08ASTANA1236, KAZAKHSTAN – ALMATY NOTES, JUNE 23 – JULY 4, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA1236 2008-07-10 02:41 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO3337
RR RUEHAST
DE RUEHTA #1236/01 1920241
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 100241Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2727
INFO RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1929
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 8299
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 8171
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 7334
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 2371
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1538
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY 0543

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 001236 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN - ALMATY NOTES, JUNE 23 - JULY 4, 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. 
 
Opposition Parties Propose Legislation 
-------------------------------------- 
 
2.  On June 24, the opposition Azat party and National Social 
Democratic Party (OSDP) went public with their own specific 
proposals for amending Kazakhstan's legislation on elections, 
political parties, the media, and freedom of assembly.  The parties 
explained that their aim was to advance implementation of 
Kazakhstan's Madrid commitments on democratic reform.  According to 
Azat leader Bulat Abilov, "seven months have passed since 
Kazakhstan's bid for the OSCE chairmanship was approved, but no 
legislative changes have yet been introduced to parliament; if the 
Madrid commitments are not fulfilled, the reputation of the country 
will be damaged." 
 
Abilov Comments on Nazarbayev Speech 
------------------------------------ 
 
3. Azat leader Abilov also commented on President Nazarbayev's June 
29 address to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session in Astana, in 
which Nazarbayev publicly discussed the Madrid commitments for the 
first time.  "We learned nothing new from the President's speech, 
but do not doubt that a 'two-party system' will be introduced in 
parliament," Abilov said.  Abilov contended that with two parties in 
parliament, 90 per cent of the seats would in any event wind up in 
the hands of Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party.  As a result, the 
government would control parliament just as it has previously. 
 
Aldamzharov Joins Communist Party 
--------------------------------- 
 
4.  Gaziz Aldamzharov has joined the Communist Party and has been 
elected to its leadership as a party secretary.  From 1998 to 2001, 
Aldamzharov was Deputy Chairman of the opposition Republican 
People's Party of Kazakhstan, which was founded by former Prime 
Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin. In 2003, Aldamzharov left the 
opposition and was appointed by President Nazarbayev to be 
Kazakhstan's ambassador to Belarus. 
 
Hunger Strike Ended 
------------------- 
 
5.  On June 21, a group of Almaty residents ended a two-week hunger 
strike which they had initiated to protest an effort to seize their 
property to build more lucrative residences.  Following negotiations 
with representatives of a local construction company, they reached 
an agreement on satisfactory compensation for their homes.  A 
separate hunger strike ended a week earlier, when the Almaty city 
administration reversed a plan to seize the land of another group of 
residents. 
 
New District in Almaty 
---------------------- 
 
6. On June 2, the Almaty city maslikhat (legislature) approved 
Almaty mayor Akmetzhan Yesimov's decision to establish a new city 
district (rayon) which will include illegally-constructed 
settlements on the city's outskirts.  According to the Interfax news 
agency, in the past, the city administration held an uncompromising 
position toward houses illegally constructed by rural migrants, 
which included attempts by the city to demolish such dwellings. 
However, Yesimov holds a different position.  His administration 
plans to develop the infrastructure of the new district and to 
resolve the socio-economic problems of its residents. 
 
Almaty City Administration Discusses Problems 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
7.  At a June 27 city government meeting, Almaty mayor Yesimov 
harshly criticized his subordinates, accusing them of failing to be 
proactive in dealing with issues like public protests.  He argued 
that the incitement of inter-ethnic hatred in Almaty was an urgent 
problem, with some individuals attempting to exacerbate social 
tensions.  Almaty's deputy mayor cited other problems, such as 
migration and new religions.  Since 1991, he contended, the number 
of religious associations in the city has increased twelve-fold, and 
the activities of some of them are quite dubious.  The city 
prosecutor agreed that there has been an escalation in inter-ethnic 
tensions.  He added that over the past 18 months, law enforcement 
officials have recorded 12 cases of dissemination of "extremist 
literature." 
 
ASTANA 00001236  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
ORDWAY

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