09ASTANA380, KAZAKHSTAN: ALMATY NOTES, FEBRUARY 17 – 27

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA380 2009-03-03 07:46 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

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RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS ASTANA 000380 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL SOCI KDEM CH KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  ALMATY NOTES, FEBRUARY 17 - 27 
 
1. The "Almaty Notes" series from U.S. Office Almaty focuses on 
developments in civil society, the media, and the opposition in 
Kazakhstan's "southern capital." 
 
OPPOSITION PARTIES CRITICIZE THE ELECTION LAW 
 
2.  On February 18, four opposition parties -- Azat, the National 
Social Democratic Party (OSDP), Alga and the Communist Party of 
Kazakhstan (CPK) -- issued a joint statement criticizing the 
recently-amended election law, claiming that it is a step backwards 
from democratic norms.  Communist Party leader Serikbolsyn Abdildin 
said that the new legislation would clear the path for "further 
usurpation of power" and limitations on the rights and freedoms of 
the citizenry.  He predicted that only President Nazarbayev's Nur 
Otan party and other pro-presidential parties will be able to get 
into parliament under the amended law.  Alga head Vladimir Kozlov 
argued that the law "nullified" the development of political parties 
and democratization and was aimed primarily at placating the 
international community. 
 
DOLSHIKI AGAIN PICKET THE AKIM'S OFFICE 
 
3.  On February 16, several dozen Almaty "dolshiki" -- i.e., 
individuals who paid money upfront for apartments which have not 
been completed -- picketed the office eof the Almaty Akim (mayor) 
demanding their apartments.   The picket was a reaction to a 
statement by the Akim's press spokesman, Sergey Kuyanov, who claimed 
on February 14 that individuals who made contracts with the Verniy 
construction company would not receive their apartments or their 
investments back.  In response to the picket, a Deputy Akim said 
Kuyanov's statement was his own opinion and did not reflect the 
position of the Akim's office.  The Akim's office subsequently 
released a statement reassuring Almaty residents that the city 
administration had the situation under control and will continue to 
provide legal assistance to "dolshiki" who have filed civil suits 
against the Verniy construction company. 
 
SCIENTISTS AGAINST PRIVATIZATION OF RESEARCH 
 
4.  On February 17, several members of the National Academy of 
Sciences held a press conference to announce their opposition to the 
privatization of research institutions.  The academicians claimed 
that the government's recent reorganization of research institutions 
has ended in failure and has led to the "disappearance" of such 
research facilities as the Institute for State and Law, the 
Institute of Oil and Natural Salts, the Institute of State Research, 
the Astrophysics Institute, and the Kazakh Institute of Mineral 
Resources.  Kazakhstan's researchers have been driven out, and 
research in the basic sciences has been severely crippled, claimed 
the scientists.  The group addressed a letter to President 
Nazarbayev, asking him to look into the situation.  The scientists 
also planned to hold a protest rally on February 20, but the city 
administration did not grant them the appropriate permit. 
 
POLICE CRACK DOWN ON ILLEGAL LABOR 
 
5.  Almaty law enforcement authorities announced that since the 
beginning of the year, almost 3,000 foreign laborers have been 
apprehended, and 276 migrants have been deported.  According to the 
head of Almaty Migration Police, Marat Kezembayev, the police have 
been taking tough measures against illegal foreign labor.  Most of 
the migrants come from near-by CIS countries, specifically 
Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. 
 
CHINESE LANGUAGE AT NATIONAL UNIVERSITY 
 
6.  China's Consul General in Almaty, Sun Linjiang, opened the 
Confucious Institute at the Kazak National University in Almaty. 
The Institute will train students in the Chinese language, in 
accordance with a program created by the University of Lanzhou, 
China. 
 
HOAGLAND

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