06ASTANA629, KAZAKHSTAN: ALMATY NOTES, NOVEMBER 20

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ASTANA629 2006-11-21 10:26 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO4920
RR RUEHAST RUEHDBU
DE RUEHTA #0629/01 3251026
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211026Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7732
INFO RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1645
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 7780
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 7741
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 7060
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 1941
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1344
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2154

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000629 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: ALMATY NOTES, NOVEMBER 20 
 
 
1. This is the second 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 
media. 
 
Opposition Journalist on Trial 
------------------------------ 
 
2. The Almaty procurator's office has launched a criminal case 
against opposition journalist Kazis Toguzbayev for insulting 
President Nazarbayev's dignity and honor.  In July, the Almaty 
Committee for National Security (KNB) initiated a probe into two 
cases related to Toguzbayev's articles "Mafia Regime Covers up 
Murderers of Altynbek Sarsenbayev" and "Pope of Rome and Pope of 
Astana - Feel the Difference!" published on the www.kub.kz website 
on May 3, 2006 and April 2, 2006 respectively.  The probe found that 
in both cases, Toguzbayev had insulted President Nazarbayev's 
dignity and honor in the mass media, which may lead to up to three 
years imprisonment (Criminal Code, article 318, part 2).  The two 
cases were combined and passed to the city procurator's office.  The 
trial began on November 20. 
 
3. Two NGOs, Adil Soz and the Kazakhstan International Bureau for 
Human Rights and Rule of Law, issued a statement in support 
Toguzbayev.  Convicting someone who criticizes a political figure 
would prevent journalists from participating in public disputes on 
urgent problems of society, the statement stressed.  Adil Soz and 
the Bureau called on the authorities to stop the prosecution of the 
journalist and to withdraw the provisions on insulting the 
president's dignity and honor from the Criminal Code.  (kub.kz, 
October 30) 
 
Round Table Discussion of Public Television 
------------------------------------------- 
 
4.  On October 31 in Almaty, journalists and representatives of 
political parties and NGOs organized a second round table to present 
their concept of public television.  According to the concept, 
public television will broadcast news, cultural, educational and 
entertainment programs contributing to the integrity of society and 
urging people to be involved in social, political and cultural 
activities.  The group's concept statement reads "Public television 
and state television are identical terms.  The state should own only 
one television channel and one radio station.  Other state 
television channels should be privatized." 
 
5. Many participants criticized the proposal that there be a single 
state television channel.  Different opinions were expressed 
regarding the financing of public television and the membership of 
the proposed supervisory body.  Opposition leaders Bulat Abilov and 
Asylbek Kozhakhmetov rejected the idea of state financing for public 
television because it would make public television dependent on the 
government.  They also objected to state officials and members of 
parliament being members of the future public television supervisory 
board.  Ganiy Kasymov of the Party of Patriots insisted on state 
financing and on two seats in the supervisory body for 
representatives of the Mazhilis and Senate. 
 
6. Despite the many areas of disagreement, the participants decided 
to convey their proposal to Parliament the following week.  Two 
Mazhilis members, Dariya Klebanova and Tokhtar Aubakirov, agreed to 
participate in the public television working group.  It is hoped 
that Mazhilis deputies will initiate a draft law on public 
television based on the concept.  Kasymov predicted that if the 
government supports the draft, Parliament could consider it as early 
as mid-2007. 
 
Discussion of the "Infantilism" of Kazakhstani Society 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
7. On November 1, about a dozen activists from several youth 
organizations discussed the "Infantilism of Kazakhstani Society" at 
the Polyton Discussion Club in Almaty.  The speakers underscored 
what they called the "infantile" behavior of Kazakhstani society, 
which they said is not used to making its own decisions and being 
responsible for its own deeds.  Several speakers expressed hope that 
in the future, mature small and medium size businesses will 
facilitate building strong civil society.  Representatives of NDI 
and Counterpart Consortium offices in Almaty attended the meeting. 
 
Youth Movement in Defense of Labor Rights 
----------------------------------------- 
 
 
ASTANA 00000629  002 OF 002 
 
 
8. The "Bolashak" youth movement intends to set up a committee in 
defense of Kazakhstani labor, Kazakhstan Today news agency reported 
on October 31, citing the chairman of the movement Farkhad Kasenov. 
The same day at a press conference in Almaty, Kasenov said the new 
committee would review legislation on labor rights and examine how 
foreign enterprises observe social and labor norms.
  Kasenov 
believes "the conflict between Kazakhstan and Turkish workers at the 
Tengiz oilfield was the logical result of the accumulated animosity 
and unfairness at enterprises owned by foreign businesses."  The 
committee plans to appeal to Parliament and Prime Minister Akhmetov 
to resolve the problems.  In addition, they plan to organize 
inspections of foreign enterprises to attract public attention to 
what they claim are existing problems. 
 
The Future of the Party System? 
------------------------------- 
 
9. "In the foreseeable future, it is unlikely that Kazakhstan will 
have a two-party system based on two political parties competing for 
power," acting chairman of the pro-presidential Otan party B. 
Zhumagulov said in a November 3 interview with Liter newspaper.  "It 
is more likely that Kazakhstan will have a one and a half party 
system, with one party which will dominate Parliament and form the 
government.  Other parties will be on periphery of the political 
field.  Their goal will not include the fight for power, but 
preventing the ruling party from stagnation." 
 
People's Communist Party Defends Abilov 
--------------------------------------- 
 
10. On October 31, the People's Communist Party of Kazakhstan issued 
a statement in support of opposition leader Bulat Abilov.  The 
statement alleged that True Ak Zhol co-chairman Abilov was being 
prosecuted because of his active political stand.  The communists 
demanded that the authorities stop the prosecution.  (zonakz.net, 
November 7) 
 
ORDWAY

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