09ASTANA625, KAZAKHSTAN: OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE RELATIVELY

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. #09ASTANA625.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA625 2009-04-13 09:47 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO8248
PP 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 #0625/01 1030947
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 130947Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5150
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 1484
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0862
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 0549
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1565
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 1047
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY 0961
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2596
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2266

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000625 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR/ACE, EEB, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM EAID SOCI KDEM KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE RELATIVELY 
OPTIMISTIC, SEEKS TO DEFINE ITS ROLE 
 
1.  (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2.  (SBU) SUMMARY:  The Soros Foundation's Open Society 
Institute's (OSI) Executive Director in Kazakhstan judges 
that the government of Kazakhstan's political will to provide 
access to government-related information is "spotty but 
encouraging."  She laments lack of attention to vulnerable 
groups, including terminally ill patients and sexual 
minorities.  She questions the government's political will to 
increase freedom of expression.  She said OSI intends to 
focus its programmatic attention this year on young business 
leaders.  Freely admitting OSI in the recent past has had 
somewhat of an adversarial relationship with other donors 
concerned with democracy and human rights, she said she 
intends to seek greater communication and cooperation with 
the donor community.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  (SBU) The Ambassador met with the Soros Foundation's Open 
Society Institute (OSI) Executive Director Anna Alexandrova 
(a Canadian citizen of ethnic-Russian origin) in Almaty on 
April 10.  He asked for her candid evaluation of Kazakhstan's 
status on democracy and human rights.  She responded that she 
is divided on this question, but relatively optimistic.  On 
the one hand, she sees real momentum forward, backed by 
apparently sincere political will from the top, on a number 
of important issues, including increased transparency, at the 
same time that the government's commitment to freedom of 
expression and attention to most-vulnerable groups is lagging. 
 
ELECTRONIC ACCESS TO INFORMATION SPOTTY BUT GETTING BETTER 
 
4.  (SBU) Alexandrova praised the Government of Kazakhstan's 
apparently sincere commitment to complete the validation for 
the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). 
She said she was especially encouraged that a number of 
senior Kazakhstani officials are fully committed, and even 
enthusiastic, about meeting this international goal.  Further 
on transparency, she said OSI has completed a survey of 
Government of Kazakhstan web sites and has found "significant 
political will" to provide citizens access to government 
information.  She said the Accounting Committee's web site is 
"superb" with its detailed information about the national 
budget and spending priorities, the web site www.zakon.kz 
that posts legislative information is "spotty but generally 
encouraging, and the Ministry of Interior's web site is 
"surprisingly not bad."  She judged the worst web site for 
providing the public access to policy and information is the 
Ministry of Education's. 
 
MOST VULNERABLE GROUPS:  TERMINALLY ILL AND SEXUAL MINORITIES 
 
5.  (SBU) Alexandrova said she personally would like to focus 
OSI's attention on the "most vulnerable groups."  She cited 
two as of greatest concern -- terminally ill patients and 
sexual minorities.  She lamented that the Government of 
Kazakhstan's health-care system does not guarantee terminally 
ill patients access to pain-killing opiates.  She said it is 
an uphill battle to get anyone to pay attention to this need 
because it's "such a foreign concept to the medical 
establishment in Kazakhstan." 
 
6.  (SBU) She also expressed concern about the 
Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender (GLBT) community, which she 
mentioned was her professional focus before she came to 
Kazakhstan.  Alexandrova said OSI is in touch quietly with a 
lesbian NGO, Amulet, led by an out-spoken ethnic-Russian 
activist, and a gay NGO, Adilet (Justice), whose leadership 
is more quiet.  She said even though these small groups 
desire to be more activist, they have little support from 
their natural constituencies, because gay men and lesbians 
tend to meet and socialize privately "below the radar" in 
 
ASTANA 00000625  002 OF 002 
 
 
Kazakhstan.  Alexandrova alleged that a number of 
high-profile government and business figures are gay and 
lesbian, and that their lovers are well known "within certain 
circles," but cultural standards prevent these big names from 
"coming out."  She noted that Almaty is well-known in Cen
tral 
Asia as a sort of sexual-minority haven, with its several gay 
and lesbian bars and nightclubs, which are, nevertheless, 
subject to occasional police harassment, including 
shake-downs of clients.  She said the GLBT issue is not an 
identified priority for OSI in Kazakhstan, although it's a 
general OSI priority.  Even so, she said she is personally 
encouraging the handful of gay and lesbian activists to use 
litigation to move their issues toward public recognition. 
 
ETHNIC FRICTION 
 
7.  (SBU) Alexandrova said she is worried that ethnic 
conflict is growing.  When pressed to explain -- since this 
judgment is generally contrary to common perception in 
Kazakhstan -- she said that some ethnic Russians and other 
"European" non-Kazakhs have complained to her privately that 
they feel disadvantaged in independent Kazakhstan and would 
prefer to return to the standards of the Soviet era.  In 
further discussion, she admitted this might simply be normal 
post-colonial experience. 
 
WHERE TO FOCUS? 
 
8.  (SBU) Alexandrova said she would like OSI to focus 
attention on freedom of expression, where (she said) 
"political will is lacking."  Specifically, she cited 
occasional attacks on journalists, and "unproven but 
apparently official" harassment of opposition and independent 
media web sites, especially against www.zona.kz and 
www.respublika.kz  When the Ambassador acknowledged these 
problems but pointed out the surprising amount of political 
debate and criticism of the government in the print media, 
Alexandrova said she agreed; but she noted that the 
international community tends not to monitor the day-to-day 
press in detail and, thus, "doesn't get this nuance" because 
foreign analysts focus mainly on high-profile problems. 
 
OSI PRIORITIES? 
 
9.  (SBU) Alexandrova did not shy away from admitting OSI 
needs to regain its footing in Kazakhstan.  She freely stated 
that her predecessor had employed "a bit of a 
divide-and-conquer strategy," going it alone rather than 
working with other donors committed to promoting democracy 
and human rights.  She said she sincerely hopes to repair the 
damage this caused and re-establish communication and 
cooperation.  When asked where OSI intends to concentrate its 
energies, Alexandrova lamented that OSI tends to work from "a 
menu of global programs," rather than craft country-specific 
agendas.  She said the best compromise solution she has found 
so far is for OSI to "choose from the menu" the theme of 
"youth engagement," which means she will focus for this 
current year on young business leaders.  She praised the 
"Bolashak Generation" as the great hope for the future of 
Kazakhstan. 
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: