14 April 2001
KAZAKH CABINET DISCUSSES SITUATION AT CCC COMPANY.
On April 12, the Kazakh Cabinet held a special session devoted to the situation faced by thousands of Kazakh workers employed by the Lebanese CCC company, which is engaged in working in the natural gas sector in western Kazakhstan (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 7 April 2001). Earlier this month, Kazakh employees of CCC staged an action of protest, blocking the way of visiting Kazakh Premier Qasymzhomart Toqaev in western Kazakhstan. The workers demanded that the CCC administration increase their salary, stop hiring foreign workers, and respect the rights of local employees. CCC representatives who attended the 12 April cabinet sesssion reportedly agreed to meet some of those demands.
PARLIAMENT COMMITTEE FOR ECONOMIC ISSUES, FINANCE AND BUDGET MEETS.
The Parliament Committee for Economic Issues, Budget and Finance on 13 April discussed the implementation of the program to establish the Kazakhstan Development Bank in accordance with a decree issued earlier this year by President Nursultan Nazarbaev. The main task of the bank will be to control foreign investments in the Kazakh economy. It was reported at the session that a total of 15 billion Tenges ($102 million) is expected to be allocated for the bank's needs this year, of which 75 per cent will be taken from state budget. The remaining 25 per cent will be provided by local administrations.
EURASIAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY MEETS IN ALMATY.
On April 13, deputy premiers from the five member states (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan) of the Eurasian Economic Community (the former CIS Customs Union) held their 23rd session in Almaty. The session was devoted to a discussion of the rights and obligations of members of the Community's executive boards.
CENTRAL ASIA EXPERTS DISCUSS WATER.
Ecology Ministers and experts from all the Central Asian states, together with international specialists and representatives of local NGOs, have gathered at Oq-Zhetpes near Lake Borabay in Kokshetau Oblast to discuss the plight of the Aral Sea area, the water shortage problem and the joint use of the waters of the Amu-Dariya and Syr-Dariya rivers. Alexander Miroshnichenko of Kazakhstan's National Ecology Agency told RFE/RL that the fall over the past two years of the water level in Kyrgyzstan's Toqtogul reservoir was also discussed.
NATIONAL CONGRESS AND AZAMAT PARTIES AT ODDS WITH CIVIC PARTY.
The leaders of the National Congress Party and the Azamat Party have announced their decision not to take part in the roundtable on Kazakhstan's election law organized by the OSCE office in Almaty, which is scheduled for April 26. The leaders of the two parties say they cannot sit at the same table with leaders of the Civic Party, which is known to support President Nazarbaev. Eric Collins of the OSCE mission in Almaty told RFE/RL that it is too early to draw any conclusions, adding that special negotiations on are being held with the leaders of the National Congress and Azamat parties. He said their joint statement is not a big issue.
KAZAKH PRESIDENT MEETS MALAYSIAN AMBASSADOR.
On April 12, President Nursultan Nazarbaev met with Malaysia's new Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Tang Sen Sung. At a press briefing after the meeting, Ambassador Tang Sen Sung said that he is very happy to begin his duties as Malaysian Ambassador to Kazakhstan in the tenth year since Kazakhstan gained its independence. He added that Kazakhstan and Malaysia have much in common, expressing the hopes that in future Malaysia's Petronas Oil Company will be very active in Kazakhstan's oil producing sector.
ADMINISTRATIVE CENTER OF ALMATY OBLAST TO BE MOVED?
Almaty Oblast governor Zamanbek Nurqadilov made a non-official statement while visiting a plant in Almaty on 11 April, according to which the administrative center of Almaty Oblast will be moved in the near future from Almaty to Taldy-Qorghan. He reportedly added that a presidential decree to that effect will be issued later this week. Nurqadilov's press secretary Fatima Begimbaeva confirmed the planned move on 12 April but added that the exact date when the presidential decree will be issued is not clear. The full move of Almaty Oblast's administrative center to Taldy-Qorghan is expected to be completed by October this year.
'SOLDAT' NEWSPAPER RESUMES PUBLICATION.
On April 12, the newspaper "SolDat" resumed publication after an eight month interval. The newspaper had to cease publication last year after all publishing houses in Kazakhstan refused to print it and the weekly's editor-in-chief Ermurat Bapi faced trial. The newspaper was charged with printing an article which insulted the honor and dignity of president Nursultan Nazarbaev. The three month trial ended earlier this month with the author of the article, dissident Karishal Asanov, being found not guilty. Bapi was found guilty but immediately pardoned under a presidential amnesty (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 7 April 2001). Bapi told RFE/RL that the 12 April issue of his newspaper was produced on an improvised press as publishing houses in Kazakhstan still refuse to print it. He said he hopes the next issue will be published on April 25.
BAIKONUR CITY RSEIDENTS HAVE A DAY-OFF.
The administration of Baikonur City decided to make April 12 a day-off for the city's inhabitants to mark the 40th anniversary of the first manned space flight. The first Soviet cosmonaut, Yurii Alexeevich Gagarin, blasted off from Kazakh soil, and Russia continues to launch rockets and spaceships from the Baikonur cosmodrome. Under an inter-governmental agreement Russia pays $115 million annually to the Kazakh side for the lease of the space complex in Baikonur.
ALMATY COMMUNISTS HOLD MEETING.
Communists in Almaty held a meeting on April 12 at which they protested the decision by the Atyrau City administration to remove Lenin's statue from the city's center. They also expressed concern about the Almaty City administration's decision to launch a tender for purchase of the city's heating and water supply system. According to Arsentii Apolimov, the secretary of the Kazakh Communist Party's Almaty branch, the Communists are going to hold a congress on April 22-23, which coincides with Lenin's birthday on 22 April. Apolimov added that the Almaty City administration has not responded to their request for formal permission to hold the congress.
SPEAKER OF KAZAKH PARLIAMENT'S UPPER CHAMBER MEETS CUBAN AMBASSADOR.
On April 11, Oralbay Abdikarim, who is Chairman of the Senate (the upper chamber of Kazakhstan's Parliament), held talks with the Cuban Ambassador to the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan, Carlos Palmarola Cordella. The sides discussed further cooperation between Astana and Havana, including trade and technical exchange. Zharmakhan Tuyaqbay, who is speaker of the Mazhilis (the lower chamber of parliament), returned from Havana earlier this week.
NEW NATURAL GAS PROJECT UNVEILED IN ASTANA.
On April 11, a new project to develop the Amangeldy natural gas reserves in Zhambyl Oblast, South Kazakhstan, was officially unveiled in Astana by KazakhTransOil. Kazakhstan suffers from a lack of natural gas, and the southern regions of the country are dependent on natural gas from neighboring Uzbekistan.
According to Kazakh Deputy Premier Danial Akhmetov, the Amangeldy natural gas complex will be able to produce 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. Akhmetov told journalists that about $142 million will be invested in the complex in the first two years.
REPUBLICAN PEOPLE PARTY HOLDS SEMINAR.
The Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan has held a special seminar in Almaty called "People Should Know Names of the Owners of the Nation's Property." Amirzhan Qosanov, who is acting chairman of the party's executive committee, told RFE/RL that the main aim of the seminar was to publicize the names of the owners of the nation's property. According to Qosanov, as a result of the privatization campaign held in the early 1990s, friends and relatives of Kazakh officials acquired state property.
KAZAKHSTAN REINFORCES ITS BORDER WITH TURKMENISTAN.
Local new agencies reported on 11 April that Kazakhstan's Border Guard Service has sent an additional border guard unit to the Kazakh-Turkmen border from Boranday Military Base in Almaty region. Husain Berikqaliev, the Chief of Kazakhstan's State Border Guard Service, told journalists on 11 April that by the end of this year, four additional border guarding points will be established along the 400-kilometers-long Kazakh-Turkmen border.
KAZAKH PARLIAMENT'S LOWER CHAMBER HOLDS SEMINAR ON MASS MEDIA..
On April 10, the Mazhilis (the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament) held seminar on Kazakhstan's mass media. It was attended by representatives of Ministries of Labor and Social Protection, Information, Culture and Social Concord, the National Security Committee, some NGOs, journalists and political parties. Participants discussed the new amendments to the Kazakh Law on the Mass Media, Kazakhstan's so-called information security and other issues. The new amendments to the Kazakh law on the mass media made public last month limit the retransmission of foreign broadcasting.
KAZAKHSTAN'S SOCIAL PROTECTION ISSUE DISCUSSED AT THE SEMINAR HELD BY LABOR AND SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTRY.
A two-day seminar on the social protection of Kazakhstan's citizens began at the Labor and Social Protection Ministry in Astana on April 10. The seminar is organized by the Ministry and International Labor Organization and will discuss the reform of the Labor Code and Social Protection regulations.
SOLDIER MURDERED IN BORANDAY.
Khabar News Agency reported on 10 April that on April 8 Private Vladimir Golubev of the Border Guarding Unit in Boranday, Almaty Oblast, was murdered by unknown persons at his post on the territory of the unit's military airport. The killers took Private Golubev's Kalashnikov machine-gun. Investigations are underway. Both the Press Service of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee and that of the State Border Guard Service declined to comment on the murder to RFE/RL.
FUTURE OF KAZAKHSTAN'S NATIONAL PARKS TO BE DISCUSSED.
The director of the Ile-Alatau National Park, Abay Begimbetov, told journalists in Almaty on April 10 that a special action called "Parks - 2001" will be held in Kazakhstan from 21-24 April. It will include special events such as a seminar on the ecological situation in Kazakhstan, lectures for schoolchildren and special measures to clean the territory of the country's five main national parks.
SHYMKENT RESIDENT SET OFF BY BICYCLE FOR MECCA.
Liazzat Qizatova of Shymkent's Ayghaq News Agency told RFE/RL by phone on April 10 that a 60-year-old citizen of Shymkent, Kenesbek Sezimbekov, set off by bicycle for Mecca that day. Sezimbekov will cross five state borders (Uzbek, Turkmen, Iran, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia) on his journey which will last for 90 days. Sezimbekov announced just before the beginning of his trip that he had decided to devote his action to the tenth anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence.
ANTI-NTV ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN KAZAKHSTAN'S STATE NEWSPAPER.
Kazakhstan's main state run Kazakh-language newspaper "Egemen Qazaqstan" published an article on 10 April entitled "Who Is Really Attacking, and Who Is Really Defending Himself?" The author of the article was not indicated. The article discussed the problems faced by Russia's NTV television channel and said that the group of journalists hired by NTV General Director Yevgenii Kiselev and dependent upon him are trying to protect their own narrow interests using slogans about press freedom.
Seydakhmet Quttyqadam, the leader of the Orleu movement, told RFE/RL that the main aim of the article was to send the message to the mass media in Kazakhstan that some local periodicals or television channels might face the same problems as NTV. Quttyqadam said Kazakh officials are trying to "brainwash" Kazakhstan's population, and to prepare Kazakhstan's society for gradually taking of the remnants of Kazakhstan's free press under their total control.