09ASTANA672, KAZAKHSTAN: LIFE ON THE STEPPE, APRIL 11-17

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA672 2009-04-20 11:53 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO4061
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RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW
RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0672/01 1101153
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201153Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5203
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1509
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0887
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1590
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0574
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 1072
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0986
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY 1432

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000672 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ECON SOCI SENV KCRM KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  LIFE ON THE STEPPE, APRIL 11-17 
 
ASTANA 00000672  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1.  This is another in a series of weekly cables drawn mostly from 
public media, as well as think-tank, NGO, and opposition web-sites, 
selected to show the diversity of life in Kazakhstan, and 
information about it available to citizens of Kazakhstan.  Our goal 
is to choose what might interest and be of use to various end-users 
in Washington and -- especially -- to provide a more complex view 
from the other side of the world, illustrating the vitality (and 
sometimes the quirkiness) of discourse available to citizens of 
Kazakhstan. 
 
POLICE FORCE IN LISAKOVSK PURGED FOLLOWING INCIDENTS 
 
2. The town of Lisakovsk in Kostanai oblast witnessed a major 
shakeup of its police force.  Five policemen were dishonorably 
discharged, five others resigned, and another nine received 
warnings.  Local residents, used to the antics of local policemen 
which they engaged in with apparent impunity, reacted with both 
relief and surprise.  The two drops which have caused the vase to 
finally overflow were recent incidents at a local cafe called 
Maksim.  On two separate occasions, drunken off-duty policemen beat 
up other patrons to the point where they had to seek medical care. 
Moreover, on both occasions, police patrols called by other 
residents not only did not intervene, but also failed to report any 
incidents.  Following these events and a flood of complaints by 
victims and witnesses, regional law enforcement brass decided that 
the situation finally deserved their attention.  "Those who should 
protect the law are the ones breaking it," the deputy chief of the 
Department of Internal Affairs of Kostanai oblast told the disgraced 
officials during their disciplinary hearings.  "You all acted as if 
you were your own bosses, your own prosecutors, and your own judges. 
 Hand over your badges." 
 
DAM BREAKS, LOCAL "ENTREPRENEURS" LAUNCH MINI-FERRY SERVICE 
 
3.  As the spring slowly makes itself felt in Kostanai oblast, local 
residents are bracing themselves for the annual flood season. 
Experts claim there is no real danger of a major flood, but 
overflowing rivers are making lives difficult for many residents, 
especially those living in sparsely inhabited rural areas.  Kozyrevk 
and Krasnooktyabrskiy, two neighboring villages in the center of the 
oblast, are normally connected by a road running on a narrow dike, 
but they became separated when a usually small river broke through 
the feeble dam.  According to local residents, the dike break occurs 
annually, almost as if on schedule.  Dodging of responsibility of 
who will be in charge of repairing the dike is also an annual 
occurrence.  Happy are only those 20 Kozyrevk elementary school 
students who attend school in Krasnooktyabrskiy.  It took local 
officials several days to arrange for a school bus to bring the 
children to school via a different route.  Also quite content with 
the situation are some entrepreneurs who launched a mini-ferry 
service between the two small villages for a fare of 50 tenge 
($0.33) a person. 
 
UNSUCCESSFUL SALESMAN PAID IN ICE CREAM CAKE 
 
4.  A frozen goods producer from Pavlodar is reportedly using rather 
drastic means to motivate its sales staff.  According to several 
employees, salespeople who do not meet their monthly sales quotas 
receive unsold ice cream in lieu of their salaries.  To make matters 
even worse, the frozen goods that they receive are past their 
expiration date.  Yuriy Zhakiyanov, who was previously warned about 
the practices of Smak, the Pavlodar firm, did not think twice when 
he received a call from the warehouse to come pick up his salary. 
Yet, as he quickly discovered, he found himself among the 
"unproductive" salesmen and brought home eight ice cream cakes in 
lieu of part of his salary.  Anatoliy Fesikov, Smak's director, 
claims that such practices do not exist.  In the meantime, 
Zhakiyanov's parents turned to local authorities to investigate the 
firm's strange motivational practices.  Zhakiynov himself summarized 
the ordeal as follows:  "I, of course, love sweets -- but not in 
such quantity and in such (bad) quality.  But they told us: 'You 
couldn't sell, so go ahead and eat.'" 
 
DRIVER'S LICENSE DEALER ADVERTISES HIS SERVICES, GETS CAUGHT 
 
5.  Last week, Almaty police detained a sophomore at KIMEP 
university under suspicion of fraud.  According to the police, the 
student posted a classified ad on a public Internet website 
 
ASTANA 00000672  002.2 OF 00
2 
 
 
advertising his driver's license "business."  For 50,000 tenge 
(approximately $333), he offered to provide anyone with a driver's 
license without having to pass a driving test and an oral exam. 
When contacted by a police officer posing as a potential customer, 
the student doubled his fee and promised that he would take the 
driving test and smooth out any possible complications with the road 
police.  Not surprisingly, when finally apprehended, the young 
"entrepreneur" admitted that he had a good friend at the road police 
in East Kazakhstan oblast, with whose help he ran his driver's 
license "business." 
 
GIANT MUSHROOMS CAN FEED A VILLAGE 
 
6.  Mushroom pickers in Moiynkumskiye Peski in the Zhambyl oblast in 
southern Kazakhstan were ecstatic about their recent find.  Local 
mushroom enthusiasts found several Boletus edulis, more commonly 
known as porcini mushrooms, weighing more than two pounds each. 
"One such mushroom is enough to make soup for an entire small 
village," one lucky finder bragged.  Reportedly, the unique size is 
due to unusually high rainfall this spring -- and not to anything 
more ominous, such as radioactivity or chemical waste. 
 
HOAGLAND

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