09ASTANA480, KAZAKHSTAN: ALMATY NOTES, MARCH 2-13

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA480 2009-03-17 09:52 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

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RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
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FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
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INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1373
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0750
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1453
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2215
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RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0933
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0846
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000480 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ECON EFIN ELAB SOCI KDEM KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  ALMATY NOTES, MARCH 2-13 
 
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." 
 
ALMATY MASLIKHAT ELECTIONS 
 
2.  Bi-elections for the Almaty maslikhat (local legislature) will 
take place on March 29.  According to the city's electoral 
commission, 28 candidates will be competing for three seats.  Only 
one of the candidates is officially representing a political party 
-- in this case, the small, pro-government Adilet party -- with the 
rest having registered themselves as "independents."  The key 
opposition parties are boycotting the bi-elections, claiming that 
the electoral system is inherently unfair. 
 
OPPOSITION PARTIES MULLING OVER STABILITY MEMORANDUM 
 
3.  The opposition Azat party, National Social Democratic Party 
(NSDP), and Communist Party are still mulling over whether to sign a 
"memorandum on stability" initiated by the ruling Nur Otan party. 
The memorandum includes a promise to refrain from protest actions 
until the economic situation improves.  On March 13, several 
pro-government parties -- Rukhaniyat (Spirituality), Adilet 
(Justice), the People's Communist Party, and the Party of the 
Patriots -- signed the memorandum.  Alikhan Baimenov's Ak Zhol 
party, sometimes considered to be the government's "pocket 
opposition," is expected to sign soon.  Nur Otan party secretary 
Yerlan Karin criticized Azat, OSDP, and the Communist Party for 
being dilatory in signing the memorandum, saying they must be too 
busy "coordinating their positions."  OSDP deputy head Amirzhan 
Kosanov told "Novaya Gazeta" newspaper that the three parties are 
"no simpletons" who would blindly sign on to a document put together 
unilaterally by Nur Otan. 
 
DIRE STRAITS FOR SMALL- AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESS 
 
4.  The Independent Association of Entrepreneurs issued an appeal to 
President Nazarbayev to take urgent action to improve the economic 
situation.  Small- and medium-sized enterprises are in dire straits, 
said the statement, and if the situation does not improve, the 
Association will organize a protest rally on March 22.  In their 
appeal, these entrepreneurs asked for assistance in refinancing 
loans, postponing debt payments, and allowing them to pay back 
dollar-denominated loans in tenge. 
 
NUR OTAN, AZAT PARTIES DISCUSS HOUSING ISSUES 
 
5.  The opposition Azat party and the ruling Nur Otan party 
discussed Almaty housing issues during a meeting of the Almaty city 
administration's Council on Social Conflicts.  Both parties are 
represented on the Council.  The issues discussed included illegally 
constructed houses in the Bakai district and "dolshiki" (i.e., 
individuals who invested money into apartments that were never 
completed).  Over 350 families in the Bakai area are seeking to 
legalize the houses they built without proper land ownership rights, 
but the local administration said it does not have the authority to 
do this.  The Council recommended that every case be considered 
individually and decided to set up a working group on the problems 
of the "dolshiki."  The Council also decided to ask the Procurator 
General to file a criminal case against Oleg Nam, a member of the 
Almaty maskikhat and owner of the KUAT construction company.  He has 
been accused of failing to pay KUAT employees for more than one 
year.  The Council will also appeal to the masklikhat to unseat Nam 
as a maslikhat member. 
 
"DOLSHIKI" PICKET DISTRESSED ASSET FUND 
 
6.  On March 11, "dolshiki" from the "Leave the Houses to People" 
movement picketed the office of the government's Distressed Assets 
Fund in Almaty.  The activists wanted to meet with the head of the 
fund, but were told that he was out.  The protesters threatened an 
escalation of protest actions if the Distressed Assets Fund does not 
immediately buy out their bad mortgages.  The activists delivered a 
petition and then dispersed. 
 
ASTANA 00000480  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
INSPECTION REVEALS LABOR VIOLATIONS 
 
7.  A procurator from Almaty's Bostandyk district inspected 22 large 
companies in Almaty and discovered numerous violations of labor law. 
 The most frequent violation is a failure to pay employees their 
salaries.  As a resu
lt of the inspections, almost 2,000 employees 
received their wage arrears.  At some companies, management paid to 
local workers salaries two to three times lower than those paid to 
expatriate employees.  Their licenses to hire foreign employees have 
been revoked by a court. 
 
HOAGLAND

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