10 December 1999
ACTIVISTS OF AZAT PARTY HELD AN ACTION OF PROTEST IN FRONT OF RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN ALMATY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that on December 9 activists of the Azat party held a mass gathering in front of the Embassy of Russian Federation in the former capital of Kazakhstan. They demanded the Russian Liberal Democratic Party led by Vladimir Zhirinovski to be banned. Hasen Qozhakhmet - the party's leader - told correspondents of RFE/RL that his party was not going to burn the Russian national flag. Last month activists of Zhirinovski's party burnt the Kazakh National banner in front of the Kazakh Embassy in Moscow, protesting the arrest of 12 Russian citizens in Oskemen, Eastern Kazakhstan, accused of preparing terrorist actions in the region. Members of the Kazakh Azat party burnt a portrait of Vladimir Zhirinovski in front of the Russian Embassy instead. According to Hasen Qozhakhmet, those "Russian ultra-nationalists who burnt the Kazakh national banner publicly should be brought to trial and the Liberal Democratic Party should be banned officially in Russia".
LEADERS OF AZAMAT PARTY COMPLAIN.
Almaty City Tax Police searched the office of the lawyer of the Azamat party - Oleg Sunkov - this week. As a result of the action a bundle of document files were reported to have been confiscated by the police officers. Leaders of the Azamat party and the party's lawyer, Oleg Sunkov say that the action was "politically motivated". Meanwhile the Chief of Almaty City Tax Police Department, Serik Nugmanov says that the action was caused by tax evasion committed by the party's lawyer. Oleg Sunkov told journalists on December 10 that the confiscated documents had nothing to do with taxes, adding that many of the confiscated papers included data on activities of the pro-Nazarbayev Civic party.
AUTHOR OF ORDALY ZHYLAN BOOK HEAVILY BEATEN IN SHYMKENT.
Arman Tleulesov - son of Temirtas Tleulesov - told correspondents of RFE/RL on December 10 that his father was heavily beaten by 15 unknown persons in the office of the Turan-Alem Foundation in Shymkent City on December 9, at 7:00 PM, local time. Temirtas Tleulesov became well known in the country after the issuance of his book last year called Ordaly Zhylan, which unveiled some illegal activities of the "corrupted clans leading the South Kazakhstan Oblast". Mr. Tleulesov failed to be elected as a member of Kazakh Parliament and that of Shymkent City Maslikhat (Council) in October. He was hospitalized on 9 December and is now in Shymkent City Hospital #6. Duty officer of Shymkent City Police, Major Qayrat Ismetov told correspondents of RFE/RL on December 10 that there was no official data on the accident.
KAZAKHSTAN'S PEOPLES ASSEMBLY HELD ITS 6TH SESSION IN ALMATY.
On December 10, the Kazakhstani Peoples Assembly started its 6th session in the former Kazakh capital. Originally the session had been scheduled to be held in Astana - the capital, but due to unknown reasons it was decided to hold the session in Almaty. The Assembly consists of leaders of all the ethnic groups living in Kazakhstan today. The main issue discussed at the session was about creating an Independent Council of National Concord within the organization.
ZHUSIPBEK AYMAUYTOV'S 110TH ANNIVERSARY MARKED IN ALMATY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Almaty that on December 9, a special gathering was organized at Ibray Altynsarin's Teacher Training Institute of Almaty, in order to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the prominent Kazakh educator, philosopher, writer and politician Zhusipbek Aymauytov. Zhusipbek Aymauytov's works compiled in a five -volume book were represented at the commemoration ceremony.
KAZAKH FOREIGN MINISTER ON RUSSO-BELARUS UNION.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Almaty that Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov held a press conference at the National Press Club of the former Kazakh Capital on December 8, where he said that the issue about Kazakhstan joining the Russo-Belarussian Union was not a matter of any agenda. He said that Kazakhstan should respect the willingness of both countries (Russian Federation and Belarus) to create a single state, but Kazakhstan was not going to be involved in the process. Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his Belarussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko signed the document on establishing the Russo-Belarussian Union on December 8.
INVESTIGATIONS AROUND THE FIRE AT KAZAKH BUREAU ON HUMAN RIGHTS CONTINUE.
On December 8, Chief of the Kazakh Bureau on Human Rights Yevgeniy Zhovtis told journalists that the Almaty City Department of Fire Safety had made a wrong conclusion at the end of investigations around the fire that occurred in the office of the Bureau last month. The Department officially announced that the fire that took place in the office of the Bureau on Human rights completely destroying all the archives of the office might have been organized by Bureau employees themselves. Mr. Zhovtis said yesterday, December 8, that such a version was groundless. He said that it had become clear during the investigations that the office door had been opened by a hand-made key and that a flammable substance had been poured on the office equipment and furniture. The fire destroyed the only office in a 6-storied building in November.
EUROPEAN UNION OFFICE IN ALMATY HELD ONE-DAY CONFERENCE,
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that on December 8, the Almaty office of the European Union held a one-day conference. The main focus of the conference was the European Union's programs on increasing the number of its members. Michael Hamphrey, the Chief of the EU office in Almaty, told journalists at the press conference that was held afterwards that the requirements of the EU on the possible member-states were very high. He mentioned that even some members of NATO were not members of the EU yet. He said that Kazakhstan might become a member of the EU in case it met all the requirements of the Union.
21 VEK NEWSPAPER SUSPENDED ITS FUNCTIONING.
According to correspondents of RFE/RL, editors of 21 Vek (21st Century) newspaper had to suspend the functions of the paper functioning due to the refusal of all the publishing houses of the former capital to print it. Last week a group of Kazakh politicians and intellectuals addressed President Nursultan Nazarbayev asking him to protect the newspaper from the "illegal pressure of the Kazakh National Security Committee". President Nazarbayev has not responded to the open letter of the intellectuals yet. On December 9, 21 VEK newspaper was not issued.
MURAT AUEZOV BECOMES CHIEF OF THE SOROS-KAZAKHSTAN FOUNDATION.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that well-known Kazakh politician Murat Auezov was hired as Chief of the Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation. Mr. Auezov held a press conference on the occasion on 8 December, where he said that he was going to resign from his position as Vice-Chairman of Azamat party, adding though that he would remain an ordinary member of that political organization. George Soros personally handed him the certificate as chief of the Soros-Kazakhstan Foundation. According to Mr. Auezov, George Soros thinks that the Foundation will continue its operations in Kazakhstan at least till 2010. The Foundation's main activities will be connected with developing of Kazakh culture, democratic and social reforms, as well as economic changes in Kazakhstan, said Murat Auezov at the press conference.
SEVERAL FLIGHTS OF TRANSAERO COMPANY CANCELED IN ALMATY.
Several flights of the Russian air company Transaero, connecting the former Kazakh capital with Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and Novgorod, were reportedly canceled on December 8, due to lack of gasoline. Correspondents of RFE/RL quote Chief of Almaty City Fuel and Gasoline Department Sergey Koltsov as reporting that Russia has raised prices for aviation petroleum from $170 per ton to $240 per ton. Russia also decreased the volume of aviation petroleum imported to Kazakhstan due to the military operations in the North Caucasus. International air companies such as KLM, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and others operating in Almaty airport have started to obtain additional gasoline at airports of other countries.
FIRST DAY OF RAMADAN.
Kazakhstani Muslims started a one-month fasting period on December 9. The holy month of Ramadan is a traditional month of fasting in Islam.
KAZAKH ECONOMY MINISTER HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Zhaqsybek Kulekeyev - Kazakhstan's Minister of Economy - held a press conference at the National Press Club in Almaty on December 7. According to Minister Kulekeyev, Kazakh economy's development this year can be estimated by 5 per cent growth. He mentioned that the growth might have been even more noticeable if the Kazakh economy had not been affected by financial crisis faced by the Russian Federation and some other neighboring countries last year. The Kazakh Minister of Economy participated in the work of the World Trade Organization (WTO) session in Seattle last week. Minister Kulekeyev told journalists that Kazakhstan could benefit from having membership in the WTO. But he added though that Kazakhstan had to obtain agreements from 22 countries before being admitted to the WTO as a member state. He also said that Kazakhstan might face very challenging requirements from the WTO after being admitted to that organization. According to Minister Kulekeyev, Kazakhstan might be invited to the WTO in the next couple of years. But he said that Kazakhstan should prepare tactics and strategy in order to be able to defend its interests and rights within the WTO. The Kazakh Ministry of Economy said that Kazakhstan's shares of Tengizchevroil (Major Kazakh American joint venture working in oil fields of the West Kazakhstan) would not be sold to foreign companies in the near future.
NUMBER OF DRUGS TRADERS INCREASING IN ALMATY.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that 13 drugs traders were arrested at night clubs of the former Kazakh capital this week. The number of criminals selling such drugs as hashish, Ecstasy and LSD is increasing in Almaty. Officers of the Kazakh National Security Committee told journalists that in every night club of Almaty anyone can easily buy any of the mentioned drugs.
CHAIRMAN OF THE KAZAKH NATIONAL BANK HELD PRESS CONFERENCE.
Chairman of the Kazakh National bank - Grigoriy Marchenko - held a press conference in Almaty on 6 December, at which he said that last month was a breakthrough month for the Kazakh financial market. He told journalists that the situation on the financial market became calm. The rate of the Kazakh national Currency � the Tenge - became 137.9 Tenges to the $1 from being 142.22 Tenges to the $1 in the beginning of November. Stabilization was also noticed in the hard currency and gold deposits of the Kazakh state treasury, said Grigoriy Marchenko.
ALMATY MAYOR WANTS THE FORMER CAPITAL TO HAVE ITS OWN ANTHEM,
Victor Khrapunov - Almaty Mayor - announced a competition among Kazakh poets and composers to select the best variant of Almaty's anthem by the end of this year. Almaty Mayor promised to pay 150.000 Tenges to the winner. Critics say that it will be waste of money and that it will not be possible to write a good anthem just in three weeks.
KHABAR AGENCY ON KAZAKH LEGIONARIES AMONG CHECHEN REBELS.
Murad Gajimuradov - Chief of Russian National Security Service's Department of Social contacts, told correspondents of Kazakhstan's Khabar Agency that three ethnic Kazakhs had been arrested by Russian troops and police in Hasav-Yurt, Dagestan recently. One of the arrested ethnic Kazakhs - 20-year-old Asqar Zhanassov is a Russian citizen, originally from Astrakhan. Two others are from Zhambyl and Almaty Oblasts of Kazakhstan. Murad Gajumuradov said that all three Kazakhs had been released after thorough interrogations and after their having confessed about their intention to fight against Russian Federal troops on the Chechen rebel side. Some of them had been reportedly promised to be paid $100 per week in case if they would agree to fight in the ranks of the rebels. Mr. Gajimuradov also said that there were Ukrainians, citizens of the Baltic republics, Afghans and Arabs among the rebels of Shamil Basayev and Hattab fighting against Russian Federal troops in Chechnya.