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Kazakh Report: November 23, 1999


23 November 1999

KAZAKH PRESIDENT BEGINS OFFICIAL VISIT TO BEIJING.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev left on 23 November on an official visit to China after completing a visit to Ulan-Baator, the capital of Mongolia. Before his departure, Nazarbaev had signed a Decree bestowing on Chinese President Jiang Zemin Kazakhstan's "Altyn Qyran" (Golden Falcon) award. Nazarbaev is expected to discuss with Jiang trade and economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and China, oil transportation from Western Kazakhstan to China, investment opportunities and regional security. The possible opening of a Kazakh Consulate in Eastern Turkistan (Xin Jiang), which has a Kazakh population of some 1.5 million, is also on the agenda. Nazarbaev will meet with leading Chinese businessmen and news agencies on 23 November. The Chief of the Kazakh Presidential Office, Sarybay Qalmurzayev, told RFE/RL on 22 November that the president will remain in Beijing for 4-5 days after the official part of his trip.

TOP DEFENSE OFFICIAL INVOLVED IN MILITARY JET SALE SCANDAL.
RFE/RL correspondents quote Interfax-Kazakhstan News Agency as reporting that Chief of the Kazakh Army General Staff, General Bakhytzhan Ertaev, may be involved in the scandal surrounding the sale of 40 obsolete Soviet era MiG-21 military jets to North Korea. The scandal broke in August, when it became clear that Kazakhstan had sold about 40 military planes to Pyongyang. The U.S., South Korea and Japan protested the sale. The head of the Kazakh National Security Committee, Nurtay Abyqayev, and the Kazakh Defense Minister, General Mukhtar Altynbaev, were sacked in the wake of the scandal. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and Kazakhstan's government stated officially that they had not been informed of the deal. General Ertaev will be required to testify in the case.

GROUP OF RUSSIAN SEPARATISTS ARRESTED IN EASTERN KAZAKHSTAN.
RFE/RL correspondents report that 22 persons were arrested in Oskemen, the administrative center of Eastern Kazakhstan Oblast, on November 19. Preliminary investigations said that the group planned to organize an armed rebellion in Pavlodar (North Kazakhstan), Oskemen and Leninogorsk (Eastern Kazakhstan) and proclaim a so-called "Independent Republic of Russian Altay." The group consisted of 20-35 year-old ethnic Russian veterans of Afghan and Chechen wars, of whom 12 are citizens of the Russian Federation, and 10 citizens of Kazakhstan. The group's leader was identified as Victor Kazimirchik, aka Victor Pugachiov, from Novossibirsk. Large amounts of ammunition, explosives and weapons were found at an apartment in Oskemen used by Kazimirchik's group, together with maps and written plans. It was also reported that the group was supported by some prominent local residents. Investigations are continuing.

ALMATY PROCURACY STARTED INVESTIGATING SITUATION AT NUCLEAR WASTES DEPOT IN ALMATY OBLAST.
The Almaty City Procuracy has started investigations into the situation at the nuclear wastes field situated not far from the former capital of Kazakhstan, RFE/RL's Almaty correspondent reported on 23 November. It was reported that this year alone two workers at the depot have died and six have been injured. The nuclear wastes field belongs to the Kazakh National Nuclear Physics Center.

OSCE TO RELEASE FINAL REPORT ON KAZAKH PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS SOON.
OSCE's official representative in Kazakhstan, Eric Collins, told journalists on November 22 that the OSCE mission in Kazakhstan will issue its final report on the Kazakh parliamentary elections held on October 10 and October 24 in the nearest future. Collins said the OSCE summit in Istanbul last week will not affect the contents of the report. The OSCE preliminary report issued shortly after the second round of the elections criticized the Kazakh local authorities for illegal interference in the work of the local election commissions.

ORLEU MOVEMENT TO MARK 13TH ANNIVERSARY OF ALMATY YOUTH PROTEST OF 1986.
The Orleu (Progress) movement headed by opposition leader Seydakhmet Quttyqadam convened a meeting at its Almaty headquarters on 23 November at which participants decided to hold a mass gathering on Republic Square on 17 December to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the mass demonstrations in Almaty on17 December 1986. That protest against the election of ethnic Russian Gennadii Kolbin as first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan was the first mass demonstration in the USSR following the election of Mikhail Gorbachev to head the CPSU Central Committee the previous year. Thousands of young Kazakhs who participated in the protest were jailed, and an unknown number killed. In 1986 Nursultan Nazarbaev was chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.

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