08ASTANA685, KAZAKHSTAN – ALMATY NOTES, MARCH 24 – APRIL 7, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA685 2008-04-08 09:53 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO6073
RR RUEHAST
DE RUEHTA #0685/01 0990953
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080953Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2178
INFO RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1897
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 8261
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 8144
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 7312
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 2344
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1527
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY 0367

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000685 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM SOCI KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN - ALMATY NOTES, MARCH 24 - APRIL 7, 2008 
 
 
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. 
 
- Azat Statement Prompted by Aliyev's Conviction 
- OSDP Says Government-Opposition Dialogue Unlikely 
- Shanyrak Finally Registered 
- Kurmanov Arrested for Illegal Protest 
- Shots Fired at Opposition Newspaper Office 
- No Increase in Utility Rates 
 
------------------ --------------------------- 
Azat Statement Prompted by Aliyev's Conviction 
------------------ --------------------------- 
 
2.  In the wake of the recent conviction of ex-Nazarbayev son-in-law 
Rakhat Aliyev on coup-related charges, opposition political party 
Azat (the former True Ak Zhol) issued a statement on March 31 
demanding that all the materials in the Aliyev case be made public. 
The statement also demanded that law enforcement agencies be 
reformed to make their activities transparent; that the Sarsenbayev 
assassination case be reopened; that "politically motivated" 
convictions against Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, Mukhtar Ablyazov and other 
opposition politicians and journalists be reviewed; and that assets 
illegally taken by Aliyev be returned to their rightful owners. 
(www.geokz.net, March 31) 
 
--------------------- -------------------------- 
OSDP Say Government-Opposition Dialogue Unlikely 
--------------------- -------------------------- 
 
3.  "A dialogue with the opposition is not likely to commence 
because there is no will in the government," National Social 
Democratic Party (OSDP) vice chairman Amirzhan Kosanov stated at a 
meeting of the Politon discussion club in Almaty on March 28. 
According to Kosanov, the situation is at a dead-end.  The 
authorities have found themselves in an awkward position because the 
opposition is not represented in parliament and there is no forum 
for political dialogue between the authorities and Kazakhstani 
society.  (Panorama, April 4) 
 
--------------------------- 
Shanyrak Finally Registered 
--------------------------- 
 
4.  The Shanyrak public association has finally been registered by 
the government, Shanyrak leader Asylbek Kozhakhmetov announced at a 
press conference in Almaty on March 25.  This was the fifth request 
for registration that the organization had made.  Shanyrak was set 
up in 2007 with the aim of defending the rights of Almaty residents 
who are facing demolition or seizure of their homes because they 
purportedly do not have legal title to their property.  Besides 
Kozhakhmetov, who was formerly head of the unregistered Alga 
opposition political party, key Shanyrak activists include Kazakh 
nationalist Dos Koshim, Socialist Resistance movement leader Aynur 
Kurmanov, and attorney Yuriy Usov.  Shanyrak claims that last year 
it organized more than 70 rallies and protest actions.  (Svoboda 
Slova, March 27) 
 
-------------- ---------------------- 
Kurmanov Arrested for Illegal Protest 
-------------- ---------------------- 
 
5.  On March 26, an Almaty court sentenced Socialist Resistance 
movement leader Aynur Kurmanov to 10-days in jail for organizing an 
illegal protest.  The court levied fines against two other 
defendants.  The illegal rally was held on March 25 in front of the 
Almaty mayor's office by Almaty residents complaining about the 
meager compensation a private company had agreed to pay them for the 
homes they had been forced to vacate so that the commercial 
buildings can be constructed on their property.  The protestors 
demanded the annulment of the Almaty mayor's February 21, 2006 
degree "On Seizure (Buying Out) of Land Plots for State Needs." 
They contended that the decree contradicts the constitution.  No one 
from the mayor's office came out to meet with the protestors. 
(Kazakhstan Today news agency, March 25; Human Rights Bureau 
Bulletin, March 26) 
 
---------------- ------------------------- 
Shots Fired at Opposition Newspaper Office 
---------------- ------------------------- 
 
6.  Two shots were allegedly fired at the window of the editorial 
office of the opposition newpaper Taszhargan.  Editor Yermurat Bapi 
said he found bullet holes on March 31, but was uncertain as to when 
 
ASTANA 00000685  002 OF 002 
 
 
the incident occurred.  Bapi claimed that the shots were a warning 
aimed at intimidating the paper's editorial staff, since Taszhargan 
recently published a lot of materials about the corruption of 
high-level government officials.  Bapi alleged that the newspaper 
has recently been receiving strange telephone calls, while recent 
issues of the paper have been bought up in mass purchases (i.e., 
with the aim of preventing individuals from buying single copies at 
newsstands).  The police are investigating the shooting incident. 
Bapi said the police had already found a bullet fired fr
om a 
handgun.  (Interfax, April 1) 
 
---------------------------- 
No Increase in Utility Rates 
---------------------------- 
 
7.  During April there will be no increase in utility rates, Agency 
for Regulating Natural Monopolies deputy chairman Murat Ospanov said 
at a press conference in Almaty on March 31.  According to Ospanov, 
over the last three months, utilities filed 80 applications with the 
Agency requesting permission to increase rates.  None were approved, 
and the Agency decided instead to lower rates in 14 cases.  (Express 
K daily, April 1) 
 
ORDWAY

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