09ASTANA139, KAZAKHSTAN: LIFE ON THE STEPPE, JANUARY 17-23

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09ASTANA139.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA139 2009-01-23 11:23 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO3792
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW
RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHROV
RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0139 0231123
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231123Z JAN 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4433
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1084
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHVV/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0482
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1188
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0657
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0571
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS ASTANA 000139 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM SOCI KPAO KDEM KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  LIFE ON THE STEPPE, JANUARY 17-23 
 
1.  The following is another of the weekly cables from Embassy 
Astana with tidbits on daily life in Kazakhstan. 
 
UPROAR LEADS TO RETENTION OF NATIONALITY IN PASSPORTS 
2.  On January 5, Kazakhstan began issuing new, electronic 
passports.  Complying with international conventions, the new 
documents dropped "nationality" designations which up to now had 
been included in Kazakhstani passports. (NOTE:  In this context, 
"nationality" means ethnicity.  END NOTE.)   The nationality 
designation is a relic of the Soviet days when all Soviet passports 
included such information.  With Kazakhstan's decision to drop the 
nationality designation, the only CIS countries to continue using it 
would have been Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. 
3.  The absence of the nationality designation, however, set off a 
storm of indignation that unified Kazakhstan's parliament, the 
political opposition, and the media.  Those opposing the exclusion 
of the nationality designation argued that the step would lead to 
"denationalization" and a gradual loss of ethnic identity among 
Kazakhstan's multi-ethnic population.  (COMMENT:  There are more 
than 120 ethnic groups living in Kazakhstan.  END COMMENT.)  Not 
surprisingly, the government quickly backtracked, and, on January 19 
Prime Minister Karim Masimov asked the Ministry of Justice, which is 
in charge of issuing passports, to reintroduce the nationality 
designation.   However, Minister of Justice Zagipa Baliyeva stressed 
that according to the Kazakhstani constitution, citizens can choose 
which nationality they want recorded in their Kazakhstani travel 
documents. 
KAZAKHSTANIS BELIEVE OBAMA BRINGS HOPE NOT JUST FOR AMERICA 
4.  Radio Azattyk, the Kazakhstani service of Radio Free 
Europe/Radio Liberty, took the pulse of public opinion following the 
inauguration of President Barack Obama.  Most respondents expressed 
hope that the new administration would bring change, not just for 
the United States but for the entire world.  Some suggested that the 
spirit of change may reach as far as Kazakhstan, while others 
remained skeptical about the prospects for positive change in their 
home country.  The deputy chairman of the Azat opposition party, 
Petr Svoik, compared President Obama to Mikhail Gorbachev.  Svoik 
believes that, Obama's tenure, just like Gorbachev's, will be marked 
by events of great significance, but warned that Obama himself might 
end up with limited influence on the processes initiated by his own 
reforms.  Seitkazy Matayev, Chairman of the Union of Journalists, 
said that Obama's election proved to the world that "there is true 
democracy in the United States." 
UNIVERSITIES MAY EXPEL THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS 
5.  As many as 200,000 students unable to afford tuition fees are 
facing the prospect of being expelled from universities, local media 
reported.  Feeling the pinch of the economic crisis in the country, 
many students and their parents find themselves without their own 
means, or access to loans, to pay for increasingly more expensive 
education.  In the last few years, many Kazakhstani universities 
have raised their tuition.  In Almaty, Kazakhstan's biggest city, 
the average tuition has risen to approximately $4,000.  An 
organization of concerned parents already asked universities to 
lower the tuition and allow delays in payments, and called on the 
government to step in and help provide financial assistance. 
6.  The Ministry of Education and Science cautioned that the public 
should not jump to conclusions.  While they admitted occasional 
cases of students being unable to finish their degrees because they 
were not able to come up with the tuition, they said that the 
figures given by activists are greatly exaggerated.  Nevertheless, 
the authorities acknowledged the problem and the possible 
consequences of high tuition.  Prime Minister Masimov instructed the 
Ministry of Education and Science and public universities to find a 
solution quickly, since, in Masimov's words, "this issue is turning 
from a purely economic one into purely political one." 
PUBLISHER "DONATES" MEDIA COMPANY TO RULING PARTY 
7.  Yerlan Bekhozhin, the head of Liter Media, which publishes daily 
newspapers Aikyn (in Kazakh) and Liter (in Russian), reportedly 
decided to "donate" his company to Nur Media, a media holding 
company recently established by the ruling Nur Otan party.  "At the 
time of this economic crisis, I wanted to contribute something to 
the ruling party, even though I am not a member," he said.  "Just 
imagine if everyone simply
gave away his or her beloved assets to 
the party, how easily we would survive the crisis!"  Bekhozhin 
himself, however, does not see his own future with Nur Media.  "I 
will think about doing something new, since it's not the first time 
I have had to start over." 
 
HOAGLAND

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: