23 June 2000
KAZAKH PARLIAMENT APPROVES IN THE FIRST READING DRAFT LAW ON THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF KAZAKHSTAN.
At a joint session on 22 June, both Chambers of the Kazakh parliament (Senate and Mazhilis) approved in the first reading the draft law on the First President of Kazakhstan, RFE/RL correspondents reported. The draft law is expected to be discussed in the second reading on June 27. Of 66 deputies of the Kazakh Parliament, only 14 did not support the draft law. The law outlines the powers of the First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev after he leaves office (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 16 June 2000).
A representative of the pro-Nazarbayev Civic Party, Rakhmet Muqyshev, told Parliament members that President Nazarbaev was not aware of the draft law. Some deputies protested the draft law, saying that it had not been discussed by representatives of the Kazakh Cabinet and Supreme Court. Kazakh Communist Party leader Serikbolsyn Abdildin told RFE/RL correspondents on 22 June that President Nazarbaev has five more years of his presidential term still to serve and that it is premature to discuss his powers after his retirement before he formally declares his intention to step down. Abdildin also said that Kazakhstan already has a Law on the President, and that it is not appropriate to adopt additional laws protecting a single individual.
The draft law says that Nursultan Nazarbaev would be empowered to lead the Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan and the State Security Council, to nominate citizens of Kazakhstan for a prize named after him, and to advise on personnel appointments and dismissals. Parliament deputy and former Kazakh Customs Committee head Ghani Qasymov told journalists on 22 June that he does not understand why such an important law was approved so quickly.
KAZAKH VICE PREMIER HELD PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY.
Kazakhstan's Vice Premier Alexander Pavlov told a press conference on 22 June details of President Nazarbaev's official visit to Moscow this week. Pavlov said that Nazarbaev discussed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin bilateral economic cooperation, military and technical exchange, fuel and energy purchases, oil transportation and the continued leasing by Russia of the Baikonur space complex . Regional security issues were also discussed. President Nazarbaev also took part in the work of CIS summit in Moscow, and met with former Russian President Russian Boris Yeltsin after the official part of his trip was over.
MURDER SUSPECT'S LAWYER ISSUES STATEMENT.
In a statement issued on 21 June, lawyer Asqar Arenov denied that his client, Colonel Anatoliy Adamov, was involved in the 15 April shooting in Almaty of leading Kazakh arms export expert Talghat Ibrayev. Adamov, who is an officer of Kazakhstan's Intelligence Service, was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of involvement in that killing. Ibraev's driver has also been arrested in connection with the killing. Arenov told journalists that his client had nothing to do with the assassination of Mr. Ibrayev, adding that some high ranked Kazakh officials may have been involved in the crime.
PROTON ROCKET LAUNCHES FROM BAIKONUR TO BE RESUMED DESPITE WORSENING ECOLOGICAL SITUATION IN CENTRAL KAZAKHSTAN.
RFE/RL correspondents on 22 June quoted local mass media as reporting that launches of Proton rockets from the Baikonur Space Complex in Central Kazakhstan will be resumed in the near future. Kazakhstan suspended the Proton launches from the site after two Proton rockets exploded over the territory of the Central Kazakhstan Oblast last year, spilling highly toxic hepthil rocket fuel. Zhezqazghan State University lecturer Bibisara Smakova told RFE/RL by phone on 21 June that the number of cancer patients in the area has increased drastically since those two explosions. Meanwhile the Chief of the Central Kazakhstan Regional Cancer Center, Erzhan Muldikbaev, refused to comment the situation, adding that it is not a "good thing to discuss the situation just one year after the explosions".
KAZAKH COMMUNIST LEADER CRITICIZES DRAFT LAW ON LAND OWNERSHIP.
Serikbolsyn Abdildin, who is First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan and a deputy to the Mazhilisi (the Lower Chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament) told journalists on June 21 that the decision to discuss the draft law on land ownership in Kazakhstan had been adopted too early. Abdildin said the draft law "has no right direction." He added that the draft law is "too commercialized, and opinions of ordinary citizens of Kazakhstan were not taken into account by the draft's authors".
Abdildin also said that huge territories of Kazakhstan "would not survive without united farming complexes, and that single-owner private farms would fail in Kazakhstan." The issue of land privatization in Kazakhstan has become a real problem since last year. Numerous mass gatherings and hunger strikes protesting the idea of the land privatization have been held since 1999. Members of the activists of ALASH party are currently holding a hunger strike in the former Kazakh capital demanding that the draft law not be discussed at the Parliament (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 16 June 2000).
AKIKAT PARLIAMENT GROUP ELECTS LEADER.
On June 20 the AKIKAT group within the Kazakh parliament, which unites some 12 well-known politicians, elected as its leader Zheken Qali-Uly, who is Chairman of the Parliament's Committee on International Affairs, Security and Defense.
KAZAKH PRESIDENT'S STATEMENTS IN MOSCOW.
President Nursultan Nazarbaev said at a joint press conference he held together with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on 20 June that he had proposed creat a special Fund for the Protection of the Russian Language in the Former USSR. President Putin stated that he had accepted Nazarbaev's proposal. Nazarbaev also proposed creating a joint Kazakh-Russian inter-government board for supporting Russian business in Kazakhstan and Kazakh business in the Russian Federation. President Nazarbaev recommended Oleg Soskovets, formerly Vice Premier of Kazakhstan and then of Russian Federation, to head the Board.
LEADERS OF ALMATY-BASED REVOLUTIONARY FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF EASTERN TURKISTAN MADE STATEMENT.
In a statement released in Almaty on 21 June, the leaders of Almaty-based Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Eastern Turkistan claimed that the Chinese authorities executed a total of 1,329 ethnic Uyghurs in Xin Jiang (formerly Republic of Eastern Turkistan) last year. Three further groups of Uyghurs have been executed this year: a group led by Sidik Ruzi in January, 15 people led by Akhmet Talif on 15 April, and 18 Uyghurs led by Shah Selim on May 15. On June 14, 11 Uyghurs led by Shavkat Makhmut were brought to trial. Five of them were sentenced to death and the others to long prison terms. There has been no independent confirmation or official denial of that information.
1,882 ETHNIC KAZAKHS FROM MONGOLIA OBTAINED KAZAKH CITIZENSHIP THIS WEEK.
RFE/RL correspondents reported on 21 June that President Nursultan Nazarbaev has issued a special decree granting Kazakh citizenship to 1,882 ethnic Kazakhs who emigrated to Kazakhstan from West Mongolia in the early 1990s. About 30,00 more ethnic Kazakhs from Mongolia are still waiting for their documents to be fully processed. After gaining independence in 1991, Kazakhstan launched a special program to attract ethnic Kazakhs from Afghanistan , Mongolia, China, Turkey, Turkmenistan Uzbekistan, Russia and elsewhere to Kazakhstan. President Nazarbaev has imposed a quota of 5,000 ethnic Kazakhs to be admitted to Kazakhstan for permanent residence this year.
KAZAKH POLITICIAN SLAMS RUSSIAN PLANS TO QUIT BISHKEK DECLARATION.
RFE/RL correspondents quote Russia's APN News Agency as reporting that the Russian Federation is going to leave the Bishkek Declaration. Adopted by the CIS presidents in 1992, the declaration permits citizens of CIS states to travel within the former Soviet Union (except three Baltic states) without visas. Turkmenistan announced its intention to leave the declaration last year.
Former Kazakh Customs Committee head Ghani Qasymov, who is currently a deputy to the Mazhilisi, the Lower Chamber of Kazakhstan's Parliament, told RFE/RL correspondents on June 20 that Russia's decision is not right, adding that such decisions should be adopted only after preliminary consultations with all the signatories to the Declaration. Qasymov also said that the reasons cited by Russian leaders for that decision, such as the threat posed by illegal immigration and arms and drugs trafficking, are groundless. He said that the outer borders of the CIS are under strict control.
MUSLIMS IN KAZAKHSTAN TO HOLD CONGRESS THIS MONTH.
RFE/RL correspondents reported on 20 June that Kazakhstan's Muslims are scheduled to hold their Congress (Qurultay) on June 24. Bakhtybay Ainabek, who is chairman of the Kazakhstani Hajis' Union, told RFE/RL that one of the main issues to be discussed at the Congress will be the elections of the new Mufti (religious leader) of Kazakhstani Muslims. The current Mufti, Ratbek Haji Nysanbay, has been leading the Kazakh Muslims since the Soviet era. Kazakhstan's Muslims held their last Congress eight years ago.
CHIEF OF AIR KAZAKHSTAN COMPANY ACCUSED BY COLLEAGUES.
Bakhytzhan Aidarkhanov, who is Chief of the Kazakhstan Airlines Company, has accused Alexander Krinichanski, the president of Air Kazakhstan Company, of misuse and illegal sales of state property. Aidarkhanov told journalists on June 20 that the Air Kazakhstan Group Company had been registered illegally, adding that Krinichanski is a foreign citizen and has no right to own such businesses in Kazakhstan. Civil aviation expert Nurlan Aqmuqanov told RFE/RL correspondents that earlier this year Krinichanski's company sold a TU-154-M plane worth $4-6 million to a private company in Liechtenstein for just $1,5 million.