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Kazakh Report: August 20, 1999


20 August 1999

KAZAKH RESCUE TEAM LEFT FOR TURKEY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that a Kazakh rescue team consisting of 20 experts left Almaty airport for Turkey's earthquake affected areas on August 19. They are expected to spend 14 days in north-western Turkey assisting local and international rescue teams to deal with the consequences of the earthquake that took place this week in Turkey and which killed more than 7,000 people. Correspondents of RFE/RL quote Kazakh State Commission on Extraordinary Situations as reporting that one Kazakh citizen was killed by the earthquake in Turkey. A Kazakh lady studying at one of the Turkish Universities was reportedly found dead under the ruins of one of the destroyed buildings.

OTAN AND REPUBLICAN PEOPLE'S PARTY HELD PRESS CONFERENCES.
Pro-Nazarbayev Otan party held a press conference on August 19, at which the party's leaders said that the Otan party had decided to have 54 candidates to the Mazhilis � the Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber, from one-mandate districts and 18 candidates to the Mazhilis on a party list. The leader of the Otan Party also told journalists that their party does not support either Nursultan Nazarbayev or the current government, adding that the party is absolutely independent. In fact, the party was established on the basis of the team supporting Nursultan Nazarbayev during the presidential elections held last January.

Meanwhile leaders of the Kazakh Republican People's Party held a press conference the same day as well. It was reported that the Republican People's Party will field 19 candidates from one-mandate districts and 10 candidates on a party list to the Mazhilis. Ghaziz Aldamzharov, �Executive Chairman of the Party, left for Astana on August 20 in order to hand the documents to the Central Elections Committee, as well as to determine whether the party's leader, former Kazakh Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin, is eligible to take part in the Parliamentary elections scheduled for September and October this year. It is not clear yet if Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who is currently in exile abroad, will be able to participate in the elections due to official accusations put forward against him by Kazakh authorities.

ONE MORE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER IN KAZAKHSTAN FACES PROBLEMS.
According to information provided by correspondents of RFE/RL, the independent newspaper "Soldat" (Soldier) was denied permission to be published by Dauir and Franklin Publishing Houses of Almaty this week. "Soldat" began publication less than two months ago. Its 6th issue will be published abroad.

BROTHER OF WELL-KNOWN KAZAKH JOURNALIST WHO DIED LAST WEEK GIVES SOME CLARIFICATION.
As was reported earlier this week, well-known Kazakh journalist Armial Tasymbekov died in his apartment in the former capital last weekend. Mr. Tasymbekov's brother Ashim told RFE/RL correspondents on August 19 that all the rumors and preliminary official statements about "alcoholic intoxication" at the moment of death were "far from the truth". According to Ashim Tasymbekov his brother was still alive, but in very grave condition, when he came to Armial's apartment. "My brother died in my arms from a heart attack", Ashim Tasymbekov told RFE/RL correspondents.

Armial Tasymbekov had been forcibly placed in a psychiatric clinic in Astana in May 1999. According to what he himself said, he had been followed and interrogated by officers of the Kazakh National Security Committee and then accused by the Kazakh National Security Committee of being involved in making anti�Nazarbayev graffiti on walls and fences of Astana and Almaty. He then was released and found "not guilty".

Mr. Tasymbekov was a professional journalist who devoted the last several years to the theme of the fate of the victims of Stalin's regime. A film called ALZHIR (Akmolisnkiy Lager Zhion Izmennikov Rodiny - Aqmola Labor Camp for the Wives of Traitors to the Motherland) was shot on the basis of his works in early the early 90's. He was just 46 years old.

PROMINENT POLITICIAN, VETERAN OF THE KAZAKH DIPLOMACY, MIKHAIL ESENALIYEV DIED.
On August 19, prominent Kazakh politician and veteran of Kazakh diplomacy, Mikhail Esenaliyev died at the age of 71. Mr. Esenaliyev used to be Kazakhstan�s Foreign Minister, leader of the political movement called Azat. During the last few years, he was a Consultant and Special Envoy of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.

FORMER CAPITAL FACES GASOLINE SHORTAGE.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that in the last three days prices for petroleum in the former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty, started have started going up again. Gasoline supplies to the city stopped this week. That caused the price to leap, especially prices for gasoline with higher octane content, which is becoming more expensive.

KAZAKH GOVERNMENT AT ODDS WITH ESIL JOINT STOCK COMPANY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that the private company called Esil Joint Stock has begun legal proceedings against the Kazakh government, accusing the latter of "breaking the laws of Kazakhstan". Last year one of the most important industrial giants of Kazakhstan - Lissakovsk Iron Ore Developing Facility - was privatized by the Esil Company. This year the Kazakh government made a decision to get the plant back into its possession. The President of Esil Company, Marat Nabiyev, says that Kazakhstan is "suffering from the lack of proper laws on private property and that is why such situations may occur in this country any time".

FORMER CHIEF OF THE KAZAKH STATE CUSTOMS COMMITTEE REGISTERED AS CANDIDATE TO MAZHILIS - LOWER HOUSE OF KAZAKH PARLIAMENT.
According to correspondents of RFE/RL, Ghaniy Qasymov, the former Chief of the Kazakh Customs Committee, who ran unsuccessfully in the January 1999 presidential election, was registered at Almaty City's Auezov District on August 17 as a candidate to the Mazhilis � Lower Chamber of Kazakh Parliament.

It is not clear if the leader of the Kazakh Republican People's Party, the former Kazakh Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin will return to Kazakhstan to participate in the elections. Although Chairwoman of the Kazakh State Election Commission - Zaghipa Baliyeva said on 17 August that Kazhegeldin had a full right to take part in the elections, Ghaziz Aldamzharov, Chairman of the Kazakh Republican People Party's Executive committee, said at press conference the same day that it is not clear if the former premier will be able to participate in the elections since a new accusation of "showing disrespect to the Kazakh Court" has been brought against Mr. Kazhegeldin.

OTAN PARTY HELD SESSION ON AUGUST 18.
The pro�Nazarbayev Otan party held its session on August 18. The main issue discussed at the session was preparations for the Parliamentary elections.There are mainly "nomenklatura" members, including Chairman of the Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber � Mazhilis � Marat Ospanov, in the ranks of the Otan party.

US AMBASSADOR TO KAZAKHSTAN MET KAZAKH PRESIDENT NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV IN ASTANA.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from the capital that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Jones on August 18 in Astana. The sides discussed U.S.- Kazakh bilateral relations and economic cooperation. Ambassador Jones expressed his satisfaction that drastic amendments have been introduced to the Kazakh law on elections on the eve of the Parliamentary elections. The U.S. Ambassador also expressed his hope that all the Kazakh political parties and movements will be given equal opportunities to take part in those elections.

KAZAKH FOREIGN MINISTER FINISHED HIS TWO-DAY TRIP TO INDIA.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev finished his two-day visit to India on 18 August. During his official trip to New Deli Minister Toqayev met with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other officials of India. The sides discussed further economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. Several documents were reportedly signed. Among the documents signed were a bilateral agreement on visa-free travel and a pact on cooperation in fighting international crime.

FORMER VICE PREMIER BALTASH TURSYNBAYEV TO TAKE PART IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS AS A CANDIDATE TO MAZHILIS.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Almaty that former Vice-Premier of Kazakhstan, former Governor of Qostanay region, former Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Turkey Baltash Tursynbayev was selected by the Kazakh Youth Union as a candidate to the Mazhilis, the lower Chamber of Kazakh Parliament. Mr. Tursynbayev will take part in the elections as a candidate of the Qostanay Regional Electoral Area No. 40. Leaders of the Kazakh Youth Union announced their decision to put forward Mr. Tusrynbayev's candidacy to the Mazhilis on August 17. The organization recommended seven more candidates to the Mazhilis

NEW POLITICAL PARTY ESTABLISHED IN KAZAKHSTAN.
A new party established in Kazakhstan on August 17 , the Political Unity of the Kazakh Women's Organizations, unites four womens' organizations. It is not clear if the newly established party will take part in the Parliamentary elections.

POKOLENIYE MOVEMENT OPPOSED TO ITS LEADER'S PARTICIPATION IN THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
According to information provided by correspondents of RFE/RL, activists of the Pokoleniye movement uniting elderly citizens of Kazakhstan held a session on August 17. They expressed their concern at the decision of their leader Irina Savostina to take part in the Parliamentary elections as a candidate. According to members of the Pokoleniye movement, if Savostina is elected as deputy of the Kazakh Parliament, their movement will not be able to survive.

KAZAKH REPUBLICAN PEOPLE'S PARTY HELD SESSION TODAY.
The Republican People's Party of Kazakhstsan held its session on August 18 in Almaty. The Party's leader, former Kazakh Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin is in exile currently. The party's Executive Chairman, Gaziz Aldamzharov, made a speech at the session, where he stated that improvement of the Kazakh social and economic life would be possible only in the event of drastic changes in all the spheres of the country, including political and power structure.

It was also decided at the session that 10 members of the party led by Akezhan Kazhegeldin would take part in the Parliamentary elections as the Party's list members.

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