes last summer by fire caused by electricity system problems at the restaurant within the airport's building.

ABOUT 10 THOUSAND INHABITANTS OF AQSAY DISTRICT IN ALMATY FACE WATER PROBLEMS.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that about 10 thousand citizens of the former Kazakh capital, living in Aqsay District suffer from lack of hot and cold water since February 29. One of the main hot water pipes in a pluming system of the District blasted, injuring several inhabitants of the area reportedly. The whole hot and cold water supply systems were switched off in order to create proper conditions for repair works.

A KAZAKH HOSTAGE RELEASED FROM CAPTURE IN NORTH CAUCASUS.
Alisher Orazalinov - a Kazakh citizen returned back home on March 1 after 8 months of being a hostage in North Caucasus. Last Saturday, Alisher and several other hostages kept by unknown Chechens in one of the villages of Chechnya managed to escape during the battle between Russian Federal Forces and Chechen rebels. Alisher was taken to Moscow by Russian Federal troops officers and given to representatives of the Kazakh Embassy in Moscow the same day. He told journalists, that he did not blame ordinary Chechen citizens for everything he had faced in Chechnya, adding that people who kept him in captivity demanded his relatives to pay $ 1 million for his release. Two more Kazakh citizens are still among hostages in North Caucasus reportedly.

ELDERLY CITIZENS OF ALMATY HELD MASS GATHERING.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Almaty, that elderly citizens of the former Kazakh capital held a mass action of protest on February 29. Pensioners of Almaty traditionally gather in Almaty's center each month's last day, in order to express their attitude to Almaty City Administration's policy and that of the Kazakh government. Today's meeting was reportedly organized by leaders of Pokoleniye (Generation) movement, Communist Party and Attan Party. In spite of the heavy wind and snow several hundreds of the elderly people gathered in Almaty's Republic Square, demanding the Kazakh Parliament to be more active and Kazakh government to pay attention to the needs of the ordinary citizens of Kazakhstan, especially to pensioners. It turned out that Almaty City administration had not permit the elderly citizens to gather today. But the pensioners held the gathering anyway. Leaders of Pokoleniye said to correspondents of RFE/RL that similar actions of protest would be held in several other cities of the country.

USAID AGREED TO GIVE A GRANT TO SOROS-KAZAKHSTAN FOUNDATION.
On February 29, US Ambassador to Kazakhstan - Richard Jones and President of Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation - Murat Auezov signed an agreement according to which USAID (United States Agency on International Development) granted $700 thousand to 4 Educational Centers of Almaty. The ceremony of the agreement's signing was held at Step-by-step Educational center in the former capital of Kazakhstan.

ALMATY CITY COURT POSTPONED TRIAL OF "CIVILIZED WORLD" ORGANIZATION AGAIN.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Almaty City Court decided to postpone trial of "Civilized World" organization, which had been scheduled for February 29. Leaders of the "Civilized World" were accused by Kazakhstan General Prosecutor's Office of interfering Kazakh government's work. In the very beginning of this year, the organization held special polls in the country trying to find out the Kazakhstani citizens attitude to reforms held by the current Kazakh leadership. The results of the polls were very critical and Civilized World Organization started facing problems after its having printed out the polls results. Leader of the organization Erik Sultanbekov expressed his mistrust to Judge Sara Seiytova today. Now the trial is scheduled for Thursday this week reportedly.

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT'S COMMITTEE ON LAWS AND COURTS DISCUSSED DRAFT LAW ON LAND TODAY.
According to reports of RFE/RL correspondents, on February 29, Committee on Laws and Courts at Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber (Mazhilis) discussed Draft Law on Land. The Draft Law is expected to be sent to Mazhilis for discussions in the nearest future. Land ownership issue is a very sensitive matter in nowadays Kazakhstan. The majority of the Kazakh citizens expressed their negative attitude to the idea of possible land privatization last year.

KAZAKH CABINET DISCUSSED COUNTRY'S RAIL ROAD OPERATIONS TODAY.
Kazakh Cabinet discussed situation on Kazakh rail roads on February 29. It was mentioned at the session that the volume of goods transported through Kazakh rail roads this year became 17 per cent less that last year. Increase of rail road tariffs and trucks usage for goods transportation were mentioned as reasons of the situation on the Kazakh rail roads

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