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Kazakh Report: June 21, 1999


21 June 1999

PRESIDENT OF KAZAKHOIL SAYS THAT THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS WITH RUSSIA ON KAZAKH OIL QUOTA FOR ATYRAU-SAMARA PIPELINE THIS YEAR.
Nurlan Qapparov, President of the KazakhOil State Company, told RFE/RL correspondents on June 18 that rumors about a Kazakh-Russian standoff over the annual quota for the Kazakh oil to be transported through Atyrau-Samara pipeline were "caused by inaccurate information distributed by the Russian mass media and quoted by some Kazakh periodicals." Reports published earlier this year said that the agreement signed by the Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev and Yevgeniy Primakov (then Russian Prime Minister) at the end of 1998 would not be implemented, and the annual quota for the Kazakh Oil to be transported through the Atyrau-Samara pipeline and then further westward (9 million tons) would be cut. According to Mr. Qapparov, the quota for 1999 has never changed. Kazakhstan has vasr reserves of crude oil but suffers from the lack of alternative routes to export it to Western markets.

Unnamed sources within the Kazakh Cabinet told RFE/RL correspondents that beginning July 1, the Russian Federation will start paying its debts to Kazakhstan for the lease of the Baikonur Space Complex in Central Kazakhstan. According to agreements signed in 1994, Russia is obliged to pay $115 million each year for the lease, but has reportedly not yet paid a single cent.

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT CONTINUES DISCUSSING DRAFT LAW ON MASS MEDIA.
According to information provided by RFE/RL correspondents in Astana, members of the Kazakh Parliament continued to discuss the draft of the new law on mass media on June 18. The main chapter of the draft law discussed at the previous day's session was about the use of erotic pictures and publishing of materials "propagandizing terror and cruelty." Some members of the Parliament's Lower Chamber (Mazhilis) expressed the opinion that the publication of such materials should be officially prohibited, and that publishing houses and TV and radio stations that publish such materials should be fined.

CENTRAL ASIAN PRIME MINISTERS SIGN 25 DOCUMENTS.
The Kazakh Cabinet's press service as reported that in all, 25 mutual agreements and contracts were signed by Prime Ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan at the summit in Bishkek on June 17. According to the signed documents, the Central Asian states will invest a total of $50 million in each others' economies.

FIRST GRADUATES OF THE FIRST KAZAKH-AMERICAN BUSINESS COLLEGE RECEIVED THEIR DIPLOMAS.
The first 17 graduates of the first Kazakh-American Business College received their Bachelor diplomas this week, RFE/RL correspondents report from Oskemen, Eastern Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev attended the presentation ceremony. Five of the graduates also received Master Degrees from US Universities. The First Kazakh-American Business College was established at East Kazakhstan State University in Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk) in 1994. Dozens of students have visited the United States since then and gained experience in different business organizations practicing their knowledge and skills.

KAZAKH WRITER QALTAY MUKHAMETZHAN MARKS HIS 70TH ANNIVERSARY.
The editor-in-Chief of "Turkistan" Weekly, People's Writer Qaltay Mukhametzhanov, marked his 70th birthday in Almaty, the former Kazakh capital, this week. A special gathering of well-known intellectuals of Almaty was held at the Mukhtar Auezov State Theater to mark the event.

NEW DOCUMENT ON KAZAKH OIL FIELDS EXPLORATION SIGNED TODAY.
A multilateral document on a joint oil project was signed in the building of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry on 18 June, RFE/RL correspondents report from Astana. Anuar Saydenov, Chairman of the Kazakh State Agency on Investments, Nurlan Qapparov, Chief of the KazakOil State Company, Timur Kulibayev, Chairman of the KazakhTransOil State Company, and top officials and representatives of the Agip, British Gas, Texaco International Petroleum companies signed the memorandum on joint activities in construction of a new pipeline connecting Qarashyghanaq oil field with Atyrau. The pipeline is expected to be 460 kilometers long and will start operating in 2001 reportedly. In all, $440 million is planned to be invested into the project. The pipeline will join the Caspian Pipeline Consortium's system and up to 12 million tones of crude oil is expected to be transported through it annually. 500 new jobs for Kazakh citizens will be opened in the beginning of the project's implementation and 2000 more new jobs will be available later, when the new pipeline starts its operation on a regular basis.

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT ADOPTED DRAFT LAW ON LAND.
According to information provided to RFE/RL correspondents by Altay Zhumaghaliyev, a member of the Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber, the draft law on land was adopted at the Parliamentary Session on June 17. According to the newly adopted draft law, foreigner are not allowed to buy land in Kazakhstan. Persons who were born in Kazakhstan and have lived there for at least 20 years have a right to buy and own land. All other persons can rent land.

POWER STATION AND HEATING CENTERS OF EASTERN KAZAKHSTAN TO BE RUN BY AMERICAN AEC ENERGY CORPORATION.
Kazakh Finance Minister and Vice Premier Oraz Zhandosov and a top official of the US AEC Energy Corporation have signed a document on granting AEC the concession for two main Power Station, namely Oskemen and Shulba Power stations on Ertis (Irtysh) river, and four Heating Supply centers in Eastern Kazakhstan.

US AMBASSADOR DISCUSSED DEMOCRATIC REFORMS WITH KAZAKH JUSTICE MINISTER.
US Ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Jones and Kazakh Justice Minister Bauyrzhan Mukhametzhanov discussed the registration of political parties and Kazakhstan's legislative system on 17 June. RFE/RL correspondents report from Astana that Mukhametzhanov told Jones that all parties and political movements are being registered in all the justice departments in compliance with the country's laws and regulations. If there were cases when any political party or movement were not registered or encountered problems during the registration process, the officials creating such obstacles should be punished, the minister said. Possible amendments to the Kazakh law on elections were reportedly also discussed.

DEPORTATION OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS CONTINUES.
The largescale detention and deportation of illegal immigrants begun earlier this week is continuing throughout Kazakhstan. Almaty Oblast's Police Department deported about 200 more illegal immigrants, mainly citizens of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, on June 17. The Kyrgyz citizens had been trading at Almaty markets without permission to work in the Kazakh territory, while the Tajiks were mainly refugees who fled Tajikistan during the civil war. The operation is expected to last till June 20.

MONTHLY FEES FOR NATURAL GAS USE INCREASED AGAIN.
Residents of Almaty started paying 87.5 Tenges monthly for natural gas starting this week, an increase of over 50 percent. The previous charge was 56 Tenges ($1 equals 132 Tenges currently). In current economic conditions this is a drastic change for the ordinary people, who have not got used to the new prices for bread introduced in the beginning of this week. Citizens of Astana and some other northern Regions of Kazakhstan are also faced with petroleum price increases. The situation is exacerbated by the rise in infaltion since April 1999.

KAZAKH PRESIDENT CHAIRED SESSION OF THE STATE SECURITY COUNCIL.
Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev participated in a session of the Kazakh State Security Council on 16 June, RFE/RL correspondents in Astana reported. The main issues discussed at the session were illegal immigrants in Kazakhstan (see story below) and the Kazakh State Border delimitation. The Kazakh leader called on the Security Council to strengthen its activities in those spheres. The Almaty City Police Department launched a special operation called MIGRANT earlier this week. Hundreds of illegal immigrants living in Almaty and its suburbs started being deported to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Some illegal Chinese immigrants were reportedly also detained. The issue of the Uzbek-Kazakh border delimitation was not solved during the working visit of Kazakh Prime Minister Nurlan Balghymbayev to Tashkent earlier last month.

KAZAKH PRESIDENT AWARDS TO CANADIAN AND TURKISH AMBASSADORS TO KAZAKHSTAN.
According to information provided by the Kazakh Presidential Office, Nursultan Nazarbayev signed Decrees on 16 June bestowing Diplomas of Honor on Charles R. Mann, Canadian Ambassador to Kazakhstan and Kurtulus Taskent, Ambassador of Turkey to Kazakhstan, in recognition of for their "contributions to the strengthening of cooperation between their countries and Kazakhstan."

KAZAKH STUDENTS TO BE ADMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITIES ACCORDING TO NEW REGULATIONS.
The Kazakh Ministry of Science and Higher Education has announced that the quota for students to be admitted to the Kazakh Universities for free this summer would be limited. Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education Bazar Damitov said on 16 June that 9,179 full-time students will be admitted to the state-run Kazakh Universities and Institutes free of charge this year. 7,598 part-time students will start getting University Education for the state money. State grants will cover tuition only, and students must pay for dormitory and monthly stipends. According to Vice Minister Damitov, the priority will be given to orphans, students from villages and representatives of lower social groups. Students must repay all the money they receive from the state treasury within ten years of graduation.

CITIZENS OF TEKELI REGION IN TALDY-QORGHAN AREA TO ELECT THEIR GOVERNOR THEMSELVES.
Citizens of the Tekeli District of Taldy-Qorghan (Almaty Oblast), officially expressed their desire to repeat the experience of Qarasay Region and elect their new governor themselves. The first local governor elections were held in Qarasay Region, the birthplace of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, earlier last month. RFE/RL correspondents report that 60 percent of Tekeli's population are pensioners, and 70 percent are unemployed. The inhabitants of the region accuse their current governor Qanatbek Azhigulov of being incapable of mitigating the social hardship faced by the local population.

DISTRICT COURT CONFIRMS THE DECISION OF GENERAL PROCURACY TO START CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST FORMER PREMIER.
A district court in Almaty examined a letter sent by Vitaliy Voronov, lawyer of Akezhan Kazhegeldin, formerly Kazakh Prime Minister, now leader of Kazakh Republican People's Party, on 16 June. Voronov tried to persuade the court that the criminal case opened against his client by the Kazakh General Procuracy and Tax Police was a "mistake," noting that all the accusations put forward against Akezhan Kazhegeldin were "groundless". Kazhegeldin is accused of tax evasion and illegally owning real estate in Belgium. Almaly District Court rejected Vitaliy Voronov's requests, adding that the Kazakh General Procuracy's decision was correct.

FOOD POISONING IN SOTSIYALIZM VILLAGE, WESTERN KAZAKHSTAN.
The Kazakh Commission on Extraordinary Situations reports that 54 citizens of SOTSIYALIZM Village in Western Kazakhstan Oblast were brought to hospitals in Oral (Uralsk) City with food poisoning. The disease was reportedly caused by consumption of locally produced meat. Investigations are underway.

BREAD PRICES INCREASED IN ALMATY.
The price of bread in Almaty rose on 16 June by between 3-5 Tenges per loaf. Flour is getting more expensive in the country, usually known as one of the world's main wheat exporters. Due to the problems faced by the agricultural sector and a locust invasion in North and East areas (the main wheat-producing regions of Kazakhstan), it is expected that Kazakhstan will have to buy 1 million tons of wheat from abroad before the beginning of this year's harvest.

PETROLEUM SMUGGLING FROM RUSSIA TO NORTHERN KAZAKHSTAN OBLASTS REPORTED.
After the stop of the Pavlodar Oil Refinery Plant's operations, petroleum prices in the Northern Oblasts of Kazakhstan started to rise. RFE/RL correspondents report that on 15 Jun, a truck with 40 tons of petroleum tried to cross the Russian-Kazakh border illegally. It turned out that the smuggled petroleum was intended for sale in Kazakhstan. The cheapest petroleum marked as BENZIN 76 costs 31 Tenges in Qostanay currently. This is almost 1.5 times higher than in South Kazakhstan.

ALMATY POLICE DEPARTMENT'S "IMMIGRANT" CAMPAIGN.
A special operation called "Immigrant" started being implemented by officers of Almaty Police department this week. The campaign is expected to last till June 20. RFE/RL correspondents report that 800 illegal immigrants already have been deported from Kazakhstan by today. About 1,500 foreigners have been fined for breaking Kazakhstani passport regime's regulations. On June 15, 132 illegal immigrants were announced to be deported by buses to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan reportedly.

RUSSIAN MAGNATE BEREZOVSKIY BUYS KTK CHANNEL AND KARAVAN NEWSPAPER.
The Almaty TV channel "31 KANAL" reports that the well-known Russian politician and millionaire Boris Berezovskiy has bought the KARAVAN newspaper and KTK private Almaty TV channel.

CABINET HELD SESSION ON PROBLEMS FACED BY THE KAZAKH PHARMACY.
Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev chaired the Cabinet's session held on June 15. The main issue discussed at the session was about the current problems faced by the Kazakh Pharmacy and Medical equipment production sphere. Kazakh Minister of Health Protection, Education and Sports Qyrymbek Kosherbayev made a report on the situation around Kazakh pharmacy. He said that after the collapse of the Soviet Union the medicine production facilities in Kazakhstan had been facing huge problems. Nevertheless, said Minister Kosherbayev, the situation started being improved recently. Special State Program on Support of the Kazakh Medicine and Medical Equipment production sphere had been launched by the Kazakh government in 1993. In 1991 the amount of the drugs produced in Kazakhstan was estimated by $9 million, and 120 kinds of medicine was made. Last year, $10 million worth drugs were produced in the country and the number of the produced medicines sorts became as twice as much that it used to be in 1991. Mr. Kosherbayev said that Kazakhstan had all the necessary conditions, including raw materials, scientific technology and intellectual potential to improve the situation around the domestic Pharmacy sector.

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT'S AUL GROUP NOT SATISFIED WITH EXPLANATIONS OF VICE PREMIER ORAZ ZHANDOSOV.
At the Parliamentary session on 15 June, Kazakh Finance Minister and Vice Premier Oraz Zhandosov told the members of Mazhilis (Lower Chamber of the Kazakh Parliament) that it is not easy for the Kazakh government to revise the state budget for 1999 and to make a decision on the budget cuts for the third time, RFE/RL correspondents in Astana reported. Cuts in the domestic agriculture, health protection and education sectors will be especially drastic. Zhandosov added, however, that the minimum had been cut from the money allocated for those sectors. A group of the Mazhilis members called AUL (village) told RFE/RL correspondents later that they were not satisfied with Zhandosov's explanations.

ETHNIC UYGHURS OF KAZAKHSTAN SENT LETTER TO UN SECRETARY GENERAL.
An organization uniting the ethnic Uyghurs of Kazakhstan sent a special letter on 15 June to UN representative board in the former capital of Kazakhstan addressed to UN Secretary-General Kofi annan. The Kazakh Uyghurs asked the UN leader to start paying attention to situation around ethnic Uygurs in Xin Jiang (Eastern Turkistan), West China. Many Uyghurs, the letter said, are being oppressed by Chinese authorities. Five ethnic Uyghurs and three ethnic Kazakhs, citizens of China, are currently detained in the Kazakh National Security prison in Almaty. They are accused of illegally crossing the Kazakh-Chinese border. Three other ethnic Uyghurs returned by the Kazakh authorities to China earlier this year were reportedly shot.

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