23 january 2019
Central Asia news: Kazakhstan
A group of guests from Europe visited Kazakhstan from 26 October to 4 November. Journalist and human rights defender from Helsinki Oksana Chelysheva, Finnish photographer Kukka Ranta and Latvian photographer Maris Morkans went to the Central Asian republic to find about the situation there ioday, almost a year after the tragic events in Zhanaozen. Now, having talked to local residents and gathered a lot of documentary material, they are determined to lobby in Europe for political prisoners in Kazakhstan. A visible result of their journey is a photography exhibition “Kazakhstan with European eyes”, which is currently being prepared.
Makset Djabbarbergenov – a Protestant pastor wanted in his home country of Uzbekistan for "illegal" religious teaching and literature distribution – has been arrested by the authorities of Kazakhstan, where he sought refuge in 2007. He was detained after police held his sister-in-law for two weeks to find his whereabouts, family members told Forum 18 News Service. A court ordered on 7 September Djabbarbergenov be held in detention until Kazakhstan's General Prosecutor's Office decides whether to send him back. "As a person I can say this is not right," Daniyar Zharykbasov of Almaty's Bostandyk District Prosecutor's Office told Forum 18. "But we have to follow the rules." In June the United Nations Committee Against Torture condemned Kazakhstan for sending back 28 Uzbek Muslim refugees and asylum seekers in 2011. They were arrested on their return and at least some received long prison terms.
The court case against Vladimir Kozlov, Serik Sapargali and Akjanat Aminov, which has been ongoing for more than 20 days in Aktau, can already be rightfully called Kazakhstan’s first big political court case. The accused are the leader of the opposition unregistered party Alta! and two social activists. Andrei Grishin, journalist from Kazakhstan International Bureau of Human Rights and the Rule of Law, writes for Fergana.ru.
Today’s ruling class in Kazakhstan has completely lost its capacity for an open political struggle in absence of administrative resource as an unfair advantage. All of a sudden, the political system cherished by Nazarbaev throughout the “years of reform and progress” has grown into a main threat for the desirable stability of Nazarbaev’s regime. The only way for him to win an election today is through suppression of opponents using force, courts, and intimidation, relying upon the dependent government and local self-governments, imposing political censorship and resorting to hypocritical support from his “Eurasian” friends and “international community”. Nazarbaev (and Putin) has long missed his chance for a breakthrough in modernization, following the Chinese pattern (on any other pattern, anyway). Holding out promises of fair elections and transparent competition, but sinking into lies, in reality, Nazarbaev unavoidably leads the country towards huge social, economic and political problems in the nearest future. The enormous gap between authorities playing the game of democracy and the ordinary people is ever growing. In case of another Zhanaozen, no satellite parties or the puppet parliament are going to rescue the regime.
If people show their discontent quietly, it can just be ignored. Once people take to active actions, they need to be “turned” into terrorists. This is the path chosen by the Kazakhstan’s government to counter actions of protests. If you can not calm the crowd down, for lack of brains or will, doesn’t matter, you have to demonize the crowd, and then start shooting. Afterwards, it would be nice to discover a bit of ammunition or leaflets by a banned Islamic party when searching activists’ homes. In era of a total Islam phobia and war on terror, such evidence could serve as a justification in front of influential partners in Europe, too.
Terrorists increasingly manifest their presence in Kazakhstan. So far they target representatives of the law enforcement and governmental bodies. Internet is full of reports of police operations to apprehend terrorists, seize explosives and demine bridges in various parts of the country. In most cases, any official information is missing, so it is difficult to tell the truth from lies. Besides, religious extremists are often reported as regular criminals. National security committee is rapidly losing the very last remains of its past credibility but still prefers to keep silent, as a rule. Indeed, unless terrorist attacks are too loud to hide.
Kazakh authorities should not extradite 32 detainees to Uzbekistan, where they face a real risk of torture, ACAT-France, Amnesty International, the Association “Human Rights in Central Asia,” Human Rights Watch, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said today. The 32 men, who came to Kazakhstan seeking asylum from religious persecution in Uzbekistan, are at risk of torture and ill-treatment if they are forcibly returned to Uzbekistan, the groups said.
Permanent cultivation of paternalistic type of mind, exploitation of belief into holiness, special selectness, heroism and unreachable perfection of national leader, possessing unrivaled charisma, rapidly separate Kazakhstani people from genuine democracy, says Azhdar Kurtov, the chief editor of Problems of national strategy (Russian magazine). Today, Kazakh president is real "superpatron", sharing political favoritism to all others. In the opinion of expert, today’s Nazarbayev more and more looks like not the leader of democratic republic but Adolf Hitler in mid 1930s – President, Reichschancellor and the party leader at the same time.
Global Witness, the international anti-corruption organization, published the report, named "Risky business. Who controls Kazakhmys plc?" Based on independent investigation information, Global Witness affirms that Kazakhmys, the biggest Kazakhstani copper miner, did not share vital and financially important information with the investors when it was listing its shares at London Stock Exchange in 2005. The information included close corruption ties of senior management with President Nazarbayev. The experts demand to audit Kazakhmys again and publicly offer over half of company’s shares for investigation period in order to prevent possible interference of corrupted Kazakhstani regime in the corporate affairs, not reflecting the interests of minority shareholders.
14.09.2009 10:00 msk Kazakhstan
All drug users and dealers in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and other neighboring countries know that marijuana grows in the Chuy valley. There is no way this narcotic herb can be destroyed: dig over the land just to see more of it growing there in the next year, pull out seven meter long roots to bring sand into villages or bury roads under it. A decision was made in Kazakhstan to build a hemp processing plant to manufacture medicine and fiber. However these intentions counter bureaucratic hindrances and lack of understanding on the side of drug fighters.
27.06.2009 12:07 msk Kazakhstan
While there are some serious disputes over the monuments, representing various eras in the history of the post-Soviet states, people in Kazakhstan are quite tolerant to such endeavors. For instance, Stalin’s monument is still located in Ikan area, close to the city of Turkestan in Southern Kazakhstan oblast of Kazakhstan. Today, nobody can say for sure when it was erected. In the 1980s the representatives of the Oblast administration were going to liquidate the monument. However, at that time they faced the protests from the local aqsaqals.
The General Prosecutor’s Office of Kazakhstan prohibited the citizens to read and distributed the "The God Father-in-Law" book, written by Rakhat Aliyev that, allegedly, reveals state secrets. Now, everyone can freely download e-copy of this Kazakh best-seller from Internet. Reading the book, Russian experts found nothing new there while Kazakhstani journalist Sergey Duvanov openly states that he read the book. The Prosecutor’s Office has not responded yet and, apparently, will not.
Since the first days of April several web-based news agencies of Kazakhstan have been attacked by hackers. Today, at least two internet-editions (Respublika.kz and ZonaKZ.net) are constantly facing network attacks. These resources either totally disappear from web-browsers or become accessible for a while and then "fade away" again under the pressure of robots and viruses. We interviewed the participants of this battle – Yury Mizinov, chief editor of Zona, and Alexey Shatlovsky, Ferghana.Ru expert and internet technologies specialist – on the details of virtual fights with cyber criminals.
Kazakh government’s efforts to bail the country’s once booming construction sector are facing serious obstacles as cash-strapped banks and hard-pressed construction companies are at loggerheads over the government's rescue plan. Frustrated with the lack of progress, the government is pushing for more drastic measures.