Kazakhstan In Brief

Tengizchevroil: Public Hearings on the environment

The Public Hearings to discuss the impact of the operations in Tengiz on local environment will be held in Atyrau on April 7. This sort of event is unique for Kazakhstan. The organiser of the Hearings is the JV Tengizchevroil, the biggest oil producer in Kazakhstan. The TCO General Director Mr. Winterton, the Atyrau oblast Akim Mr. Tasmagambetov, specialists and ecologists are expected to make speech at the Hearings. It was planned that representatives of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment would participate in the event1 . However, according to the information from Atyrau, official ecologists did not arrive from Kostanai, as they are preparing to report to the government on April 11. Besides, today is the seventh anniversary of signing of the agreement for establishing Tengizchevroil.

Atyrau, April 6


Forthcoming trial against Kazhegeldin's guards may be closed, - the RPPK

On April 10 a trial against the former Prime Minister, Kazhegeldin's guards. All accusations against them, except of illegal purchase and storage of arms, have been abandoned. The guards were members of the RPPK (Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan) and were arrested on December 9 by KNB officers.

The RPPK deputy chairman of the Executive Committee, Amirzhan Kosanov, considers it possible that the trial will be open, though the case of Kazhegeldin's guards does not belong to the category of closed trials, according to the legislation.

Almaty, April 6


The UN Fund announced a competition for journalists' grants

The Dug Hummershold Memorial Grant Fund, the UNO, announces a competition for journalists' grants during the 86th session of the UN General Assembly to be held on September 5, 2000.

The condition for awarding a grant is presence of selected journalists in New York during 2 months of functioning of the General Assembly, and illuminating of the news from the UN Headquarters.

Candidates should meet the following requirements: a permanent reporter of a famous periodical, 26-36 years-old, good knowledge of English. The deadline for applications is April 30. The Fund will pay all expenses of journalists, except professional and personal ones.

Almaty, April 6


Results of the Lucky Draw Competition summed up in Almaty

Organisers and sponsors of the Lucky Draw Competition, British Airways, Hyatt Regency Almaty Hotel and The Almaty Herald newspaper, summed up the results and handed the winner two tickets to London.

The competition was announced in the late January. Participants were to correctly answer questions concerning the organisers' activities.

Bakhyt Omarbekova, an officer of the �JV Bakyrchik�, was acknowledged the absolute winner of the competition. As Omarbekova is currently on a tour in Ust-Kamenogorsk, the award was handed to her colleague, Sergei Kushnaryov.

Almaty, April 6


Two Leaders of the Opposition Ask for a Political Asylum

Holding of the Congress of the Working Movement Remains Questionable


ALMATY, April 5


The Working Movement leader asked the U.S.A. for a political asylum, as he considered the trial on the meeting held on January 30 to be illegal.

Madel Ismailov's comrades were not permitted to come to the trial declared open, and he perceived the trial as an illegal one. Mr. Ismailov announced he thought he could be arrested right in the trial hall.

Irina Savostina followed his example, and appealed to the Russian embassy in Kazakhstan with the same request. Eyewitnesses of the Pokolenye leader were also prohibited from coming to the trial on claim by the editor of Kazakhstanskaya Pravda, Aldan Aimbetov, against Savostina.

Aimbetov's advocate is the former advocate of Pokolenye movement, Anatoly Barshakov.

Earlier the Working Movement leader announced his organisation was going to hold a congress at the end of April �in the mid May, where �corrections to the Charter, initiated by the Ministry of Justice, would be made to pass re-registration and consider other issues.�

Madel Ismailov said representatives of foreign parties and movements close by their spirit to his one, from Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, India and other countries wanted to come to the congress.

According to Mr. Ismailov, representatives of the movement had applied to the Almaty Akim, Victor Khrapunov, requesting him to allow holding the meeting and to appoint a date, as well as to help them to find a building, however, for the time being they received no reply.

�If we cannot hold the congress in Almaty, we will have to hold a protest demonstration, and then to conduct the congress outside Kazakhstan, most probably, in Russia,� the former political prisoner added.

Now, when Madel Ismailov announced he was ready to leave Kazakhstan, the holding of the congress is questionable. Possibly, he chose the U.S.A. as an asylum not by occasion, as recently he had returned from America.

�I meet there representatives of working parties from different countries. They definitely support us and want to hold strike picket at Kazakhstani embassies in Germany, the U.S.A., the UK and Canada to support us,� Mr. Ismailov said.

According to him, money for the tour was allotted by the US Centre on International Actions.

P.S. THE GLOBE asked the US Embassy to comment on the appeal by Ismailov, yet the embassy press service refused to reply referring to pressure of work. Possibly, in one of the next issues we will publish an official answer by diplomats.

As far as Irina Savostina's application is concerned, a representative of the Russian Embassy announced her application had been submitted to the Russian Ambassador for consideration.

New Rules on Acceptance into Universities have been Approved, the Technology is of a High Protection Degree, - the Testing Centre

New technologies will not avoid corruption, - a former teacher


ALMATY, April 5


�This year the rules on acceptance to the universities have been significantly changed. Now university entrants will be accepted into all universities independently on forms of their property, on the basis of certificates granted in the result of the single testing,� the National Testing Centre director announced on Wednesday in Almaty.

According to Serik Irsaliev, innovation is that at the national budget expense, acceptance into the universities will be based on equal rights, i.e. if a leaver receives a grant, he will be able to enter any state university.

School leavers will be able to submit documents to three faculties at once. They will be tested by four subjects, including one profile, and the rest tested subjects will be mother tongue, history and mathematics. This is obligatory for everyone, except faculties of the Arts and Theatre Universities.

�The Testing Centre is not responsible for the policy on acceptance to universities any longer, but for the technology of entrance exams in order there are no doubts in honesty, correctness and transparency of the process,� Mr. Irsaliev said.

According to him, the essence of the technology is as follows: a school leaver submits an application to any university where he lives and the entire process, from submission of the application to obtaining of the results, is automated.

In this year the number of basic universities will be increased to 35, and the number of school leavers will come to 200,000. Examination materials will be delivered to basic universities through channels of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the KNB. Hence, any falsification will be impossible.

Serik Irsaliev said, according to the results of 1999, of 42,755 tested school leavers only 16,000 of them received grants and credits for education.

Such specialities as international law, audit, accountancy, and other economic ones were of most demand; technical specialities and agricultural ones were of the least demand.

23% of school leavers demonstrated knowledge below 40 marks of 120, 15% of them passed exams with �good� and �excellent� marks, the rest � with �satisfactory�. The majority of �excellent� marks were received by school leavers from Northern Kazakhstani, Pavlodar and Zhambyl oblasts. School leavers from Atyrau, Southern Kazakhstan and Zhambyl oblasts got majority of the worst marks. About 42% of university entrants finished a Kazakh school, 58% - from rural schools (in 1998 only 49% of them were from rural districts).

THE GLOBE asked a former Kazakh State University teacher, now a famous political scientist and a member of the opposition, Nurbulat Masanov to comment on the innovations. �Under current conditions, when civil servants are controlling the educational system, corruption and protection inside universities will go on and no new technologies will help this,� Mr. Masanov believes.

In his opinion, the higher education system should be completely liberalised and transferred to a private company, while the state must only finance training of the personnel for important state posts.

Public Opinion Poll

Who will be the next?

Bakhytzhamal BEKTURGANOVA, President of ASaP

ALMATY, April 5

Poll conducted on March 25 to 29

703 people were surveyed

The new Prime Minister has just gone on a leave, when the information of his possible voluntarily dismissal filtered in the press. The press even mentions potential candidates to Prime Minister and deputies of PM.

Rumours are not a reliable thing, but a symptomatic one. That is why we decided to clarify ratings of hypothetical figures equalising them as candidates to Prime Minister.

Which of the below mentioned civil servants could replace K. Tokayev as the Prime Minister? (% of polled) 

Answers are quite impressing, if we take into consideration that 70% of polled Almaty citizens do not consider any of the mentioned candidates to be able to be K. Tokayev's successor.

Of the rest answers, only 2 ones are of a certain interest. It was found out that every 10th respondent considers V. Khrapunov to be the most probable alternative to the present PM. Every 16th respondent thinks R. Aliev to be the successor.

Almaty citizens chose the two candidates, considering the Almaty Akim and the KNB head comparatively possible candidates to the PM's post.

What will happen if rumours are true and the present Prime Minister decides to send in his resignation? 

Will the situation in the country improve, if the government is headed by: *|(% of polled)

  R. Aliev  G. Zhakiyanov  Z. Kakimzhanov  I. Tasmagambetov  V. Khrapunov
Yes  10.0  1.6  2.3  0.0  1.7
Not entirely  7.7  8.8  4.6  8.5  7.4
No  28.4  30.6  30.6  30.4  31.0
Difficult to answer  39.5  45.5  48.8  46.2  42.8

Sometimes it is difficult to understand polling results. How can we explain the difference in answers, if we compare ratings of R. Aliev and V. Khrapunov? What is the reason for 10% positive expectations regarding coming of the head of one of the most unpopular agencies in the country? Could the Russian �parallel� work for R. Aliev? What trumps, except youth and enterprise has the former doctor, working in the force structures? Belonging to the ruling family? This rather works against him.

Let's not guess, but see what qualities Almaty citizens demand from the Prime Minister and what features of R. Aliev meets the requirements, in their opinion.

What features must the Kazakhstani Prime Minister have? (% of polled)

   Ideal features of the PM  R. Aliev's features
1. Honesty and decentness  54.8  0.6
2. Perspective state way of thinking  28.9  1.7
3. Willing to struggle against corruption and tyranny of civil servants  28.9  3.0
4. Orientation to public opinion  28.8  0.6
5. Independent character  26.0  10.3
6. Political will  18.5  5.4
7. Devotion to democracy  10.4  0.6
8. Difficult to answer  6.7  60.0

In Almaty citizens' opinion, among features that Prime Minister must have, they placed first of all honesty and decentness. The second are two features at once, equally valuable for them: ability to think in a state way and opposition to corruption and abuses of power. The third is to take decisions oriented to public opinion. Among rating features are also independent character and political will.

As far as first three features are concerned, taking into consideration the polling results, R. Aliev is obviously short of them. Their weak presence is being compensated by his independent character (according to every 10th citizen) and political will (according to every 19th one).

The above-mentioned two features make him notable in comparison with the rest civil servants:

(% of polled)

  G. Zhakiyanov  Z. Kakimzhanov  I. Tasmagambetov  V. Khrapunov
Political will  1.4  0.0  0.0  1.0
Independent character  5.4  1.3  0.0  1.0
Honesty and decentness  1.4  0.0  2.4  1.6
Perspective state way of thinking  5.1  1.3  2.0  3.3
Willing to struggle against corruption and tyranny of civil servants  1.3  3.4  0.0  0.3
Orientation to public opinion  1.8  1.0  1.6  1.8
Devotion to democracy  0.7  2.3  0.0  3.1
Difficult to answer  74.5  78.9  92.8  69.7

The staff time trouble in the executive sphere, absence of bright leaders causes the situation illustrated well by people's saying: �If there is no fish, a crawfish is also fish.�

Against the background of other candidates R. Aliev seems more promising. Another thing is if the President's son-in-law having independent character and experience of work in the force structures, and, hence, access to secrete information, can satisfy the President as the second person in the country? Taking into consideration results of the poll, Almaty citizens understand that the latter will rather prefer obedient V. Khrapunov.

R. Aliev may become unpredictable for the President and can follow an independent policy in the government. Possibly, these expectations make some Almaty citizens hope for improving situation in the country.

Obviously, the conducted poll is just a reconnaissance. It indicated that most polled Almaty citizens are not going to predict possible battles in the governmental front. However, if K. Tokayev's cabinet cannot relieve tension in the society, it is quite probable, that we will experience another replacement of the Prime Minister and a new redistribution of portfolios between permanent members of the government. R. Aliev as the Prime Minister may become "factor X". It is quite possible, that if he enters the government, the latter's composition will be significantly changed. How will this affect the situation in the country? It is an open question, as appointment of R. Aliev the Prime Minister or a deputy of Prime Minister is. The young politician will hardly take a risk with his great plans during the political season, most unfavourable for the government.

On the other hand, Kazakh �strategists� usually uses services of Russian PR personnel, who, as a rule, do not seek any innovations, and offer political technologies probated in Russia.

Then appointment of R. Aliev either Prime Minister of a deputy of the Prime Minister will mean the only thing: the President's subordinates have begun to consider the �Putin's card�. We would like to hope that R. Aliev's team is not so naive to ignore corrections to Kazakhstani peculiarities.

G. Zhakiyanov


Z. Kakimzhanov

R. Aliev

V. Khrapunov

None of them

Difficult to answer

Kazakhstan in March


March 1

At the Mazhilis meeting parliamentarians approved the governmental variant of the bill �On banking secret� and submitted it to the Senate for consideration. The bill provides banking security only for individuals that are not dealing with business activities. For juridical persons they will prepare another bill.

March 2

The Kazakhstani Statistic Agency announced results of the population census of 1999. For the last decade the number of Kazakhstanis decreased by 1 million 246 thousand people. The number of urban population decreased by 805,000 people, and of the rural population � by 440,000. The aboriginal population grew by 1 million 488.2 thousand people. Just the opposite, the Russian population decreased by 1 million 582.4 thousand.

March 3

In Shymkent night patrolling of streets was introduced. For this the nigh operative group Ulan had been created in the oblast Department of Internal Affairs.

March 4

By initiative of the Russian acting President, he talked to President of Kazakhstan Nazarbayev. The countries' leaders discussed bilateral co-operation and co-ordination of the interaction of the two countries in the regional matters. During the conversation terms of the next meeting of the Customs Union Council were discussed.

March 6

The National Bank said of a very low inflation rate (0.1%) in February, which was the lowest one since September 1999. According to the country's central bank, the population's deposits will come to US$ 700 to 800 million by the end of 2000.

March 7

A Senate plenary meeting devoted to the bill �On amendment and supplements to some laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan concerning banking secrete� approved by the Mazhilis, was held. Senators said that money and property were to be arrested only by a sentence of courts or by a Public Prosecutor's sanction. They reminded it was impossible to forget of aid and support of businessmen.

March 9

Prime Minister Tokayev received the Iranian Minister of Roads and Transport Mahmud Hudjati. At the meeting they discussed an alternative variant of consumable exchange through the Caspian Sea. Currently products are being supplied by railways via Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In the last year the foreign trade between the two countries was US$ 140 million.

March 10

A two-day visit of the Ukrainian delegation headed by the Prime Minister Victor Yuschenko started in Astana. During the Kazakh-Ukrainian negotiations, the parties touched on the issue of the complete privatisation of the Herson refinery,. They also agreed on a supply of 1.2 million tons of oil to the Ukraine by Kazakhstan.

March 12

A rocket Proton was launched from the space vehicle launching site Baikonur. This was the second launch after the accident in the last year. While preparing for the launch, a number of technical works recommended by the state commission, investigating reason for the two accidents in the last year, was executed.

March 13

The UNO resident-co-ordinator to Kazakhstan, Herbert Behrstock, announced, in 2000 to 2004 Kazakhstan would receive an aid of US$ 25 million, according to the UN program on human development. The money will be allotted as grants for corresponding programs.

March 14

In the Astana residence President Nazarbayev received the representative of the UNO development in Kazakhstan, Herbert Behrstock, as his term had expired. For his good work, the President rewarded Mr. Behrstock with a diploma.

March 15

The Japanese Ambassador, Mitsuhashi Hidekata, completed his activities in Kazakhstan. In connection with this he was received by President Nazarbayev. Mr. Mitsuhashi said the biggest investment by Japanese investors in Kazakhstan had been ones in construction of the airport in Astana, a bridge in Semipalatinsk and other constructional projects.

Match 16

The deputy Prime Minister Yerzhan Utembayev announced, according to the results of the first quarter, GDP was expected to grow by 8.2%, industrial production � by 15% and agricultural production � by 2 to 3%. According to Mr. Utembayev, for the last two months the projected national budget had been fulfilled by 113 to 114%. This was 60 to 70% higher than for the same period of 1999.

March 17

The Mazhilis heard explanations regarding changes to the agency by the chairman of the Land Resources Agency Bakhyt Ospanov. Mazhilismen are offered to approve the article, according to which both individuals and juridical persons are not entitled to use land constantly.

March 18

A group of activists of the National-Bolshevik Party (NBP) of Russia threw bottles with kerosene at the Kazakhstani embassy in Moscow. Bottles did not take fire, but the building was seriously damaged. Three hooligans arrested, and a criminal case was instituted against them. The NBP leader, Kimonov, announced, the action had been held �without a party's order, yet the party agreed with their actions.� In connection with the incident, the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a protest note to their Russian colleagues.

March 19

In some minutes after Boeing flew from the Uralsk airport, an unidentified man called to the control tower and said a bomb had been placed in the plane. Fortunately, the message was not true and all passengers successfully reached the destination, Astana.

March 20

Prime Minister Tokayev held a meeting devoted to the shift of the diplomatic corps from Almaty to Astana. The head of the government said despite difficulties with financing, by autumn communications would be created in the site intended for construction of the diplomatic camp.

The President of the copper corporation Kazakhmys, Vladimir Kim, announced in this year the company was going to invest US$ 60 million in fixed capital of its facilities.

March 21

Another demonstration of the NBP was held at the Kazakhstani embassy to Russia, but this was had been sanctioned by the authorities. Demonstrators demanded to usher Russian troops in Kazakhstan �to protect the Russians and the Kazakhs in northern Kazakhstan.� Russian nationalists held slogans ��Let's take northern Kazakhstan from Nursultan,� �Let's forget Chechnya, and let's begin in Astana.� They also demanded to release "the group of Kazimirchuk� and to stop discrimination against the Russians in Kazakhstan.�

Prime Minister Tokayev met representatives of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the owner of 60% of shares in the JV Aktobemunaigas. The head of the government expressed his concern about mass dismissal of Kazakhstani workers. Earlier Tokayev offered the government to exclude the CNPC from the JV.

March 23

Marat Tazhin, the Kazakhstani President's assistant on national security issues met the Secretary of Security Council, Sergei Ivanov, in Moscow. During the negotiations the parties signed a protocol on co-operation between the Security Councils of the two countries, as well as the provision on joint co-ordinating group of the Kazakh SC and the Russian SC apparatus.

March 24

The new Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan, Mr. Yao Peishen handed credentials to the President of Kazakhstan. Mr. Ambassador said, according to the Chinese Customs, the consumable turnover between the two countries had exceeded US$ 1 billion.

On the same day Yevgeny Kartashov, the new Ukrainian ambassador to Kazakhstan, held the first meeting with Kazakhstani media, where he emphasised his country praised the decision to privatise the Herson refinery by Kazakhoil.

March 27

The Turkish State Minister, Uksel Yalova, arrived to Astana. He met the deputy Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov. His visit to Kazakhstan was connected with the forthcoming visit of the Turkish President, Demirel. Before the delegation came to Astana, it had visited Turkestan, where a Turkish company was reconstructing the Hodja Akhmet Yasavi mausoleum. On the whole, according to the deputy Prime Minister, the volume of works fulfilled by Turkish constructional companies, came to over US$ 2 billion.

March 28

Jorge Tennet, the CIA director, visited Kazakhstan and negotiated with President Nazarbayev. Neither details of the meeting nor Tennet's further plan reported. A day before that Tennet visited Georgia and met Shevardnadze. They discussed international struggle against terrorism.

March 29

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) and the Turkish company Tekfen signed a US$ 45 million contract for modernisation of the Kazakh part of the oil pipeline Atyrau-Novorossiisk. The contract completed the tender process in the CPC. 5 different contracts were concluded earlier. 25% of the contract value are expected to come to the local budget in the form of taxes.

March 30

Ministers of Defence of the �Shanghai five� held a two-day meeting in Astana. The reason for the meeting was Central Asian leader's anxiety about growing Islamic fundamentalism. President Nazarbayev present at the meeting announced terrorism, extremism and separatism were a real danger to the former Soviet republics, and he called for joint actions to cope with the danger.

March 31

The US Ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Jones said that, possibly, in some weeks a FBI subsidiary would be opened in Almaty. According to Mr. Jones, the FBI office will be in the embassy building. In the early April the FBI director Luis Free will come to Astana.

All Over the Globe is published by IPA House.
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