07ASTANA522, KAZAKHSTAN: ALMATY NOTES, FEBRUARY 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ASTANA522 2007-02-26 10:53 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO7538
RR RUEHAST RUEHDBU
DE RUEHTA #0522/01 0571053
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261053Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8592
INFO RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1686
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 7874
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 7815
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 7116
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 2019
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1379
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2180

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000522 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: ALMATY NOTES, FEBRUARY 2007 
 
 
1. The "Almaty Notes" series is intended to maintain focus on 
developments in civil society, the media, and the opposition in 
Kazakhstan's "southern capital" following the move of the Embassy to 
Astana. 
 
Trial of True Ak Zhol Leader Bulat Abilov 
----------------------------------------- 
 
2. On February 14, the Almalinskiy district court resumed the trial 
of Bulat Abilov and his two business partners, Baurzhan Karabekov 
and Ualikhan Baybosyn.  Pol FSN attended the hearing.  All three 
defendants pled not guilty.  Karabekov's lawyer requested an 
adjournment until March 10 to allow time to scrutinize the evidence 
in the case.  The judge denied the request, prompting the lawyer to 
move to exclude the judge on the grounds of bias toward the 
prosecution.  The district court chairman rejected the motion. 
 
3. After considering motions, the court questioned two plaintiffs 
out of the twelve present.  The first plaintiff, an 81-year old 
woman, presented documents showing that she was actually a 
shareholder in a different investment fund.  The second plaintiff, 
Aleksander Bogachyev, testified that Almaty Financial Police 
officers had encouraged him to file a claim against Abilov. 
According to Bogachev, they said "Don't you think it would not be a 
bad idea to get 50,000 tenge ($400) by mail.  Otherwise, while you 
will are working hard, Abilov will be relaxing in the Bahamas." 
Both plaintiffs renounced their claims.  The judge and procurators 
appeared confused, and the hearing was suspended until February 20. 
 
 
Events in Memory of Sarsenbaiuly 
--------------------------------- 
 
4. The opposition in Almaty organized a number of events in memory 
of murdered True Ak Zhol leader Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly around the 
one-year anniversary of his February 2006 murder.  Pol FSN attended 
a February 6 hearing of the Public Committee set up a year ago to 
follow the murder investigation.  At the hearing, opposition 
leaders, the lawyers for the victims, and Sarsenbaiuly's brother 
stressed that the crime had not been properly investigated and 
solved and those who organized the assassination had not been 
identified.  The hearing concluded that the case should be 
categorized as an act of terrorism and re-investigated because "the 
crime was aimed at undermining public security and intimidating the 
population." 
 
5. On February 10, a mass gathering in memory of Sarsenbaiuly was 
held in Almaty in front of the Academy of Sciences.  The city 
administration sanctioned the gathering.  Pol FSN attended the 
rally, which was organized by the opposition and attracted about 
1,000 participants.  The opposition leaders and public figures who 
addressed the meeting included Zharmakhan Tuyakbay, Bulat Abilov, 
Oraz Zhandosov, Tulegen Zhukeyev, Tolen Tokhtasynov, Asylbek 
Kozhakhmetov, Rysbek Sarsenbayev, Yevgeniy Zhovtis, and Irina 
Savostina.   Rysbek Sarsenbayev stated "I suspect President 
Nazarbayev and members of his family, Rakhat and Dariga, as well as 
Nurtay Abykayev of being involved in the assassination."  None in 
the crowd appeared shocked by the statement.  Several policemen were 
observing the rally, which proceeded peacefully.  Participants 
approved a resolution demanding the re-investigation of the case, 
the dismissal of the Procurator General and Minister of Interior for 
failing to solve the crime, the disbanding of the "Arystan" special 
National Security Committee unit, and re-naming a street in Almaty 
after Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly. 
 
Trial of the "Shanyrak Defenders" 
-------------------------------- 
 
6. The trial of the "Shanyrak Defenders" continues in the Almaty 
city court.  At a hearing of the case on February 8, the lawyers for 
the defense filed a motion asking the court to call the mayor of 
Almaty City as a witness.  They also asked for the video recorded 
during the riots to be played.  Both motions were rejected.  (TV 
Channel-31, February 8) 
 
Two Young Uighurs of Chilik Convicted of Hooliganism 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
7. On February 8, the court in the settlement of Chilik found two 
young residents guilty of inciting a November 2006 fight between 
young Kazakhs and Uighurs.  Last year some press reports described 
the fight as an interethnic conflict.  However, the court found it 
was hooliganism and sentenced each defendant to 18 months in prison. 
 According to a press report, some residents of the settlement were 
not satisfied with the ruling, saying it was too light.  (TV 
 
ASTANA 00000522  002 OF 002 
 
 
Channel-31, February 8) 
 
Academicians on Kazakhstan-Russia Relations 
------------------------------------------- 
 
8. "Sometimes the Russian elite and the journalists get the 
impression that the Kazakhstani elite is not really interested in 
developing and strengthening our integr
ation relations," said 
Professor Vlasov of Moscow University at a round table on 
Kazakhstan-Russia relations held in Almaty on February 7.  Vlasov 
also raised the issue of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan.  Burikhan 
Nurmukhamedov of Ak Zhol party responded by saying that "Russia is 
currently impeding Kazakhstan's development."  Nurmukhamedov cited 
the energy sector as an example.  "Kazakhstan failed to answer the 
German Chancellor's question about our readiness to diversify energy 
flows going to the European Union, because of the fear of damaging 
relations with its northern neighbor."  A journalist reporting on 
the event wrote that the harsh reaction was triggered by the fact 
that Professor Vlasov raised the issue of Russians in Kazakhstan. 
(Panorama, February 9) 
 
Almaty District Akim Accused of Bribery 
--------------------------------------- 
 
9. On February 7, the Turksib district court in Almaty examined the 
case of the former akim of the district, Vladimir Vasilyev.  In 
September 2006 Vasilyev was accused of bribery under Article 311 of 
the Criminal Code.  The procurator in the case asked the court to 
sentence Vasilyev to nine years in prison with confiscation of his 
property.   However, the court found Vasilyev guilty of only abuse 
of power (Article 307 of the Criminal Code) and gave him a 
three-year suspended sentence.  (Rakhat TV channel, February 7) 
 
New Monthly Newspaper 
--------------------- 
 
10. Respublika weekly has launched a new project called "Respublika 
in the Regions," a monthly newspaper that will focus on events and 
developments in the regions.  It is believed that Turan-Alem Bank 
chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov, a former opposition leader, is behind 
Respublika. 
 
Centers for Teaching Kazakh Language 
------------------------------------ 
 
11. Central Asian University in Almaty has set up a center for free 
teaching of the Kazakh language.  In the future there will be a net 
of 16 centers all over the country.  (Yuridicheskaya Gazeta daily, 
February 8) 
 
Suspended Sentence for Hizb ut Tahrir Member 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
12. On February 8, the city court in Almaty handed down a one-year 
suspended sentence to accused Hizb ut Tahrir member Rustem 
Masimbayev .  Masimbayev was detained in September last year while 
distributing leaflets at the central market.  (TV Channel-31, 
February 8) 
 
Two Well-known Public Figures Pass Away 
--------------------------------------- 
 
13. On February 20, two well-known public figures, Sabit Zhusupov 
and Bolatkhan Tayzhan, passed away of heart attack.  Zhusupov was 60 
years old.  He was a sociologist, political scientist and the 
president of Kazakhstan Institute of Social-Economic Information and 
Prognostication founded in 1998.  From 1997 to 1998 he was the 
deputy director of the Presidential Institute for Strategic Studies. 
 Previously, he worked for Information-Analytical Center at the 
Presidential Administration headed by Marat Tazhin.  Tayzhan, 66 
years old, was a retired career diplomat who served as Kazakhstan's 
ambassador to a number of countries: Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, 
Algeria, Syria, Libya and Malaysia.  Since 2005, Tayzhan had headed 
a patriotic-nationalist movement, "Ult Tagdyry - Yel Tagdyry" 
(Future of the Nation - Future of the Country). 
 
ORDWAY

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