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Astana Under Wraps

With many world leaders and representatives in Astana for the 2010 OSCE summit, security in the Kazakh capital is extra tight.

The residents of one Astana apartment building found the following security request posted outside their building prior to the start of the summit:


Because of the OSCE summit on December 1, 2010, it is strictly forbidden to stand and smoke on the balcony and look out toward the Celebration Palace for your own safety.

Astana police inspector

The palace is one of several such venues scattered throughout Astana, which is also home to the Shabyt Palace, Palace of Independence, and the pyramid-shaped Palace of Peace and Reconciliation

The city has doubled in size since becoming the capital city of Kazakhstan in 1997. Fueled by oil money, it features a skyline of new buildings by some of the world's most renowned architects.

Kazakhstan had been hoping to attract the leaders of 57 states to the summit. In the end the conference will include representatives from all the OSCE members but only 28 heads of state are in attendance.

The OSCE chairmanship shifts to Lithuania on January 1, 2011.

The residents of this apartment building will be able to smoke again in peace when the conference finishes on December 2.

Read the original story in Russian on RFE/RL's Kazakh Service website here.

-- Joseph Hammond

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