1 October 1999
KAZAKH PREMIER RESIGNS.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Kazakh Prime Minister Nurlan Balghymbayev resigned from his position on October 1. Mr. Balghymbayev said that he asked President Nursultan Nazarbayev "to free him from the position of Cabinet chairman due to personal reasons". Kazakh Parliament and several political parties, including a pro-Nazarbayev party called Otan, had been demanding Balghymbayev's Cabinet resignation since February this year. Vice Premier and Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Qasymzhomart Toqayev was named as Acting Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reportedly.
ETHNIC CHECHENS OF KAZAKHSTAN HELD SESSION IN ALMATY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from the former the capital that leaders of ethnic Chechens living in Kazakhstan held a session at Dostyq - Friendship House in Almaty on September 30. Representatives of other Kazakhstani minorities attended the session. Leader of the Chechen diaspora in Kazakhstan, Murad Makhmudov said that the ethnic Chechens of Kazakhstan had sent special letters to the OSCE, UN, Russian and Kazakh Presidents calling them to start measures on stopping the bombardment of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. According to Mr. Makhmudov, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev can be a mediator in possible Russian-Chechen negotiations. Leader of Kazakhstani Russians Yuriy Bunakov said at the session that it was too early to start negotiations between Russia and Chechnya, adding that the situation was supposed to be thoroughly researched first. According to Mr. Bunakov, some foreign terrorist organizations supported the Chechen terrorists and their main goal was to "make the Russian Federation fall apart". Meanwhile Murad Makhmudov said that Russian bombs were killing ordinary people of Chechnya, not terrorists.
PENSIONERS OF ALMATY HELD THEIR MONTHLY ACTION OF PROTEST YESTERDAY.
The traditional action of protest was held by elderly citizens of the former Kazakh capital in front of the Mayor's Office on September 30. Pensioners of Almaty hold such actions on the last day of each month. Some party leaders and candidates to the Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber were reportedly among the demonstrators. Asylbek Amantai - leader of the Attan-Qazaqstan movement - was accusing Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and US President Bill Clinton for "violating human rights". Lira Bayseitova - a candidate to Kazakh parliament called on all the pensioners not to vote for the Otan Party. Leader of Orleu Party - Seydakhmet Quttyqadam was also on the spot introducing the elderly people with his political program.
GENERAL PROSECUTOR OF KAZAKHSTAN CONFIRMS INFORMATION AROUND MIGS SALES TO NORTH KOREA.
Yuriy Khitrin - General Prosecutor of Kazakhstan - met journalists in Almaty ony September 30 and confirmed information about investigations surrounding the scandal concerning Kazakhstan military jets sells to North Korea, announced by the Kazakh National Security Committee earlier last month. Alexander Petrenko, a Kazakh citizen and leader of a private company was involved in the operations of the sell of 40 MiG-21 jets to Pyongyang. He was arrested. $1.8 million in cash was found in his apartment reportedly. The deal itself was estimated at $8 million. General Prosecutor Khitrin says that criminal cases against all the people involved in the scandal had been opened. He did not mention the names of the persons involved though. Kazakhstan faced harsh criticism from the West, especially from the United States, Japan and South Korea after it had become clear that Kazakhstan had been selling its outdated Soviet-era military jets to North Korea. Kazakh authorities claim that they knew nothing about the deal, saying that the purchase activities had been conducted by some private companies of Kazakhstan. Chief of the Kazakh National Security Committee (formerly KGB) Nurtay Abyqayev, who was known as President Nazarbayev's closest ally, was sacked from his position after the scandal.
NEXT ISSUE OF SOL-DAT NEWSPAPER IMPOUNDED BY THE KAZAKH CUSTOMS OFFICERS.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Almaty that the latest issue of an independent newspaper called Sol-Dat was impounded by the authorities of the Kazakh Customs Committee in Almaty Oblast. The newspaper is published in the town of Rubtsovsk in the Altayskiy Kray, Russian Federation. Last week the newspaper editors faced the same problem when their output was stopped in Eastern Kazakhstan while crossing the Russian-Kazakh border and impounded by Kazakh Customs officers. This week representatives of Almaty Oblast's Customs Committee say that since the 25,000 copies of the newspaper were brought from Russian territory, it is necessary to check it thoroughly since "there might be anthrax and bubonic plague viruses brought from Russian Siberia to Kazakh territory". Marat Qabanbay - Editor of the newspaper - told correspondents of RFE/RL on October 1 that the latest issues of the newspapernewspaper might have been stopped due to the contents of the material published in them.
CAUCASIAN-LOOKING STRANGERS ARRIVING TO ZHAMBYL OBLAST, SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that groups of strangers, mainly males, looking like people from the Caucasus have started arriving in the Uzun-Aghash Region of Zhambyl Oblast in South Kazakhstan. The region is bordering with Kyrgyzstan. According to local citizens, the number of strangers is increasing. The newcomers explain that they want to visit their relatives and friends, sometimes mentioning though that they are controlling the ecological situation in the area. They are equipped with some trucks reportedly. Local inhabitants say that the strangers started arriving to the area at the end of last month. At a joint session of Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek intellectuals held on 29 Septembery in Astana, the capital, Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev said that the Central Asian nations had to focus on the issue of the struggle against religious extremism and radical Islam.
LEADER OF THE KAZAKH CIVIC PARTY DENIES ACCUSATIONS PUT FORWARD BY AZAMAT PARTY.
Azat Peruashev - leader of the Kazakh Civic Party - told journalists in Pavlodar City, North Kazakhstan on September 29 that all the accusations put forward against his party by the Azamat party leaders earlier this week were "groundless". Ghalym Abilseitov said on Monday that the Civic party, known as one of the most pro-Nazarbayev parties of the country, was supported by foreign investors. According to Azat Peruashev, the Civic party is being supported not by foreign investors but by the leaders of industrial facilities in Aqmola, Aqtobe, Pavlodar, Petropavlovsk, and Qostanay oblasts of Kazakhstan.
ABOUT 20 CASES OF FIRE WITH CASUALTIES REPORTED IN THE FORMER CAPITAL IN ONE DAY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that in one day, September 29, about 20 cases of fire were reported in Almaty. The heating season is supposed to start in the middle of next month, but the weather is already cold in the former capital of Kazakhstan. That is why some elderly people and families with lower income started using old electric ovens to make the homes warm. The ovens, being out of order or not properly switched on, caused the fires. A 85 year-old lady living in Abay street died after her oven caused a fire. Meanwhile...
REPUBLICAN ASSOCIATION OF PRIVATE APARTMENT COOPERATIVES ACCUSED KAZAKH-BELGIAN JOINT VENTURE OF TRYING TO INCREASE HOUSING UTILITY COSTS.
The Association of the Kazakh Republican Private Apartments Cooperatives (KRPAC) held a press conference at the National Press Club of Almaty on September 29, at which the joint Kazakh-Belgian Company called Almaty Power Consolidated (APC) was harshly criticized for "unreasonable attempts to increase housing utilitiy fees for the citizens of Almaty city and Oblast". APC controls the entire energy and heating supply system of the former Kazakh capital and Almaty Oblast. The leader of the Pokoleniye Movement that unite elderly citizens of the country, Irina Savostina, was given the floor. She supported the KRPAC leaders, saying that ordinary citizens of Almaty and suburbs were not able to pay even the current bills for electricity and heating supplies.
EXPLOSIVES DETECTED ON ALMATY-QAPSHAGHAY HIGHWAY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that 1 kilogram 200 grams of explosive material called trotill was found in a car driven by Maqsat Kolpakov - a soldier disguised as a civilian - on the Almaty-Qapshaghay highway on Tuesday, September 28. The arrested soldier confessed that he wanted to sell the explosives. 5 detonators were also found in the car. Investigations are underway.
KAZAKH STATE SECRETARY SAYS THE ISSUE OF THE POSSIBLE SWITCH TO THE LATIN ALPHABET BEING RESEARCHED BY KAZAKH EXPERTS CURRENTLY.
Abish Kekilbayev - Kazakh State Secretary - told journalists on September 29 that linguists and philologists of the former capital were researching the possibilities of switching the Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet. "Kazakhs, - said Mr. Kekilbayev, -used the Latin alphabet for 20 years before World War II2. That is why one can say that we have an experience of the alphabet change". According to the Kazakh state Secretary, it is necessary though, to study all the possible consequences of such a change.
KAZAKH REPUBLICAN PEOPLE'S PARTY WANTS ITS PARTY LIST TO BE WITHDRAWN FROM THE CENTRAL ELECTION COMMISSION OF KAZAKHSTAN.
Zaghipa Baliyeva - Chairwoman of the Kazakh Central Election Commission (CEC) - told correspondents of RFE/RL September 29 that CEC had received a special letter from the Republican People's Party (RNPK) led by the former Kazakh Premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin from exile. In their letter the members of RNPK's Executive Committee expressed their intention to boycott the elections to the Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber - Mazhilis, scheduled for October 10. They explained the party's decision to boycott the elections by the fact that Akezhan Kazhegeldin's name had been rejected by the Central Elections Committee from the party list during its registration earlier this month. With that in mind the leaders of RNPK asked the Kazakh Central Election Commission to withdraw their party list from the CEC. But according to Zaghipa Baliyeva, to withdraw the registered party list from the election Commission it is necessary to send not just a letter, but a written decision of the party's special meeting. She told correspondents of RFE/RL that also CEC has a right not to satisfy the request of the party, adding that in case if the party list is not withdrawn 7 days prior the elections, it will remain registered and the party members will have to take part in the elections as candidates. Leader of RNPK, former Kazakh Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin told RFE/RL earlier, on September 11, that the idea to boycott the elections was "not good and that the party had to change its tactics". Meanwhile, correspondents of RFE/RL report that several members of RNPK have been registered as candidates to the Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber at the one-mandate election districts. It is more likely that they will take part in the elections individually.
PRE-ELECTION EVE FELT IN THE FORMER CAPITAL.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that some candidates to the Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber held meetings with the voters of the former capital - Almaty on September 28. The former Chief of the Kazakh State Customs Committee Ghany Qasymov, who was one of the presidential candidates last January, told Almaty voters that it was necessary "to increase the role of Kazakh Parliament in order to establish a real democracy in the country". Meanwhile Mels Eleusizov - the leader of Kazakhstan's Green party Tabighat (Nature) - called voters to support him at the elections. According to Mels Eleusizov, Kazakh society has to focus on the issue of religious extremism and radical Islam. Mr. Eleusizov mentioned that the"danger of vahhabism came to Kazakh soil as well, and is endangering Kazakhstan's future". Meanwhile the Association of Kazakh physicians held an open meeting the same day calling Almaty citizens to vote for the 21 professional physicians registered as candidates to the Kazakh Parliament's Lower Chamber. According to the physicians of the former capital, only one medical person has been working in the former Parliament of Kazakhstan as a deputy, and the number of doctors "protecting the population's health and rights has to be increased".
UN EXPERT ON TAJIK REFUGEES IN KAZAKHSTAN.
According to correspondents of RFE/RL, UN's official on refugees Louisa Brucke told journalists on 28 September in Almaty that the number of Tajik refugees living currently in Kazakhstan was about 10,000. She also said that since the beginning of this year 36 Tajik refugees were returned from Kazakh territory to Tajikistan, adding that about 40 more of them will return to Tajikistan from Kazakhstan next month. According to Mrs. Brucke, the Tajiks were returning home voluntarily.
KAZAKH TOP MILITARY OFFICIAL SAYS KAZAKH AIR FORCE NOT INVOLVED IN OPERATIONS TAKING PLACE IN SOUTH KYRGYZSTAN.
Acting Defense Minister of Kazakhstan General Bakhytzhan Ertayev told correspondents of RFE/RL on September 28 that all the information about the "participation of Kazakh military pilots in air strikes against terrorists in Batken, Kyrgyzstan's south, were groundless". According to General Ertayev, Kazakhstan sends ammunition and food to the Kyrgyz army. Also, the Acting Defense Minister said that military experts of Kazakhstan take part in the exchange of opinions with Kyrgyz military officials. No other kind of support is given to Kyrgyz military forces by their Kazakh colleagues, General Ertayev told correspondents of RFE/RL.