09ASTANA870, KAZAKHSTAN: ALGA LEADER DISCUSSES ABLYAZOV, TWO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA870 2009-05-21 04:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

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INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1605
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0982
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0662
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RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 1167
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 1083

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000870 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/21/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ECON SOCI KDEM KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  ALGA LEADER DISCUSSES ABLYAZOV, TWO 
NEW ADMINISTRATIVE CASES AGAINST HIS UNREGISTERED PARTY 
 
REF: A. ASTANA 0662 
     B. ASTANA 0535 
     C. LONDON 0712 
     D. ASTANA 0386 
     E. ASTANA 0286 
     F. ASTANA 0250 
     G. ASTANA 0204 
 
Classified By: CDA Kevin Milas, Reasons 1.4 (b)/(d) 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  On May 18, the leader of the unregistered 
opposition party Alga, Vladimir Kozlov, told us that he 
recently met in London with ousted BTA bank chairman Mukhtar 
Ablyazov, who is Alga's principal financial backer. 
According to Kozlov, Ablyazov will soon declare himself "in 
open opposition" to President Nazarbayev's government and has 
reached out to other "exiled" Kazakhstani political figures 
with a proposal to form a cohesive "opposition in exile" 
group.  Kozlov also told us that the Procurator General's 
Office filed two administrative cases against Alga -- one for 
carrying out political activities without proper 
registration, and another for having a name that closely 
resembles that of a disbanded political party.  A court 
subsequently ruled against Alga in the first case.  The 
second case was adjourned following Alga's application for a 
new name with the Ministry of Justice.  Kozlov believes that 
both cases are politically motivated and are in part aimed at 
Ablyazov.  END SUMMARY. 
 
UNITED OPPOSITION-IN-EXILE? 
 
2.  (C)  On May 18, we met in Astana with Vladimir Kozlov, 
the leader of the unregistered opposition political party 
Alga.  Kozlov explained that he recently returned from 
London, where he met with Mukhtar Ablyazov, the ousted 
chairman of BTA bank and the primary financier of Alga.  As 
reported in reftels, Ablyazov left Kazakhstan for the United 
Kingdom shortly after the government took over BTA in early 
February and is currently under investigation by the 
Kazakhstani authorities for embezzlement.  Kozlov told us 
that Ablyazov plans to declare himself "openly in opposition" 
to President Nazarbayev's "regime" in the near future and has 
apparently reached out to other "exiled" Kazakhstani 
political figures, including former Prime Minister Akezhan 
Kazhegeldin and former Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) 
movement leader Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, with the proposal to 
form a cohesive "opposition in exile" group.  (NOTE: 
Kazhegeldin resides in Britain, and Zhakiyanov has reportedly 
been undergoing long-term medical treatment in China.  END 
NOTE.)  Kozlov reiterated his belief that the government's 
takeover of BTA bank was purely a political move aimed at 
neutralizing Ablyazov as a potential political opponent to 
President Nazarbayev.  (COMMENT:  In fact, several credible 
interlocutors from the international community, including 
EBRD First Vice President Varel Freeman, have told us that 
BTA was non-transparent and seriously mismanaged, and that 
there is evidence of serious criminal wrongdoing at BTA by 
Ablyazov and his associates.  END COMMENT.)  Kozlov also 
shared that Ablyazov is continuing to finance Alga, despite 
the fact that many of his Kazakhstani assets have been 
frozen, and that Ablyazov has begun to take a much more 
active role in the decisions on party policy. 
 
TWO CASES AGAINST ALGA 
 
3. (C)  Kozlov told us that the Procurator General's Office 
(PGO) recently filed two separate administrative cases 
against Alga.  In the first case, the Almaty PGO filed a case 
against the party and Kozlov, as its leader, for carrying out 
political activities without proper registration.  The PGO 
argued that Alga, which has been awaiting formal registration 
as a political party from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) since 
December 2006 and is currently functioning as an organizing 
committee, has published several statements in the media on 
 
ASTANA 00000870  002 OF 002 
 
 
the country's political and economic situation under the name 
"People's Party Alga."  This, in the PGO's view, constitutes 
unregistered political activity and is a breach of 
Kazakhstan's Administrative Code.  Kozlov maintained to the 
court that Alga's actions were in line with those of any new 
party awaiting registration and argued that the PGO should 
file a case against the MOJ for leaving Alga's registration 
in limbo "for 918 days."  He maintained that the recent 
amendments to the political party law could actually 
complicate Alga's
 situation, explaining that they mandate 
that an organizing committee disband if its request to be 
registered as a political party is not granted by the MOJ 
within six months.  Kozlov believes, however, that the new 
amendments should not apply to Alga's situation since the 
legislation is not retroactive.  On May 19, the day after our 
meeting with Kozlov, the Almaty Administrative Court found 
him guilty of carrying out political activities without Alga 
being registered as a political party, and fined him 127,300 
tenge (approximately $850).  Kozlov intends to appeal the 
ruling. 
 
4. (SBU)  The second case against Alga was filed by the PGO 
with the Astana City Court.  In its motion, the PGO 
challenged the name of Alga's organizing committee, 
"Alga-DVK," which was officially registered by the MOJ in 
2007.  The acronym "DVK" stands for "Demokraticheskiy Vybor 
Kazakhstana" -- Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan -- and is a 
reference to the opposition political movement that previous 
united many of today's opposition leaders and whose political 
heir Alga considers itself to be.  The original DVK was shut 
down by the courts in January 2005 for allegedly calling for 
the violent overthrow of the government.  As Kozlov explained 
to us, the PGO is now demanding that Alga-DVK's registration 
be rescinded since a part of its name closely resembles that 
of a disbanded political party.  Rather than challenge the 
PGO's case, Kozlov has instead applied for re-registration 
with the MOJ under a new name, "Alga - D&K" (Democracy & 
Kazakhstan).  The Astana City Court opted on May 18 to 
adjourn the case pending the outcome of Alga's 
re-registration request.  In the interim, Kozlov announced 
his intention to file a case against the ruling Nur Otan 
party for sharing a name with"Otan," a relatively 
insignificant public association. 
 
KOZLOV SEES POLITICS BEHIND BOTH CASES 
 
5.  (C)  Kozlov sees both cases as government attempts to 
neutralize "a growing political force."  "We are expanding," 
he asserted, "and this is uncomfortable for Nur Otan."  He 
also believes the cases to be part of a broader campaign 
against Mukhtar Ablyazov.  "The government has seized 
(Ablyazov's) economic assets, and now it is going after (his) 
political assets," he claimed.  Kozlov predicted that such 
cases against Alga are going to increase, but expressed 
optimism about the party's future.  "Whatever does not kill 
us will make us stronger," he joked in English. 
 
MILAS

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