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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ASTANA567 2006-11-14 02:02 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

DE RUEHTA #0567/01 3180202
R 140202Z NOV 06

E.O. 12958: N/A 
1. This is the first in a series of bi-weekly roundup cables on 
political developments in Almaty, Kazakhstan's "southern capital." 
The series is intended to maintain focus on developments in civil 
society, the media, and the opposition following the Embassy's move 
to Astana.  Items were drawn primarily from the local press and 
Rally Following Riot in Shanyrak district in Almaty 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
2.  On September 23, the Alga political party and the Committee in 
Support of Shanyrak district residents organized a sanctioned rally 
on the outskirts of Almaty, behind the Saryarka cinema.   The rally 
was organized to support Almaty residents whose houses had been 
demolished or faced demolition.  According to Aynur Kurmanov of 
Socialist Resistance, about 600 people, including residents of Bakay 
and Shanyrak, participated in the peaceful rally.  However, 
according to correspondent of Taszhargan newspaper Bakhytgul 
Makembay, three buses carrying Bakay and Shanyrak residents to the 
rally site were stopped by the road police and detained for 
technical reasons.  The residents had to use other vehicles to get 
to the site.  According to noted Kazakh nationalist Dos Koshim, the 
head of the Shanyrak committee, 16 people accused of organizing the 
July 14 Shanyrak riot and taking a hostage are currently under 
arrest.  Three other participants of the skirmish were set free upon 
their written promise not to leave the city.  A national-level 
commission was set up to investigate the situation. 
3.  According to Kurmanov, on September 20 the Turksib district 
court in Almaty tried two young residents of Bakay, Ilyas Tompakov 
and Nurkhat Mukazhanov, who resisted the police during the July 7 
demolitions.  The young people, charged with using violence against 
a representative of the authorities, were sentenced to two years in 
prison and fined 100,000 tenge ($800) each. 
Activists Hold Unauthorized Rally 
4.  On October 6, five activists from Socialist Resistance were 
detained in Almaty while picketing the Almaty City Police office. 
According to the movement's October 11 press release, the young 
people were delivering a protest petition about repression of the 
residents of the Shanyrak district.  The five participants of the 
protest action were taken to the city administrative court, which 
sentenced "Epokha" journalist Daniyar Yenikeyev to 10 days in jail. 
The other participants were fined.  According to the press release, 
the judge denied the detainees' requests for lawyers and several 
journalists were not allowed in the courtroom. 
5.  The police reportedly detained several of Yenikeyev's associates 
who gathered near the detention center on October 14, holding them 
for three hours.  When Yenikeyev was released on October 16, the 
police reportedly detained four of his colleagues who came to meet 
him.  They were held overnight; the following day, the Interdistrict 
Economic Court sentenced Socialist Resistance leader Aynur Kurmanov 
to five days detention. 
Almaty Akim Says Illegal Buildings "Should be Burned" 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
6.  "Illegal buildings in Almaty should be burned down. Instead of 
doing this we are appealing to courts and procurators.  It takes 5-6 
months.  We have no time.  If it is an illegal building and there 
are no documents, heavy vehicles should be brought in to demolish 
it.  Afterwards, let them go to court," Almaty City Akim 
Tasmagambetov stated at a seating of the city administration on 
October 18.  According to data from the city administration, 140 
illegal buildings under construction were discovered between July 17 
and October 17.  58 cases on illegal construction have been sent to 
the city administrative court, which has issued a demolition ruling 
in only two cases to date.  (Interfax, October 18) 
Ak Zhol Leader Takes Seat in Parliament 
7.  On September 24, the Ak Zhol party held a congress in Almaty. 
In addition to the political situation in the country, concerns 
about draft labor code, and recommendations on how to raise 
Kazakhstan's competitiveness, the congress discussed the issue of 
the vacant seat in the Mazhilis that the party won in 2004.  (At 
that time, party leaders refused to take the seat in protest against 
the falsified election results.)  The congress decided to send a 
representative to the Mazhilis, but did not specify who that person 
ASTANA 00000567  002 OF 002 
would be.  On October 3, the Central Election Commission announced 
that it had registered party leader Alikhan Baymenov, who was number 
one on the party list in 2004, as a member of the Mazhilis. 
8.  No opposition papers criticized the move.  Otan parliamentary 
leader Amzebek Zholshibekov was quote as "hailing
" Ak Zhol's 
decision, saying that Baymenov's "desk is ready and all the 
committees are ready to accept him."  Independent journalist Valeriy 
Surganov, in his report on the Ak Zhol congress (www.zonakz.net, 
September 27), commented that taking the seat should be merely a 
technical issue since the party appeared to have consulted with the 
Presidential Administration in advance.  Surganov also commented 
that Ak Zhol is a party of and for ethnic Kazakhs, as 90% of its 
members are Kazakhs.   "Following Zharmakhan Tuyakbay, who in his 
program speech had promised to defend interests, first of all, of 
ethnic Kazakhs, the chairman of Ak Zhol stated almost the same using 
different language.  For example, he recommended that K Cell and K 
Mobile companies extend their services covering especially the rural 
areas, Kazakh villages." 
Opposition Supports Kazakhstan's OSCE Bid 
9. At a September 26 round table organized by Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, 
the opposition made a joint statement on Kazakhstan's bid to chair 
the OSCE.  The majority of opposition activists decided to support 
the bid if Kazakhstan introduces amendments providing for basic 
political rights and freedoms proclaimed by the constitution.  These 
include: the right to hold meetings, rallies, marches and picketing 
through a system of notification rather than permission; the right 
to free distribution of information and the revocation of media law 
amendments adopted in May; the introduction of the draft mass media 
law prepared by journalists; implementation of OSCE/ODIHR 
recommendations on election legislation; a halt to politically 
motivated prosecutions and the freeing of political prisoners. 
Zhakiyanov, in his comments on the statement, said: "In this case we 
are talking about [getting] at least minimal changes and 
improvements in the country."  According to political leaders, in 
the current situation Kazakhstan has no right to the chairmanship. 
However, the withdrawal of the bid would limit the political 
maneuvering of dissidents.  Alga and Ak Zhol issued similar 
statements of support.  (Channel-31, September 26, and Svoboda 
Slova, September 28) 
NGOs Propose Creation of Public TV 
10.  On October 17 in Almaty, representatives of the Union of 
Journalists, True Ak Zhol, and the Adil Soz media freedom NGO 
organized a round table to discuss the concept of public television. 
 Participants discussed whether public TV will function along with 
general state TV channels, what the requirements are for members of 
the board of directors of the public TV, who will elect or appoint 
the board of directors, whether the legislation on public TV should 
include specific guiding criteria like objectivity, and who will 
finance public TV. 
Opinions were varied, with Patriots Party leader Ganiy Kasymov 
opining that the government should establish public television.  The 
participants agreed to set up a working group on the public TV 
concept.  (Interfax, October 17 and zonakz.net, October 20) 
True Ak Zhol protests detention of its activists 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
11.  On October 27, the True Ak Zhol political party issued a 
statement protesting the illegal detention of party activists in 
Atyrau Oblast.  The police in Atyrau Oblast detained six activists 
of the party on October 25 and 27.  The activists were accused of 
making and disseminating leaflets calling for unsanctioned rally on 
October 27 and calling for the resignation of oblast akim B. 
Ryskaliyev.  According to the statement, the police could produce no 
official documents specifying the grounds for the arrests.  The 
police allegedly did not allow the detainees to see their relatives, 
lawyers, or associates. 


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