THE GLOBE formally apologises to the US Embassy in Kazakhstan for the incorrect wording of the reply from the Embassy's press service. The article, �Two Leaders of the Opposition Ask for a Political Asylum�, published in the last issue of THE GLOBE, concerned an application by the Workers' Movement's leader, Madel Ismailov, for political asylum in the U.S.A..
Due to a technical error, an incorrect version of the article was published. In the correct version the relevant part of the article reads: �The Embassy was unable to comment over the phone. Any comments must be requested by sending a written letter of inquiry to the Information Service by fax.�
The Embassy's answer to our subsequent inquiry was simply: �Mr. Ismailov visited the US Embassy. We have received no requests for asylum.�
�From March 25th to April 2nd our party members have three times been groundlessly arrested by the police, including twice in Almaty and once in Aktyubinsk. The policemen insulted us, threatening and then using physical force,� the Civil Party of Kazakhstan's (CPK) leader announced on Friday.
According to Azat Peruashev, on March 25, in Aktyubinsk, the police arrested a CPK activist, Haiyrzhan Idiyatov, who was on his way to Almaty. He was accused of being intoxicated, although Mr. Peruashev maintains that the CPK member was absolutely sober.
�That day at Almaty-1 railway station I was arrested by officers of the Turksib Department of Internal Affairs, despite having shown my papers, and I was taken to the police station. A few days later, on April 2, at 9 to 10 p.m. three people in civilian clothes demanded my documents at the CPK offices. They conducted a search of my office car, where they threatened outright to plant drugs and ordered me to go the nearest police station,� Mr. Peruashev said.
In his opinion, these events could be connected with the party's activites in the Parliament and in the regions.
�We could speculate endlessly about whose feet the party treads on in Parliament, and about whether these cases were deliberate, but for now I can only concede that the CPK's work is troubling "somebody", but for the time being I do not know who,� the CPK leader said.
Mr. Peruashev made a public appeal to the police regarding the said incidents: �Should these cases be considered as the general line of the police towards the CPK? If so, we would like to know what led to this stance, and whether it is due to our work in Parliament or in the regions. If these events are mere coincidences, does this mean that the abuse of power by policemen is standard practice towards Kazakhstanis.�
THE GLOBE has asked the city Department of Internal Affairs to comment on the CPK's statement.
The Director of the Department Of Work with Public Organizations and Political parties, Colonel Alikhan Bektasov, answered: �These are pure coincidences, which have no connection whatsoever with the political activities of the Civil Party.�
Abdulgaziz Bekbayev, who in 1951 arrived to Kazakhstan from Xinjiang (Eastern Turkistan), where about 1.5 million Kazakhs live, recently paid a visit to China. In his interview with Radio Azattyk he spoke of the lives of the many Kazakhs now living in Eastern Turkistan.
- I came here, graduated from the Institute, and found a job. But most of my relatives remained there.
- What are the lives of our countrymen like over there?
- The Kazakhs' condition in China is difficult, especially for those in rural areas. They have neither cattle nor jobs. There are no Kazakh schools and children are taught only in Chinese. Basically, all of the ethnic minorities (Kazakhs, Uigurs, etc.) are being forced to assimilate the local Chinese population.
- But are your relatives free come to Kazakhstan, either to visit or to settle?
- No. Neither they nor me can help this. Our only hope is the Migration Agency, but it is difficult to get a visa in China. You need a lot of money, and that is, of course, one thing they don't have. A tourist visa for one person costs US$150. I have invited 4 relatives, I can't afford to invite any more.
- Does the state provide any financial assistance for migrants or does it have a quota for free visas? Have you appealed to the Migration Agency?
- The Agency says that there aren't any quotas, nor will there be any in the near future. I asked them to include my relatives in the list for 2002, but I was refused. They said they could help if I had migration documents, but that they could not grant a visa.
- There are rumours that the size of the People's Liberation Army is growing�
- Yes, it is. There are 7-million PLO soldiers along the borders with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. As well as the fighting army there is a labour one, which deals with farming near the borders.
- Is it easy for Kazakhs to leave China?
- No. The authorities sometimes don't let them go, mainly because it is forbidden to leave in groups, and most people want to all go together. Chinese people believe that one day Kazakhstan will stake a claim on their (Eastern Turkistan). Even if there are too many people to take care of, they benefit as they can collect more taxes. However, if the Kazakhs were to be permitted to leave in groups, then they could settle here in desolate villages and would not ask anything from the state.
THE GLOBE based on materials from Radio Azattyk
(Kazakh Service of Radio Liberty)
(Translated from Kazakh by THE GLOBE, brief variant)
Last Wednesday the government's economic block headed by Yerzhan Utembayev, summed up results of the first quarter. The deputy Prime Minister said that Kazakhstan had undergone its crisis period and its economy was improving. According to the Minister of Economy, Zhaksybek Kulekeev, in comparison with the first quarter of 1999, economic growth was 8%, hence, the GDP growth is supposed to be 8%. But it is known that even in most developed countries, GDP can increase only by 3 to 5%. Yet Kazakhstan is far beneath such positive economic indices.
Pay attention to another propagandistic fact. According to the Minister of State Revenues, Zeinulla Kakimzhanov, during the first quarter of 2000, the national budget earned 108.1 billion tenge, i.e. by 16.3 billion tenge more than it was planned. This is approximately equal to US$ 756 million.
To conceal the facts about the virtual plundering of Kazakhstani oil reserves, journalists of certain journals say the country's budget is resting upon oil, which is 30% of budget revenues. If during three months the budget gained 108.1 billion tenge, 30% of this amount is 32.4 billion tenge, i.e. US$ 226 million. But the country's budget stipulates, taxes on oil are to come to only US$ 2 million per year! It turns out these �propagandists� exceeded the projected amount by 100 times. For example, according to the year 2000 budget , income tax on all companies working in the oil industry will be only 16 billion tenge. However oil magicians state today they have received 32 billion tenge from oil companies. It turns out they subscribed the plan 8 times!
World oil prices began to fall. If the Kazakhstani population had nothing when oil prices were high, where is the money to come from with which the oligarchy is going to run the state?
Another meeting of the peasant social-democratic party Aul featureson the Kazakhstani political scene. Leaders of the party are the parliamentarians and Academicians, Gani Kaliev and Orazaly Sabden. The new party announced its goals opposinf those of the Agricultural Party, which thay feel does not protect the interests of the rural population. Maybe, emerging different political forces interested in the village will help its citizens. However the community is disturbed that the Aul party is fighting for private ownership of land, while prominent public figures are against the new bill, expressing their resentment.
Currently the village is in decline and it is impossible to save it without radical political reforms. If the Aul party is really the representatives of the peasants, it must be against the present political system. We asked this question of Gani Kaliev: �At first we must become firmly established, gain people's trust, work out a correct agricultural policy. For this, I think, it is not obligatory to become an opposition party and be against of the present authority.� This is the opinion of Aul party.
According to an independent analyst, Abai Izbasarov, behind the party are some oblast Akims and a part of the local elite.
That is why the party does not care for the village's fate. Its goals are, possibly, to make a profit out of Kazakhstani rich deposits, he thinks.
Foreign magnates and the elite of the Astana society have authority over Kazakhstani wealth, and if the land is privatised, Akims and the rest elite will gain profits from this. The common people may again gain nothing.
The idea of Olzhas Suleimenov, of a civic quote may seemineffective. The authorities that do not take care for people now and will hardly adopt them at the table, when they gain wealth. Akims Tasmagambetov and Zhakiyanov may be blamed for separatism, after which they will not be eager to demonstrate their closeness to people. Last week Prime Minister Kasymzhomart Tokaev, who had come back from a short leave alluded to this, at a governmental meeting.
THE GLOBE based on materials from Radio Azattyk
(Kazakh Service of Radio Liberty)
(Translated from Kazakh by THE GLOBE, full text)
All Over the Globe is published by IPA House.
© 1998 IPA House. All Rights Reserved.