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Kazakh Report: September 17, 1999


17 September 1999

KAZAKH GENERAL PROSECUTOR DENIES RUMORS ABOUT HIS BEING INVOLVED IN CORRUPTION.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Yuriy Khitrin - Kazakh General Prosecutor - held a press conference on September 16 at which he officially denied all rumors about his wife having had a plastics operation in Switzerland and about her possessing property in France. According to Yuriy Khitrin, some political circles close to the former Premier, now leader of the Kazakh Republican People's Party - Akezhan Kazhegeldin - might have created such rumors in order to damage the image of the Kazakh General Prosecutor.

ALMATY CITY ADMINISTRATION HELD SESSION ON POSSIBLE INCREASE OF HOUSING UTILITY FEES IN THE FORMER CAPITAL.
On September 16 Almaty City administration held a session at which the situation in older buildings of the former capital was discussed. It was mentioned that Almaty is situated in a seismological dangerous area, and that the sad experience of Turkey and Greece should be taken into account. So it was decided that anti-earthquake security of some older apartment blocks should be strengthened and that it would be necessary to increase housing utility fees in the nearest future. Meanwhile�.

CHIEF OF THE KAZAKH ANTI-MONOPOLY AGENCY ARRIVED IN ALMATY FROM ASTANA AND HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
At the press conference, he said that it was not possible to curb the prices for electricity, heating and gasoline all the time. "Now, gasoline, for example, is available everywhere and there is no shortage as there used to be several years ago when drivers were running along the highways with buckets in order to find some petroleum, ... we have to get used to price increases...", - Nikolay Radostovets told journalists in the former capital of Kazakhstan on September 16.

ELECTIONS TO THE UPPER HOUSE OF THE KAZAKH PARLIAMENT UNDERWAY IN KAZAKHSTAN.
Candidates to 16 seats of the Upper House of Kazakh Parliament - Senate (39 seats) - are competing on September 17 in Kazakhstan. Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Astana that there are no candidates to the Senate from party lists. All the candidates to the Senate are either current members of the Senate or officials of Kazakhstan. The results of the elections to Senate will be announced later on 17 September.

US EXPERTS TO TRAIN LOCAL OBSERVERS OF THE ELECTIONS.
Elections to the Lower Chamber of the Kazakh parliament � Mazhilis - are scheduled to be held on October 10. Experts from the US are going to train local observers how to carry out their duties during the elections. Representatives of some political parties and movements are scheduled to take part in the work of the observer groups during the elections on October 10.

CHAIRWOMAN OF DAUIRLEU PARTY SAYS THERE IS NO REAL OPPOSITION IN KAZAKHSTAN.
Altynshash Zhaghanova - Chairwoman of the Dauirleu Party - made a statement at a press conference held on 16 September in Almaty that there was no real opposition in the country. She also said that at least 50 percent of the observer groups should be representatives of different political parties and movements in order to hold the elections in a real democratic way. The Dauirleu party was established in 1995 as a party supporting Nursultan Nazarbayev's reforms. Currently there are about 12,000 members of Dauirleu, - said Mrs. Zhaghanova at the press conference.

LARGE AMOUNT OF EXPLOSIVES FOUND IN ALMATY OBLAST.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that about 1,600 kilograms of explosives were found by Kazakh National Security officers at one of the depots belonging to a private company called Konglomerat in Taldy Qorghan area of Almaty Oblast on September 16. 1,216 kilograms of ammonal and about 100 kilograms of ammonium were detected by special services of Kazakhstan on the spot. It turned out that the company which owned the depot where the explosives were found had no license to keep explosives. Investigations are underway.

BOMBS THREAT SIGNALS WERE FALSE.
According to information provided by correspondents of RFE/RL, an unknown person phoned Almaty City Police and said that a bomb had been placed in the building of Secondary School #113 of the former capital. The police and special military units searched the building and found nothing. The same day another warning was sent to the Kazakh extraordinary Situations Agency by phone, this time it was about a bomb placed in the building of Zangar Department store. That information also turned out to be false. Zangar Department Store operations were halted for half a day and this resulted in a loss to the company of about 3,5 million Tenges ($1 equals 135 Tenges currently).

PERSON WITH FORGED DOLLARS DETAINED IN ALMATY.
A person with the surname Qayirzhanov was arrested by the Almaty City Police in the former capital this week. Mr. Qayirzhanov had US dollar bank notes (about $1,000) which were found by police experts to be forged. The person detained says that he bought the bank notes at one of the exchange offices of Almaty. Investigations are underway.

KAZAKH GENERAL PROSECUTOR YURIY KHITRIN HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE ON CASE OF AKEZHAN KAZHEGELDIN.
Yuriy Khitrin - General Prosecutor of Kazakhstan - held a press conference on his arrival from Moscow, Russia on September 15. Mr. Khitrin had spent several days in the Russian capital trying to persuade Russian officials to extradite the former Kazakh premier, currently the leader of the Kazakh Republican People's Party, Akezhan Kazhegeldin to Kazakhstan Mr. Kazhegeldin was detained by the Russian police service last Friday at Sheremetyevo - 2 airport. On September 14, after Russian officials hesitated to officially arrest Mr. Kazhegeldin and extradite him to Kazakhstan, the General Prosecutor of Kazakhstan had to sign a special order annulling the decision of the Kazakh General Procuracy to arrest Mr. Kazhegeldin.

At the press conference in Almaty, Yuriy Khitrin told journalists that the decision was made to stop criminal proceedings against the former Prime Minister of Kazakhstan "taking into consideration Mr. Kazhegeldin's shaky health condition and principles of humanism". Mr. Kazhegeldin had been brought to the Kremlin Central Clinic and then to the Barviykha sanatorium due to high blood pressure and heart problems that occurred after his detention at the airport.

Meanwhile, Igor Poberezhsky - Press Secretary of Akezhan Kazhegeldin - and Amirzhan Qosanov - Vice Chairman of the Kazakh Republican People Party's Executive Committee - told RFE/RL that Yuriy Khitrin had to sign the order annulling the General Procuracy's decision on Mr. Kazhegeldin's arrest in order to "save face". According to Russian regulations, any person can be kept in detention without the Prosecutor's sanction for three days only. The Russian General Procuracy found the accusations put forward against Akezhan Kazhegeldin by the Kazakh officials as "groundless" and made it clear that Russia was not going either to issue a sanction on Mr. Kazhegeldin's arrest, nor to extradite him to Kazakhstan.

KAZAKH REPUBLICAN PEOPLE'S PARTY HELD PRESS CONFERENCE ON MR. KAZHEGELDIN'S RELEASE.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Almaty that leaders and activists of the Kazakh Republican People's Party, led by the former Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin from exile, held a press conference on September 15 after Mr. Kazhegeldin's release was officially announced. Leaders of the Kazakh Republican People's Party said at the press conference that Mr. Kazhegeldin's release was a small victory for their party and that democracy in Kazakhstan was still weak. Hunger strikers demanding Akezhan Kazhegeldin's release stopped their action of protest. On September 14, several participants in the action of protest in front of the Russian Embassy in Almaty demanding Mr. Kazhegeldin's immediate release were arrested. Two of them, namely Messrs. Zharylghapov and Bondartsev, were sent to prison for 5 and 10 days respectively. Members of the Kazakh Republican People's Party, Sergey Duvanov and Nurbolat Masanov, tried to meet with their imprisoned colleagues in jail on September 16. But prison authorities refused to allow them to meet their friends.

On 15 September Kazakhstan's state run mass media started publishing some materials saying that Mr. Kazhegeldin was involved in the scandal around Kazakhstan's military jets sells to North Korea. According to the information printed on 15 Septembery in the state run newspapers of Kazakhstan, Akezhan Kazhegeldin had signed a special Decree on possible sells of Kazakh MiG 21 military jets to some foreign countries in 1996 while he was still Prime Minister of Kazakhstan. But it was not mentioned though it was shown in the Decree signed by the former Premier that the military jets were supposed to be sold to North Korea. Press Secretary of Mr. Kazhegeldin Igor Poberezhski told RFE/RL that Mr. Kazhegeldin had nothing to do with the Kazakh-North Korean deal and that the current Kazakh government was fully responsible for the scandal.

CHAIRMAN OF KAZAKH JOURNALISTS UNION HELD PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE SITUATION OF THE KAZAKH LANGUAGE IN THE LOCAL ELECTRONIC MASS MEDIA.
Kamal Smailov - Chairman of the Kazakh Journalists Union - held a press conference on the situation of the state language in the Kazakh electronic mass media yesterday, September 15. It was mentioned at the press conference that just 10 percent of the 150 hours of general weekly broadcasting in the country was in Kazakh. Meanwhile the Kazakh language law states that the volume of the information broadcast on the territory of Kazakhstan in the Kazakh language to be at least 50 percent.

HUNDREDS OF ALMATY CITIZENS BLOCKED ALMATY-TASHKENT HIGHWAY YESTERDAY DEMANDING THE ARREST OF A POLICE OFFICIAL.
A police official driving a car ran over a 6 year-old boy named Arman not far from a market place outside Almaty on 15 September. The boy's parents wanted to take their son's body, but the police officer put the boy's body to his car and disappeared. All the eye witnesses and market workers, as well as market customers, blocked the Almaty-Tashkent highway not allowing the transport to move through. After 5 hours of the action, the Chief of Almaty City's Interior Affairs Department came to the spot and told the protesters that the policeman, a Major of the Police Services, had been arrested and that investigations were underway. Only after that did the protesters disperse. It is not clear yet if Arman survived the accident or not.

ACTIVISTS OF KAZAKH REPUBLICAN PEOPLE'S PARTY STAGED ACTION OF PROTEST IN FRONT OF THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN ALMATY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from the former capital of Kazakhstan that on September 14, a group of Kazakh Republican People Party members staged an action of protest in front of the Russian Embassy in Almaty demanding that the former Kazakh Premier and leader of their party be "immediately released from arrest in Moscow". Akezhan Kazhegeldin was detained by the Russian police last Friday at Sheremetyevo 2 airport on his arrival from London. Almaty City Police arrested six of the demonstrators in 3 minutes after the action of protest started at 4:00PM (Local time) Two of the demonstrators, namely, a candidate to Kazakh Parliament, Bolat Atabayev and Robert Yugai - leader of the Kazakh Republican People Party's Branch in Almaty - were reportedly not touched by the police officers. All those arrested were reportedly brought to the police station where they were fine different sums and warned that they would be put to labour camps for a longer period in case they staged similar unsanctioned mass actions of protests in future.

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAY RUSSIAN-KAZAKH POLITICAL TIES ARE NOT INVOLVED IN MR. KAZHEGELDIN'S ARREST.
Igor Ivanov - Foreign Minister of Russia - told journalists in Almaty at a press conference on 14 September that Mr. Kazhegeldin's arrest at Sheremetyevo 2 airport in Moscow last Friday had nothing to do with Russian-Kazakh political relations and that was why he had not discussed that matter at his meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Igor Ivanov visited Almaty on 14 September to take part in the work of the Asian Council on Mutual Understanding and Cooperation being held in the former Kazakh Capital. According to Igor Ivanov, Mr. Kazhegeldin had been arrested at Sheremetyevo 2 due to a request made by Interpol and that he had no idea about further developments in the situation of Kazhegeldin. Meanwhile...

KAZHEGELDIN'S PRESS SECRETARY TOLD RFE/RL THAT FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER WAS RELEASED.
Mr. Kazhegeldin's spokesman told RFE/RL by phone that the Kazakh general Prosecutor Yuriy Khitrin had signed an order at the Kazakh Embassy in Russia in the night of 14 September, according to which the decision on Akezhan Kazhegeldin's arrest was annulled. Mr. Kazhegeldin's press secretary says that Yuriy Khitrin made that step after he had understood that the Russian side was not going to expel Mr. Kazhegeldin to Kazakhstan. The two main accusations put forward by Kazakh officials against Akezhan Kazhegeldin, namely those of "tax evasions and illegal property purchase abroad ", were reportedlhy found to be groundless by the Russian General Prosecutor. Akezhan Kazhegeldin continues to take medical treat at Barvikha sanatorium. Russian OMON troops were removed from his room after the order of his arrest was lifted. He is planning to stay in Moscow for the time being.

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