08ASTANA50, KAZAKHSTAN: PENTECOSTAL CHURCH, CHRISTIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA50 2008-01-11 11:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO9762
RR RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHTA #0050/01 0111120
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 111120Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1467
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0356
RUCNCLS/SCA COLLECTIVE
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1855

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 000050 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN M O'MARA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/11/2018 
TAGS: KDEM KZ PGOV PHUM PREL
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  PENTECOSTAL CHURCH, CHRISTIAN 
SATELLITE TELEVISION FLOURISH DESPITE CHALLENGING 
ENVIRONMENT 
 
REF: A. A) 07 ASTANA 654 
 
     B. B) 07 ASTANA 741 
     C. C) 07 ASTANA 1371 
     D. D) 07 ASTANA 2718 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John Ordway; reasons 1.5(b) and (d) 
 
1. (C)  Summary: Kazakhstan is home to the world's largest 
Russian language Christian satellite television network and a 
steadily growing, openly evangelical Pentecostal church, 
surprising facts considering the negative attention the 
country sometimes receives for its treatment of groups that 
are not part of the Muslim,  Russian Orthodox, Catholic, or 
Jewish mainstream.  Though the religious freedom landscape is 
far from perfect, some minority religious groups are able to 
operate very effectively.  End summary. 
 
A MEGA-CHURCH IN ALMATY 
 
2. (C)  Poloff met on December 14, 2007 with Maksim Maksimov, 
founding pastor of the New Life (Pentecostal) Church in 
Almaty and head of a worldwide satellite television ministry 
called New Life Channel ("CNL").  The meeting took place in 
Maksimov's office in the main New Life ministry center in 
Almaty, a multi-building complex including a church, offices, 
classrooms, broadcast production facilities, cafeteria, and 
prayer center. The complex was swarming with dozens of 
staffers and volunteers, and in many respects had the look 
and feel of an American mega-church. 
 
3. (C) Maksimov, who is as much an entrepreneur as he is a 
pastor, founded the first New Life Church in Kazakhstan in 
September 1990. He reports that the denomination is 
registered nationally, and there are approximately 100 New 
Life churches throughout Kazakhstan, with a total of 
8,000-10,000 regular attendees.  In Almaty alone, there are 
seven New Life churches, including a Kazakh-language and a 
Uighur-language church. In addition to traditional church 
activities, the ministry center in Almaty runs a soup kitchen 
for homeless and poor people, provides health care to the 
indigent, trains pastors and missionaries, and organizes 
ministries for deaf people and prisoners. Maksimov said that 
pastors and missionaries trained in Almaty have helped 
establish churches throughout Kazakhstan and other countries 
in the region, and that the church regularly sends 
missionaries abroad, including to China. Maksimov also runs a 
website popular with church members in Kazakhstan; among 
other things, he writes a question and an 
swer column addressing spiritual questions from church 
members (www.maximmaximov.org). 
 
BROADCASTING TO A WORLDWIDE AUDIENCE 
 
4. (C)  Maksimov was most energized when discussing CNL 
(www.CNL.org), which began broadcasting for a few hours a day 
on the local Almaty cable network in December 2000.  In July 
2002, he secured the first satellite contract for the 
network, and has steadily expanded its reach since then. 
Today, CNL is broadcast through three satellites which 
together reach virtually the entire world, with the exception 
of South America. CNL is also shown on over 400 cable 
networks worldwide, including several in Kazakhstan. 
According to Maksimov, it is the largest Russian-language 
Christian television network in the world.  The network 
features some original programming, including broadcasts of 
Maksimov's Sunday morning services, as well as other 
evangelical programming from throughout the world, all 
translated into Russian by the network's in-house translation 
staff.  The ministry center features a separate production 
facility for the network, and is crammed full of young, savvy 
workers pouring over broadcast schedules, d 
esigning graphics, and recording Russian-language 
translations of the programming they have acquired from 
abroad. Maksimov reports that most of their workers are 
trained in-house, and that they are a largely self-sufficient 
operation. The ministry center also offers television 
broadcasting training to interested students from throughout 
Kazakhstan, and actively encourages local churches to use 
television as part of their ministry. 
 
5. (C) CNL does not aQ&N,588

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