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Kazakh Report: July 16, 1999


16 July 1999

ALMATY CITY COUNCIL HELD SESSION ON CONSEQUENCES OF RAINSTORMS.
Almaty City Council held a special session on July 15, at which the extent of damage caused by rain and hailstorms earlier this week was estimated, according to RFE/RL correspondents in the former capital. In the night of 14-15 July, heavy rains and storms destroyed telephone lines and electricity supply system in some parts of the city. The Esentay, Small Almatinka and Kazachiya rivers overflowed and flooded the lower part of Almaty. About 400 citizens of the former Kazakh capital lost their houses. Private family houses situated in the intercession of Rayimbek and Aerodromnaya streets were ruined by the flood. The highway connecting Almaty with Kulja (Inin), Western China was severely damaged. Almaty City Council outlined measures for liquidating the aftermath of the flood and rendering assistance to citizens who lost their homes. Almaty City Meteorological Center warns that the danger of the similar storms and rain would remain for three more days.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN ALMATY UNDERWAY.
According to information from RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty, the former capital has been divided into five election districts. Five representative of Almaty are scheduled to be elected to the Lower House of the Kazakh Parliament � Mazhilis. Auezov District 363, Medeu District No.64, Alatau District No. 65, Industrial District No.66 and Al�Farabi District No. 62 were fully set up as districts for the elections to the Mazhilis, scheduled for October 10. Also elections to Almaty City Council will take place on October 10. 37 deputies to Almaty City Council will consist of 5 representatives of Zhetysu, 5 representatives of Medeu and 5 representatives of Turksib Districts of Almaty. The former capital's Almaly District will have 6 representatives, Auezov District - 9 representatives and Bostandyq District 7 representatives in the Almaty City Council reportedly. Representative of political parties and movements will be included to the district election commissions. It became clear on 15 July that one person from Civil Party, two representatives of Republican People's Party, one person from Republican Labor Party and one person from the Communist Party will work as members of the District Election Commissions of Almaty. The leader of AZAMAT party Ghalym Abelseiytov and Chairman of Republican Party , formerly AZAT, and now also known as ALASH PARTY, Sovetqazy Aqatay declined to nominate their representatives in the election commissions, saying that their parties do not have sufficient members.

TWO CRIMINALS ESCAPED FROM PENITENTIARY IN ZHAMBYL OBLAST DETAINED.
Two criminals jailed for murder and serving their penalty terms in one of the labor camps in Zhambyl oblast, who had managed to escape from the prison with a Kalashnikov machine gun earlier this week, were detained by police forces on July 15, RFE/RL correspondents reported quoting Interior Ministry officials. The criminals Filimonov and Karimov had very long previous penalty terms (14 and 15 years of jail). They are expected to receive additional penalty now.

SOCIETY OF BLIND CITIZENS OF KAZAKHSTAN TO CREATE A POLITICAL PARTY.
Kazakhstan's Society for the Blind decided at a session on 15 July in Almaty to establish a political party of their own. Members of the Society said that it had become clear to them that no party or political movement will protect their rights and interests. That is why the Society decided to set up a new political party. They also declared their intention to try to take part in the parliamentary elections.

PENSIONERS OF QOSTANAY HELD PROTEST.
Elderly citizens in Qostanay City, North Kazakhstan staged a demonstration of protest on 15 July, demanding their overdue pensions to be paid off. The local administration has not paid pensions since April this year.

KAZAKH VETERINARY AGENCY: RUSSIA'S DECISION TO BAN MEAT IMPORT FROM KAZAKHSTAN GROUNDLESS.
Kazakh Veterinary Agency issued a statement on July 16, saying that Russia's decision to ban the import of Kazakh meat to the Russian Federation was "politically motivated." According to the Kazakh Veterinary Agency, the reports about foot-and-mouth virus having been spread among cattle in Kazakhstan "are far from the truth". Officials of the Agency say that the Russian ban was intended as retaliation for Kazakhstan's recent decision to ban space rocket launches from Baikonur Space Complex in Central Kazakhstan.

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN ASTANA.
Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi arrived in Astana on a two-day official visit on July 14. Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev met the guest at the Astana airport. The Moldovan President and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev held talks on July 15, at which a number of mutual documents, consular convention, conventions on avoidance of double taxation and other agreements, were signed. President Lucinschi told Reuters correspondents before his trip to Astana that economic and political cooperation with Kazakhstan is one of the main priorities for Moldova. He stressed the importance of cooperation in oil and gas transportation. At a joint press conference after their talks on 15 July, President Nazarbayev said that one of the most crucial spheres of cooperation with Republic of Moldova for Kazakhstan is agriculture.

HEAVY RAIN AND STORMS CAUSED FLOODING IN THE FORMER CAPITAL.
According to RFE/RL correspondents' reports, during the night of 14-15 July heavy rain and storms caused a landslide in Medeu mountains. About 60 children resting in the summer camps of Alatau Mountains are cut off from Almaty City. There is no telephone or other connection. Electricity supply system was also destroyed reportedly. In the lower part of the former capital, namely in the area of Raiymbek (Formerly Tashkentskaya) and Aerodromnaya streets, all the private houses were destroyed by flood. Citizens of the area spent the whole night on the roofs of their family houses, many of which lost some of their walls. No casualties are reported. Two private cars and one bus were destroyed by the flood. City authorities started helping the citizens hurt by the flood.

CIVIL PARTY STARTED DISTRIBUTING MEDICAL EQUIPMENT AND MEDICINE AMONG THE HOSPITALS OF THE FORMER CAPITAL.
The Civil Party, known as loyal to President Nursultan Nazarbayev, started distributing medical equipment and drugs among the hospitals of Almaty this week. RFE/RL correspondents say that the action was started in order to advertise the party on the eve of the Parliamentary elections scheduled for September 17 (to the Upper House � Senate) and October 10 (to the Lower House - Mazhilis).

JOINT KAZAKH AMERICAN MILITARY MANEUVERS STARTED IN QAPSHAGHAY.
Kazakh-American military exercises started on July 15 and are expected to last for one month. The main goal of the maneuvers is to assist the Kazakh Army in training of peace keeping troops. The exercises are being held in Qapshaghay region of Almaty Oblast.

RUSSIA BANNED MEAT IMPORT FROM KAZAKHSTAN.
According to information from RFE/RL correspondents, Russian officials banned meat imports from the Kazakh territory due to foot-and-mouth disease viruses found in the meat brought from Kazakhstan. 1,200 head of cattle in Qostanay Oblast, North Kazakhstan were found to be infected with the disease. 45 cases of salmonella virus infection were reported from Qostanay region this week too.

KAZAKHSTAN DOES NOT PUT FORWARD "GROUNDLESS REQUIREMENTS" ON BAYKONUR: KAZAKH VICE PREMIER ALEXANDER PAVLOV.
Kazakhstan's Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Pavlov, who is chairman of the Kazakh State Commission to investigate last week's explosion of a Russian proton rocket shortly after blastoff from Baikonur, met with Russian Vice Premier Igor Klebanov in Astana on 14 July, RFE/RL correspondents reported. Pavlov said at the meeting that Kazakhstan is not putting forward any groundless or exaggerated demands, adding that all the requirements Kazakhstan put in front of the Russian officials are in accordance with documents and agreements signed by Russia and Kazakhstan earlier.

As for the postponed launch of the Russian PROGRESS-M42 rocket with food and oxygen for three astronauts aboard the orbiting "Mir" space station, Pavlov said that the launch of that rocket would be possible only after a number of matters were fully discussed and resolved by the Kazakh and Russian sides: Russia's debts to Kazakhstan for the Baykonur Space Complex lease should start being paid off, terms of inventarization of the equipment and technology at the complex have to be defined, some technical peculiarities have to be taken under thorough discussion, also number of issues on protection of the Kazakhstan's environment, due to the Kazakh laws on ecological protection of the Kazakh territory, have to be settled. Additionally, said Pavlov, Kazakhstan demands that Russia inform Kazakh officials on every rocket or satellite launch beforehand, so that Kazakhstan has the opportunity to decide whether to allow the launch or not. To date Kazakhstan has no information about the exact organization or enterprise authorized officially as the board responsible for the Baikonur's lease and its use. Pavlov said that only after full discussion of those matters, Igor Klebanov, the visiting Russian Vice Premier will be able to speak to Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev.

NUMBER OF HUNGER STRIKERS IN EKIBASTUZ REACHED 75.
In spite of the fact that the Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev ordered Kazakh Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Mukhtar Abliyazov to start paying off all the overdue salaries to the workers of one of the most important and major Power stations of Kazakhstan in Ekibastuz, Pavlodar Oblast, the number of the hunger strikers at the facility is growing. RFE/RL correspondents report that by 14 July 75 workers of the station are on hunger strike. 15 of them were hospitalized due to their health conditions. They have been striking for half a month now. The administration of the Power station has not been paying their salaries for more than two years already.

STRIKING WORKERS OF PHOSPHORUS PRODUCING FACILITY IN SHYMKENT STARTED RECEIVING THEIR OVERDUE SALARIES.
Employees of of the Phosphorus producing plant in Shymkent tried to start a march of protest intending to reach Astana, the capital, on foot on 12 July. A previous similar attempt last week was stopped by police. This time local administration distributed cash among the strikers. Every striker got 5,000 Tenges in cash ($1 equals 132,5 Tenges currently). The local administration promised to distribute more cash among the plant's workers in a week, saying that every worker would get 25,000 Tenges. In one month, all the overdue salaries and social allowances for the last two years will be reportedly paid off to the workers of the plant. The strikers said that they would stop their action of protest, adding though that if all those promises are not fulfilled, they will resume their strike.

NEW DETAILS ON FIRE AT ALMATY AIRPORT.
Serik Asqarbekov - Chief of Almaty City Fire Department said to journalists on 13 July that workers and administration of Almaty airport hesitated to call firefighters when the fire started destroying the building of the biggest airport of Kazakhstan in Almaty last week. According to Mr. Asqarbekov, the firefighters service was informed more than one hour after the fire was noticed. Investigations are underway. Almaty officials say that it is not possible to revive the burnt airport. One has to spent $2 million for reconstruction of the airport It is more convenient to start building the new airport.

ALMATY PENSIONERS TO PAY LESS FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION STARTING TODAY.
According to RFE/RL correspondents elderly citizens of the former capital will start paying less fees for use of the public transportation starting July 14. Almaty City's Public Traffic Department made a decision to define the fee for the pensioners and handicapped citizens of Almaty as 10 Tenges maximum. The fee is valid also for the private buses, trams and trolley-buses. Numerous actions of protest have been held by the Kazakh pensioners earlier this month after they were deprived of their right to use the public transportation devices for free.

WORKERS OF PORSHEN PLANT AND TEACHERS OF ALMATY HELD PRESS CONFERENCE ON 14 JULY.
Workers of PORSHEN plant and teachers of secondary schools in the former capital of Kazakhstan, held a press conference on July 14, where they said that they had been forced to leave the premises of closed kindergartens and dormitories they occupied illegally and demanded the buildings to be given to them for the permanent residence. Some of the homeless workers and teachers have been working for 25-30 years without permanent private housing.

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