08ASTANA2546, KAZAKHSTAN: ALMATY NOTES, DECEMBER 9 – 19

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA2546 2008-12-24 05:12 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO4176
OO RUEHLN RUEHSK RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #2546 3590512
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 240512Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4209
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0972
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY 1042

UNCLAS ASTANA 002546 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL SOCI KDEM KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN: ALMATY NOTES, DECEMBER 9 - 19 
 
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. 
 
CITY AKIM RECEIVES OPPOSITION LEADER ABILOV 
 
2.  The Almaty akim (mayor) Akhmetzhan Yesimov met on December 19 
with Bulat Abilov, leader of the opposition party Azat, who asked 
that the city's central square -- the site of Kazakhstan's first 
anti-Soviet demonstrations -- be renovated and renamed from 
Republican Square to Independence Square.  In 2007, the city 
administration began constructing a huge entertainment center on the 
square, a project that was heavily criticized by many public 
organizations and opposition parties.  The recent economic crisis 
has stalled the construction.  The akim told Abilov that the square 
would be renovated in the near future.  This was the first time the 
Almaty akim received a representative from an opposition party. 
 
RESIDENTS OF ILLEGAL HOUSING STORM CITY HALL 
 
3.  On December 10, approximately 40 protesters picketed the Almaty 
municipal administration building after the akim refused to meet 
with them.  The protesters own houses in the Almaty suburbs that are 
scheduled for demolition.  The Almaty administration contends that 
the houses were built illegally and must be demolished to make room 
for city expansion plans.  The protesters were forcefully removed by 
the police and several leaders were arrested. 
 
MORTGAGE HOLDERS STAGE RALLY ON INDEPENDENCE DAY 
 
4.  On December 16, Kazakhstan's Independence Day, approximately 400 
Almaty residents took part in an unsanctioned rally on the city's 
main square to protest high mortgage payments and construction 
delays on their unfinished apartments.  Representatives of the akim 
and the city's architect attempted to negotiate with the angry 
crowd, but police eventually forcibly dispersed the crowd.  Talmas 
leader Aynur Kurmanov was arrested and sentenced to 15 days in jail 
for organizing the unsanctioned rally. 
 
HOAGLAND

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