Increasing Prices of Railway Tickets: Is the Step Forced?

Comments by the Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Press Service


ALMATY, Jan 14


From January 11, 2000 prices of railway tickets raised.

THE GLOBE asked Denis Tsaryov, the press secretary of the national state enterprise Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) to comment on the situation.

Tsaryov said that the train fee is calculated according the international state tariff applying to the ratio of the Swiss Franc to tenge, according to the agreement between the CIS countries. In April 1999 the Kazakhstani government introduced the tenge�s free-floating rate. By December 1999 the rate increased from 60.8 tenge to 94.5 tenge per 1 Swiss Franc. According to Tsaryov, during the previous nine months KTZ had not raised prices of the tickets at all, though it had been incurring significant financial losses. In accordance with the KTZ information, despite the optimized expenses towards passengers� transportation, these expenses still exceed profits from sold tickets twice.

Tsaryov stated that this increase of the prices is still less than the real rate of Swiss Franc. He believes that they had to do that to cover at least partially KTZ expenses.

In conclusion Tsaryov said that the new prices would not affect Kazakhstani customers� purses much, as within the year many CIS countries raised railway ticket prices significantly.

Reserved seats carriage prices in main directions of passengers� and fast trains:

Direction Former prices New prices
  (in tenge) (in tenge)
Almaty-Astana 970 1068
Almaty-Moscow 8455 9300
Almaty-Karaganda 843 928
Almaty-Petropavlovsk 1880 2068
Almaty-Shymkent 891 980
Almaty-Kostanai 1504 1657



Aigerim Imanberdina, cashier of the railway station:

- Prices of tickets increased by 10%, i.e. by 200 to 300 tenge in main directions. In comparison with air tickets our prices are 3 to 4 times lower.

During a year and a half prices of railway tickets were stable. For this period the rate of US dollar and Swiss Franc raised. That is why, the increase was a forced step.

Passengers� reaction to the increase is different. First of all, the new prices affected those people who go in common carriages. These people economize even one hundred tenge. People who use firs class carriages, did not react to the new prices at all. Many passengers mistakably think that prices increased 2 to 3 times.

Despite the increased prices, most probably, our salary will not increase. We have a piece-rate pay. The average salary is 3,500 to 4,000 tenge per month.

Kanat Isbasarov, conductor:

- Obviously, it is bad that prices raised. I think, it may even affect the volume of passengers transportation.

Today fuel is expensive, that is why it was not a surprise that prices increased.

We get 7,000 tenge. We wish our salary to grow.

Galina Konovalova, state functionary:

- Recently I came from Astana. I bought the ticket for a compartment carriage at the former price. In some days after I arrived to Almaty, I learnt that prices of railway tickets grew.

To my mind, the growth by 10% is not too dangerous. Though, possibly, now we will go by trains more seldom.

As prices grew, we think, conditions in the reserved and common carriages will be improved. The condition of common carriages is especially bad. People are under terrible conditions there.

As far as I know, prices increased due to losses incurred by Kazakhstan Temir Zholy. I often saw conductors letting stowaways in for a small fee. They misappropriated this money. That is why, first thing they need to do is to improve work of railway staff.

Sherkhan Alimzhanov, post-graduate student:

- I do not understand, why they increased prices of tickets. They were already high. Moreover, the level and quality of railway service is very low in the country.. I am not satisfied that the cost of the ticket does not include cost of linen. Conductors make us pay for it. It is good, we can agree with conductors to pay half of the ticket�s cost any time.

Black Art of Railways


ALMATY, Jan 17


There are two types of railway booking-offices � official and unofficial. Recently I learnt about that when I had to go to Shymkent urgently.

In the inquiry office I was told that tickets to all trains of the required direction were available. Hence I did not buy the ticket beforehand. Further I and my girl-friend regretted about that.

When we came to the train Almaty-Nukus, there were no tickets in the booking-office. They advised us to ask conductors. However, nobody wanted to take us. This was the first option. From the second one (to pay 2,500 tenge for one seat for both of us) we rejected ourselves.

Having despaired , we were going to go home, when a conductor proposed us seats in the reserved carriage for 500 tenge per one person. We were glad to agree. We came into the carriage. Then it started�

Till Almaty-1 railway station I could not sit, as there were no empty seat. Then I managed to find a seat. But I had to share the seat with my friend.

The conductor collecting tickets distributed seats among ticketless people (there were more people without tickets than passengers with tickets). People were advised to occupy the third upper berth, and the conductor�s compartment. After all passengers who got in the carriage in Almaty were �distributed�, the conductor began to sell linen. Its cost was 110 tenge. Whiteness of the linen did not comply with advertisement of Tide and Ariel. Possibly, our railway people have not seen it yet or they ignore it completely (the latter is most probable).

I will remember the night in the train for a long time. It was striking to sleep with a friend in a couch 50 cm in width, in a stuffy and dirty carriage, where cockroaches were main inhabitants. Hence, I did not sleep, but watched how covetous the human being was.

At each station the conductor adopted stowaways. Only god knows where he placed them. But he evidently was as skillful as David Copperfield, as far as the black art is concerned. His carriage lost its tangible limits and transformed into a unlimited rubber space. But this space did not lose the financial balance. The conductor collected a definite fee from each passenger, depending on the length of his way. For instance, to Nukus it was 3,000 tenge. Anyway, we came to the destination and bade farewell to the friendly conductor.

Within a day we completed all our business in Shymkent and came to the railway station 4 hours before Otrar train Shymkent-Almaty arrived.

Before the main entrance we met some young men who offered us tickets. They warned us, no tickets were available in the booking-office.

They were right. Cashiers answered: �No� when you pronounced just: �A�.

Near booking-offices people came to us and offered tickets at 3,500 tenge (while the official cost of a compartment ticket was 1,450 tenge). An hour before the boarding, prices fell to 3,000 tenge. A half of an hour before � to 2,500. Otrar conductors demanded 2,500 tenge per one seat or 2,500 tenge per one seat for two people (depending on the class of the carriage). If you did not have this amount, they offered a sitting seat at 500 to 700 tenge.

Due to the irreparable situation we had to buy tickets for 2,000 tenge. When we asked: �Why prices are so high?�, a young man answered: �We had to share our profit with policemen and cashiers. We have just a miserable part of it.�

I had favorable impressions from Shymkent. For myself I concluded that the southern climate always positively affects people. That is why people from southern oblasts, including Sicily and Shymkent, prefer to live according their own laws and not to relate with the law-reinforcement organizations.

In conclusion I want to add that the Shymkent ticket Mafia is very operative. Purchasing tickets it sell them in retail at a higher price. I understood this when I learnt that all my neighbors bought tickets in the same way at 2,000 tenge.

Passengers who could not pay this amount stood in the corridor till night. Then they laid on the floor. I do not know how much they paid to the conductor. But there were many of them, including children and old people. After the prices of railway tickets raised, I think, the situation will become even worse. �The black market� will become more impudent. And conductors will offer a seat in a quiet place � closet. I think, people will agree. As now many of them do not think about comfort.

Perspective Relations between Continental China and Taiwan from the Point of View of the New Geopolitics

Chjen KUN FU,

Doctor of Political Science

Honorable Professor of KazSU,


On December 18, 1999 Macao was officially returned to China. The current development of the Taiwan issue has immediately become the most critical consideration in the changing geopolitics of Asian Pacific region. Although both sides agree that China must be refined, so far the ROC and PRC have rejected each other�s proposals for unification. Taipei maintains that Beijing�s one-China, including the recent �one country, two systems: formula, are part of a Communist strategy designed to annex Taiwan. Beijing maintains that Taipei�s formula to unify China under the �two governments of one country� is �impractical�. These polarized positions have been reflected in the antagonistic statements of political leaders on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. In terms of integration theory, it is clear that �elite consensus� has reached a sticking point. Progress toward integration is unlikely until the leadership on one side or the other adopts a new geopolitical vision.

1. Introduction

On December 18, 1999 Macao was officially returned to China. The current development of the Taiwan issue has immediately become the most critical consideration in the changing geopolitics of Asian Pacific region. The new geopolitics is a space behavior caused by interrelations between geographical conditions, policy, economy and ideology from the point of view of a definite vale conception that has the purpose, strives for creation, and is limited in space and time, etc. The new geopolitics considers the process of realization of the state strategy by means of revealing most profitable conditions and creating favorable atmosphere to achieve high state interests with least losses. To be really skillful in following state policy you need to know how you can manage the national potential to gain maximum profit to the society and to support stable functioning of the entire system. In other words, in any state the progressive policy, economy, army, culture, ideology, public ideals and other real and potential forces considered as most favorable factors become positive functions of the state. They play the leading role to protect priority interests of the state according to its geopolitical strategy.

The first function is that the policy allows to realize national interests according to the cyclic process consisting of five phases: determination of high interests to gain maximum profit with least losses; determination of objectives and tasks for different periods; estimation of subjective (internal) and objective (external) conditions; determination of means to achieve purposes working out the strategy and the tactics; and achievement of the result.

The second function is geographical conditions. It indicates how the country takes its geographical advantages, due to which it may be conditionally placed in one of the three spaces: the natural one, the space of existence or the commercial space. The more rationally the country�s natural resources are used, the higher space level it occupies.

The third function of the social structure is economy. In the economy it is necessary to lay special stress on efficiency of the production and equal distribution of the manufactured product. Methods that used to settle these tasks predetermine the way of life, the character of social structure and the level of the country�s development. The main way to support the economic stability is to avoid excess production, abrupt economic collapse and to support the balanced economy.

The fourth function is ideology. Any ideology develops according to natural laws and general standards of the state, accompanying positive changes in the society. The ideological context in the process of forming the value conception and evaluation of changeable and constant characteristics of the events. Laws of the society�s development are based on that.

As far as the new geopolitics is concerned, considering the problematic relations between continental China and Taiwan the author emphasizes that any geopolitics is a collective force efficient in a definite time within the limited geographical space. Though at present relations between the two shores of the Taiwan Strait have become a complex of insoluble problems, however, in fact, this opposition is the competition of power.

2. Historical background

According to ancient records, the history of interrelations between the two shores of the Strait traces back to the 13th century, i.e. is lasting for 600 years, from the Southern Suns Dynasty. Later it periodically appeared during the dynasties Yuan, Min, Zin until the Republic of China was established. Following main events of the Chinese history, we may conclude that Taiwan�s periodical separation and joining with the continent did not depend either on policies of different rulers or external interference, e.g. when Spain captured the northern part of Taiwan in 1624 to 1641, when Holland held sway over Taiwan in 1626 to 1662, the Zin dynasty ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895 to 1945 or during internal conflicts such as the struggle of Chen Gun against the Zin ruler to restore the Min dynasty or the modern conflict between authoritarian China and democratic Taiwan. This process completely connected with the changing ratio of forces, i.e. either with weakening or strengthening power. If the power of the central government is strong, it is not a problem to unite China on both shores of the Strait. Besides, according to written sources, it is obvious that of the 3119-years history of China during one-fourth part of the total period (1149 years) the country was scattered. That happened during the periods of Spring and Autumn and Fighting Realms of the Chzou era (770 BC), during Eastern Han epoch, Three Realms period when the Hunns invaded China (9 to 220), during Southern Sun era (1127 to 1279) and in modern time from 1911 when the Republic of China was established to today. These examples prove that when the central government is weak, the state cannot avoid the split.

3. Conditions of reunion

In the modern world separated states are united either with the help of a war or peacefully. The first method once led to the union of the North and South Vietnam. The second one caused the uniting of the Western and Eastern Germany. The western scientist L. Kriesberg thinks that the main thing in the process of such a reunion is the presence of objective and subjective conditions. Objective factors include people, the political elite, the government and the international community. The combination of all these elements allows to achieve consensus and public approval required for reunion. The main subjective condition is the society�s evident willingness and the state�s ability to reunite. For the peaceful process all conditions are required. For example, despite the meeting of the Prime Ministers of South and North Korea there are no concrete results, as the parties did not agree. However, if the country is united by force, only objective conditions are sufficient, as it happened in Vietnam.

In general, independently on the way of reuniting, the party that has more power is the leading one, e.g. West Germany. As far as differences in ideology, political systems, economy and the social structure are concerned, when country is reunited, the dominating party always has more influence making the weaker party adapt to it. Finally it may lead to the complete transformation of the weal party and adjustment to the leader�s ideological model.

On the other hand, people being in space and time and having limited natural resources who live under changeable conditions of the environment, seek better life and are eager to satisfy their requirements. They strive for a more perfect social structure and economic way of life, saving positive elements and rejecting from harmful ones. The collapse of the Soviet Union and further steps to create a demo

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