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Kazakhstan: Anniversary Of Almaty Unrest Planned

Almaty, 12 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - As Kazakhstan prepares to mark next week's tenth anniversary of the 1986 unrest in Almaty, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has named a participant in those events a Hero of The Nation. Hero of The Nation is Kazakhstan's highest civilian award.

Nazarbayev yesterday cited Kayrat Ryskulbekov, who died in jail. Ryskulbekov was given the death penalty for his role in the unrest, but international human rights organisations appealed on his behalf to the then-USSR. Ryskulbekov's sentence was reduced to 15 years, but he was later found hanged in his cell.

The Almaty unrest is frequently cited as the first ethnic-inspired unrest in the former USSR. Authorities violently supressed student-led unrest after the Kremlin replaced Kazakhstan's Kazakh leader with an ethnic Russian. Dozens were believed killed in the clashes.

Opposition Leader Accused Of Misuse Of Power

One of the leaders of Kazakhstan's opposition Azamat movement, Peter Svoik, faces accusations of abuse of power from the State Investigation Committee. The Committee says Svoik misused his powers while a chairman of the Kazakh State Anti-Monopoly Commission last year. According to official reports cited by our correspondent yesterday, Svoik was responsible for the loss of about $14 million. Svoik says the charges are groundless and politically motivated.