2 February 2001
SOME RUSSIAN ORGANIZATIONS PROTEST CREATION OF RUSSIAN PARTY IN KAZAKHSTAN.
Gennadii Belyakov, the leader of Kazakhstan's Russkaya Obshchina Organization, told RFE/RL on 26 January that some NGOs uniting ethnic Russians intend to establish a Russian Party in Kazakhstan. He said all the necessary documents for registering the new party' have been compiled and submitted to Kazakhstan�s Justice Ministry. Belyakov said that the main goal of the new party-to-be will be protecting the rights of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in Kazakhstan. He also said that Russian Party will support the idea of creating a Kazakh-Russian Confederation in future, and will propose its own candidates to Kazakh Presidency.
On 17 January, Belyakov had told RFE/RL that several movements and organisations uniting ethnic Russians, including Lad, the Russian Community and the Semirechiye Cossacks, held a special session three days earlier at which it was decided to create a new political party called Russian Party. Belyakov was elected as a member of the Co-ordinating Committee to organize the new party. Belyakov said that since the number of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan is about 30 per cent of the total population, Russians should occupy 30 per cent of posts in all state and government bodies. According to Belyakov, that will be the main goal of the new Party-to-be.
Meanwhile another leader of Kazakhstan's ethnic Russians, Yurii Bunakov, told RFE/RL that other Slav organizations have not expressed support for Beliakov's statement. Bunakov said the idea of creating a Russian Party may cause inter-ethnic problems in Kazakhstan, as well as tensions between the Russian organizations themselves.
UZBEKISTAN AGAIN REDUCES NATURAL GAS TO SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN.
As of January 27, Uzbekistan will cut the volume of natural gas it delivers to Kazakhstan's Almaty, Zhambyl and South Kazakhstan Oblasts. Rakhimzhan Tleughabyl, who heads South Kazakhstan Oblast's Energy Department, told RFE/RL by phone that it is likely that Uzbekistan decided to cut the natural gas volume because of cold weather in the region. The amount of natural gas consumed by residents of southern Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan increased drastically in the last couple of weeks due to unusually severe frost. Tleughabyl also said that the volume of Uzbek gas delivered to southern Kazaakhstan was about 21,000 cubic meters per hour instead of the necessary 35,000 cubic meters per hour. He added that South Kazakhstan has no outstanding gas debts to Uzbekistan.
INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER MARKS ITS FIRST ANNIVERSARY.
The "Altyn Orda" newspaper published in Aqtobe Region marks its first anniversary on January 26. The newspaper is almost the only private newspaper in Kazakh printed in that remote region and is popular throughout the country. "Altyn Orda" does not openly oppose President Nazarbaev�s regime.
SOME INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS, NGOs PROTEST CABINET'S PROPOSED DRAFT MEDIA LAW.
Several independent journalists and NGOs uniting Kazakh journalists have officially protested the draft law on the mass media proposed by the Kazakh Cabinet for discussion by the Kazakh Parliament. The journalists sent an open letter to Parliament deputies on 26 January demanding that the draft law be sent back to the government for revision. They specifically object to provisions of the draft law that propose introducing limitations on transmissions of foreign electronic mass media and control over Internet newspapers.
KAZAKH PREMIER LEFT FOR DAVOS FORUM.
Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev left for Davos on January 25 to participate in the World Economic Forum. He is accompanied by Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Nurlan Qapparov. Toqaev is expected to hold talks with Prince Aga-Khan, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and the leaders of Croatia, Germany, Switzerland and Macedonia.
On 22 January President Nursultan Nazarbaev announced that he will be unable to travel to Davos this year as he is scheduled to chair the annual session of Kazakhstan's local governors on January 30. That announcement by Nazarbaev was made right after the arrest of Pavel Borodin, the Secretary of the Russo-Belarus Union, in New York last weekend.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF 21 VEK NEWSPAPER AND CHAIRWOMAN OF KAZAKH ELECTRONIC MASS MEDIA ASSOCIATION HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
On January 25, Roslana Taukina, Chairwoman of the Kazakh Electronic Mass Media Association, and Bigeldy Gabdullin, Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper "XXI Vek," held a press conference in Almaty at which they told journalists that the open letter sent to the U.S. Congress by 33 politicians of Kazakhstan, including activists and leaders of parties opposing Kazakh government and parliament deputies, was initiated by Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan. That party is led by former Kazakh Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin from exile. Taukina and Gabdullin said that an estimated $1.5 billion in Western bank accounts belonging to top Kazakh officials, including Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, which has been impounded by U.S. and Swiss officials, should be returned to Kazakhstan, rather than left in USA and Switzerland.
INDEPENDENT KAZAKH JOURNALIST RETURNS FROM WASHINGTON.
Well-known Kazakh journalist Nuri Muftah returned from Washington D.C. on January 25. He had been invited by U.S. Congressmen to attend the 20 January inauguration of George W. Bush as the 43rd president of the United States. Muftah said there were no officials representing the Republic of Kazakhstan at the inauguration ceremony, although former Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin, now President Nazarbaev's main political rival, was there. Muftah told RFE/RL that he met with several U.S. Congressmen and discussed the current economic and political situation in Kazakhstan.
OSCE HELD ROUND TABLE ON KAZAKHSTAN'S ELECTION LAW.
On January 25, OSCE's office in Kazakhstan held a round table discussion devoted to Kazakhstan's election law, in which representatives of various political parties and movements, including opposition organizations, took part, together with the leadership of Kazakhstan's Central Election Committee and representatives from the Kazakh Parliament and government.
Well known Kazakh politician Dos Koshim told RFE/RL that the discussion was neither constructive nor fruitful, as neither pro-government parties and movements, nor other representatives of the Kazakh establishment expressed any ideas or proposals.
KYRGYZ PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION IN ASTANA.
A delegation of the Kyrgyz Supreme Council (Zhogorku Kenesh) led by speaker Abdughaniy Erkebaev arrived in Astana on January 24 for talks with Kazakh Parliament deputies. Kyrgyz Supreme Council speaker Abdughaniy Erkebaev said at the meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Zharmakhan Tuyaqbaev that the Kyrgyz Republic traditionally considered Kazakhstan as its closest economic and political partner in the region.
'21ST CENTURY' NEWSPAPER FACES CLOSURE
Bigeldy Gabdullin, who is editor-in-chief of the newspaper "XXI Vek" (21 Century), told RFE/RL on 24 January that he received a letter from Almaty�s Almaly District Court the previous day informing him that during a court hearing on January 13 the newspaper was found guilty of "printing false materials hurting prestige of Sakharniy Tsentr Company" and is obliged to pay a fine of 5 million Tenges (about $35,000). Sakharniy Tsentr is a sugar producing giant controlled by President Nazarbaev's son-in-law Rakhat Aliev. Gabdullin said that the Court deliberately delayed informing him about the verdict to make it difficult for the lnewspaper's editor to appeal before the 25 January deadline for doing so. If the verdict is not overturned, the paper may be forced to cease publication.
RECTOR OF PRIVATE UNIVERSITY REJECTS PRESIDENTIAL PROPOSAL.
Faizolla Orazay, the Rector of the Almaty-based private University of International Experts, told RFE/RL by telephone on January 24 that he is against the proposal by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev earlier this month that all the private universities in Kazakhstan should allow 10 percent of their students to study free of charge. Orazay said he already has an unspecified number of orphans, children of the Kazakh repatriates and other disadvantaged students enrolled at his University free of charge. He added that the government should not interfere in the activities of private universities unless it also provides them with financial support. Orazay suggested that President Nazarbaev should meet with a group of Rectors of Kazakhstan's private Universities in order to discuss the issue.
CHAIRMAN OF KAZAKH PARLIAMENT'S LOWER CHAMBER MEETS IRANIAN AMBASSADOR.
Zharmakhan Tuyaqbaev, the Chairman of the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's Parliament, met with the Iranian Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Murtaza Safari, on January 23. The two men discussed Kazakh-Iranian cooperation in oil transportation, the status of the Caspian Sea, the situation in Afghanistan, and other issues.
FINANCIAL POLICE ESTABLISHED IN KAZAKHSTAN.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev issued a Decree on January 22 establishing a new state board, the Financial Police. The decree said the creation of such a body was prompted "by the necessity to reinforce Kazakh Interior Ministry's efforts to curb economic crimes in the country." Kazakhstan's Finance Minister Mazhit Essenbaev announced on 23 January that the Kazakh Presidential Decree on the establishment of Kazakhstan's Development Bank will "be implemented in the nearest future." Nazarbaev signed that decree in late December.
STATE OF EMERGENCY IN NORTHERN KAZAKHSTAN WILL LAST TILL JANUARY 25.
RFE/RL correspondents reported on 23 January that the state of emergency declared by the governors of Aqmola, Qaraghandy, Northern Kazakhstan, Eastern Kazakhstan and Pavlodar Oblasts due to the extreme weather conditions will last until January 25. Heavy snowfalls, frost and blizzards made the local governors stop all the transportation in the area. On January 22, the body of a citizen of Golitsino village, Pavlodar Oblast, was found in the steppe. Another inhabitant of that village is missing. The extreme cold weather hit the area on January 6. Since that time at least five persons have frozen to death in the area.
INVESTIGATIONS OF HELICOPTER CRASH CONTINUE.
Experts from Kazakhstan's State Criminal Laboratory are investigating the reasons for the 19 January helicopter crash near Lenger in South Kazakhstan. Kazakh Defense Minister General Sat Toqpaqpaev suffered minor injuries in that crash, but has been released from hospital and returned to work. Four high-ranking military officials are still in Almaty's Central Military Hospital. One junior officer died in the accident.
TRIAL OF ERSAIN ERQOZHA'S ATTACKERS POSTPONED AGAIN.
The trial of the alleged attackers of Ersain Erqozha, the leader of "Next Generation's Future - Education" movement, was postponed on 23 January until February 1. Almaty City Court Judge Syrlybay Bazarbaev decided to postpone the trial due to the fact that some lawyers of the accused had not yet acquainted themselves with the details of the case.
Unknown persons splashed acid in Ersain Erqzoha's face in May last year. Mendybike Nalibaeva, a book-keeper at Kazakhstan's Education Ministry, was allegedly involved in the attack. Erqozha and his relatives told RFE/RL on 23 January that the trial kept being postponed "on purpose, to make it possible for the accused persons to be amnestied." RFE/RL correspondents note that more persons may be amnestied this year under a Presidential Decree on marking the tenth anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence.
GROUP OF DOUBLE CROSSERS FOUND GUILTY OF 14 DEATHS AT ALMATY CITY COURT.
On January 19 a group of 13 double dealers led by Altyngul Qartanbaeva and Murat Musin were found guilty by the Almaty City Court of murdering 14 citizens of Almaty. The group forced solitary owners of properties in Almaty by various means to sign agreements and contracts to sell their apartments and houses for large sums. All of them were killed by the group members afterwards.
KAZAKH PRESIDENT MET CHINESE AMBASSADOR.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev held talks with Chinese Ambassador to Kazakhstan You Peishi in Astana on January 19. At a press conference after the talks Nazarbaev told journalists that further economic and political cooperation between Astana and Beijing was discussed. Kazakhstan and China do not have any problems in their mutual relations since the border issue was solved in 1999, Nazarbaev said. He added that the average annual trade volume between Kazakhstan and China is about $600 million, and that figure may rise to $1 billion per year in future.
Nazarbaev warned the Chinese National Oil Corporation (CNOC) working in North West and West Kazakhstan of the need to take the local ecological situation into account. He also said that CNOC had been recommended to give priority to Kazakh specialists when hiring new workers. Nazarbaev said that the meaning and importance of Shanghai-Five Union, consisting of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation and Tajikistan, is growing.
TALGHAT IBRAEV ASSASSINATION TRIAL OPENS.
On January 18, the trial of the alleged organizers of Talghat Ibraev's assassination began in Almaty. Ibraev, who headed Kazakhstan's State Arms Export Company, was shot to death near his house in spring last year. Ibraev's driver and his assistant Colonel Anatolii Adamov were arrested shortly after the assassination but were released later after the investigators concluded they were not involved in the killing. (Anatolii Adamov was arrested again for illegal ownership of weapons.)
Erza Qoshqarbaev, who replaced Ibraev as head of the State Arms Export Company, is the main suspect in the case. The trial is being held behind closed doors. No details are available. Amangeldy Amangaliev, a resident of Almaty, was identified as Ibraev's killer last summer. He was shot dead by Almaty police when policemen tried to arrest him in a restaurant in the Orbita district of Almaty.
Some politicians in Kazakhstan say that Talghat Ibraev's case might have been connected with illegal transfer of 40 military planes (MiG-21) to North Korea from Kazakhstan last year. Several top officials of Kazakhstan have been reported as involved into the transfer, but no names have ever been announced officially.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF SOLDAT NEWSPAPER WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TAKE PART IN OSCE�S ROUND TABLE.
Ermurat Bapi, the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper "SolDat," told RFE/RL on 18 January that he will not be able to participate in the roundtable organized by the OSCE in Astana on January 25 to discuss elections and election law. Leaders and activists of political parties and movements, as well as members of the Kazakh government and Parliament will take part. Bapi pointed out that since the roundtable is to be held in Astana he will not be able to take part as the authorities of Almaty City have forbidden him to leave the former capital before the trial against "SolDat" is over. Ermurat Bapi and his newspaper are accused of printing an article written by a well known dissident Karishal Assanov last year. Kazakh authorities consider that the article hurt President Nursultan Nazarbaev's dignity. The next session of the trial is scheduled for January 24.
VETERAN OF ALMATY PROTEST OF DECEMBER 1986 WANTS TO STAGE SELF-IMMOLATION ACTION.
Umit Bosmanova, a veteran of the Almaty protests in December 1986 and a member of the Zheltoqsan (December) Organization, told journalists in Almaty on January 18 that she plans to stage action of self-immolation in Almaty's Central Square if President Nazarbaev signs the Law on Land adopted by both chambers of the Kazakh Parliament's last month. The vice-Chairman of the Alash Party, Seittay Adenov, told RFE/RL that Bosmanova's decision is the last attempt by "Kazakh patriots" to prevent "selling of Kazakhs' most sacred property � the land."
CABINET DISCUSSES ILLEGAL SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES.
Kazakh Minister of Education and Science Nuraly Bekturghanov said at a Cabinet session in Astana on 18 January that the number of universities and schools operating in Kazakhstan illegally is increasing. Bekturghanov said there are six universities per million citizens of Kazakhstan, while in Britain the figure is one per million, in France two per million, and in Germany and Japan three per million. He said that special measures will be implemented in order to check the activities of all private universities and schools in Kazakhstan in the nearest future.
PRESIDENT DISCUSSES PROGRAM MARKING TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF KAZAKHSTAN'S INDEPENDENCE.
On January 17 President Nazarbaev chaired a special cabinet session, which the speakers of both chambers of parliament also attended, to discuss preparations for celebrating the tenth anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence. That anniversary will be marked in December 2001. Only correspondents of Khabar News Agency, which is headed by Nazarbaev's daughter Darigha, and those of Aqsham State Agency were invited to the session.
KAZAKHSTAN'S MILITARY OFFICIALS SAY 1,066 SOLDIERS WILL BE AMNESTIED.
Deputy Military Prosecutor-General Amirzhan Estaev, Military Supreme Court Chairman Zhunisbek Qadyrkhanov, and Deputy Chief of Army General Staff Bolat Alimkhanov told a press conference in Almaty on January 17 that in light of the presidential decree on the tenth Anniversary of Kazakhstan's Independence, 1,066 soldiers found guilty of committing "light" crimes will be amnestied in the first six months of this year. The officers also said that aim of the press conference was to inform all deserters and young men avoiding military service about the amnesty. They also said that the number of deserters from Kazakh Army would decrease if the government allocated more funds for the needs of the armed forces.