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Kazakh Report: June 10, 1999


10 June 1999

KAZAKH TRADE UNIONS FEDERATION CALLS PARLIAMENT TO START DISCUSSING ISSUE OF THE CABINET'S SACKING.
Siyazbek Muqashev, the leader of the Kazakh Trade Unions Federation, told journalists at a press conference in Astana on 9 June that the trade Unions support the idea, put forward by the OTAN party and AZAMAT movement, of ousting the current Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev. Mr. Muqashev said that the current Cabinet has failed to implement the Kazakh Presidential Decree on timely salaries and pensions payments signed last year. The Kazakh Government owes about 50 billion Tenges ($1 equals 131 Tenges currently) to Kazakh citizens.

KAZAKH CAPITAL MARKS ITS FIRST ANNIVERSARY.
Astana on 10 June celebrates the first anniversary of its having been officially proclaimed the new capital of the country. Traditional Kazakh horse races and other celebrities are taking place in the capital. Meanwhile most people in the streets of the Kazakh capital told RFE/RL correspondents that they were not happy about the idea of celebrating the anniversary, adding that it would have been better if the local authorities paid off the overdue salaries and social allowances to the Astana citizens instead of "wasting money on such a lavish measure".

PREMIER NURLAN BALGHYMBAYEV IS EXPECTED TO VISIT MOSCOW IN THE END OF THIS MONTH.
According to RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty, Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev will pay an official visit to Moscow at the end of June. The main issue to be discussed in the Kremlin will be Russia's lease of Baikonur Space research complex in Central Kazakhstan. According to the mutual agreement signed by Kazakh and Russian top officials in 1994, Russia is supposed to pay a $115 million lease fee to Kazakhstan annually, but has reportedly never done so.

INTERNATIONAL INTERNEWS BUREAU CRITICIZES KAZAKH MASS MEDIA LAW.
Oleg Katsiev, Chief of the Internews Bureau in Almaty, and his deputy, Nurzhan Zhalau-Qyzy, criticized the new Kazakh law on mass media adopted recently by the Kazakh Parliament. They said at a press conference held on 9 June that the law on mass media does not include the main principles of the real press freedom.

U.S. AMBASSADOR VISITED SHYMKENT CITY, SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN.
RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty report that Richard Jones, U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan, has visited the Phosphorus Producing Facility in Shymkent, South Kazakhstan. Workers of the plant have been on hunger strike since the beginning of May. They reportedly handed Ambassador Jones a letter asking him to inform international organizations, including UN about their situation. The workers of Shymkent Phosphorus Producing Plant are demanding payment of their back wages.

PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV SAYS CURRENT CABINET WILL REMAIN.
RFE/RL correspondents report from Astana that at a session of the Kazakh Cabinet and regional governors on 9 June, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that the current Cabinet of Kazakhstan led by Nurlan Balghymbayev will remain in power. Meanwhile the pro-Nazarbayev party, OTAN, and the opposition movement AZAMAT called on the Kazakh Parliament to start proceedings on replacing the cabinet. President Nazarbayev reprimanded and warned Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev, Chairman of the Kazakh National Bank Qadyrzhan Damitov, Vice Premier and Finance Minister Oraz Zhandosov, as well as the governors of Pavlodar and North Kazakhstan Oblasts, accusing them of "mistakes and misdeeds leading to the hard economic and social crisis". The second part of the session was closed to the media. Some officials who asked not to be identified told RFE/RL correspondents that it was probable that the dismissal of the governors of Eastern Kazakhstan and West Kazakhstan Oblasts, Vitaliy Mette and Khabibolla Zhaqupov, would be announced during the session.

AKEZHAN KAZHEGELDIN AGAIN IGNORED THE INVITATION TO ALMATY CITY COURT AND TAX POLICE.
Former Kazakh premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who is now leader of the Kazakh People's Republican Party, did not show up at the Kazakhstani Tax Police Departments and Almaty City Court on 8 June for questioning as requested. Mr. Kazhegeldin's Lawyer, Vitaliy Voronov, sent a letter to the Almaty Justice Department saying that the criminal case opened against Akezhan Kazhegeldin by the Kazakh authorities is "illegal". Akezhan Kazhegeldin is accused of tax evasion and "illegally" purchasing real estate in Belgium. The Kazakh Tax Police Department handed Vitaliy Voronov a new letter, according to which Akezhan Kazhegeldin must show up at the Tax Police for interrogation on June 15.

ALMATY OBLAST'S COUNCIL HELD SESSION.
Two issues have been discussed at the session of Almaty Oblast's Maslikhat (Council) held on 8 June. The first was the possible move of the Almaty Oblast's center to Taldy-Qorghan City. The proposal was not supported by the majority of the Council or by Zamanbek Nurqadilov, Almaty Oblast Governor, who said that for the Oblast's move 2 billion Tenges would have to be found in the state treasury. The second issue discussed at the session was the program called "ALTYN QORGHA ALTYN QOS" (Golden Contributions to the Golden Fund). In other words, the ongoing campaign which started in Qarasay Region of Almaty Oblast last week, to collect golden and silver jewelry from the population in order to support the state's golden and hard currency reserves. Almaty Oblast Maslikhat members supported that initiative and recommended calling on the Kazakh government to conduct such a campaign on a wider scale. Zamanbek Nurqadilov said that all citizens of Kazakhstan who contributed their golden and silver jewelry to the state treasury would be given special certificates, according to which they would be guaranteed to receive the equivalent value in U.S. dollars in 10 years.

KYRGYZSTAN OFFICIALLY REFUSED TO HOST THE THIRD CENTRAL ASIAN OLYMPIC GAMES THIS YEAR.
RFE/RL correspondents report from Astana that Kyrgyzstan officially refused to host the third Central Asian Olympic games in Bishkek this year. The previous two Central Asian Olympic games were held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Kyrgyz authorities say that financial problems will not allow them to host the Games this year. Kyrgyzstan's Ambassador to Kazakhstan told RFE/RL correspondents in Astana on 8 June that the Sports Ministry and responsible Committees of Kyrgyzstan should be blamed for the "shortcomings in preparations for the Olympics", adding that sports nonetheless remain very important in the everyday life of the Kyrgyz people.

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