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Kazakh Mortgage Debtors Demand Help From Nazabaev

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

ASTANA -- Dozens of homeowners from several regions of Kazakhstan demonstrated in the capital Astana on April 7, demanding President Nursultan Nazarbaev support their efforts to renegotiate hard-currency mortgages because the payments have risen sharply.

Many homeowners say they cannot pay off their hard-currency mortgages because of the decline of the Central Asian nation's tenge currency, which has lost about 20 percent of its value since February 2014.

Demonstrators called on Nazarbaev, who appears certain to win a new term in an April 26 election, to address the issue as part of his reelection campaign.

Esenbek Okshebaev, the leader of a group of mortgage holders, told RFE/RL the government must help them pay their debts to banks due to the "emergency situation."

Kazakh central bank official Aleksandr Terentyev told protesters that the government has allocated 135 billion tenges (about $750 million) in mortgage-relief funds under a program set to begin in May.