09ASTANA558, KAZAKHSTAN: MEDIA REACTION, MARCH 21-27

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA558 2009-03-31 11:36 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO5022
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK
RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW
RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0558/01 0901136
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 311136Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5059
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1426
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0989
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0902
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2239
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2569

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000558 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL EFIN MARR SOCI KPAO KMDR AF RS KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  MEDIA REACTION, MARCH 21-27 
 
1.  SUMMARY: During the week of March 21-27, the Kazakhstani media 
focused on economic issues, ranging from the U.S. government's 
stimulus plans to the effect the economy is having on pushing young 
people out of villages and into the cities.  A lengthy analysis was 
devoted to what Presidents Obama and Medvedev will discuss at the 
G-20 Summit and how Russia and the United States are trying to work 
out new rules of the game in Central Asia.  END SUMMARY. 
 
DOUBTS ABOUT U.S. ANTI-CRISIS MEASURES 
 
2.  The pro-government daily "Liter" said the U.S. administration's 
decision to pass a large stimulus package without waiting for the 
results of the G-20 summit will benefit the United States but not 
the rest of the world.  Russian politicians reportedly welcomed the 
news of the stimulus, saying that the end of the American economy 
was near.  "Liter" added that economists were "very pessimistic," 
noting that "big problems were awaiting the Russian economy as 
well," and that many countries, including Russia and Kazakhstan, 
depend on the dollar in exporting hydrocarbons and importing 
foreign-made equipment--and also repay foreign loans in U.S. 
currency.  According to Olzhas Khudaybergenov, head of the 
Macroeconomic Projects Group, an increase in the money supply is 
neither good nor bad in and of itself, but rather everything depends 
on how the stimulus will be used.  Khudaybergenov said the United 
States "would avoid problems if it directs its money towards 
production and development projects," but that it was "doing quite 
the opposite--spending the money covering bank deficits and paying 
off bad debts, and saving a financial sector that does not produce 
anything."  He predicted that these circumstances would lead to 
serious inflation in the U.S. economy. 
 
RURAL YOUTH SCORNED IN THE CITIES 
 
3.  An article in the "Central Asia Monitor," a pro-government 
weekly, says that young people from villages find themselves in a 
humiliating position because of the scorn they receive from the 
government and from urban youth.  During the ongoing era of 
urbanization, young people from villages have started moving to 
cities in large numbers for better jobs.  The waves of migrants from 
villages have shocked native Almaty residents for some time, though 
an adjustment stage between the two cultures has already occurred. 
Yet "disdain toward young men and women from the villages hasn't 
disappeared," according to the "Monitor."  "Many of these 
Kazakhstanis find themselves in the same humiliating position as 
migrant workers from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, doing dirty and hard 
work at construction sites and markets.  In the meantime, villages 
are dying, along with employment prospects for young people there 
and belief in government."  The urban jobs that draw youth have led 
to social stratification, according to the "Monitor," and, "worse, 
young people couldn't go back to their villages even if they wanted 
to: almost everything in advanced villages is in private hands, and 
young people could count only on low-paying jobs.  Hopes for the 
benefits of capitalism and democracy are being replaced by grief for 
the now distant era of socialism.  This generation may not remember 
those times, but they do know that back then, the government took 
care of its young people." 
 
NEW RULES OF THE GAME IN CENTRAL ASIA? 
 
4.  "Liter" also reported that when President Obama meets President 
Medvedev in London in April 1 on the eve of the G-20 Summit, the 
main topics of discussion, according to Medvedev, will be 
non-proliferation, the current economic crisis, and international 
terrorism.  The presidents will also discuss Central Asia, a region 
which for a long time has given rise to discord among the big 
geopolitical players, particularly the struggle over energy 
resources and oil transportation routes.  "The decline in oil prices 
from $140 to $40 per barrel, however, has significantly decreased 
the energy ambitions of the players.  Now, security issues have 
taken center stage as the Pentagon plans to increase the number of 
troops in Afghanistan up to 60,000," "Liter" reported.  Instability 
in Pakistan and hazy prospects for its "southern corridor" for 
supplies have forced the Americans to look for alternative routes of 
supply for its military.  Russian politicians always expressed 
support
for the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan, "Liter" said, because 
after the Taliban there fell in 2001, financial support for 
 
ASTANA 00000558  002 OF 002 
 
 
separatists dried up, stabilizing the northern Caucasus and leaving 
only small terrorist groups for Russia to confront.  Central Asia 
also benefited from the U.S. war on the Taliban, "Liter" reported, 
"as Takhir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic Movement of 
Turkestan, a most odious terrorist organization, left for Pakistan. 
The longer he stays there, the rarer Central Asian shootings and 
bombings are." 
 
5.  "Liter" wrote that there were no disagreements between Russia 
and the United States in general on the anti-terrorism issue--but 
Russia does fear that the war on terrorism will lead to expansion of 
the American military presence in Central Asia on a permanent basis. 
 In February, President Medvedev said, "The base at Manas existed 
for eight years.  It doesn't seem like anyone agreed on that." 
Still, Russia is willing to support NATO forces in Afghanistan by 
providing transit for NATO's non-lethal goods through its territory, 
even though the issue of transportation of lethal goods remains 
open.  "It looks like Russia is trying to work out new 'rules of the 
game' in Central Asia that will not infringe on its own interests 
and will not lead to a strengthening of NATO's role in the region," 
"Liter" wrote.  "The Americans were given 180 days to leave 
Kyrgyzstan, which means that the White House has some time for 
negotiations--and Russia is ready for such negotiations.  As 
President Medvedev noted today, 'There is every opportunity for 
opening a new page' in relations between Russia and the United 
States." 
 
HOAGLAND

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