08ASTANA2127, KAZAKHSTAN: OPTIMISM IN EAST KAZAKHSTAN OBLAST

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA2127 2008-10-28 09:07 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO6421
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW
RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #2127/01 3020907
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 280907Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3670
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0740
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0140
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0850
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 0067
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0298
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0218
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2024
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1973
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2309
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 002127 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, G/TIP 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ECON EINV KWMN KCRM CH KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  OPTIMISM IN EAST KAZAKHSTAN OBLAST 
 
REF: ASTANA 1867 
 
1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2. (SBU) SUMMARY:  Poloff visited Ust-Kamenogorsk, the 
capital of East Kazakhstan oblast, September 10-13.  In 
addition to attending a Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear 
Terrorism exercise (see reftel), poloff also conducted a 
series of meetings with representatives of industry, 
educational institutions, and non-governmental organizations. 
 East Kazakhstan oblast has a strong industrial base, 
particularly in metallurgy and mining.  While per capital 
income in East Kazakhstan is below the national average, 
poloff's interlocutors expressed satisfaction with local 
economic conditions.   Two NGO representatives described good 
cooperation with local authorities on trafficking in persons 
issues.   Though the oblast borders China, there was no 
evidence of a significant Chinese presence in 
Ust-Kamenogorsk.  END SUMMARY. 
 
STRONG INDUSTRIAL BASE 
 
3. (U) East Kazakhstan oblast is located in Kazakhstan's 
northeastern corner, more than 1,000 miles from Astana.  The 
oblast, which borders both Russia and China, is Kazakhstan's 
third largest in both territory and population.  In contrast 
to Kazakhstan's western oblasts, East Kazakhstan has no major 
hydrocarbon deposits, but it does have a well-developed 
industrial base.   Industry, especially non-ferrous 
metallurgy and mining, dominates the oblast's economy, 
accounting for 31.2% of its GDP.  The once top-secret Ulba 
Metallurgical Plant, which currently produces uranium, 
beryllium, and tantalum byproducts, is the oblast's most 
well-known industrial concern (see septel).  Kazzinc, a 
mining conglomerate, is a second notable East Kazakhstan 
enterprise.  The Asia Auto Joint Stock Company has invested 
$2.15 million in East Kazakhstan to begin the first phase of 
a project to assemble up to 9,000 General Motors automobiles 
per year. 
 
4. (U) East Kazakhstan's most famous local product is honey. 
While in Ust-Kamenogorsk, poloff stopped into a honey store, 
where prices ranged from $2 for 200 gram bottles with 
run-of-the-mill honey to $40 for 1000 gram wooden containers 
with specialty honey.  The store also sold elaborately 
packaged, honey-infused medicinal products, some designed 
"for men" and others "for women," which ranged in price from 
$40 to over $120 per one liter bottle.  Several local 
enterprises have established joint ventures with Chinese and 
South Korean firms to export honey products to Asian markets, 
the honey store's salesperson explained to poloff. 
 
UPBEAT ON ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES 
 
5.  (SBU) According to Kazakhstani government statistics, per 
capital GDP in East Kazakhstan oblast is $4,464, somewhat 
below the national average of $6,870.  Despite these numbers, 
poloff's various interlocutors in Ust-Kamenogorsk without 
exception expressed satisfaction with the current economic 
situation.  Managers from the Ulba Metallurgical Plant and 
Eastern Mining Institute, as well as students from the 
Kazakh-American Free University, all said they were 
optimistic about opportunities for economic development, 
employment, and career advancement in East Kazakhstan (see 
septels). 
 
NGOS REPORT GOOD COOPERATION WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES 
 
6.  (SBU) NGO representatives Nazigul Akhmetkaliyeva and 
Yulia Natarova explained to poloff that they have had good 
 
ASTANA 00002127  002 OF 002 
 
 
cooperation with local authorities.  The two run NGOs which 
provide assistance to victims of trafficking in persons and 
legal consultation services on a number of issues.   The 
anti-trafficking NGO operates an information hot-line, 
provides training to those who assist trafficking victims 
(including police and lawyers), and conducts public education 
campaigns.  Akhmetkaliyeva said that local authorities even 
allowed her NGO to conduct training at government-run 
orphanages.  She described other examples of successful 
cooperation with the authorities on specific trafficking 
cases, including repatriating and rehabilitating a group of 
Kazakhstani women who had been trafficked to the UAE, 
returning a young man who had been a
 victim of forced labor 
in Kazakhstan to Russia, and returning several 
sex-trafficking victims from Kazakhstan back to Uzbekistan. 
According to Akhmetkaliyeva, local authorities 
rendered various types of assistance, from helping to 
coordinate the repatriations with other government entities 
to providing shelter and financial support to victims. 
Akhmetkaliyeva noted that local authorities even provided her 
with transport to travel to neighboring Pavlodar oblast to 
assist with a case that occurred there.  Akhmetkaliyeva 
praised East Kazakhstan officials for their willingness to 
confront, rather than try to conceal, trafficking problems. 
Both Akhmetkaliyeva and Natarova contrasted the good 
cooperation of East Kazakhstan authorities with reports they 
have heard that the authorities in Kazakhstan's southern and 
western regions are less constructive. 
 
OPTIMISM ABOUT RELATIONS WITH CHINA 
 
7.  (SBU) Despite the fact that East Kazakhstan oblast shares 
a long border with China, poloff saw surprisingly few visible 
signs of Chinese influence in Ust-Kamenogorsk.  Local 
residents told poloff that there is a "Chinese bazaar" on 
Saturdays, and that local grocery stores stocked more Chinese 
products than in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, but there were 
no signs of a large Chinese trader or migrant worker 
community.  In addition, Akhmetkaliyeva said that her 
anti-trafficking NGO had dealt with just one or two cases of 
trafficking across the Kazakhstani-Chinese border, which she 
attributed to the fact that the border between Kazakhstan and 
China remains heavily fortified. 
HOAGLAND

Wikileaks

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