09ASTANA187, KAZAKHSTAN: LIFE ON THE STEPPE, JANUARY 24-30

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA187 2009-01-31 02:32 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

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RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0187/01 0310232
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 310232Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4490
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1116
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0514
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1220
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0690
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0606
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000187 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM EPET SOCI KDEM KCRM KWMN KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  LIFE ON THE STEPPE, JANUARY 24-30 
 
1.  The following is part of a series of weekly cables from Embassy 
Astana with tidbits on daily life in Kazakhstan. 
 
KARAGANDA DISABLED: "SEX PLEASE" 
 
2.  A disability rights group in Karaganda called on the government 
to legalize prostitution and to provide disabled people with special 
"cards or checks for a specified amount to be used (to pay) for the 
services of commercial sex," local media reported.  Tirlik 
("Everyday Life") chairwoman Roza Petrus said Kazakhstan's disabled 
people have limited possibilities for intimacy and "that affects 
their physical and mental health.  Call-girls, who offer sex in 
classified advertisements, refuse to come when they learn the client 
is disabled.  The simply hang up the phone or turn away at the 
door."  According to Petrus, the problem does not apply specifically 
to men:  "The majority of disabled people in Kazakhstan are women. 
They are physically handicapped, but in every respect are women that 
want to be loved." 
 
3.  Not waiting for the government to act, some prostitutes took it 
upon themselves to remedy the situation.  Last week, Petrus happily 
announced that she received unexpected support from the Karaganda 
sex workers.  "Representatives of commercial sex services approached 
me," Petrus said, "and said that at a general meeting they decided 
to offer their services to Karaganda's handicapped with steep 
discounts of up to 90 percent," Karavan newspaper reported.  "I am 
very happy that at least the prostitutes showed real compassion and 
understanding of our problems," she added. 
 
4.  Tirlik's request was an impressive publicity stunt, yet it also 
points to a deeper problem, literally hidden from the public. 
According to a World Bank discussion paper published last year, 
around 405,000 Kazakhstanis -- 2.7 percent of the total population 
-- receive state social disability allowances.  Legislation covering 
the interests of the disabled is nominally quite liberal, granting a 
quota for university places and employment.  On a societal level, 
however, people with physical and mental disabilities are 
effectively sidelined from public life.  It is very rare to see 
disabled people in Kazakhstan, and most cities remain poorly 
equipped to deal with physically handicapped people. 
 
KAZAKHSTANI CRIMINALS TAP INTO OIL PIPELINE 
 
5.  A recent rise in criminal activity resulting from the current 
economic crisis has provided some examples of real ingenuity and 
out-of-the-box thinking on part of the Kazakhstani criminals.  Last 
week, police in Almaty oblast arrested members of a criminal group 
that ran a complex operation to siphon off crude oil from the 
Atasu-Alashankou pipeline which takes Kazakhstani petroleum to 
China. 
 
6.  A team of criminals from various parts of Kazakhstan decided to 
forgo the usual petty theft and other schemes, and put its eyes on 
the real prize of Kazakhstan.  Despite the recent fall in the price 
of oil, the potential for profits in oil trading remain huge, 
especially since stealing entails virtually zero production costs. 
Yet like drilling for oil in the ground, drilling for oil flowing 
inside a pipeline is a technologically difficult operation.  To 
overcome the technological challenges, the group apparently 
recruited engineers, welders and other specialists -- and a security 
team armed with automatic weapons to protect the operation from 
unwelcome surprises. 
 
7.  The group drilled several holes into the pipeline, which runs 
from oil fields in southern Kazakhstan through the Almaty region to 
China, and then pumped oil into tank trucks waiting nearby.  Each 
drilling operation took twenty minutes.  The police became involved 
after a tip-off from the Chinese and directed their focus on the 
usual suspects: local criminal groups and insiders from a local oil 
trading company and security firm.   After an initial investigation, 
seventeen people were arrested during one "oil drilling operation." 
The whole incident has a touch of an international scandal that has 
the Chinese up in arms.  Closer to home, however, Kazakhstan's 
"Rybachinskie" organized crime group, which operates in Almaty 
oblast, has reportedly expressed unhappiness about the competition. 
 
VILLAGERS LEFT TOO CLOSE TO OIL FIELD 
 
8.  A district court in Astana has agreed to review a lawsuit 
against the government which alleged that it failed to ensure the 
 
ASTANA 000001
87  002 OF 002 
 
 
relocation of people living close to the Karachaganak oil field. 
Three Kazakhstani NGOs -- Crude Accountability-backed Green 
Salvation, Shanyrak, and Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human 
Rights -- filed the lawsuit last year on behalf of the residents of 
the village of Berezovka.  Part of the village is located in the 
sanitary protection zone around Karachaganak, which by law should be 
left uninhabited for environmental safety reasons.  According to the 
lawsuit, the government was responsible for relocating the residents 
of the village, but failed to act.  "At the end of the day, it is 
not they (the local residents) that came to populate the oil field, 
it is (the oil company) which came to occupy their land," writes 
Kazakhstani newspaper "Megapolis."  Karachaganak Petroleum Operating 
(KPO), the operator of the Karachanak field, maintains that, while 
aware of the dispute, it has no influence on the decision. 
 
HOAGLAND

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