4 February 2000
RUSSIAN ZENIT ROCKET LAUNCHED FROM BAIKONUR SPACE COMPLEX.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that on February 3 a Russian rocket Zenit was launched from Baikonur Space Complex in Central Kazakhstan. The rocket brought a Russian military satellite called Tselina (Virgin Land) to Earth's orbit. The launch was held at 2:26 PM (Astana time). According to official statistics, Zenit rockets have been launched 33 times from Baikonur. In general, 8 launches of Zenit have failed reportedly. On February 9, another rocket coded as "Soyuz" is expected to be launched from Kazakh soil.
ALL THE FOREIGNERS LIVING IN ALMATY WILL CARRY BEEPERS.
According to an agreement made by the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, Almaty interior Affairs Department and American BONA company, all foreign nationals living in the former capital of Kazakhstan will have special beepers on an everyday basis, in order to protect themselves from assaults. The local police has been provided with 115 special cars and a special wireless beeper system. Last year 46 attacks against foreign citizens were registered in Almaty, and only one third of these were reported to have been successfully investigated. In all, about 12,000 foreigners visit Kazakhstan annually, of whom 1,500 persons reside in the former capital of Kazakhstan.
MOUNTED POLICE ESTABLISHED IN QYZYL-ORDA, OTHER NEWS FROM THE REGION.
This week the local police department of Qyzyl-Orda Oblast received 250 horses for the creation of a mounted police unit. This is going to be the first mounted police unit in the history of independent Kazakhstan. Serikbek Nurghisayev - Governor of Qyzyl-Orda Oblast met with the region's medical personnel on February 3. On 4 February Governor Nurghisayev is reported to have met with teachers of the oblast. Press Secretary of he Qyzyl-Orda Oblast Administration Anar Izden told correspondents of RFE/RL by phone that the main issues discussed during both meetings were problems faced by teachers and medical personnel of the region and possible ways these problems could be solved. Qyzyl-Orda Oblast has been suffering from ecological problems caused by the shrinking of the Aral Sea shrinking since the early 80's.
CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM HELD AT AL-FARABI UNIVERSITY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that on February 4 a scientific conference called "Education in the Third Millennium" continued its work at Kazakh State Al-Farabi University. The conference started working on Thursday. Chief of the Al-Farabi University's Education Department Sharipbek Amirbekov told correspondents of RFE/RL that the main issue discussed at the conference was about establishing closer connections between Universities and secondary schools of the country. He said that unfortunately many fresh students admitted to Kazakh Universities have a very weak educational background.
KAZAKH BATTALIONS REPORTED AMONG CHECHEN REBELS IN NORTH CAUCASUS.
Correspondents of RFE/RL quote Russian Itar-TASS News Agency as reporting that Kazakh, Azerbaijani and Ingush battalions are fighting against Russian Federal forces on the Chechen rebel side. This information is based upon data given by commanders of the Russian Federal troops, who reportedly said that among the rebels there were people with Kazakh passports. Also some Chechen rebels captured during the military operations in Grozniy and other places of Chechnya reportedly confirmed the report about Kazakh, Ingush and Azerbaijani battalions fighting on the Chechen side in the North Caucasus.
KAZAKH NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL OUTLINES MILITARY DOCTRINE.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Astana that the Kazakh National Security Council held a special session on February 2, at which the Kazakh National Military Doctrine was defined. Chairman of the Kazakh National Security Council, Presidential Aide, and Chairman of the Kazakh Anti-Corruption State Committee - Marat Tazhin - told journalists after the Council session that next year financial allocations for the Kazakh Military and Defense Sector would be increased by 30 per cent. He also said that such important issues as anti-terrorism and anti- extremism policies were discussed at the Council session as well. The draft of the Doctrine will be discussed at Kazakh Parliament and then sent to the Kazakh president for signature. Marat Tazhin also added that Uzbek-Kazakh borders would not be demarcated from either side until a special joint Kazakh-Uzbek commission made final conclusions.
MEMBERS OF KAZAKH PARLIAMENT ON OSCE SESSION HELD IN JANUARY.
Members of the Kazakh Parliament Committee on Defense, International Affairs and Security - Zhabaykhan Abdildin and Sharip Omarov - attended an OSCE session held in Vienna, Austria, on January 27. On February 3, Sharip Omarov and Zhabaykhan Abdildin held a press conference, where they introduced journalists to the results of the session. According to the Kazakh Parliament members, the OSCE discussed the results of the elections held in Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia recently. Mr. Omarov said that the OSCE has concluded that numerous violations of the Kazakh elections laws and international standards were committed by local administrations and local election commissions of Kazakhstan during the elections. Both members of Parliament mentioned though, that in general, Parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan had been held in a democratic way.
KAZAKH AMBASSADOR HANDED CREDENTIALS TO PAKISTANI PRESIDENT.
Kazakh Ambassador Bekzhasar Narbayev handed his credentials to Pakistani President Mohammed Rafik Tarar in Islamabad on February 2. Ambassador Narbayev also introduced the Pakistani leader to the letter of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The sides discussed the further development of Kazakh-Pakistani relations in economy and trade. Also such issues as support for mutual investments, and possible Pakistani investments to the development of Kazakhstan's infrastructure and its new capital were discussed. President Mohammed Tarar invited his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev to visit Pakistan.
KAZAKH MINISTER OF TRADE, INDUSTRY AND ENERGY HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
Vladimir Shkolnik - Kazakh minister of Trade, Industry and Energy held a press conference in Astana on February 3. He told journalists that the increase in the price of crude oil on the international market improved the situation of the crude oil production sector of Kazakhstan. Although, said Minister Shkolnik, Kazakh oil refineries are still in a very bad state. He said that in the nearest future the main Kazakh oil refineries, especially the one in Pavlodar City, North Kazakhstan, would start functioning on a better level. Minister Shkolnik also added that the gasoline developed at refineries of Finland and Lithuania and bought by Kazakhstan was of a very bad quality.
ALEXANDER MASHKEVICH ON TRACTEBEL SCANDAL.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that the Chairman of Eurasia Bank - Alexander Mashkevich held a press conference in Almaty's National Press Club on February 2. Mr. Mashkevich confirmed reports about his having received $55 million from the Belgian company Tractebel in 1996. Tractebel had managed to get the Almaty regional electricity and heating supply system under its control then. Mr. Mashkevich said that the money received from the Belgian Company was not a bribe, but a fee for work carried out by the Albeli group led by him at that time. According to Mr. Mashkevich, the Albeli group checked all the gas pipelines in the region in order to prepare them for the switch to another mode of operations and for repair. He said that the $55 million fee had been paid for that service. He also added that all the rumors about Tractebel's having given a bribe to himself and two other businessmen working in Kazakhstan were "a lie". Alexander Mashkevich told journalists that all the gossip and rumors about his having been involved in the "bribery scandal" were spread around by some top officials of Kazakhstan intentionally, in order to make him leave Kazakhstan.
LEADER OF KAZAKHSTAN'S WORKERS MOVEMENT VISITED US EMBASSY.
Madel Ismailov - leader of the Kazakh Workers' Movement, visited the US Embassy in Almaty on February 2. He met some officials of the Embassy and asked them to pay attention to the situation around human rights in Kazakhstan. Madel Ismailov was one of the active participants of the mass gathering held by his movement and elderly citizens of the former Kazakh capital on January 30. Several officers of the Kazakh National Security Committee in civilian clothes tried to take him to the police station during the demonstration of protest. In all, four active participants of the mass action of protest are facing administrative charges reportedly. Madel Ismailov already has spent one year in jail after his having been found guilty of "insulting the honor and dignity of the Kazakh President" a couple of years ago.
DRUGS TRAFFICKER DIED IN A TRAIN COMPARTMENT.
A person who tried to smuggle 43 small packages of heroin in his stomach was found dead in a compartment of Leninabad (Tajikistan) - Novokuznetsk (Russia) by Kazakh policemen. It turned out that one of the packages containing heroin had broken in the person's stomach, which led to the contamination of the man's blood and to his death. Investigations are underway.
CRIMINAL AUTHORITY ARRESTED WITH OTAN PARTY MEMBERSHIP CARD.
Serik Adambayev, who used to be one of the closest aides of Kazakhstan's most famous criminal - Nesipbay Nasenov (Red Almaz - who had been found dead in Barcelona area, Spain in 1997) was arrested by Almaty police officers this week for possessing illegal weapons. During the arrest a card confirming Serik Adambayev's membership in the Otan Party was found. The Otan party was founded on the eve of the early presidential elections by supporters of President Nursultan Nazarbayev last year. Investigations are underway.
OFFICE OF EDIL-ZHAYIQ NEWSPAPER ATTACKED.
Unknown persons attacked the office of the independent Edil-Zhayiq newspaper in Oral city, Western Kazakhstan, this week. All of the equipment was destroyed, some documents were taken, and the newspaper's office door was knifed. Investigations are underway.
PM TOQAYEV REURNED FROM DAVOS.
RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty report that Kazakh Prime Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev returned from Davos where he took part at the World Economic Forum as a head of the Kazakh delegation. Official reports on the results of the visit say that the head of the Kazakh Government expressed "total support" for Russia's activities in Chechnya, while some local independent newspapers, as well as several Russian mass media reported that Toqayev during his speech at the World Economic Forum criticized Russia's policy toward Chechnya. Newspapers report that the Kazakh Prime Minister was the only CIS representative who made his speech in English.
In Davos Kazakh Prime Minister Qasymzhomart Toqayev said Kazakhstan believes Chechnya is part of Russia and that the war by the Chechens is "self-determined." Although, he expressed Kazakhstan's concern by the scale of Russia's military operations and the number of victims.
THREE CITIZENS OF KAZAKHSTAN WERE DETAINED WITH THREE GRAMS OF URANIUM.
RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty report that the Kazakh National Security Committee recently detained three men with three grams of uranium. According to specialists, 500 grams of uranium are enough to produce a nuclear bomb. The three detained in Almaty hadn't disclosed that they have 500 grams of uranium at the safe place. It was found later in the garden of ahouse belonging to one of the detained. It's not clear yet who was the buyer. Investigations are underway. Last year the Kazakh National Security Committee sized 5 kilos of uranium. The detained were released later through an amnesty. RFE/RL correspondents quote some specialists at the Kazakh Nuclear Institute who say that the uranium siezed this time appears to be from the same source. According to them, all the uranium was stolen from the Ulba metallurgical plant in Eastern Kazakhstan.
RUSSIA LAUNCHED ROCKET FROM BAIQONUR IN KAZAKHSTAN.
On FDebruary 1, Russia successfully launched a "Progress" supply ship with a Soyuz rocket from the Baiqonur space launch site in Kazakhstan. RFE/RL correspondents report that the supply ship mainly carries fuel and some equipment necessary for the next space mission on board Russia's Mir space station. The next manned mission to the Mir space station is to be launched from the Kazakh Baiqonur next month, reportedly.
POLL RESULTS SHOW THAT PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTY LOSING ITS SUPPORTERS.
RFE/RL correspondent in Almaty quote results of a poll held by Almaty Sociologists and Politologists Center recently. The poll results show that after last autumn's parliamentary elections, the pro-presidential party OTAN has been losing its supporters among the population. More than 30 per cent of respondents expressed their support for the Communist party of Kazakhstan. Poll results say that the Azamat party is in second place in terms of popularity, and only 20 per cent of respondents expressed their support for the Otan party. During the last parliamentary elections, the Otan party won the majority of places in the Mazhlis, the Lower House of Kazakh Parliament.
The poll held by Almaty Sociologists and Politologists Center shows that 27 per cent of respondents believe that the communist party really cares about ordinary citizens, 40 per cent said that Otan is a clearly pro-government party, and 20 per cent of respondents expressed their thoughts that Azamat members are big capitalists.