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The Astana Times Monday, 10 December 2012

Astana Wins Right to Host EXPO 2017

№ 10 (21)

Forum Kazakhstan’s Explores Economy Heads for Growth in President’s Role in Country’s 2013 News Analysis

By Yernat Mukhamadiyev

President Nursultan Nazarbayev congratulated all the people of Kazakhstan on the victory of Astana’s bid and underlined that the proposed theme “Future Energy” is very timely and of high importance.

By Nadezhda Khamitova ASTANA – On November 22, Kazakhstan’s capital received the overwhelming majority of votes at the 152nd General Assembly session of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris and was chosen to host EXPO 2017. “I want to inform you that we have just achieved another big victory for our country. The secret vote showed that the vast majority of 148 countries participating the vote support Kazakhstan’s bid, we have received 103 votes and defeated the bid by Liege,” Nursul-

tan Nazarbayev noted at a special press conference in Paris after the announcement of the results. “Thus, Kazakhstan received recognition as a country capable of holding an event of this scale. It is a great honour, a great happiness for Kazakhstan, since representatives of more than 100 countries will arrive to our country. They will build pavilions at the exhibition, major responsibility will lay on us, but we will keep all infrastructure to be built afterwards in Astana,” the President said. President Nazarbayev noted that EXPO always serves as the ground

for best technological, scientific and cultural achievements. Events of this scale are attended by millions of people from dozens of countries. He also mentioned that Astana EXPO 2017 will be the first international exhibition of such a level ever to be held in any Central Asian country or member nation of the Commonwealth of Independent States. He also added that the theme “Future Energy” suggested by Astana is timely and of high importance for the sustainable development of the world. “EXPO 2017 will promote Ka-

zakhstan all over the world. The exhibition defines agenda for the world economic development. This event is beneficial for the whole of Kazakhstan, to all people of Kazakhstan, and will demonstrate our capabilities. I once again want to congratulate all the people of Kazakhstan with this victory,” President Nazarbayev concluded. The theme proposed by Astana is aimed at finding ways to achieve qualitative changes in the energy sector, primarily for the development of alternative sources of energy and new ways of transportation.

Continued on Page A8

Kazakhstan Ratifies Equal Opportunities for Male and Female Workers

Men and women workers in Kazakhstan enjoy equal treatment and opportunities, and jointly contribute to prosperity of the country.

By Assem Kazybay ASTANA – President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed into law the International Convention on Women’s Rights. The Law is titled “On Ratification of the Convention Concerning Equal Opportunities and Equal Treatment for Men and Women Workers: Workers with Family Responsibilities” (Convention 156). The convention was adopted on June 23, 1981 in Geneva at the 67th session of the General Conference of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Kazakhstan is the fourth member of the Commonwealth of Independent States to ratify the convention following Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. The convention applies to all

branches of economic activity and all categories of workers. Its aim is to establish equality of treatment and opportunities for men and women workers with family responsibilities. The provisions of the convention are applied to men and women workers with responsibilities in relation to other members of their immediate family who clearly need their care or support where such responsibilities restrict their possibilities of preparing for, having access to, participating in or advancing in economic activity. It also applies to people with family responsibilities who are engaged or wish to engage in employment, and who wish to exercise their right to do so without being subject to discrimination while balancing their professional duties and family responsibilities.

The convention prohibits discrimination against men and women workers with family responsibilities, especially in case of dismissal from work. It also regulates the obligations of the state to support workers with family responsibilities by providing a sufficient number of kindergartens and other childcare institutions and support programmes for families. In March 2012, President Nazarbayev instructed the government, the president’s office, the National Commission on Women and the Family and the leadership of the ruling Nur Otan party to develop a concrete four-year action plan up to 2016 to promote women to higher positions. “Men do not allow women to occupy top positions in the central bodies because it will be clear that wom-

en work better than men,” President Nazarbayev said, only half-jokingly, earlier this year at the First Congress of the Women of Kazakhstan. The president has also noted that women actively participate in the development of the state and have supported it for all 20 years of the country’s independence. “According to my personal experience, women being in the same positions as men will ensure order and discipline. Reliability and loyalty to the cause are always provided by women in top positions,” he said. In 2007, the government of Kazakhstan in the framework of the Millennium Development Goals for Central and East Asia committed itself to further empowerment of women in the political life of the country. This commitment included measures to increase women’s presence in government bodies through legislative and executive measures and efforts to eliminate violence against women. In early April, the international organization Social Watch published its “Index of Gender Equality 2012,” in which Kazakhstan was ranked 33rd in the world in terms of gender equality, ahead of almost all the countries of the CIS and an improvement of eight places on its ranking in 2011. Women in Kazakhstan generate about 40 percent of GDP. Overall, women make up two-thirds of all public sector employees. The proportion of women in Kazakhstan among representatives of legal entities is more than 50 percent, and among entrepreneurs about 60 percent. The sectors with the highest proportion of women working in them include hotel and restaurant businesses, retail, social and personal services and agriculture. Women play an active role in all spheres of life in Kazakhstan and are widely represented in top positions in government, law-enforcement agencies and other departments. Some 221 women occupy top administrative positions in local city halls.

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ASTANA – Over the past two decades, Kazakhstan has made significant progress in transforming its economy to a more transparent, less regulated, more market-driven business model attractive for foreign investment. The country works hard to diversify by developing new industry sectors to generate alternative income streams separate from its wealth of natural resources. It aims to become one of the world’s top 50 countries for business by 2020 and one of the 10 leading financial centres in Asia. Economic integration remains among the main priorities of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy and an essential part of the country’s vision of economic development. The recent creation of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space with Russia and Belarus confirm Kazakhstan’s openness and commitment to being a responsible member of the global community.

Continued on Page A4

Development By Rishad Sadykov

ASTANA – The establishment and development of an independent Kazakhstan is inextricably linked to its first President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, politicians and experts said at an international forum held here on November 29. Kazakhstan, under the leadership of its first president has been transformed from an unknown former Soviet republic into a recognized partner for the world community in efforts to solve global problems, Kanat Saudabayev, the director of the Nazarbayev Center said, opening the conference. The Nazarbayev Center co-organized the forum, titled “New Kazakhstan in a New World,” together with the country’s Ministry of Education and Science. “Over its 20 years of independence, Kazakhstan has become a modern, competitive state, which has carried out large-scale political, social and economic reforms and which has chosen its own path for development.

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EU Envoy Ashton Visits Astana, Discusses Security, Trade By Askar Taukenov

ASTANA – Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, visited the capital of Kazakhstan on November 30 and met with President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan was the last stop of Lady Ashton’s tour of the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia. Ashton discussed with President Nazarbayev trade and economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and the European Union, Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and issues of regional and global security. “We noted that the EU intends to further and strengthen relations with Kazakhstan under the enlarged partnership and cooperation agreement. We paid attention to trade relations. We support Kazakhstan in its WTO negotiations. We recognize those deep and strong economic ties between Kazakhstan and the EU,” Ashton told reporters at a press briefing after meeting the president. The EU has been Kazakhstan’s largest trade and investment partner over the past six years. Taken together, the EU countries have invested $70 billion in Kazakhstan since 1993. Astana was Ashton’s final stop in her tour of the Central Asian nations. Her trip started in Kyrgyzstan, where she participated in an EU and Central Asia Ministerial meeting in the capital Bishkek. Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Yerlan Abdildayev, Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrissov, Tajikistan Foreign Minister Hamrohon Zarifi, Uzbekistan First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov and Turkmenistan Foreign Minister Bena Hadjiyev attended the Bishkek meeting. The participants discussed the European Union’s strategy towards the Central Asian nations. “The EU is playing an increasingly important role in Central Asia, through its presence on the ground and through engagement with its partners in the region,”

Ashton said before entering the Bishkek gathering. “The EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting will allow us to discuss key issues of mutual interest including security and regional cooperation, energy, environment and water, as well as other priority areas of the EU-Central Asia Strategy such as education, rule of law, human rights and initiatives on civil society.” “By supporting reform and transformation, we hope to encourage trade and investment,” the EU High Commissioner said. “Five years after the adoption of the EU’s Central Asia Strategy, the meeting should also allow us to assess and to deepen our cooperation,” she said. Ashton told the foreign ministers that Central Asia was growing in importance for the EU. She hoped for further development of the region’s energy sector and its trade and economic ties with the European Union. She also emphasized the need to strengthen security cooperation due to increasing and new challenges. “We talked about developments in Afghanistan and the importance of the future of that country,” Ashton said. “We share a common aim: to promote a secure Afghanistan and a prosperous region as a whole. And in order to make sure that we can jointly tackle these challenges we agreed to strengthen our co-operation in the security area and to have a regular high level security dialogue.” It was the ninth EU-Central Asia ministerial meeting since the European Council adopted its Central Asia Strategy in 2007 under the German presidency. In a sign of the importance of Kazakhstan-European trade and economic ties, on November 30, President Nazarbayev also met Peter Voser, chief executive officer of the Anglo-Dutch international oil company Royal Dutch Shell and discussed prospects of cooperation with his company to further develop Kazakhstan’s oil and gas industry, especially with regard to the mammoth Kashagan oil field.

Inside NATION

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

PM Akhmetov Visits Zhanaozen, Tours Western Kazakhstan Regions

AB Restaurants’ Chief Shares Secrets of Success

Experts Discuss Progress of the “Kazakhstan Way” of Development Page A2

Kazakhstan Upgrades Airports, Airline Services Pages A5

EDITORIALS Zhanaozen: One Year On Kazakhstan Aims to Improve Pension System with Personal Retirement Savings

Page A6

OPINIONS

NATION & CAPITAL

KARIN: Lessons Learned in the Fight Against Terror SARSENBAYEV: Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee Page A7

Ambassadors Club is New ‘Must’ Venue for Movers and Shakers Astana Arlans Sweep USA Knockouts in Boxing Bouts Pages B1-B8

US$1 = 150.31 KZT 1 Euro = 196.40 KZT 1 Rouble = 4.87 KZT


The Astana Times

А2

Monday, 10 December 2012

Nation

PM Akhmetov Visits Zhanaozen, Tours Western Regions By Assel Urkumbayeva On November 21, Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov paid a working visit to the Mangistau region. In Zhanaozen, the town which had seen deadly disturbances in December 2011, the prime minister personally handed the keys to 200 new apartments to their owners in the new Rauan residential complex. The flats were distributed among state employees, young professionals, low-income families and large families. “I have five children and this apartment is a great help for me and my family,” Maira Yesbosynova, one of the new residents, said. The new complex was built as part of the Comprehensive Plan for the town’s socio-economic development for 2012 – 2020. “Issues of Zhanaozen development are under special control of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. In this regard, work on the development of the town will be continued,” Prime Minister Akhmetov said. “We must continue to ensure that the current national budget is being effectively used to complete the Affordable Housing – 2020 plan,” the prime minister told the regional administration. “Within the programme, five billion tenge in the period 2013-2014 will be allocated to address the issues of old and dilapidated housing in the Mangistau region, including Zhanaozen,” he said. Prime Minister Akhmetov also visited a pre-school mini-center for 60 children that has created jobs and the Ozen Darkhan greenhouse complex, which will grow vegetables throughout the year, lowering their prices. He also met employees of the Ozenmunaigas Com-

Prime Minister Akhmetov during his visit to Mangistau region met employees of the Ozenmunaigas Company and discussed the improvement of living standards and the development of infrastructure in the city. pany’s drilling department and discussed the improvement of living standards and the development of infrastructure in the city. The Ozenmunaigas Company was established by a decree of President Nazarbayev to employ 1,102 workers who had been laid off earlier and many of whom participated in lengthy labour dispute which set the stage for the clashes on December 16, 2011, the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence. At the meeting between the Prime Minister and the region’s administration, the governor of the region, Baurzhan Mukhamedzh-

anov and his officials delivered progress reports. They said that since the beginning of this year, the region has experienced positive growth. Overall industrial output has increased along with the creation of new jobs. Zhanaozen has been included in a new national programme to develop so called single industry towns. The prime minister instructed the regional authorities to pay more attention to the development of small and medium-sized companies. Akhmetov also instructed regional governments working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ka-

zatomprom and KazMunaiGaz to solve the problems of limited water supplies in the Mangistau region. The prime minister also ordered the improvement of regional employment and healthcare services, as well as continued work on job creation in the region. Since this area depends heavily on oil and gas production, local governments were also instructed to focus on the development of coastal infrastructure. Later, Akhmetov toured the Bolashak onshore oil treatment plant owned by Agip KCO in the neighbouring Atyrau region and was

Experts Discuss Progress of the “Kazakhstan Way” of Development

International experts and delegates of the forum agreed that the developing countries are interested in using the experience of Kazakhstan in developing their economic, scientific and political systems.

By Maral Zhantaikyzy ASTANA – An international forum, “New Kazakhstan in a New World” recently took place in Astana, where prominent scholars, political scientists, economists, politicians and public figures from more than 50 countries came together to look at and discuss what is being called the “Kazakhstan Way” of development and the role of President Nursultan Nazarbayev in building Kazakhstan as an independent state. One particular panel of the forum focused on the challenges the country had to face domestically over the past 20 plus years. Today, many experts speak of the “Kazakhstan Way” as a unique and successful model of development, one that can be viewed as a model for other countries in similar transitional circumstances. Kazakhstan is developing successfully in all directions, has stable domestic policies, is actively engaged with the international community, has a stable economy and implements bold economic reforms. Of-

ficials and experts noted that these objectives were achieved through the progressive realization of a political strategy pursued by the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan shared a starting line with 15 post-Soviet independent republics. They had roughly equal tasks in building states and national identities and transitioning to a market economy and democracy. “During this difficult period, President Nursultan Nazarbayev took full responsibility for the fate of the country,” Chairman of the country’s Constitutional Council Igor Rogov said. Today, through a thoughtfully chosen sequence of actions to meet those challenges, Kazakhstan has achieved impressive results. Nazarbayev’s strategy of “economy first, politics second” has showed results from the beginning, Rogov noted. In the new millennium, Kazakhstan has become one of few states in the post-Soviet space to have managed to stabilize

its economy and to begin its active recovery. Today, Kazakhstan is in the top three fastest-growing economies in the world and among the top 50 countries in the global ranking of welfare. These results are a good basis for further economic growth and the achievement of more ambitious goals. According to Rogov, through taking bold steps forward, Kazakhstan has maintained its core values. The president continues to work to assure the rights of the people of Kazakhstan to have a decent life. The peace and tranquility of its citizens are guaranteed by the Constitution, developed with the participation of the Head of State and continually evaluated and improved. The core of the constitutional order is the equality of all citizens of Kazakhstan, regardless of ethnic, religious or other affiliations or social origin. The principles of tolerance and harmony are practiced here. The representatives of 140 ethnic groups and 46 religions live peacefully. “I look with envy at the unity and solidarity of the people of Ka-

zakhstan. I witnessed the happy life of the Kazakhstan’s Koreans. ... When I understood that all this became possible through support provided by the state, I wanted to express my respect to Kazakhstan, to its first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and my love for the Kazakh people. Participating in this forum, I went to the stage to talk about Kazakhstan becoming the gold standard in world politics,” Son Yong Hoon, a South Korean professor, stated. The participants also underlined Nazarbayev’s contributions to bringing peace not only to Kazakhstan but to neighbouring countries as well, and to promoting peaceful relations in the region. Former Speaker of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic Zainidin Kurmanov reminded the audience of Kazakhstan’s quick response in resolving the situation surrounding the April 2010 unrest in Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan has rendered assistance and support, and as the then chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), helped coordinate

briefed on the plant’s readiness to receive commercial oil from the Kashagan oil field in the Caspian Sea. The plant has the capacity to process 22.5 million tons of crude and more than six billion cubic meters of gas a year. The development of Kashagan in the harsh offshore environment of the northern part of the Caspian Sea represents a unique combination of technical and supply chain challenges. Its safety, engineering, logistical and environmental issues make it one of the largest and most complex industrial projects currently being developed anywhere in the world. the work of all international organizations, including the UN, the EU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Anatoliy Spitsyn, director of the EurAsEC Institute of Strategic Studies of Political Integration Problems (Russia), stressed that “the leader of the nation always analytically evaluated what was happening in the nearest and most distant regional countries. He decisively and presciently caught global trends.” In a short time, young Kazakhstan has assumed international obligations and is coping with various international missions, scholars noted. Among the country’s main recent activities were holding an OSCE summit, Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the activities of the SCO and Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). “The rapidly changing world almost daily poses challenges to the newly independent republic and the future of Kazakhstan depends on our answers to them. It is clear that a large team often cannot ensure proper efficiency or adopt and implement radical political judgments. Therefore, a man who embodies the best qualities of the people that elected him is needed in these times. He is, in the full sense of the phrase, the national leader,” political scientist and director of International Projects of the National Strategy Institute Yuri Solozobov from Russia emphasized. An active and productive foreign policy and consistent efforts to ensure regional and global security have garnered the Kazakhstan president ever-increasing support in the international community. This allows President Nazarbayev to come forward with important global initiatives. One such initiative, G-Global, designed to unify nations in addressing global challenges, is much needed in today’s world. According to Director General of the UN Offices at Geneva and the former foreign minister of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, Kazakhstan’s proposal on uniting all states to a multilateral negotiation mechanism to address pressing issues has received a positive response in the international community. International experts and delegates of the forum agreed that the developing countries are interested in using the experience of this new state in developing their economic, scientific and political systems.

Domestic News in Brief ● President Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed a decree to create a new state commission to prepare the EXPO 2017 international specialized exhibition which will be held in Astana. The decree has been published on the Akorda website. Earlier the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) in Paris accepted Astana’s bid to host the EXPO by 103 votes to 44 for Liege, Belgium. The Astana EXPO will be held on the theme “Future Energy” and will be dedicated to alternative energies and green technology. ● A new law “On energy conservation and enhancement of energy efficiency” to reduce energy consumption through the efficient use of available energy resources was introduced in July. From Jan. 1, 2013, all major industrial enterprises will be listed in the State Energy Register and will be required to report annually on their energy saving measures. Starting in 2014, they will also be required to introduce new energy management systems on the ISO 50001 plan. ● President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with Kazakhstan’s permanent representative to UNESCO Olzhas Suleimenov and instructed him to expand the country’s involvement with the organization. Earlier Kazakhstan’s representative Assel Utegenova was elected chairman of UNESCO’s Committee for Conventions and Recommendations. ● Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov has signed a government decree to rearranging holidays from Saturday, December 29 to Monday, December 31. This means the country will enjoy New Year’s holiday from December 30 through January 2. January 3 will be the first working day. ● In 2011, the government revived the national construction industry by building 6.5 million square metres of public housing. Now the government has set the goal of expanding annual construction to a total of 10 million square metres a year by 2020. The programme will focus on building of small-size and affordable housing. ● Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev has held a meeting to approve sites for new house-building plants, which have been declared a national priority in the Accessible Housing 2020 programme. ● The government is holding planning meetings for the 28th Winter Universiade-2017 multisport winter event in Almaty. The sporting festival will kick off a year of international gatherings in Kazakhstan culminating in the holding of the International Exhibition EXPO-2017 in Astana. ● Kazakhstan boxer Vitally Demyanenko has defeated African Prince Doku Jr., who holds the World Boxing Council’s Youth Intercontinental title. The bout was held in Zhanaozen as part of a boxing tournament. It ended in the sixth round, when referees stopped the match and awarded victory to the 29-year-old Kazakhstan fighter. ● More expensive medical equipment for healthcare facilities throughout Kazakhstan will be delivered through a single site, the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Cultural Development was told. Equipment costing five million tenge or less will be purchased by medical organizations on their own. But medical equipment worth five to 50 million tenge will in future be purchased through a leasing system, and equipment worth more than 50 million tenge will be purchased through a single distributor, thereby ensuring standardization. ● There are no extremist or terrorist organizations among the religious institutions that have passed the re-registration, saiddeputy chairman of Kazakhstan National Security Committee Kabdulkarim Abdikazimov. As a result of the re-registration, the number of religious institutions was reduced by 32% and made 3,088 institutions representing 16 confessions.


The Astana Times

Monday, 10 December 2012

А3

Eurasia and world

External News in Brief ● Sheikh Abdsattar Haji Derbisali, the Supreme Mufti of Kazakhstan and spiritual leader of 70 percent of the population, visited Washington, D.C. and New York in the last week of November to launch his new book, “Islam: Religion of Peace and Creation,” which promotes a modern, enlightened and progressive Islam. During his trip, Derbisali held meetings with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, Deputy Special Representative to Muslim Communities Adnan Kifayat and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook, to discuss issues of religious tolerance, inter-faith dialogue and religious freedom. ● On December 3, a Kazakh delegation led by Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrissov participated in a meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Council of Foreign Ministers in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. The foreign ministers discussed further integration between the CIS members and approved a draft declaration of the CIS heads of state for further cooperation. The declaration was later issued by the heads of state following their summit. ● Kazakhstan has proposed to develop a new programme of innovative cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). On December 5, the 11th meeting of SCO prime ministers took place in Bishkek, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Kazakhstan Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov, Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov and Uzbek First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Azimov all participated. Representatives of Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India attended the meeting as observers. ● China and Kazakhstan have agreed to enhance their bilateral military cooperation after senior officials of their armed forces held meetings in Beijing on December 5. China’s People’s Liberation Army will be working with the armed forces of Kazakhstan within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. ● A delegation from Kazakhstan led by Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev was on a visit to the United States on December 5-11. The delegation visited Washington, New York and San Francisco, where it held talks and meetings with members of the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, the World Bank and transnational companies. Ministry of Industry and New Technologies press secretary Kaisar Zhumabaiuly said the main goal of the trip was to attract investments to Kazakhstan and discuss bilateral relations. “This will be a business trip. For us, this trip will be valuable as we will be negotiating joint projects,” he said. ● Deputy Director General of the UN Office at Geneva, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, said that, from a political and economic point of view, Kazakhstan has the right to host the G-Global forum under the aegis of the UN and that a wider selection of states should help to resolve economic problems, not only those in the G20. ● The 19th meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council took place in Dublin on December 6-7. Foreign ministers and top officials from the 57 OSCE participating States reviewed the Organization’s contribution over the past year to developing a security community based on shared values. The Ministerial Council is the central decision-making and governing body of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe. ● The Days of Kazakhstan Cinema Festival are being held from November 14 to December 19 in Poland. Audiences watch famous Kazakhstan-made films including “The Tale of the Pink Bunny,” “Mustafa Shokai,” “Liquidator,” “The Sky of My Childhood,” “The Gift to Stalin” and “The Promised Land.” The films are being shown in four cities: Warsaw (November 14-16), Poznan (November 2022), Krakow (December 7-13) and Lodz (December 17-19). The main goal of the festival is to promote Kazakhstan’s culture and history and to foster friendly relations between Poland and Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan Elected to UN Human Rights Council By Assem Idrissova ASTANA – During the 67th session of the UN General Assembly on November 12, 2012 in New York, Kazakhstan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the first time in its history. A total of 183 out of 193 UN member states voted for Kazakhstan’s candidacy in secret ballot voting. The country will take up its membership on January 1, 2013 and sit on the Council until 2015. In total, 18 new member states were elected to the Council. “We are pleased to have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council. But we do not consider it solely as a badge of honor,” Altay Abibullayev, spokesperson for Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said. “We see it as an opportunity to contribute to global efforts for making progress in this crucial field. The Republic of Kazakhstan has been actively supporting the work of the Human Rights Council and human rights generally. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the

Republic of Kazakhstan annually takes part in a High-level segment of the Human Rights Council.” In February 2010, Kazakhstan presented and successfully defended its first national report in the framework of the new human rights mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, the Universal Periodic Review. “Congratulations to Kazakhstan. It is a great opportunity to help raise global human rights standards in partnership with the United States and other countries,” Richard Weitz, Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute, said on the occasion. This election acknowledges Kazakhstan’s successful consolidation of a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional population into an inclusive society of citizens, Vladimir Socor, Senior Fellow of the Washington, DC-based Jamestown Foundation, noted. “Barely two decades old, the state of the Kazakhs is built on the concept of a civic nation in which ethnic, religious, and cultural identities coalesce around the common Kazakhstani citizenship.

Beyond simple tolerance, Kazakhstan respects and encourages the expression of those identities as a matter of individual civic rights and personal freedoms.” Socor continued: “Against a global backdrop where ethnic and religious militantism, tribe and sect, tear apart scores of unconsolidated states, while others suppress those identities, Kazakhstan sets the rare example of a Muslim-majority state on a secular path of development, taking pride in its rich diversity, and conceiving of itself as a messenger between continents and cultures. Wide-open to European influences, Kazakhstan became in 2010 the first Asian and first Muslim-majority country to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with the member states’ unanimous consent.” According to Socor, “Kazakhstan’s government regards its membership of the UN Human Rights Council ‘not solely as a badge of honor. We see it... as an opportunity to lead from within the

Council as well as by example at home’. Personal and civil rights are precursors to the evolutionary development of democratic political systems. The 2012 parliamentary elections have introduced party pluralism in the Mazhlis. It is up to the Kazakhstanis, attuned to their own country’s specific circumstances, to determine the scope and pace of that evolutionary process.” “The election of Kazakhstan to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council is both an honor and responsibility for the young state,” Margarita Assenova, Director of Programs for Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia at the Jamestown Foundation said. “The UN member states recognized Kazakhstan for its successful dialogue and cooperation with the UN human rights body. The challenge for the Kazakh government will be to improve human rights protection at home by fully implementing its Human Rights Plan and UN Human Rights Council’s recommendations. I believe that this goal will be achieved

better through engaging Kazakhstan in important UN bodies, rather than excluding and isolating a country that has demonstrated its desire to comply with UN human rights conventions. The UN Human Rights Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly in March 15, 2006 by resolution 60/251. It is the leading international body for the protection of human rights which replaced the UN Commission on Human Rights. The Council consists of 47 countries. Membership is open to all UN member states, which are elected directly and individually by secret ballot by the majority of the members of the General Assembly. Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms. The General Assembly takes into account the candidate states’ contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard.

Forum Explores President’s Role in Country’s Development From Page A1 The country has maintained its stability and faces no religious or ethnic unrest,” Saudabayev said. Thanks to Nazarbayev’s political foresight on both domestic and international policies, the state has established and enhanced strong, mutually beneficial and supportive relations with such regional and global powers as Russia, China, and the United States.

Thanks to Nazarbayev’s political foresight on both domestic and international policies, the state has established and enhanced strong, mutually beneficial and supportive relations with such regional and global powers as Russia, China, and the United States. “In 1997, when the economic situation was difficult, in an Address to the people of Kazakhstan, President Nazarbayev vowed that ‘By 2030, our next generations will live in a country that shall not be left on the wayside of global events.’ Despite the skepticism of many, this goal has been achieved in much less time and Kazakhstan has become Central Asia’s greatest success story with a dynamic and flourishing economy,” French Senator Emery de Montesquieu said at the forum. “This achievement is, of course, no accident. Without the visionary and avant-garde spirit of President Nazarbayev, who had the courage to launch numerous radical reforms, things might have gone differently,” de Montesquieu added. Kazakhstan plays an important role in the politics and economy of the modern world due to its active participation in a number of major international organizations and through its friendly, constructive dialogue with the world community. According to speakers at the forum, the country has boosted its global standing and respect by chairing such important organizations as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. One of the most significant steps in the formation of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy came when it joined the United Nations on March 2, 1992. The first forum in which Kazakhstan as an independent state headed by President Nazarbayev took part was the 47th UN General Assembly. On Oct. 5, 1992, President Nazarbayev addressed the GA for the first time with a speech on his country’s vision of the vital

changes to be implemented in the global community, including the new role of the UN in the world. Nazarbayev focused the attention of UN member states on emerging problems and proposed the establishment of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). Since then, Kazakhstan has contributed to the strengthening of peace and stability, and it is now an important component of political relations between Europe and Asia. Kazakhstan’s favourable geographical position has also allowed it to establish a constructive dialogue between East and West. Kazakhstan has also introduced a number of important foreign policy initiatives on regional and global security. International experience shows that exercises in collective global sovereignty are the best way to ensure national interests in today’s interconnected global environment. Therefore, President Nazarbayev considers regional integration to be one of the most efficient and effective means of jointly confronting the threats and challenges of economic globalization and of giving the Central Asian nations a stronger position in the world today. This philosophy is seen in the programme for regional cooperation on Afghanistan adopted in Istanbul, in which Kazakhstan is contributing to confidence building measures (CBMs), including efforts to support education, chambers of commerce and industry, regional infrastructure, regional development, fighting drugs and disaster management.

In 2010, Kazakhstan became the first post-Soviet state with a predominantly Muslim population to head the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Thanks to the insistence of President Nazarbayev, a new concept of an indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community has emerged into international diplomatic practice. President Nazarbayev also launched the triennial Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions that was first held in Astana in 2003. The congress connected the leaders of world religions and gave them the opportunity to hold open dialogues on complex questions of interfaith understanding in a changing world. Another achievement of independent Kazakhstan was its chairmanship of Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Kazakhstan used this opportunity to help expand the dialogue between the Muslim world and the West. Simultaneously, globally important initiatives launched by President Nazarbayev, such as G-Global, introduced to supplement and potentially replace the G20, and the recently launched ATOM Project have been applauded by the international community and have received broad support. Today, Kazakhstan’s contribution to the process of nuclear disarmament and nuclear threat reduction is recognized around the world. In 1991, President Nazarbayev, by decree, closed down the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site and voluntarily re-

nounced the world’s fourth largest nuclear missile arsenal. The role of Kazakhstan and its president in the process of nonproliferation and disarmament was emphasized by Kazakhstan’s former Minister of International Affairs (1994-99 and 2002-07) and current Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) Kassym-Jomart Tokayev who also spoke at the November 29 forum. “At the start of 1992, the Kazakhstan Foreign Ministry received through diplomatic channels a letter to the president of Kazakhstan from the leader of the Libyan revolution, Muammar Gaddafi, proposing that he keep the country’s nuclear arsenal in the capacity of, as he wrote, the first Muslim atomic bombs,” Tokayev said. Tokayev said Gaddafi had offered “many billions” for the retention of at least a part of the 1,410 warheads remaining on Kazakhstan’s territory after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tokayev said President Nazarbayev had declined the offer due to his concerns for global strategic order. The president’s decision clearly demonstrated that Kazakhstan’s “national leader” possessed the “political and moral right to head a global anti-nuclear movement,” the UN official said. The acknowledgement of Kazakhstan’s leadership in the global non-proliferation process were also evident during the Nuclear Security Summits in Washington and Seoul in 2010 and 2012. Today, Kazakhstan is actively preparing for the next such summit in the Netherlands in 2014.

Christian Poncelet (L) from France shakes hands with participants of the Forum.

Kazakhstan has also emerged as a leader on environmental issues. On November 22, Astana won an overwhelming majority of votes at the 152nd General Assembly session of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris and was chosen to host EXPO 2017. “Thus, Kazakhstan received recognition as a country capable of holding an event of this scale. It is a great honour, a great happiness for Kazakhstan, since representatives of more than 100 countries will visit our country,” the president said. The theme proposed by Astana for the EXPO, Future Energy, reflects efforts to find sustainable energy supplies to help solve the world’s growing energy problems. A solution must be found to ensure economic growth and social standards while reducing the burden on the environment. Kazakhstan’s choice of the topic confirmed the country’s commitment to building a green economy. Astana EXPO 2017 will be the first international exhibition of such scale to be held in any Central Asian country or member nation of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Speakers at the November 29 forum agreed it was difficult to overestimate the role of Kazakhstan’s first president in building mutually beneficial cooperative and constructive relations between Kazakhstan and international organizations, regional associations and countries. For 20 years, the president has upheld this grand strategy and its success has benefited Kazakhstan and the world.


The Astana Times

А4

Monday, 10 December 2012

Economy

Kazakhstan’s Economy Heads for Growth in 2013 President Nursultan Nazarbayev considers creation of the Customs Union with Russia and Belarus a response to the global financial crisis. Since the launch of the Customs Union on January 1, 2010, trade between the three countries has been growing rapidly and each country has enjoyed an expansion of trade with its CU partners. Kazakhstan’s annual volume of trade with Russia and Belarus has increased by almost 80 percent in the period 2009-12. Starting from 2009, total trade among the three countries has increased by more than 25 percent in 2010 and by 67 percent in 2011 (compared with 2009).

GDP growth between 2000 and 2010. The state’s GDP per capita has increased more than 15 times in less than 20 years, growing from $700 in 1994 to more than $11,000 in 2011. By 2016, Kazakhstan’s GDP per capita is expected to reach $15,000, compared with the current level of $11,300, and Kazakhstan will be classified as a “high-income economy” according to the World Bank. (Figure 2) In August 2012, the government of Kazakhstan issued its main economic forecasts. The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade made public its forecasts of the main macroeconomic indicators for the period until 2017. The government expects real

Viktor Khristenko, chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, said the CU’s rate of growth in trade between its three member states is twice as big as the increase in the volume of its foreign trade. In the first nine months of 2012, the GDP growth in the member nations of the Customs Union was 4.5 percent. Kazakhstan has successfully emerged from the difficult times of the recent global crisis. Thanks to the government’s anti-crisis programme and the strategy of the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund, Kazakhstan escaped economic recession. But it has not been an easy road, and one of the biggest challenges facing its economy going forward is to sustain the current levels of economic growth. The global financial crisis proved to be a real test that served as a good

GDP to grow by 6.0 percent - 6.1 percent in 2012-14, accelerating to 7.6 percent in 2015, and moderating subsequently to between 6.0 percent-7.0 percent. These forecasts are based on the assumptions of global growth of about 4 percent per year, the price of oil staying at $90 per barrel, and the prices of metals staying flat at 15 percent below the current level. Domestic demand is expected to grow by about 6.5 percent - 6.8 percent a year, as in 2011-2012, when the GDP was largely driven by internal demand, while exportoriented sectors performed poorly. Inflation is expected to remain within the 6 percent to 8 percent corridor. The National Fund is expected to reach $100 billion by 2015 (it is currently at $60 billion) and the non-oil trading deficit is expected

From Page A1

lesson for Kazakhstan. The country’s banking and real estate sectors were particularly exposed to the adverse impact of the global turmoil. Kazakhstan’s economy has, nevertheless, endured these challenging times in a resilient manner and managed to remain on a positive growth direction. It recorded GDP growth of only 1.2 percent in 2009, but this returned to pre-crisis levels of 7.3 percent in 2010 and 7.5 percent in 2011. (Figure 1) “Last year, Kazakhstan’s GDP reached more than $186 billion. If you sum up the total GDP of our neighbouring countries in the south, which are Uzbekistan, whose GDP amounts to $45 billion, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and even Azerbaijan, the total economy of all our southern neighbors combined does not reach the level of our economy,” said Askar Yelemessov, chairman of the Board of Directors of Troika Dialog Kazakhstan. The Ernst & Young RapidGrowth Markets Forecast said Kazakhstan was one of the top three most rapidly growing economies in the world in terms of annual

to decline from 5.3 percent of GDP in 2011 to 3.9 percent in 2015. The Parliament of Kazakhstan has approved a three-year budget for 2013-2015. The government plans to increase revenues by 24.0 percent and expenses by 30.0 percent by 2015, while restraining transfers from the National Fund from 1,380 billion tenge per year in 2012 - 2013 to 1,188 billion tenge in 2014 - 2015. The annual government deficit will shrink from 2.1 percent of GDP in 2013 to 1.5 percent 2015. According to the Statistical Agency of Kazakhstan, in the first nine months of 2012, GDP amounted to 19.7 trillion tenge and grew by 5.2 percent year-on-year compared with the same period in 2011 in real terms. However, in the third quarter of 2012, seasonally adjusted GDP grew only by 0.7 percent – quarter-on-quarter compared with the last three months of 2011. GDP growth in 2012 was mainly led by the expansion in the services sector thanks to the strong growth of wages and loans, while growth in goods production was negative (Figure 4).

The agricultural sector contracted by 9.1 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011. This cut 0.4 percent from third quarter growth. As the government had reported earlier, this was the result of a poor harvest this year compared with the exceptionally high levels of the 2011 harvest. Industrial production grew by 0.5 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2012, even though third quarter of 2012 production declined by 2.4 percent year-onyear compared with the same three months in 2011. This decline cut GDP growth by 0.8 percent. The gross output of the construction sector increased by 4.4 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2012, but it was a relatively small component of GDP, so its contribution was only 0.3 percentage points. (Figure 5) According to the Ernst & Young Rapid-Growth Markets Forecast, in the next three years, Kazakhstan’s investment attractiveness will increase significantly. The industrial sector, agriculture and infrastructure remain the most attractive spheres for investment. The country’s macroeconomic stability and its potential for further GDP growth are also raising investors’ confidence.

The UN Commission on Trade and Development in its World Investment Report 2012, specifically singled out Kazakhstan as the largest destination for foreign investment among the so called land-locked developing countries (LLDCs) over the past few years and posited that such investment in Kazakhstan will only grow in the future. Kazakhstan has successfully implemented a number of key regulatory and structural reforms to preserve and strengthen its political and macroeconomic stability. Foreign investments have been a key to rebuilding and reorienting the national economy, with cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) over the past 20 years amounting to almost $150 billion. Thanks to foreign investors’ capital and expertise, Kazakhstan has reinforced its position as a global energy power with ambitious, yet sustainable plans for the future. FDI inflows into Kazakhstan have recorded strong results over the past decade. Kazakhstan’s success in attracting FDI can be attributed to its vast natural resources and the commitment of the country’s leadership to welcome FDI and promote the country’s stable economic growth, as well as developing other potential sectors of growth, such as agriculture, logistics and transportation. The Kazakhstan Statistics Agency says the country’s resource sector is likely to remain the principal recipient of FDI/foreign debt in the third quarter of 2012. A foreign direct investment breakdown by sector is available for the first quarter of 2012 only. The data reveal that there were several nonresource sectors which received significant amounts of FDI (note other category in last column on Figure 7). In the first quarter of 2012, the FDI inflow in communication services totaled $1.6 billion, in transportation and logistics it reached $200 million, in production of electronics $78 million, in construction $48 million, in electric power generation $46 million and in food production $43 million. So far, Kazakhstan has not been able to overcome its main fundamental difficulty – high oil prices resulting from the growth of exports and imports. (Figure 8) There is a high correlation between oil prices and investment income outflow from Kazakhstan

because of the high proportion of foreign companies operating in Kazakhstan’s resource sector. They produce 73 percent of oil production. Kazakhstan also imports significant amounts of services for resource companies, which has resulted in a $2.0 billion per quarter balance of services deficit. In the last five years, however, there was a notable stabilization of this number. It became less correlated with the Brent price, and therefore with exports. Although Kazakhstan has only been independent since 1991, it has generated significant momentum not only in attracting foreign investment, but also in terms of country competitiveness. The government is currently implementing large-scale reforms aimed at increasing productivity and competitiveness and encouraging balanced social and economic development. Kazakhstan is in the process of modernizing its institutions, educational system and infrastructure to provide a solid foundation for continued economy growth. The latest World Bank and International Finance Corporation Doing Business 2013 Report reveals progress achieved by Kazakhstan in creating a business-friendly environment. It was ranked 49th out of 185 countries surveyed.

Especially impressive is the country’s improvement in ease of starting business indicators. Here Kazakhstan moved from 55th place to 25th in one year. To compare, Russia is ranked 112th, while the closest Central Asian country on the list, Kyrgyzstan, is in 70th place. The findings of the Doing Business Report are supported by other studies. The 2012–2013 Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) published by the World Economic Forum puts Kazakhstan at 51st place in its overall ratings. Russia is ranked 67th. Remarkably, Kazakhstan is ranked 16th in the world in the all-important category of macroeconomic stability, an indication that despite the adverse impact of the 2007–09 global financial and economic crisis, the country has managed to recover quickly and expand economic activity. The investment climate in Kazakhstan is rated very highly in the World Bank’s ratings which are very important to investors. Kazakhstan’s FDI inflows and its exports are still highly concentrated (more than 70 percent) in natural resources and this is the main sector for investments. Kazakhstan is important to world energy markets because it has significant oil and natural gas reserves. With sufficient export options, Kazakhstan could become one of the world’s largest oil producers and exporters in the next decade. Currently, Kazakhstan takes 11th place in the world among oil reserves and 17th place among natural gas reserves.

Kazakhstan’s rich endowment in natural resources has played an important role in its economic development. However, the country is diversifying away from an overdependence on extractive industries. The government follows a policy of diversifying economic development, strengthening entrepreneurship and holding an open and constructive dialogue with investors. The government understands that the development of new economic sectors cannot be achieved without attracting foreign investment. Today, the task is to bring foreign investment and expertise into emerging sectors. To achieve that goal, Kazakhstan has made significant strides in creating a favourable legal and operational environment for domestic and foreign investors. As a result, it was ranked 10th in the world in the “protecting investors” indicator and 28th in enforcing contracts in the Doing Business Report. It is also showing steady improvement in providing access to credit for domestic businesses. In 2011, Kazakhstan was listed as 97th in the world in this area. This year, it has risen to 83rd place. Kazakhstan, therefore, has significant growth potential on the macroeconomic level. While the prices for energy resources are stable, the national economy will be stable too. “Against the background of ongoing economic and social changes, we firmly believe Kazakhstan is well positioned to meet future challenges and opportunities and to deliver on the objectives and targets we have set,” Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov said recently.


The Astana Times

Monday, 10 December 2012

А5

Business

Business News in Brief ● President Nursultan Nazarbayev has opened a plant to manufacture electric locomotives in Astana. The Eurasian Development Bank has given the Electric Kurastyru Zauyty company a credit line of 10 billion tenge (over $ 66 million) for a 10-year period. The total cost of the project will come to 18 billion tenge. It will create 650 new jobs. ● The US Eximbank has offered the Lokomotiv Company of Kazakhstan a loan of $400 million to purchase Evolution-class diesel locomotives from General Electric. The loan agreement was signed on November 26 and is the first of its kind. ● The Business Association of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus is developing new regulations to govern business dealings within the Eurasian Economic Commission. The organization was created in 2011 to integrate different initiatives proposed by the national associations of the three EEC member states. In June 2012, the organization signed a memorandum on cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission. ● In November 2012, Kazakhstan joined the Cape Town list of countries that are eligible to buy modern aircraft at reduced prices with favourable export-credit financing approved by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The listing was made possible by the ratification of the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Aircraft Protocol by Kazakhstan. A new law confirming Kazakhstan’s ratification of the Cape Town Convention was drafted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and adopted in July 2012. ● Eight new projects worth 502 tenge million were approved for financing in the Business Road Map 2020 by the most recent session of the Pavlodar Region Coordinating Council on Entrepreneurship Development. The projects will create 55 new jobs in the fields of transportation, clothing manufacturing, printing services, hospitality, and cultivation of breeding stock and private medicine.

AB Restaurants’ Chief Shares Secrets of Success By Galiya Nurzhan

ASTANA – AB Restaurants is the largest network of restaurants in Kazakhstan with more than 20 locations serving different markets, including Augustin, Aroma, Cafeteria, Coffeemania, Klava Davai! Bar, Bochonok, Daredzhani and Italian cuisine restaurants Del Papa. The Astana Times interviewed AB Restaurants Managing Director Askar Baitassov about the reasons for his chain’s success. How did you start your business? When did you realize you wanted to be engaged in the restaurant business? My parents started the business on their own by opening its first restaurant, the Bochonok and eventually that one grew into a full chain. I joined the business after graduating from business school in the Netherlands. At that time, the chain had only two Bochonok restaurants, both in Almaty. Currently, we own 32 restaurants including some still under construction in different parts of the country. We operate several of them in Astana – the Bochonok, the Augustin, the Italian restaurant Del Papa and the Klava Davai! Bar. And we’re still growing. We plan to open more new restaurants in the capital based on our other concepts that are already very popular in Almaty. How do you develop your business model? Recently, our business model has stabilized and become clear: We are continuing to develop our existing chains of restaurants and we’re planning to launch new ones. We are looking to expand our existing chains around the country into the regions and we’ll be opening new restaurant concepts in Almaty too. At one time, you successfully operated nightclubs. Why did you decide to leave that business and switch to restaurants? It was very difficult to run nightclubs in a chain format. That is

exactly the kind of business where the head of the company should always be engaged directly and take decisions independently. I couldn’t be in several places at once, and I couldn’t find professionals I could trust to run new outlets. Also, my world view as a businessman has changed. Now we are trying to run a more socially responsible business that serves the entire family

The European restaurant sector is very wellestablished: Its culinary and service cultures have existed for centuries. In Kazakhstan, we are still in the early stages. We’re still learning. Our restaurant culture is still young and underdeveloped but we’re learning fast and we’ll be up to the best international standards soon. What are the goals of your company today? One of our main goals is to become not just a restaurant company that is already a leader in its market niche, but in the course of time to diversify into other businesses. We do not want to become complacent and just rest on our past achievements. The company has developed annual and five-year plans to guide our continued expansion and to become the best employer of any restaurant company in Kazakhstan. We are working on this issue by introducing a system of guaranteed career growth within the company. We have also created programmes to get our staff trained by the best professionals outside the country, and in our day-to-day operations, we work to strengthen the loyalty

and encourage the professional growth of our employees. Our top priority is always our guests. Our goal is to make the hours our customers spend in our restaurants the best of their day, and that includes providing a firstclass atmosphere, décor and service as well as top-quality dishes.

How would you describe your style and techniques of doing business? Our company now employs 1,000 people. We exercise a democratic style of management. We believe our management should set our employees an example of relating to others and putting the guests first. Next year we would like to become the best employer in our country. That is our technique, however grandiose it may sound Our goal is to create a large family within AB Restaurants that includes our employees and customers. How do you hire your staff and what criteria guide your selections? Do you also employ international experts? The experienced talent pool is still not very extensive in the restaurant business, especially in the service sector in Kazakhstan. However, we are very demanding when selecting our employees. We still have to go to the international labour market to find our master chefs to run our main kitchens and to introduce new concepts for our menus. For several years, Sicilian Antonio Laufuria has been preparing the menu and recipes for our Del Papa Italian cuisine restaurants in Astana, Almaty and Shymkent. We also employ master chefs from abroad for our German, Georgian and French cuisine restaurants. Our managers are among the best in the business in Kazakhstan. We only hire well-established professionals with experience in this type of business. Our waiters and bartenders spend a minimum of 40 hours per month improving their skills through additional training.

How do you assess the current state of the restaurant business in Kazakhstan and its prospects for the future? The domestic market today is already quite large and it will grow very quickly. Western restaurant chains will enter the market. I believe several new large local restaurant groups will appear in the market in the coming years. What are your plans for developing your company? We want to introduce the public to new restaurant formats and the best international standards. We recently opened a culinary studio where master chefs teach our employees to improve their skills. We will soon be opening our latest concept, the American Bar & Grill, as well as new bakeries and Asian cuisine restaurants. In 2013, we also plan to open new restaurants in other parts of the country and enter the Russian market for the first time. What’s your strategy for holding off competitors? We are always working to improve our ways of doing business in every area of the restaurant business, whether it’s about food, service, décor or management programmes. All these things are of great importance for us, and keeping ahead in them is our main competitive advantage.

What is your main goal when creating a new menu? We focus on the concept of authenticity in food. That is very important for us. An Italian restaurant should serve only Italian food and Georgian restaurants should serve only Georgian food. We are not trying to increase the flow of our visitors by adding dishes that are easily available at any other restaurant. We want to improve the culinary standards of our guests. We focus on attracting a discriminating clientele from the high end of the market. What principles guide your décor design policy?

What are the differences between Kazakhstan and European restaurants? The European restaurant sector is very well-established: Its culinary and service cultures have existed for centuries. In Kazakhstan, we are still in the early stages. We’re still learning. Our restaurant culture is still young and underdeveloped but we’re learning fast and we’ll be up to the best international standards soon. What is the secret of your success? We are engaged in the restaurant business and we love our work. What would you advise a beginner entering the restaurant business? Do the work that brings you great pleasure. It will be your great competitive advantage. Do you participate in charity work? Yes. This year we collected films and books for orphaned children. In November, we had a special day. Kazakhstan entertainment stars worked as waiters in one of our restaurants and we raised a record sum for charity. We have been raising funds to pay for the medical treatment of a girl called Pauline. In addition to charity, we organize events on environmental and social issues, when we collect trash or teach our young guests etiquette free of charge. This sphere of activity is obligatory for us, and we hope that 2013 will be no less productive for us in this regard. Most importantly, all our undertakings are supported by our regular guests, and it means business should not stay away both from charity and social responsibility.

Kazakhstan Upgrades Airports, Airline Services

● Kazakhstan entrepreneurs training in Business Communications project of the 2020 Business Road Map have recently returned from a visit to the U.S. capital, Washington, DC. They established business contacts and explored the purchasing of equipment, services, technologies and licenses and the hiring of experts. ● Standard & Poor’s has upgraded its long- and short-term local and foreign currency credit ratings for Kazakhstan’s SamrukKazyna National Welfare Fund from BBB to BBB+ with a stable outlook. ● Over 30 percent of respondents in a recent poll said Kazakhstan is one of the three most attractive markets for investments in the 12-nation Commonwealth of Independent States, along with Russia and Ukraine. The investment climate has improved and tax rates have dropped compared to many Western countries, they said. ● Changes to the Law “On Payents and Transfers” considering the duty of individual entrepreneurs and legal entities to ensure the installation of equipment to accept payments made by credit cards, are to be put into effect as of January 1, 2013. At the same time individual entrepreneurs and legal entities are exempt from this requirment in the following cases: - If they are engaged in wholesale and retail trade of agricultural and fishery products of own production; - If they are operating via remote counters, mobile shops, tents, kiosks, containers, and in the retail market; - If they conduct business in places that lack public telecommunication network. The law was also amended to provide administrative responsibility for the lack of a payment device by an individual entrepreneur or legal entity.

The interiors of all our establishments are carefully considered at the initial planning stage. Creating a special, intimate atmosphere is a major component of our identifying brand.

The government is rebuilding regional airports around the country and100 billion tenge ($665 million) has already been spent on airport modernization programmes.

By Miras Abykov ASTANA – Kazakhstan is becoming a major global hub at the heart of Eurasia, but the country’s air transport industry has a long way to go to cope with rapidly increasing demand and the need for more efficient and sophisticated services. So the government is undertaking a massive upgrade in air services and their support infrastructure. To this end, government officials recently concluded new agreements on long-term cooperation in air transport with Luxembourg. Following talks, Vice-Minister of Transport and Communications Azat Bekturov and Luxembourg’s Minister of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure Claude Wiseler initialed an intergovernmental agreement on air traffic cooperation that has been in devel-

opment by Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Transport and Communications since May. The agreement meets the requirements of European Union legislation and opens the possibility of flights between Luxembourg and Kazakhstan for all EU airlines. The parties also signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allows Cargolux, Europe’s largest freight company, to continue to make regular cargo flights between Kazakhstan and Luxembourg. Luxembourg officials also expressed their readiness to conduct short-term training courses for Kazakhstan’s specialists in security and flight safety. Because of air traffic growth in Central Asia, Kazakhstan’s national airline Air Astana asked Lufthansa Consulting (LC) in Germany to help its five-year ex-

pansion plan. LC approved the plan to expand the airline’s current network across Kazakhstan, Central Asia and Russia to include new destinations. LC experts also helped Air Astana improve its crew planning process. Air Astana now provides regular flights on more than 50 domestic and international routes within Kazakhstan, to Central Asia, to other Commonwealth of Independent States countries and to Russia, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. It carried nearly three million passengers in 2011. Earlier in November, Vietnam and Kazakhstan agreed to strengthen their cooperation in tourism. Focus Travel of Vietnam will establish connections with four Kazakh travel companies to bring Kazakh tourists to Cam Ranh in Khanh Hoa Province on chartered flights. Starting on De-

cember 27 to April 2013, a Boeing 757 will fly from Almaty to Cam Ranh every 10 days. Starting next year, Vietnam will receive tourists on regular Air Astana flights. Beginning in January 2013, Air Astana will fly two flights to Cam Ranh every week, each one carrying 80 Kazakh tourists. The government is also rebuilding regional airports around the country. The Ministry of Transport and Communications says 100 billion tenge ($665 million) has already been spent on airport modernization programmes. Runways have already been modernized at 10 of the country’s 18 civilian airports and work at the remaining airports is due to take place in 2014-15. The modernized airports include Atyrau and Aktau in the west, Pavlodar and Astana in the north, Almaty and Shymkent in

the south. The modernization programmes are bringing all the airports into accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. The total cost of the programme will come to 80 billion tenge, the Ministry of Transport and Communications says. The ministry plans to involve public-private partnerships in the financing of future reconstruction programmes. Kazakhstan’s air industry has experienced a series of problems. In the past, its airlines were prohibited from entering EU airspace as the country was on the EU’s air safety blacklist. Even now, Air Astana is the only national carrier allowed to conduct flights from and to the territories of the European Union. The national air traffic control agency is working with the ICAO to improve this situation. Over the last 10 months, civilian airports in Kazakhstan handled 46,015 flights, of which 5,818 were delayed. The number of civilian flights grew by 3 percent compared with the same 10month period last year. The main reasons for delays were the late arrival of aircraft, weather conditions at airports and technical difficulties, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) says. Serik Mukhtybayev, vicechairman of the MTC’s Committee of Civil Aviation, said the ministry conducts daily monitoring of flights. The new draft law “On amendments and additions to some legislative acts on transport” will include measures to ensure that airlines carry liability for delays. In February 2012, Minister of Transport and Communications Askar Zhumagaliyev held meetings with airline chiefs and charged the Committee of Civil Aviation to investigate each case of flight delay and apply appropriate measures towards airlines and airports responsible. The issues of flight delays, passengers’ rights and airlines’ obligations were also discussed at a recent round table in Astana, organized by the MTC, Astana International Airport and Air Astana.


А6

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Astana Times editorial

Zhanaozen: One Year On

On December 16, 2011, on the 20th anniversary of Kaza- prehensive Plan for Social and Economic Development of khstan's independence, a nation was shocked to see the un- Zhanaozen (Mangistau Region) in 2012 - 2020." The plan precedented outburst of violence in a remote and dusty town includes finding a solution to the problem of overcrowding; ensuring the optimum structure of employment; promoting of Zhanaozen in the far western corner of the country. Violent clashes between some elements among striking oil a phased relocation of the city population to promising locaworkers and security forces on that fateful day led to 16 deaths tions by creating new businesses and jobs; maintaining the and up to 80 injuries, and to the state of emergency that lasted social and engineering infrastructure of Zhanaozen; addressuntil January 31, 2012. This year, several court proceedings ing food security issues in the region; and taking measures to took place leading to a whole list of convictions for instigators strengthen law and order and public safety. In total, 38.6 billion tenge ($244.4 million) will be allocated of violence, police officers who abused power and local government and oil company executives whose corrupt actions con- for the implementation of the Plan for the years 2012-2020. Of that, 32.3 billion tenge will come from the national budget, 6.0 tributed to worsening of the economic situation in that town. Zhanaozen, like at least a dozen other towns across Kaza- billion from the local area budget and 0.3 billion from other khstan that sprang up 50 or 60 years ago during the Soviet sources. The implementation of projects for the development of the social sphere is designed to be industrialization drive, is a single ina comprehensive solution to the probdustry settlement. Under a command Through collective efforts lems of development, such as the proeconomy, it was easier to tie an entire by government entities, vision of affordable housing, electriccity’s livelihood to one industry, given ity, heat, water, gas and sewage. that other cities were focusing on their civil society groups and The construction of “Rahat” health single industries. For Zhanaozen, its workers’ representatives, centers and the building of a one-block industry is oil. For Kentau, Zhanatas Zhanaozen should become therapy hospital in the city will beand Rudnyi their industry is mining. gin this year instead of as originally Any fluctuation in the fortunes of a model city. Here in planned for 2013 and 2015. The depthese industries on the local, national Astana, everything is uty akim - or governor - of the Mangand global level affect the livelihood being done to revitalize istau region has stated that “we moved of these towns. And this is precisely the construction period to 2012 of two what happened to Zhanaozen which the provincial town and has seen oil production around it bring it up to a new status. schools in the Tenge village and Merey district of Zhanaozen. We also moved dwindle over the past decade or so, leading to much higher than average rates of unemployment to 2012 the construction of two preschool education centers, and grim outlook for the future among the locals. This served each with a capacity of 320 pupils.” Akim of the oblast Baurzhan Mukhamedzhanov underas a fertile ground for fomenting unrest and rioting which is stands the responsibility of the local administration. He says what transpired a year ago. Since independence, the government has realized that it “the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan quickly needs a more balanced economic policy in these towns. Over- adopted five resolutions and necessary funds have been alall, there are over one million small and medium-sized enter- located. It should be understood that the government take prises across the country and the government is continuously these funds from other projects in order to direct them into pushing forward initiatives to foster diversified development. the development of the town of Zhanaozen. Now, it depends These efforts make what happened in Zhanaozen in 2011 par- on us how efficiently we can use the money and implement ticularly shocking. the plan in time.” But Zhanaozen does not have to be forever scarred by vioThrough collective efforts by government entities, civil solence. The government, taking into account all that happened ciety groups and workers’ representatives, Zhanaozen should and considering the domination of a single industry sector, become a model city. Here in Astana, everything is being done plans to re-create the settlement into a model town. to revitalize the provincial town and bring it up to a new staSince independence, the population of Zhanaozen has more tus. than doubled and now stands at 125,000 people. The little oil Neither Zhanaozen, nor other single industry towns across town leads the country in terms of fertility rates. Just last year, Kazakhstan are out of the woods yet. The government’s ef3,500 babies were born. The population is growing, and the forts to radically change the situation there should continue in government needs to be prepared for current and even more earnest. And the government realizes this fully, at both local importantly future challenges. and national levels. Its actions should be allowed to proceed Looking ahead, the Ministry of Economic Development and should be supported by the whole society and internaand Trade is implementing a government order called “Com- tional community.

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Kazakhstan Aims to Improve Pension System with Personal Retirement Savings By Serik Akhmetov Providing decent pensions for elderly citizens is an important and complex socio-economic problem for any country, regardless of economic stability or prosperity. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev consistently stresses the importance of reforms in the social sector in his addresses and articles, emphasizing the issue of pensions in particular. The worldwide problem of pension coverage is becoming more acute every year as populations age, life expectancy rises and birth rates in some areas decline. According to predictions by the United Nations, by the year 2050 people over the age of 60 will account for half of the world’s adult population. At the same time, the working population and those who pay taxes is decreasing. Countries must adapt their national pension systems to these changing economic and social conditions. National reforms are carried out with regard to demographic, economic, social, cultural, political and other features and possibilities. Pension security in any country must, of course, be based on a number of organizational, financial and other factors. The unifying ground is a “three-tier” pension system, which includes the state, the employer and the employee as participants. The first tier is protection against poverty, usually implemented as part of the distribution system. At this level, pensions do not depend on labour input and wages. The second tier is intended to provide for a comfortable retirement. It is primarily oriented to the working population, stimulating and sometimes obliging them to participate in the formation of additional pensions. At this level, application of both distribution and cumulative funding is possible. The third tier is for voluntary contributions; for instance, pension provisions which every individual can accumulate by their own methods. One of the oldest of these pension systems is the German pension system, the foundations of which were laid in 1889 during the reign of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Pension coverage (or insurance) had three forms: government, corporate and private. National insurance in Germany is mandatory for those whose monthly income before tax deductions does not exceed 3,900 euros. Of the 19.5 percent deducted from monthly salaries, half is paid by the employee and half is paid by the employer. Money is not collected, but used for ongoing payments, adhering to the principle of solidarity between generations. In large German companies, such as Mercedes, Airbus or Siemens, employees can rely on an additional corporate pension. This comes from voluntary contributions by employers. The company either independently creates savings funds for its employees or enters into a contract with a bank. The corporate pension of a highly qualified specialist is about 600 euros per month; an ordinary worker’s is 100-200 euros. Similar schemes have been adopted by most developed countries. Until recently, the pension system in our country rested on the principle of solidarity between generations. But with the recent global economic and social problems, as well as the collapse of Soviet-model governments, Kazakhstan, as well as the countries of Eastern Europe and CIS, is looking at reform. The current pension system in Kazakhstan was introduced in 1997, when the government approved the concept of pension system reform and adopted the law, “On Pension Provision in the Republic of Kazakhstan.” The long-term objective of the reform is to transition from the solidarity pension system with defined benefits to the financially defined contributions (defined contribution pension system). According to recent World Bank calculations regarding the development of Kazakhstan’s pension system, it is assumed that this transition will be completed by 2043. By this time, pensioners should be receiving pensions entirely from the savings of their mandatory individual accumulative accounts. In order to overcome the pension system crisis accompanied by the burden on employers, the debt to the Pension Fund and to pensioners, and to reduce the state budget deficit, the retirement age was raised from 55 and 60 years of age for women and men, respectively, to 58 and 63 years for women and men, respectively, and preferential (early) retirement was abolished. Later, the Concept of Social Welfare, approved by Kazakhstan’s government on June 27, 2001, and the above mentioned law were amended with provisions to establish the level of voluntary pension schemes based on voluntary contributions to pension funds made by both the employee and the employer. Then, in June 2005, within the framework of the programme of further expansion of social reforms in Kazakhstan from 2005 to 2007, approved by the government on No-

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vember 30, 2004, the basic pension level was introduced. The pension system of Kazakhstan now has three levels. The first, beginning Jan. 1, 2011, the basic pension payment, reached 50 percent of the subsistence level. This year, the basic pension of 8,720 tenge is almost three times greater than those introduced in 2005. As part of Kazakhstan’s strategy of development until 2020, the amount of basic pension benefit will be 60 percent of a living wage in 2015, and will gradually increase to the minimum subsistence level. At the second (mandatory) level, pensions are paid within the framework of the transition from the solidarity to the defined contribution pension system. At present, 1.7 million people (who, as of Jan. 1, 1998 had no less than six months of work experience) receive solidarity pensions. From Jan. 1, 2012 the size of pensions grew by 9 percent for all pensioners. Over the past 12 years, from 2000 to 2012, the minimum pension increased by almost 7.5 times (from 3,500 to 26,211 tenge), the average pension increased by 8.7 times (from 4,447 to 38,720 tenge), and the maximum grew by 6.9 times (from 8,156 to 56,047 tenge). The systematic increase in pension payments has, to a certain extent, improved the living standards of the elderly. If we compare pension size in the CIS, Kazakhstan, with a minimum pension of 177 dollars per month is ahead of all the countries of the commonwealth in terms of minimum pension size. Simultaneously with the solidarity and basic pensions, members of the defined contribution pension system receive pension payments from the pension funds at the account of mandatory pension contributions. Currently, there are 11 pension funds in Kazakhstan and about 8.4 million individual accounts have been registered in the system. The total amount of pension savings increased from 23.5 billion tenge in 1998 to 3,031.9 billion tenge as of Oct. 1, 2012, and reached about 10 percent of the gross domestic product of the country. At the third (voluntary) level, pension benefits are also paid from voluntary and voluntary professional pension contributions. The voluntary system allows each citizen to increase his or her own retirement savings. Today, all pension funds have voluntary retirement accounts, the number of which has already exceeded 40,000. Within the framework of the president’s state of the nation address of Feb. 28, 2007, “New Kazakhstan in a New World,” the state guarantees the preservation of mandatory pension contributions, taking into account the inflation rate at the time of acquisition of the right for pension payments. As of Oct. 1, 2012, 174,500 recipients were paid the state guarantee in the amount of 8.1 billion tenge from the national budget. It should be noted that Kazakhstan is the only country in the world that pays state guarantees for the reimbursement of pension assets. The reform of the pension system of Kazakhstan provided the transition from the first level based on the principle of intergenerational solidarity to the second level with the principle of personal retirement savings. Currently in transition, both systems complement each other, but in the long term the main role in pension provision will be given to the defined contribution pension system. However, at the present stage, the issues of the pension system’s development require further modernization at all levels. Today, at the President’s instruction, much work is being done to improve the pension system. Some issues voiced in the address have been already developed within the framework of the roadmap for the development of a funded pension system and the securities market of the Kazakhstan. For its implementation, three parallel working groups were formed in the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, working in different directions. A study, “Further improvement of the pension system of the Republic of Kazakhstan,” was also conducted under the Joint Economic Research Programme for actuarial calculations at all levels of the pension system between the government of Kazakhstan and the World Bank. The author is the Vice-Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

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The Astana Times

Monday, 10 December 2012

А7

opinions

Lessons Learned in Human Rights and the UN Human Rights the Fight Against Committee Terror By Marat Sarsembayev

By Yerlan Karin In November 2011, tragic events took place in the southern city of Taraz and changed our perceptions of the reality of the terrorist threat. On that day, one man kept an entire regional center in suspense for over three hours and used a grenade launcher, machine gun and pistols to shoot members of the law enforcement authorities and ordinary people who crossed his path. The incident could not be compared to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, a decade before in the United States or with the hundreds of innocent people, including so many children murdered at a Beslan school in Russia in September 2004. However, this kind of tragedy had never occurred before in peaceful and quiet Kazakhstan. It shocked public opinion and served as a wake-up call for the public in understanding the problems of stability and security. Smaller outbreaks of terrorism had previously taken place in our country. In 2011, disturbing news came from Aktobe, Shubarshi, Kenkiyank, Atyrau and Balkhash. However, in all these cases it was not completely understood what the causes of these localized outbreaks of violence were. Did they come from terrorist groups or just ordinary criminal gangs? In some cases, these questions still lack sufficient publicly released information to be adequately answered. Questions remain over explosions in Atyrau two weeks before the attack in Taraz. Even though the Prosecutor General’s Office has acknowledged those explosions as an act of terrorism, the situation was not fully understood and it is still not known who carried them out and for what reasons. Therefore, for experts and the general public alike the question remains open, “Is there terrorism in the country or not?” After Taraz, it became clear to many people that terrorism had become a real threat to our security. But citizens today have other questions: How is it possible that one man could safely plan and perform all those actions? Where could he get his weapons from – not just a simple penknife, but a whole grenade launcher? How could he hold off and defy a great number of security officers until Captain Baitassov stopped him at the cost of his own life? How capable is our national security system to counter the threat of terrorism? Who stands against us? What is the nature and extent of this threat? The first anniversary of the Taraz event once again gives us a good reason to readdress these issues. Today, the national fight against terrorism has already become a daily reality. Over the past five years, 148 people were convicted of terrorist offenses in Kazakhstan, including 83 people who were condemned in 2012 alone. During those five years, other countries detained 41 Kazakhstan citizens who were suspected of involvement in terrorist organizations and illegal armed groups. There is particular concern that nearly 70 percent of convicted terrorists are young people under the age of 29. Security officers have become the main targets of terrorists. In the last two years, nine of them were killed in terrorist attacks. In 2011, four law enforcement officers were killed while arresting terrorists and two members of Kazakhstan’s Arystan service were killed while conducting anti-terrorist operations. In 2011, the nation’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies underwent serious internal analysis and significantly revised their operating procedures. All cases of terrorism are now conducted by special prosecutors, and clear administrative divisions in the fight against terrorism and extremism have been established within the

Ministry of Internal Affairs. Plans are being developed to set up antiterrorism commissions in regions around the country to coordinate all preventive work done in them. The performance of the national intelligence service and other law enforcement agencies is being reviewed to streamline and improve its efficiency. However, security officers still have to develop new parameters and algorithms to guide their work in the increasingly important field of information technology. Even before the events in Taraz, they had to struggle not only with real live extremists, but also with rumors. Let’s recall at least the powerful acoustical wave started last year before Kurban Ait, when almost all country succumbed to the alleged provocation on the upcoming celebration of mass child sacrifice. Then the rumors were disapproved, but with a long delay. And, it seems, then security officers together with other state agencies responsible for information policy began to reconstruct work and to develop a certain new algorithm of information work, but the situation with “Arkankergen” again opened a mistrust problem to official sources of information. The public information failures of the past two years have unfortunately confirmed the inability of official bodies and security officers to work in the information field. As a result, even highly successful special-forces missions this summer and autumn were criticized over the allegedly disproportionate use of force. This kind of controversy can be harmful to national security: It turns into a kind of shadow-fighting, when security officers are distracted and forced to fight with imaginary opponents. Also, cyber-attacks by fictitious or almost nonexistent fantasy organizations such as the selfclaimed “Soldiers of the Caliphate” can spread false rumors and needless anxiety and tie up security officers who need to be able to concentrate on more serious threats. It is clear that Kazakhstan’s security officials still have much to do. But the fight against terrorism concerns not only them. The immediate causes and long-term socio-economic factors generating terrorism are far beyond the competence of security officers. Kazakhstan’s national security services need to able to focus on improving the performance of their own agencies and prepare them to face new tasks because the character, scale and forms of threat of terrorism are always changing. Recent terrorist attacks in Kazakhstan have displayed a planned and organized character. We are talking not just about random skirmishes with police patrols, as was the case before but bold actions against protected objectives such as the attack on the city police department in Atyrau. Ordinary citizens have also become victims of terror. If we are to believe the official version, the Ministry of Internal Affairs says 12 people in Ile-Alatau National Park were killed by terrorists. Some current terrorist gangs are separate autonomous groups without a permanent channel of financing. They come to the attention of law enforcement agencies when they commit banal criminal offenses in their need for money. In Atyrau in 2011, a group of terrorists was exposed after a failed robbery of a grocery store. Another terror cell was destroyed in July in Almaty as they were planning an attack on a business. We must understand that terrorism is not a war, it is a virus of war. It is an attempt to force the state, society and the general population into perpetual confrontation with each other. All the acts of terrorism of recent years and the special operations that have been launched to end and prevent them have slowly activated a hidden flywheel of war in the public consciousness. Now politicians and experts have started to talk in military terminology. But in our aspirations to eradicate this evil, it is necessary to remember that we should struggle not with the young people of Kazakhstan but to fight for them and for their future. The author is a political scientist and the Secretary of the Nur Otan People’s Democratic Party.

The United Nations is a global organization that brings together 193 states and represents the interests of the entire world community. Almost all the UN’s governing bodies are concerned with human rights issues. However, two UN agencies are directly involved in ensuring human rights and freedoms. The first of these is the Human Rights Council, which includes 47 member states from around the world. Kazakhstan plans to seek one of the HRC seats allocated to the Asian continent. The second special UN human rights agency is the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR) based in Geneva. The office of the High Commissioner oversees the activities of 10 treaty bodies on various aspects of human rights, including the Human Rights Committee (HRC), where I currently represent Kazakhstan.

Important function of the UN Committee on Human Rights is an interpretation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which assists states in implementing the norms of the Covenant, and in the preparation of their reports to the Committee. The UNHCR’s other nine committees include the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee against Torture, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, the Committee on Migrant Workers, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Committee on Enforced Disappearances. They all work within the UNHCR’s framework. The UN Committee on Human Rights (CHR) was established in

1977 on the basis of Articles 28-50 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of Dec. 6, 1966. The Committee includes 167 UN member-states, including Kazakhstan, which ratified the Covenant on Jan. 24, 2006. The work of the Committee is guided by the 53 articles of the International Covenant and two subsequent optional protocols. On June 30, 2009 Kazakhstan acceded to an optional protocol giving the citizens of all participating states the right to appeal to the UN Committee with their individual complaints and communications. The status of members of the CHR has a dual character. On one hand, he/she is nominated by their own state. The heads of all states with permanent missions to the United Nations take part in the election of members of the committee. On the other hand, after their election, each member of the CHR states that they will henceforth act only in a personal and professional capacity. They also swear that they will act in an impartial and independent manner in carrying out the CHR’s operations. All members of the Committee are qualified and experienced professionals in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The CHR holds three sessions per year, each of which is three weeks long. The first annual session is always held at UN Headquarters in New York City every March and the other two are both held in Geneva, Switzerland every July and October. At each session, the CHR hears reports on four or five countries about human rights in them. It then reaches an appropriate conclusion and directs its officials to implement them for each country. At each of the three sessions, the CHR discusses 15-20 individual complaints (communications) and takes decisions on them. All states that have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or acceded to it periodically report to the Committee on the implementation of the human rights enshrined in the Covenant. In 2012, Kazakhstan’s representative to the CHR participated during the annual three sessions in hearings on reports from 14 states – Yemen, Capo Verde, Turkmenistan, Guatemala, Lithuania, Iceland, Maldives, Armenia, Kenya, the Philippines, Turkey, Germany,

Bosnia and Herzegovina and Portugal – about the state of human rights in those countries. Kazakhstan’s CHR representative was also appointed as one of the five members of the Commission on Human Rights in Germany which monitored human rights in that country in connection with the activities of its law enforcement agencies. Usually the findings and recommendations of the CHR are implemented by the countries they refer to because failure to comply with them by the member-state in question would be evidence of its bad faith in the implementation of its obligations under international treaties, including the Covenant. Another important function of the UN Committee on Human Rights is an interpretation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which assists states in implementing the norms of the Covenant, and in the preparation of their reports to the Committee. According to the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant, the Committee on Human Rights is entitled to receive and consider communications from individuals (persons) who write that they have been victims of any violation by the state, which is a party to the International Covenant of any norm enshrined in the Covenant. This communication may then be accepted for consideration and recognized as acceptable if the following requirements have been met: That the communication had to do with a violation of the norms of law, which is stipulated in the Covenant; That the communication was submitted by the person or persons who are really under the jurisdiction of the state, which is a party to the International Covenant and its Optional Protocol. If a communication is sent to the HCR by any other person, then it has to provide evidence that it is acting on behalf of the victim;

That the communication was not anonymous; That the communication was not reviewed by any other international organizations; and That by the time the communication was submitted to the CHR, the victim had exhausted all domestic remedies. Before deciding whether or not a submission is admissible for consideration, the Committee may ask the alleged victim or the state about additional information or comments and set a deadline for their submission. If at this stage the state shall respond to a received message, the person who is the author of the complaint receives a copy of this reply for comments. If a message meets these requirements, the Committee shall decide on the admissibility of the communication. Then communication is considered at the working group meeting, the plenary session of the Committee, and then appropriate decision on the appeal is made. During the first 27 years of its operation from 1977 to 2004, the Committee on Human Rights received 1,295 complaints from more than 70 states-parties to the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant. The Committee found violations of human rights with regard to 349 cases. Kazakhstan’s citizens already have the right of individual petition to the UN Committee on Human Rights. However, in 2012 the complaints of citizens from Kazakhstan were not reviewed, although four complaints from the country are featured. The largest numbers of complaints is received from developed democracies. Their number varies from 80 to 200 per year from each country. In 2012, Kazakhstan’s representative at the Committee took an active part in the thorough discussion, drafting of decisions, clarification of facts, exchanges of views and debates on various aspects of the complaints in at least 46 cases. The UN Committee on Human Rights continues to makes an important contribution to the promotion of human rights and freedoms in the world. The author is a member of the United Nations Committee on Human Rights and a member of the Central Election Commission of Kazakhstan.

Foreign Policy Initiatives of Kazakhstan By Vladimir Socor Successful foreign policy requires a stable, broad internal political base. The Nazarbayev presidency has created such a domestic base in a historically short time span. Only two decades ago, the Nazarbayev presidency took over not a state, not even a constituted country, but a territory, with a population but without a society, and without a citizenry in the civic sense of that term. The totalitarian system had been imposed on Kazakhstan from outside. During the Nazarbayev presidency, Kazakhstan has advanced from totalitarian external rule to independent state, rapidly modernizing through integration in the global market economy, and opening democratic prospects for the country. The government of Kazakhstan understands that the road to prosperity passes through the global market economy, not resource nationalism. The country experiences a growing spread of prosperity. A middle class is in the process of formation. A modern Western-educated managerial class is emerging. Kazakhstan’s young diplomatic service has demonstrated maturity and sophistication in international organizations and in the world arena. These successes are based on a sound model of governance. Its main elements include: - The executive presidency at the center of state power, under a head of state with undisputed authority, enjoying the trust of citizenry and of various interest groups; - Presidential government, legitimized by stable parliamentary majorities through the electoral cycles; - Continuity in power, enabling

long-term strategic planning, and offering attractive conditions for international investment; - Evolutionary opening of the political system, as exemplified by the recent parliamentary elections, which advanced from a one-party Majilis to party pluralism in the Parliament; - Political and economic reforms guided from above, gradually leading toward wider public participation in political processes, step by step enlarging public inputs into the government’s policy-making. I would like to highlight the main challenges ahead. Perhaps, the first and foremost challenge is to retain a strong American engagement and presence in Afghanistan and Central Asia at large. The United States cannot regard Kazakhstan and Central Asia simply as a military transit route for operations in Afghanistan and withdrawal route from Afghanistan. The region is far too important for the United States to view it in such a unilateral and short-term manner. American economic involvement in Kazakhstan can expand beyond the oil sector to include nonferrous and rare earth minerals, of which Kazakhstan possesses a great

wealth, and which are in short supply in the United States and Europe. Moreover, Kazakhstan’s economy is sufficiently advanced by now to absorb high-technology industrial investments from the United States and Europe. Energy and raw material supply security is a shared interest of the United States and Europe. To achieve these interests effectively, they must work in tandem in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.Kazakhstan can help educate governments in Europe and United States about the need to work closely together in Central Asia. Kazakhstan needs to diversify the routes of its oil exports. At present, some 80 percent of Kazakhstan’s oil exports to world markets are being routed through one single country. Objectively, such a solution would not be regarded as safe by any major oil exporting country. The Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union poses the risk of being turned into a political structure. Kazakhstan economic calculations for joining this organization are valid and convincing. However, Kazakhstan should resist a politicization of this Customs Union or its follow-up Eurasia Union. Its politicization would place limitations on Kazakhstan’s state independence and sovereignty. It would not be in Kazakhstan’s interest to support international recognition of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The United States and NATO oppose such recognition. It is indeed in Kazakhstan’s interest to engage in close relations directly with the US military and NATO, instead of having to go through the CSTO in those relationships. Afghanistan post-2014 presents not only a potential challenge, but

also a potential opportunity to Kazakhstan. Although it is not a direct neighbour to Afghanistan, Kazakhstan is uniquely placed to function as a facilitator and potentially even a mediator among rival forces in Afghanistan. Unlike Afghanistan’s direct neighbours, Kazakhstan cannot and will not be a player in Afghanistan’s ethnic and sectarian politics and conflicts. While all of Afghanistan’s neighbours are potential contenders in that country (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan through its kinsmen in Afghanistan’s North, Iran through the Hazara, and Pakistan through Pashtoons), Kazakhstan is not a directly interested party, it stays above such conflicts and above the fray. Moreover, Kazakhstan is an active member, sometimes a leading member, in therelevant international organizations such as the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the CSTO, Conference on Interaction and ConfidenceBuilding Measures in Asia (CICA), the Turkic states’ group, etc. All this gives Kazakhstan unmatched credibility to become a conflict settlement facilitator for Afghanistan. The Nazarbayev presidency has turned Kazakhstan into a success story in the making. Passing the 20 year mark of this presidency, the country is set on its way from success story in the making in the direction of accomplished success as a modernizing independent state. The author is senior researh fellow at Jamestown Foundation in Washington, DC.


The Astana Times

А8

Monday, 10 December 2012

Nation & Eurasia

Astana Wins Right to Host EXPO 2017, begins preparations From Page A1 Finding sustainable energy supplies is a key and growing global problem, and the solution must be found to ensure economic growth and social standards while reducing the burden on the environment. Kazakhstan’s choice of the topic is due to the fact that, with significant reserves of natural energy resources, the country has been consistently taking steps to use alternative energy sources, and has committed itself to building a “green” economy. Kazakhstan conducts a major task-oriented work in the field of “green economy” and in this regard the meeting of Nursultan Nazarbayev with Chief Executive Officer of France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Com-

mission (CEA) Bernard Bigot was of special importance. Kazakhstan’s capital has already gained experience of holding major international events, including the Summit of the OSCE and the Asian Winter Games. Astana is a modern city with a dynamic and comfortable environment for business and residence. According to the Mayor of Astana Imangali Tasmagambetov “Astana is the place where the energy of the youth sets the rhythm of the city.” “We also want to underline prospects. EXPO will expand its borders up to territories which occupy the ninth place in the world, which coincides with the mission of EXPO to have planetary significance,” the Mayor said as he sought to emphasize the importance of EXPO both for Kazakhstan and for the world.

“A total of 2.5 billion people live in close proximity to our country. It’s only a three-hour flight from the capital city of India, a five-hour flight from the capital of China and a three-hour flight to Moscow. We have established excellent connections. We have repeatedly held global events, including the Winter Asian Games, the Summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Kairat Kelimbetov underlined. “Astana has extensive experience in conducting major events, and in fact I would say that our country plans to hold the world Universiade in 2017, and I think that Astana provides a sufficiently large number of people and really make it possible for further spread of the ideas of “green economy” not only

in the region but also in other parts of the world.” The victory of Astana’s bid capped a two year campaign by the two competing cities. It all began in December 2010 when plans were announced for Astana to bid for EXPO 2017. Later, on 10 June 2011, at the headquarters of the International Bureau of Expositions in Paris, MFA Executive Secretary and national EXPO 2017 coordinator Rapil Zhoshybayev met with the General Secretary of the BIE, Mr. Vincent Gonzales Loscertales. During their meeting, Mr. Zhoshybayev submitted Kazakhstan’s official candidacy signed by the Prime Minister. The campaign organized in support of Astana’s candidacy was held all over the world. Thus, in early October a nine month auto

expedition of Kazakhstan’s Geographic Society started. Its leader, biker Dmitry Petrukhin planned to visit 35 of the 160 member countries of the BIE in the Americas, including Latin America and the Caribbean. Also, the Kazakh film “Astana Expo 2017 “The Great Expectation of Kazakhstan” has received the second prize Silver Dolphin Award at the annual international festival “Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards” in the category “Corporate Video”. The exhibition will be held for three months in the summer period of 2017. The city expects up to five million visitors to attend the event. EXPO 2017 in Astana would also coincide with the city’s 20th anniversary as the capital of Kazakhstan.


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The Astana Times

Nation & Capital Monday, 10 December 2012 Int’l Festival of Contemporary Music Opens in Astana Page B3

Youth Politics Gain Momentum in Kazakhstan Page B4

Kazakhstan’s speed skaters show good results at World Cup Page B7

Kazakh Movies Make Global Impact By Maral Zhantaikyzy ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s moviemakers have come to America: From November 14 to November 18, the Kazakh film festival was held with great success in the U.S. capital Washington, DC, and in Boston. Entitled “Flowers of the Steppe”, the festival included such movies as “A Gift to Stalin”, “Kelin” (Kazakh for The Daughter-in-Law), “Letters to an Angel”, “The Dash”, “Seker” and “Akkyz”. Those completely different films portray the history of Kazakhstan in different eras. The festival created new cultural ties between Kazakhstan and the United States and gave Americans a unique opportunity to learn about life in the country located on the other side of the globe.

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Drama Portrays Country’s Transition to Independence By Mariyam Akhmetova ASTANA – The play “Teren Tamyrlar” (“Deep Roots” in Kazakh) by Yerkin Zhuasbek will be performed in the Palace of Peace and Accord in Astana to celebrate the Day of the First President on December 1. The play will be directed and produced by Nurlan Zhumaniyazov and performed by the actors of the Kuanyshbaev Kazakh Music and Drama Theatre. A historical drama, it recreates the key role of President Nursultan Nazarbayev in establishing the independence of Kazakhstan in 1991 and ensuring its survival during the troubled times that followed.

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Akzhayik Reserve Will Join UNESCO Biosphere List By Galiya Nurzhan

On November 30, the main Christmas Tree was lit in front of Ak Orda in Astana by Marina Volnova, a medalist of the London Olympics. According to Astana Akimat, 3,000 children, 1,000 of which from low-income families and orphans were invited to the event. Children enjoyed the programme and choreographic composition titled “Snow Carnival”.

ASTANA – Since mid-October, scientists and researchers from the University of Bologna in Italy have been working on a project in the Akzhayik National Park of the Atyrau region to preserve its unique biodiversity and develop eco-tourism in the Caspian region.

The Akzhayik Nature Reserve is located in the delta of the Ural River on the coast of the Caspian Sea and covers a huge area of 111,500 hectares (11,948,000 acres). It has hundreds of shallow lakes surrounded by high reeds, reed mace and shrubs.

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Contemporary Art Young Pianist Wins Center Hosts Forum International Dedicated to Day of Competition First President By Madina Iskakova

ASTANA – The International Art Forum 2012 was held in Astana on November 15. The initiator and organizer of the forum, the Kulanshi Contemporary Art Center, dedicated the event to the Day of the First President of Kazakhstan marked on December 1. Every year this forum involves

artists, sculptors and designers from around the world. This year’s International Art Forum presented the work of four artists: Ron di Scenza from Italy, Mammad Rashidov from Azerbaijan and Asan Boronchinov and Yerzhan Yussupov from Kazakhstan.

Shallow lakes of Akzayik are very attractive for the local fauna

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Things to Watch in December Astana Ivan Dorn concert, Salvador Dali lounge December 15, at 23.00

Little pianist Alua Nogaibayeva, 7, gives hope to the musical development of the country.

By Anel Adilbayeva

Fascinating painting which was demonstrated at the Forum depicts woman in the Kazakh national dress.

ASTANA – In Loniga, Italy, 7-year-old Alua Nogaibayeva recently won second place at the International Pianists Competition held under the auspices of the International Association "Art and Education of the 21st Century". She was the competition's youngest competitor and the only participant from Kazakhstan.Alua is a secondyear student at the Musical School named after Kulyash Baisseitova in Almaty. The event was Alua's second competition. She took third place at her first competition, Music Without Borders, held in Lithuania in September and looks forward to competing in the future.At Loniga, young Alua performed the compositions “Dombra” by Hamidi,

“Smile” by Barkauscas, “Le Petit Negre” by Debussy, “Nutcracker” and “Waltz of Flowers” by Tchaikovski. “I believe she will be the honour of Kazakhstan and will become an accomplished professional in the future. This is evident by the composition she performed today, which is usually performed by children of 10 or 11 years old,” said Eleonora Tkach, the President of the International Association Art and Education of the 21st Century. Alua received her award at the final concert in Vienna where the audience was surprised to hear such a soulful performance by someone so young. It is obvious that in addition to learning her basic school lessons, the young student is also mastering musical notes.

The play “ABAI” by Mukhtar Auezov Kazakh Musical and Drama Theatre named after Kuanyshbayev December 16, at 18.30 Children’s Christmas Matinee Maxim Gorky Russian Drama Theater From December 21 to January 6 “Winter Fairytale” exhibition KORME December 19 - 23 The Play “HAMLET” by William Shakespeare Kazakh Musical and Drama Theatre named after Kuanyshbayev December 22, at 18.30

Almaty The Main Christmas Fair The Palace of the Republic December 21-23


The Astana Times

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People

Beket-ata: Spiritual Giant of Mangystau By Altai Taizhanov The name of Beket-ata, spiritual enlightener and humanist of the 18th century, shines brightly in the halo of saints of the Mangystau land. Next year will mark the two hundredth anniversary of his death. Born in 1750, Beket-ata lived until 1813 and was one of the greatest religious teachers, scientists and philosophers in the history of Central Asia. He was a great spiritual teacher of Sufism who became a famous figure throughout the Turkic world. He had enormous social influence and raised the souls of an entire generation. The mosques he built became popular havens where thousands of people sought and found spiritual peace and prayerful protection. The sick, the suffering and the weak came to him for healing. He was a fair judge in complex and controversial disputes. His life was an example of selfless service to God and people. He was also remembered as a brave soldier and a wise mystic who knew and taught many secrets and spiritual laws of life. Beket-ata was a highly educated man who knew the laws of physics, mathematics and astronomy. Born in 1750 near the village of Kulsary in the Atyrau region, at the age of 14 he went to Khiva, which was the capital of the Khiva Khanate (now a town in Chorezm Province in Uzbekistan) to learn science. After returning home, he built four mosques in the Mangystau lands, three of which are underground. Under the Oglandy mosque, which is cut into rock, he founded a theological school, which also became a research center and observatory. There, he made an enormous contribution to the development of science in his native land. In 1790, at the age of 40, Beketata became a follower of Sufism, one of the major branches of Islam and one that was then gaining ground across Central Asia. He radiated hope to those around him wherever he traveled. People

came to him with various requests, from health to resolving quarrels and disputes. He always showed wisdom, patience and tolerance towards human weaknesses. He was able to cure people and bring disputes to peaceful agreements in a remarkable manner. In his sermons, Beket-ata always admonished believers to be fair and to live in truth. He was revered as a holy man and admired for his heroic strength and courage. These qualities helped him win victories in battles with his enemies and to construct the mosques he built in the Mangystau territories. First, the Ak-mosque was built in his birthplace Kulsary. Then he built a second one cut ou-

tof the chalk cliffs near the village of Beineu. The third mosque was built in the Bayshatyr lands on the Ustyurt plateau. Finally, the fourth underground mosque, consisting of seven rooms with excellent acoustics, was carved out of the cretaceous rock of the Oglandy Mountains. There the holy man was buried. Today, the grave of Beket-ata is a spiritual, historical and architectural monument. The human worldview has passed three stages in its development: mythological, religious and philosophical. All spiritual values emerged earlier and last longer than material things. Therefore, the mythologizing of such great

ASTANA – Next year, the Akmola region plans to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Abylai Khan, one of the greatest and most famous khans in the history of the Kazakh people. He was a direct descendant of Chingiz Khan. Abylai Khan was born in 1711 and died in 1781. During his reign, the Kazakh nation experienced a fierce struggle against the invasion of the Dzungars. In the first half of the 18th century, Abylai Khan proved to be a talented organizer and commander as he headed detachments of the Kazakh army fighting the Dzungars. He participated in the most significant battles against the Dzungars in the period from the 1720s to the 1750s, for which he was declared a “batyr” (Kazakh for “hero warrior”) by the people. Abylai’s activity was aimed at creating a strong and independent Kazakh state. He headed the unified forces of the Kazakhs and furthered the centralization of state power in Kazakhstan. Until his election as the khan of the three jüzes (Kazakh for “tribal union”), Abylai had to compete with Khan Abilmambet and his Middle jüz descendants for leadership. Initially, Russia recognized Abul Mambet as the Khan of Middle jüz, while Abylai was supported by China. According to online sources, in 1771, at the meeting of the representatives of the three jüzes, Abylai was elected the Kazakh khan. The Russian Empress requested that the title of khan should be recognized and officially approved by Russia. To that end, she sent an official letter to Petropavl, where Abylai was expected to receive the title in 1779. He never showed up at the fort, declining Russia’s request to appoint him as the khan of Middle jüz. In contrast to Abylai, other khans and sultans had been competing for the lavish gifts and stipends of the emperors of Russia in return for their submission.

Judging by the legends that have come down to us, the holiness of Beket-ata was truly authentic. As a grown man, he was blessed by respectable and holy men, especially by his relative Tama Eset Batyr, who became famous as a brave defender of the steppe peoples. Beket-ata learned to read from his grandfather and his local mullah. Then in Khiva, he studied the Hadith and other religious books of the Islamic faith. Beket-ata was thoroughly versed in Shariah, Islamic religious law and he led religious services. His sharp wit and shrewdness, and his fairness, care and compassion for the needy won him the deep reverence and love of the people. At the age of 40, he was blessed by his spiritual mentor Bakirzhan Khodja, and from that time he was called

Beket pіr – spiritual guide, or pastor in Kazakh. He died at the age of 63 and left a rich heritage of sermons and moral teachings that remain relevant today. Studying the life of such a righteous man as Beket-ata lifts our spirits, deeply encourages us and elevates our conception of the world around us. His teachings help us to better understand ourselves, regardless of our nationality, race or faith. This is especially important today, when our major challenges include maintaining peace and spiritual harmony in society and learning to appreciate the spiritual treasures of other religions, cultures and peoples around the single world we share. The author is a professor at Marat Ospanov West Kazakhstan Medical University in Aktobe.

Beket-ata has built four mosques, and after death was buried in the mosque carved out of the cretaceous rock of the Oglandy Mountains.

Kazakhstan Continues to Mark th 300 Anniversary of Abylai Khan By Miras Abykov

individuals as Beket-ata in our modern age expresses the dialectical principle of the reawakening and renewal of the mythological consciousness through religious perception. The legends surrounding Beket-ata should be considered from this viewpoint. The modern human mental outlook goes back to its separation from nature and the individual’s desire to know his or her spiritual qualities. This explains why truly great spiritual leaders attract myths and legends around their lives. Therefore, all the legends about such individuals are constantly amended and renewed. Only in recent years have we begun to realize that these myths contain profound spiritual truths.

Monday, 10 December 2012

During the Qing campaigns against the Dzungars, Abylai Khan chose not to take sides in the Dzungar-Chinese conflict. Finally, both the Chinese and the Russians recognised Abylai as Kazakh khan. Being a visionary politician, Abylai decided to use diplomatic ways to support the people, tired of heavy fights with Kalmyks. In August 1740, together with the Khan of the Middle jüz Abilmambet and 120 elders, Abylai arrived in Orenburg and agreed to apply for Russian citizenship. At the same time, it didn’t interrupt the relations with the Qing empire, skillfully using disagreements between Russia and the Chinese empire in interests of the Kazakh khanate. Abylai gave all his strength for restoration of the independence of the country. He managed to essentially connect together all the Kazakh lands, which has allowed for cultural and economic progress, while an alliance with Russia was the basis of Kazakhs’ transition to sedentary agriculture and fishing activities. He died in Tashkent in May 1781. Abylai was buried in a shrine of the Kazakh people, Hodzha Ahmed Yassavi’s mausoleum in Turkestan. After Kazakhstan gained independence in 1991, one of the main streets of Almaty was renamed Avenue Abylai Khan and his equestrian statue crowns Khan Square station Almaty-2. His portrait graced the first national currency of Kazakhstan on a 100 tenge banknote. A stamp of an independent Kazakhstan was also dedicated to Abylai Khan in 2001. And the country’s first blockbuster film, Nomads, was based on Abylai’s biography. This year will continue the celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the birth of the great Kazakh khan. Commemorative events are planned with a budget of 365 million tenge, of which 20 million will be allocated from the regional budget. The events will include regional festivals and exhibitions.

The 300th anniversary celebration of the birth of Abylai is expected to be a large-scale event, according to the governor of the Akmola region Kayrat Kozhamzharov. “The scale of such event should not be limited by the initiation of activities at the regional level. The 300th anniversary of Abylai Khan should be an important event in the cultural life not only of the Akmola region, but of all Kazakhstan,” Kozhamzharov said. He also emphasized the importance of corporations’ social responsibility for the development and preservation of culture, because that objective is difficult to accomplish using only government funds. “It means that today we have to think about the active attraction of businesses in our plan,” said Kozhamzharov. Earlier, on October 26 the Deputy of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kurmangali Uali asked Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov to direct the organization of a large-scale celebration dedicated to the 300th anniversary of Abylai Khan. “Why can’t we carry out scientific conferences in the regional centers, Almaty, or in our main city Astana, why not to celebrate the 300th anniversary properly?” asked the deputy. He believes a big celebration in honour of the anniversary of Abylai Khan would be a good initiative and will strengthen the patriotism of the nation. He sees symbolism in the fact that the 300th anniversary of the khan coincided generally with the 20th anniversary of the independence of Kazakhstan. “The authority of Abylai khan is obvious. The wise policy of Abylai khan, which he has conducted with such empires as Russia and China, could strengthen the unity and freedom of the Kazakh people. Abylai Khan dreamed about many things, especially he dreamed about the future of his people,” Uali added.


The Astana Times

Monday, 10 December 2012

Culture

Kazakh Movies Make Global Impact

Shal, directed by Yermek Tursunov, transferred the intimate plot of Ernest Hemingway’s famous short novel “The Old Man and the Sea” onto the Kazakh steppe and proved a great success with the public.

From Page B1 Hollywood producer Michael Fitzgerald discussed the Kazakh cinema in post-screening discussions. Fitzgerald praised the skill and talent of Kazakh movie makers and noted the rapid development of the nation’s film industry and its potential for future growth. Another American producer Steven-Charles Jaffe, who also serves as Honorary Consul of Kazakhstan in Los Angeles, also praised the growing potential of the Kazakh cinema. Filmmaking in Kazakhstan has come a long way since cinematic production began there in Soviet times. The year 2012 was very successful for the Kazakh film industry. In May, Zhauzhurek Myn Bala (“A Thousand Brave Warriors”) directed by Akan Satayev was launched in a national rental format and had great success. This historical epic made with a massive budget will be presented as a potential Oscar nominee. This autumn is seeing a wave of classics produced by Kazakh filmmakers. Shal (“The Old Man”), directed by Yermek Tursunov, transferred the intimate plot of Ernest Hemingway’s famous short novel “The Old Man and the Sea” onto the Kazakh steppe and proved a great success with the public.

These recent popular and critical triumphs show that the Kazakh film industry has been developed on a strong basis and that it has achieved international standards in cinematography and the ability to produce high-quality movies.

Every year, a Kazakh Film Festival called Kazakhstan: Montage of Cinemas is held in the United States. The first Kazakh film studio was established in 1934 and in 1936, it released its first documentary. The first feature film, “Amangeldy” was made at the Leningrad Studio in 1938. It tells the story of Amangeldy Imanov, the leader of a popular revolt in 1916 against the Tsarist Empire and then a prominent figure in the struggle to establish Soviet power in Kazakhstan. During World War II, the two main Soviet film studios Mosfilm and Lenfilm were temporarily evacuated to Almaty, which was then called Alma-Ata. They turned the city into a film-making centre. For the rest of the war, 80 percent

of all Soviet films were shot there. The most famous Soviet directors and actors met in wide studio corridors called Grand Boulevards. Sergei Eisenstein’s famous epic movie “Ivan the Terrible” was made there. In 1960, the great studio in Alma-Ata was renamed Kazakhfilm and Shacken Aimanov became its head. It was the true dawn of the Kazakh cinema. The studio’s production capacity expanded to eight full-length feature films and 50 documentaries per year and many of them were of high quality. Such films as “Kyz Zhibek”, “Our Dear Doctor”, “My Name is Kozha”, “Trans-Siberian Express” remained beloved by modern audiences today and are included in the Golden Collection of Kazakhfilm. They continue to be shown at film festivals around the world, alongside modern movies. Kazakhstan’s film-makers also produced outstanding movies during the turbulent times of perestroika, during the 1980s. “The Needle” starring the legendary rock singer Victor Tsoi has become a signature film for Kazakhstan and all of Soviet cinema from that period. “The Touch” directed by Amanzhol Aytuarov won the People’s Choice Award at the Three Continents International Film

Festival in Nantes in 1990. “Wolf Cub among People” won the Lucas award main prize at the Frankfurtam-Main film festival in 1989. The premiere of “The Little Fish in Love” directed by Abai Karpykov took place in New York. The films of the perestroika period reflected the realities of that time. They were free of the pomposity and cloying sentimentality that filled most films of the Soviet era. The Kazakh New Wave flourished in the middle and end of the 1990s. The movie “Cardiogram” directed by Darezhan Omirbayev was a box office success for two months in France, “The Life History of a Young Accordionist” directed by Satybaldy Narymbetov won six prizes. “Fara” directed by Abai Karpykov won the best actor award at the Moscow Film Festival. This year, “A Hunter Boy” directed by Yerlan Nurmukhambetov was named Best Foreign Drama at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood. The emergence of the Kazakh cinema in the international arena has spurred international collaborative projects. Since 1999, the New Look Youth Film Festival has been organized with the support of the Soros Foundation-Kazakhstan. Every year, a Kazakh Film Festival called Kazakhstan: Montage of Cinemas is held in the United States. Since independence, the Shacken Aimanov KazakhFilm company has paid close attention to producing films on historical themes. Movies such as “The Fall of Otrar”, “Abai”, “Nomads” and “A Thousand Brave Warriors” remain great examples of this genre. Today, Kazakhstan born filmmakers work internationally across a wide spectrum of genres. Outstanding works include the action movies of the now famous Hollywood director Timur Bekmambetov such as “Wanted” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. Director Yermek Tursunov has made such acclaimed works as “The Daughter-in-Law”, “Shal” and “The Young One” and Rustem Abdrashev won acclaim for his “A Gift to Stalin” and “The Sky of My Childhood”. Tursunov now enjoys high standing among the world’s moviemakers and his work is regularly shown at international film festivals. As Tursunov says, after its long growth period through the Soviet era, the Kazakh film industry has become “an object of national pride”.

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Quality Cinema Opens in Almaty

Farkhat Abdrakhimov was one of the first to visit the recently opened Bekmambetov Cinema.

By Maral Zhantaikyzy ASTANA – On November 15, the new Bekmambetov Cinema opened in the centre of Almaty. The Bekmambetov Cinema was originally due to open in the summer, and although its VIP level has now opened, work has yet to be completed on its public theatres. The movie theatre is named after world famous director Timur Bekmambetov, but he was unable to attend the opening as he was on the jury of the Seventh Rome Film Festival. However, well-known actors such as Venera Nigmatulina, Assel Sagatova, Aynur Niyazova and Farkhat Abdraimov attended the ceremony. Trailers and excerpts were shown of two upcoming films, “Gentlemen of Fortune” starring Sergey Bezrukov and the animated feature “The Snow Queen.” Both films will appear before the New Year, and their premieres in Kazakhstan will be held in Bekmambetov Cinema.

“We are confident that the professionalism of Timur’s team will be reflected in his theatre,” Nariman Abiyev, a leading expert on film distribution, said. According to the organizers, Bekmambetov Cinema will become a creative platform, a venue for filmmakers, actors, film fans and film critics. The cinema is located in the Almaly shopping centre under the New Square in Almaty. It is equipped with the latest cutting-edge technology allowing every spectator to completely immerse themselves in the action. The cinema has six screens. On the second floor, it has three standard screening theatres that have 139, 86 and 50 seats. On the lower level, it has two VIP theatres and one luxury VIP theatre with white leather chairs, bartenders and individual service where patrons can order light meals by call button. A similar cinema will open soon in Astana.

Int’l Festival of Contemporary Music Opens in Astana

Contemporary Art Center Hosts Forum Dedicated to Day of First President From Page B1 The exhibition was opened by Kazakhstan’s Minister of Culture and Information Darkhan Mynbay. He thanked the Kulanshi Contemporary Art Center for organizing the event and highlighted the contribution of the private sector in the development of art in Kazakhstan. Many guests who attended the event despite the bad winter weather, enjoyed the paintings accompanied by remarkable compositions of the Saz Keruen band. The sculptor from Azerbaijan was not able to attend the forum, but his sculptural installations of broken windshields surprised viewers with their uniqueness. Asan Boronchinov presented a series of paintings, “Colors on White,” executed in the style of tablet computer graphics. Yerzhan Yussupov presented ten

Visitors enjoyed the event accompanied by remarkable compositions of the Saz Keruen band. still life paintings of Kazakhstan and its capital. The young artist sought to convey the culture of the Kazakh people in his paintings.

The work of Italian artist Ron di Scenza was key to the programme. He presented a portrait of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and

asked to give this gift to the head of state. Time Magazine has chosen this portrait for the cover of its issue devoted to Kazakhstan. In addition to the portrait, di Scenza exhibited a series of paintings called “Dancing in the Dark,” created in the style of monumental painting. At first glance, these works seem to be alive. Dramatic lighting is a key attribute of di Scenza’s work and he employs it masterfully to evoke dark stages and spot-lit dancers. The artist also held a master class with students of the Kazakh National University of Arts and amateur artists. He was impressed by the talent of his new students, and promised to visit Astana again next spring. “I’m very happy to be in Kazakhstan. I want to thank Leila Makhat (director of the Kulanshi Art Center) for this opportunity to show my work,” he said.

Drama Portrays Country’s Transition to Independence From Page B1 The play was written originally to celebrate the 20th anniversary of independence a year ago. Since then, the theatre company has performed it to popular success around the country. Stage and film star Kuandyk Kystykbaev, best known for his roles in the plays “Man-Wind” and “Daughter-inLaw” stars in the role of President Nazarbayev. The play’s action occurs in a forest near Astana. A forester called Zhaynak cares for the trees and

respects them as living things. He talks to them and treats them as people. Then President Nazarbayev comes to the forest on a visit and meets the old forester who invites him back that night. Zhaynak tells the President that to know all the forest’s secrets, it is best to visit it at night when the trees come alive. That night when the president returns he finds that each tree represents a different person who experienced a different aspect of the birth and development of the nation, including members of the political opposition and the new rich.

All the trees have different characters. Some of them suppress others and do not allow them to grow. Others are always grumbling and dissatisfied with everything. Some are hopeful and idealistic and aspire to new achievements while others remain in the shadows. “By the end of the play some of these ‘trees’ have embraced the development and achievements of the independent nation and others have not, but the audience is left to draw its own conclusions,” director Zhumaniyazov said. Zhumaniyazov called the play a

poetic drama, although it is technically an allegory. The play captures the essence of contemporary Kazakh society in which very different people live, but they are building a new life around the new capital Astana, a symbol of independence. “The play tackles a difficult subject: It has little action and a lot of dialogue,” author Zhuasbek said. “All the action is accompanied by choral singing, which makes the performance more dynamic. My play gives joy to everyone who like to thinks, and making people think is the essence of allegory.”

Guests of the festival received a chance to get acquinted with the works of great musicians.

By Bektur Kadyrov ASTANA – On November 20, the Camerata Tempo First International Festival of Contemporary Composers of the Commonwealth of Independent States and Turkic countries opened here in the Kulyash Baisseitova National Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Opening the festival, Deputy Culture and Information Minister Askar Buribayev congratulated the participants on the project and wished them success. The festival was organized by the Ministry of Culture and Information and directed by Professor Gaukhar Murzabekova, national artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan who addressed the audience by video. It was dedicated to the classical music ensemble Camerata of Kazakhstan which is led by Professor Murzabekova and which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. The festival also celebrated the designation of Astana as the cultural capital of the CIS and the Turkic world in 2012. The main celebrations and concerts took place in Almaty on November 24, 25 and 28 at the Zhambul Kazakh State Philharmonic Hall and will end on December 8 at the Abai State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet in Almaty.

Three of the five concerts included pieces by contemporary composers. Another presented a recital by Gia Kancheli and the gala concert will include masterpieces by Mozart, Franz Lehar, Dmitri Shostakovich, Astor Piazzolla, and Alfred Schnittke. The festival will also present the works of Kazakhstan’s composers Balnur Kydyrbek, Vladimir Strigotsky, Artyk Toksanbayev, Tles Kazhgaliyev, Kuat Shildebayev, Adil Bestybayev and Gulzhan Uzenbaeva, as well as works by Valentin Silvestrov, Andrey Golovin from Russia, Alisher Latif Zadeh from the United States, Rashid Kalimullin from Tatarstan, Tolib Shahidi from Tajikistan, Murat Begaliev from Kyrgyzstan, Rauf Aliyev from Azerbaijan, Ulvi Cemal Erkin from Turkey, Anthony Girard from France and Anatol Vieru from Romania. Camerata Tempo performs works by little-known composers, some of whom worked in isolation and others who died without ever having had their pieces performed in public. The festival aims to fill this gap and present the works of serious contemporary composers, especially from Kazakhstan and the other nations of Central Asia.


The Astana Times

B4

Monday, 10 December 2012

Country

Youth Politics Gain Momentum in Kazakhstan By Miras Abykov

ASTANA – Kazakhstan places great importance on the development of youth policy with a number of state programmes launched in order to support the young over the past few years. These programmes include “With the Diploma to The Village”, “Youth Practice” and “Zhasyl El” (Kazakh for “green country”).

The country is currently grappling with many challenges in various areas of socio-economic development. Preparing younger generations to meeting these challenges is the main goal of today’s youth policy.

Creating conditions and possibilities to enable youth to increase their potential should become a major part of youth policy, experts believe.

Music of Nomads Goes Global By Anel Adilbayeva

ASTANA - The music of Kazakhstan’s band Magic of Nomads is a unique combination of various instruments and the incredible sounds of Kazakh folk culture mixed with a modern edge. Magic of Nomads is a symbiosis of ethnic and classical music and its band members have a strong desire to share the unique beauty of the music of the great steppes. The band consists of six accomplished professional musicians. For the first time in the history of Kazakhstan, domestic musicians have released an album produced by one of the most iconic recording studios in Europe, London's Abbey Road. This studio has been responsible for the release of music by legendary artists, such as Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, U2 and Glenn Miller. “I was struck by their professionalism and I admire their style,” London record producer Sam Ouknell said of his work with Magic of Nomads.

Three thousand copies of the Nomads album produced by Abbey Road, «Bul Bul Zaman,» were released and the popularity of the album was immediately apparent, despite its high price of 6000 tenge ($40). The album includes seventeen songs in three languages, including English. The multiple languages are designed to appeal to the Western listener. This unique style of music performed by such accomplished artists has not been heard in Kazakhstan for a long time. Multi-instrumentalist and master of throat singing Edil Khussainov, kobyz performer Gaziza Gabdrakhimova, composer Rinat Gysin, dombra player Salimgerey Sadykov, leading jazz pianist Victor Khomenkov and arranger Yermek Diyarov are the talent that comprise Magic of Nomads. The album didn’t include the popular Beatles sounds that Nomads has performed in the past using Kazakh folk instruments, such as the zhetygen, kobyz, shankobyz and dombra. However, the

album has a variety of impressive compositions resulting from the efforts of producer, Sam Oukell, who worked on the soundtrack for “The Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter.” “During recording, each of us was sitting in the cabin playing his or her own part,” says Gysin. “Of course, it was done to capture the pure sound of each instrument, which we could only dream about before. Perhaps, recording at Abbey Road for a musician means nothing less than a gold medal for the athlete. The studio further honoured the group by allowing Nomads to place the logo of the London studio on the cover of the “Bul Bul Zaman” album, a privilege not granted to all those who record at the historic Abby Road. A special cover for the album complete with felt tumars (talismans) was designed by Kazakh artisans. Such details are meant to interest the broad international audience who will soon have the opportunity to buy the album.

Magic of Nomads band consists of six accomplished professional musicians, performing in their compositions symbiosis of ethnic and classical music.

Today, in the Karaganda region in the center of the country alone there are 59 registered public youth associations. The development of various forms of self-government, including youth parliaments and other elected bodies, is encouraged. The country is currently grappling with many challenges in various areas of socio-economic development. Preparing younger generations to meeting these challenges is the main goal of today’s youth policy. At a recent forum in Astana experts agreed that educated, healthy, enterprising young Kazakhs should take responsibility for the state’s investment in them, realize the importance of development in Kazakhstan and understand the potential they have in this period of development. “In his address on socio-economic modernization, the main vector of development of Kazakhstan, President Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that young people should not only obtain knowledge, but also the ability to use it in the process of social adjustment. Consequently, the Youth Research Center, created by

the Eurasian National University to conduct deep research among young people, will focus on the search for adequate answers to current challenges and risks of youth development, youth policy and the youth movement,” Yerlan Sydykov, the rector of the Lev Gumilyov Eurasian National University said at the international forum, “New Kazakhstan in a New World”, at the Nazarbayev University here on November 29. Sydykov was speaking at a separate panel of the forum devoted to youth problems and youth policies. “In the period from 1994 to 2012, the Bolashak Programme awarded more than 8,500 scholarships. The Bolashak scholarship has become a way of guaranteeing a successful career and professional fulfillment for its graduates. Many graduates of the programme hold responsible posts in state institutions, in state and international organizations, in joint-stock companies and work on different state and international projects, thereby contributing to the further development of the state,” Sayasat Nurbek, president of JSC Center of International Programmes which manages the Bolashak scholarship, said.

Young people in turn, using opportunities provided by the state, should direct their potential toward the sustainable development of Kazakhstan. The list of the higher education institutions recommended by the Bolashak programme includes more than 100 universities from 33 countries. Over the past three years, Bolashak scholarships have been awarded to 3,194 students. In 2011, by the decision of the National Commission for Training Abroad under the chairmanship of the then Secretary of State of Kazakhstan Kanat Saudabayev, the Plan for the Bolashak Scholarship for 2011-2015 was adopted. According to the new format, priority directions for Bolashak scholarship winners are training programmes

in foreign scientific and pedagogical, technical and medical organizations. Elsewhere, in 2005, the Zhasyl El programme was launched. The programme is based on the idea of engaging young generations in creative work for the benefit of the nation. They also employ youth to give students a chance to work on subsidiary projects, and also to plant trees and shrubs during summer vacations. “As soon as the national staff for the youth working groups was set up, Zhasyl El activities were organized in all regional centers, and in Almaty and Astana. In 2009, the number of the settlements with active youth working groups was 75 to 86 cities and settlements. By 2011 this figure had grown significantly and included 138 geographical projects across Kazakhstan. Wide territorial coverage provides opportunities not only to city youth, but also to rural youth of Kazakhstan,” Talan Gizzatov, deputy chairman of the Zhasyl El national headquarters, told participants at the forum. “President Nazarbayev’s statements about the crucial role of youth in the modernization of the economy and the professional management of the state are extremely important. Young professionals should find their place in the processes occurring in the country in order to take an active part in the construction of the future.’ This phrase from the address best illustrates the importance of young people and encourages young men and women toward excellence in their studies and work,” Representative of the Alliance of Kazakhstan Students Chinghis Beksempirov said in his remarks at the forum. Experts agreed that creating conditions and possibilities to enable youth to increase their potential in economic, social and innovative spheres, as well as focusing on implementing breakthrough development projects in Kazakhstan should become a major part of this stage of youth policy. Young people in turn, using opportunities provided by the state, should direct their potential toward the sustainable development of Kazakhstan.


The Astana Times

Monday, 10 December 2012

B5

society

Country Upholds Tolerance for Diversity, Pursues Social Modernization By Assem Kazybay ASTANA – Kazakhstan is known internationally due in greater part to the global initiatives of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, especially in the area of inter-ethnic dialogue, politicians and experts said at a November 29 forum held at the university here that bears the president's name. The principle of respect for the rights and interests of ethnic communities and the integration of multi-ethnic society were among the most important foundations of strengthening the independence of this country, the experts noted. Today the “Kazakhstan Way” of development is an integral part of statehood and the country's model of inter-ethnic tolerance and interfaith harmony is recognized around the world. Tolerance and responsibility have a deep meaning in a country of more than 100 ethnic groups living together in peace. The idea to create the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK) was first proposed by President Nazarbayev in 1992 at the First Forum of the Peoples of Kazakhstan, dedicated to the first anniversary of independence. In the 20 years since then, the country has developed its own ideas of tolerance and has generated a unique model of interethnic and public consent founded on the basis of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, domestic and international experts agreed. Kazakhstan’s tolerance has made possible the mobilization of the many-sided multiethnic potential of the state to strengthen its independence and statehood, equality of opportunities and the protection of the rights and freedoms of all citizens. Participants in the International Forum, New Kazakhstan in a New World, held on November 29 in Astana, also discussed the issues of inter-ethnic and inter-faith relations and related social issues. Participants in this discussion included experts from Kazakhstan, neighbouring countries and the wider world. They all agreed that countries suffering from interethnic and inter-religious conflicts had something to learn from the Kazakhstan experience. The Kazakhstan model of maintaining interethnic and interreligious stability is the result of much work and cooperation by state bodies and civil society institutions. Since independence, the country has created a legal shield against the stirring up of racial, ethnic and religious hatred. More than 100 ethnic groups express their spiritual faiths in dozens of religious organizations openly and freely. Elmira Akhundova, a writer and journalist, and member of the Parliament (Majlis) of Azerbaijan said President Nazarbayev’s role was crucial in creating a stable and prosperous state based in domestic peace, security and mutual tolerance. “There is little doubt that the

The “Kazakhstan Way” of development is an integral part of statehood, while tolerance and responsibility have a deep meaning in a country of more than 100 ethnic groups living together in peace. place which the state (of Kazakhstan) occupies in the world became possible thanks to the role played by President Nazarbayev as he navigated his country through the muddy waters of post-Soviet conflicts in Central Asia,” she said. “President Nazarbayev kept the peace on inter-ethnic grounds and deftly maneuvered between the pitfalls of the 'Great Game’ conducted by the superpowers in Central Asia.” David Istvan Shomfai, a researcher at the Ethnography Institute of the Academy of Sciences, agreed with this assessment. “President Nazarbayev has approached inter-faith issues very wisely and objectively,” he said. “The president showed wisdom in supporting all the traditional religions in his country. Now Kazakhstan is providing stability not only within its own borders, but also through drawing representatives of religious faiths all over the world into a global constructive dialogue.” One outcome of Kazakhstan’s

policy of peace and tolerance has been the holding of the tri-annual Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. This Congress is an initiative of President Nazarbayev that has become a representative international forum, uniting spiritual leaders from all corners of the globe to relieve tensions between religions and between civilizations. The first four of these congresses were held in Astana in 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012, and they have become one of the largest international regular international gatherings in the history of independent Kazakhstan. As the President constantly stresses in his public speeches, without stability there can be neither effective development of the economy nor a balanced social policy aimed at improving the welfare of citizens. In January 2012, he outlined a new strategy to further strengthen the economy and improve national welfare and social stability in his annual address to the nation. The address launched a new series of

Youth Demonstrates Interest in Idea of Society of General Labour By Margulan Serikov

RUDNYI, QOSTANAI REGION – My family was not surprised when I decided to enroll in Karaganda State Technical University, since I’d been fond of metallurgy since I was a schoolboy. Professors at the university used President Nursultan Nazarbayev as an example of a person who at a young age became a furnace man at the Karmet blast furnace. We metallurgists are proud of this connection between our lives and the life of our nation’s leader. In general, metallurgists have high levels of responsibility, which is defined by the work itself. Work in the hot production facility demands great commitment and readiness to support your colleagues. That’s how we worked during our internships at the ENRC SokolovSarbai Mining and Ore-Dressing Production Association (SSGPO). Several of my fellow students and I were offered a position in the company. A job in the metal-

rolling plant was the beginning of my working career. We were even more encouraged because President Nazarbayev launched it during a teleconference. Now, our enterprise has changed categorization from mining into the mining and metallurgical category. The idea, introduced by the president in his article on social modernization, is very simple and succinct. “Everyone has to work, to be innovative. Young people need to find a place where they can realize themselves in a Society of General Labor.” The company’s management evaluates the youth in accordance with our respect for work and entrusts important production areas to us. I started as a hot-roller; a year later, I was appointed master of the rolling mill. However, we realized the need to grow in our profession; in this regard, I will enroll in the Master’s program next year. I believe in my future with SSGPO. One of the benefits offered by the enterprise is the social package, which includes subsidies for food and healthcare,

provides an opportunity to study at the university and obtain housing. Financial and moral support is also provided. Youth at the metal plant have a very active life, including tourist meetings, meetings of the Club of the Funny and Inventive (KVN), professional skills contests and amateur-talent groups. For me, one of the highlights has been participating in the annual scientific-technical conference. I have won in the metallurgy category and plan on continuing this work. Today, a number of opportunities are opened for us. The most important thing is to not expect miracles, but to express yourself and your goals. The time has come for a proactive and creative young population. Self-realization for the benefit of relatives and friends, work, city, and country – this is my goal! The author is a department master at the JSC Sokolov-Sarbai Mining and Ore-dressing Production Association (SSGPO) metal rolling plant in Rudnyi.

policies to accelerate the modernization process in the social sphere. As the president has said, it is vital for Kazakhstan to find the optimal balance between economic progress and the provision of public goods. According to the country’s leader, the main goal of social modernization is the creation of a Society of Universal Labour in Kazakhstan. The president outlined the basic principles of this process in his article “Social Modernization of Kazakhstan: 20 Steps toward a Society of Universal Labor.” “First is the principle of evolution. There should be no 'flashforward',” Nazarbayev wrote. In other words, all changes in the social sphere should correspond to the level of development of the country’s economy and opportunities.” “Second is the principle of shared responsibility. Not only the state and all the levels of government and private organizations, but the whole society should share the responsibility for the course and the

results of social modernization,” the president wrote. President Nazarbayev believes it is very important for the success of modernization that every citizen has been helpful to their country. Modernization is necessary for all citizens of the nation. Therefore, public consensus and success can be achieved only with this understanding. “Third is the principle of partnership participation. All work should be based on close interaction between government, business and citizens. The task of government is to ensure a rational balance between the interests of the state, society and the individual. That is the true fairness,” the president wrote. Nazarbayev maintained it was also important to actively develop a social partnership, to create conditions for increasing the participation of the private sector in modernization, especially in the social sphere. “Fourthly, the principle of incentive: The state creates conditions for the people of Kazakhstan to be able to improve their own quality of

life. State social support is directed at recipients to encourage them to work, create and engage in social activity,” the president wrote. “Fifth is the principle of professionalism. All decisions must be thoroughly analysed and take into account the scientific-designed feasibility study on the basis of world experience.” “Social modernization is not for ‘general government’, it should serve for the benefit of each citizen,” the president wrote. The aim of the new social modernization programme is to find an optimal balance between accelerated economic development pushed by the state and the provision of social benefits. It also seeks to establish social relations on the principles of law and justice. To achieve these ends, the president has defined goals for government bodies to be fulfilled in the spheres of education, healthcare, youth policy, culture, mass media, affordable housing, sport, employment, social security and the pension system.


The Astana Times

B6

Monday, 10 December 2012

Tourism

Treasures of Ancient Altai Nomads Revealed By Maral Imanbayeva ASTANA – Altai is called the golden cradle of the Turkic World. Recent research in the excavation mounds at Berel has revealed some of the most ancient settlements of human civilization. Peoples from East Asia and the Far North, including the FinnoUgric people originally came from the Altai region. Today, experts confirmed that the Berel area contains outstanding monuments of the ancient nomads of the Altai Mountains. These burial mounds composing an ancient cemetery are located in the valley of thethemhtarma River in the Katon Karagai district of the East Kazakhstan region. The valley is surrounded on all sides by natural barriers including rivers, mountains and forests making it the most suitable location for the sacred site. The Berel burial ground is formed by several parallel chains of mounds that extend on a south-east - north-west axis. It also includes a group of individual funeral-memorial structures. Each chain of collective graves or mounds marks the dynastic affiliation of people buried from different tribal entities who inhabited the Altai sub-region in the second half of the 1st century BC. Large mounds were discovered to be the resting place of the nomadic elite: Medium and small mounds provided evidence of profound social stratification and differentiation among the different classes of the ancient nomads. The earliest burial mounds were built in the fourth to third centuries BC, or 2,400 to 2,300 years ago. The latest ones were dated to the Old Turkic period, the sixth and seventh centuries AD, or 1200-1300 years ago. The first archaeological excavations in the area were carried out in 1865 by the Turkologist, scientist and archaeologist Vasiliy Radlov. However, the Berel cemetery only became known to the wider public in 1998 when an international expedition of Kazakh, French and Italian archeologists conducted excavations under the guidance of Kazakh archeologist Zeinolla Samashev. This expedition excavated burial mound No. 11 of a Saka Prince dating to the fourth century BC. At Berel, scientists discovered the phenomenon of frozen tombs or ice lenses composed of artificial permafrost: They contain a stone mound and fine gravel without

The buried horses were saddled and bridled; the heads of some of them were dressed in masks, and given wooden horns in the style of mountain goats. filler that acts as a natural cold preservative. Because human remains were preserved in this way through the millennia they still contain invaluable information that is enabling archaeologists, historians and scientists today to rediscover the culture, crafts and history of the nomads. The genetic analysis of human tissues is restoring the images and health secrets of the people and animals who lived in that distant era. In the first century BC, the vast expanse of Eurasia from Ordos in China to the Danube was occupied by peoples who were mentioned in the ancient Eastern records as the legendary Scythians, Saka and Sarmatians. The Greek poet Homer called them Arimaspians or “the gryphons, guarding gold,” the Chinese called them yuezhi. References to this people are also found in the works of Aeschylus and Herodotus. “When you have crossed the stream that bounds the two continents, toward the flaming east, where the sun walks... beware of the sharp-beaked hounds of Zeus that do not bark, the gryphons, and the one-eyed Arimaspian folk,

mounted on horses, who dwell about the flood of Pluto’s stream that flows with gold. Do not approach them...,” Aeschylus wrote in his Prometheus Bound. The Arimaspians mined gold in the Altai Mountains from which they produced magnificent jewels in the Scythian animal style. At Berel, the archaeologists found tiaras, pectoral jewelry, ritual objects, knives, swords, other jewelry, and a three-dimensional image of an elk’s head in its beak a griffin. The pieces were made from wood, leather and felt and then covered with gold foil, tin and red ocher. The skilled craftsmen created numerous realistic and fantastic images of animals including cats, deer, horses, eagles, fish, wolves, camels, wild boars, mountain goats, sheep and rabbits. These ancient artists used their images of animals and birds to convey their properties: the rapacity of a panther, the vigilance and tenacity of an eagle and the gracefulness of a deer. The archaeological record confirms the ancient historians who wrote that the ancient Arimaspians were great metallurgists, builders, potters, jewelers, woodcarvers and

Akzhayik Reserve Will Join UNESCO Biosphere List From Page B1 The national park opened on Feb. 6, 2009. Its territory is in the path of the East-Siberian-African flyway of migrating birds every spring and autumn. The nature reserve contains nesting grounds for river and diving ducks, gray geese and swans. Rare and endangered species of birds breed in safety in coastal and water ecosystems there, including pink and curly pelicans, yellow and small egrets, spoonbills, glossy ibis and sultans. Thousands of flamingos and pelicans rest there during their migration seasons. The delta of the Ural River and its marine areas are also inhabited by Caspian seals and such rare, endangered fish species as the Caspian lamprey, Volga herring, sturgeon and salmon. In 2009, the Ural Delta reserve was included in the list of important natural zones around the world that are protected by the Ramsar Convention. Kazakhstan signed this international treaty in May 2007, committing itself to preserve important bodies of water within its territory. The Tengiz-Korgalzhyn lake system is also included on the Ramsar list. The inclusion of the Akzhayik Reserve in the UNESCO biosphere reserves list was supported by the work of the scientists of the University of Bologna in creating their proposed new Ural Delta Park over the past year. The University of Bologna is also organizing the production of a documentary film about the reserve. And it is organizing photo exhibitions in Astana, Atyrau

and Astrakhan on the theme of the biodiversity of the Akzhayik wetland reserves. Alexander Ivashenko, head of research for the Akzhayik Nature Reserve said that when executives from Italian travel companies toured the region in September 2011, they noted an abandoned building where they proposed building a visitor centre at their own expense. In the north of Italy, the Po River Delta Park is a rivershaped protected area that is one of the most important wetland zones in the Mediterranean and Europe for its landscape, outstanding flora and fauna habitats and extraordinary biodiversity. The Ural River Delta’s biological characteristics are very similar to those of the Po River. The similar eco-friendly atmosphere creates ideal conditions for different species of fish and waterfowl. The Po River Delta Park is open to everyone and has already become a favourite vacation attraction in northern Italy. The scientists of the University of Bologna believe the Ural River Delta region has a comparable potential. The Ural Delta project is sponsored by Italy’s Eni oil corporation, which is a member of the international consortium developing the Kashagan super oil field in the Caspian Sea. The Ural Delta development will include the active participation of local communities in the development of eco-tourism, crafts and education programmes. The project will be supported by UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere programme which con-

siders nature reserves around the world as areas where sustainable development can be achieved through a compromise between local communities and society. This balance will preserve the natural treasures of the Akzhayik Reserve and maintain its benefits for local communities. The project has already been partially implemented by employees of the nature reserve in terms of scientific research and monitoring. The next stage will be completing ecology-friendly routes and tracks through the reserve and creating the primary infrastructure to serve it. State Nature Reserve director Akzhayik Yelemes Rakhmetov said many tourism river routes, walks, roads, and equestrian riding trails were already completed and were ready for domestic tourists and foreign visitors. In October, the National Park sponsored a day with guided tours for visitors on some of its new ecopaths. The plans to develop the reserve in conjunction with UNESCO will also open up new economic opportunities for the inhabitants of neighboring villages. They will be able to start businesses of their own, open guest houses and mini-hotels and revive national handicrafts. Italian tour operators are interested in the prospects of ecotourism in the Atyrau region. In May 2013, a delegation of tour operators is scheduled to visit the region with a view of constructing its ecotourism infrastructure. Prospects appear bright for thousands of foreign visitors to tour the region while its animals and plant life are fully protected.

painters. The excavations have confirmed that they had mastered a diversified manufacturing technology. They cast metals, carved bones, in the form of flat bas-reliefs that were often inlaid and riveted. Indeed, the technological masters of the Saka period produced gold jewelry through a sophisticated manufacturing technology that was lost through the millennia until it was rediscovered now. They could produce a white gold when gold falls on a silver base. Today, we do this through the advanced technology of electrolysis. The Saka metallurgists could also carry out micro soldering: Today it can be done only with a magnifying glass and a special device. But 2,400 to 2,300 years ago, the Arimaspians didn’t use them, yet they still mastered the art of micro soldering to perfection. In the ancient Altai culture, death was perceived as a continuation of life in another world. All man’s attributes denoting his rank were buried with him. The leader, as the embodiment of God on earth, retained his power even after death. Therefore, it was necessary to keep his body free of corruption.

The Arismaspians knew the secret of embalming, and their experience in the construction of masonry structures allowed them to construct seasonal permafrost lenses in the burial chambers of the mounds. The ancient Sakas believed that a person comes into this world with a horse and goes out with it. Therefore, 13 chestnut horses were buried in Berel burial mound No. 11, signifying the high rank of the royal person who was laid to rest there. The buried horses were saddled and bridled; the heads of some of them were dressed in masks, and given wooden horns in the style of mountain goats. The equestrian equipment of reins, breastplate, saddles, metal plates, cheek-pieces, pendants and belt separators were made of wood, decorated with carved ornaments and gold leaf and tin. Images of animals were placed on items of equestrian equipment, including feline predators, mountain goats and bighorn sheep, moose, birds of prey and fantastic creatures such as griffins, as well as floral motifs. A novel discovery found in the Berel burial mounds figure is a winged horse in a horned mask. The image of a mountain goat confirmed the buried animal’s new heavenly status as the mountain goat is an inhabitant of heaven peaks in the mountains, a special sphere of space accessible only to the elite including the dead leader. Mythical winged horses, or tulpars in Kazakh, are today a key heraldic element in the state emblem of Kazakhstan. Horns represent an image of heavenly grace, of fertil-

ity and military success. Thus, the winged horse with a horn of plenty is an important typological image that has deep semantic and historical roots. The restored equipment of one buried horse is now on display at the Nazarbayev Center museum. Master-restorer Krym Altynbekov using patented technology was able to reproduce the beauty and majesty of the ancient king’s horse. The museum also displays an excavated royal sarcophagus carved from the single trunk of a centuries-old larch tree. The lid of the sarcophagus is decorated with four bronze sculptures of fantastic birds, eagles and griffins covered with gold. Today, the famous Berel mound treasure is considered to be one of the priceless treasures of the world. These archaeological finds are unique examples of the brilliant art of the ancient peoples of Eurasia. Today, the Berel State Historical and Cultural Museum stands beside the ancient mounds. The site is also close to national parks containing flora, fauna and scenery of world importance that are being protected by the project on biodiversity in the Kazakhstan part of the Altai Mountain Range by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Program of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). These international bodies are all working closely with the government of Kazakhstan to uncover and restore the ancient culture of the region, construct open-air museums at excavated archaeological sites and create communications and residential infrastructure for visitors. In this way, the restored treasures and glories of the ancient Altai peoples will enrich the peoples of the world.

One of the museum items impresses with its beauty.


The Astana Times

Monday, 10 December 2012

B7

Sports

Astana Arlans Sweep USA Knockouts in Boxing Bouts By Yerlan Madiyev

The Arlans have 32 boxers from nine countries making them an international squad with worldwide appeal.

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s Astana Arlans won a sweeping 5-0 victory against the USA Knockouts at Daulet Sports Complex in Astana on November 23 in the World Series of Boxing (WSB). Previously, the Arlans beat the Ukraine Otamans 3-2 in their first away series of fights of the season in the Acco International Exhibition Centre in Kiev on November 17. The World Series of Boxing (WSB) is the world’s main team boxing competition in which 12 franchises from all over the globe compete for the world title. International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) President and WSB Chairman Ching-Kuo, Ukrainian Boxing Federation President and AIBA Executive Committee Member Volodymyr Prodyvus and Sergey Bubka, president of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee and a member of the

International Olympic Committee (IOC) attended the contests. The Knockouts were looking for their first victory after being defeated by Britain. The Arlans only had to fight in four weight divisions because during weigh-in, a U.S. fighter in the 73-kilogram (160 pound) division registered overweight. So Kazakhstan’s Miras Bairkhanov won a victory without a fight. Kazakhstan’s Bagdad Alimbekov, Samat Bashenov, Hrvoje Sep and Ruslan Myrsatayev were in good shape on the night and backed by a fervent crowd delivered resounding victories. “All the boxers on our team were willing to take part and fight hard and delight fans, especially because they fought at home. There were a lot of positive emotions. I think public support was also vital, so we had to delight our boxing fans,” said Arlans Head Coach Sergey Korchinskiy. “Of course, our goal is to win the World Series of Boxing sea-

son. I have come here to make this happen. I admit that the team’s management just won’t accept any other result,” Korchinskiy said. In the third tour of the World Boxing Series, Astana Arlans Kazakhstan will host the British Lionhearts at the Almaty Sports Palace on Friday, December 7. The Kazakhstan Boxing Federation (KBF), the sport’s national governing body, owns the Arlans. The team is named after the alpha male wolf - the leader of the pack - an animal that has been admired and respected for centuries by the nomads of the Great Steppe for its intelligence, strength and courage. A dedicated staff under General Director Bolat Mankenov manages the team, with head coach Korchinskiy overseeing the sporting side. The Arlans have 32 boxers from nine countries making them an international squad with worldwide appeal. After such a stunning triumph against the Knockouts, prospects for 2013 look bright.

Kazakhstan Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Teams Win Silver at Asian Championship

Kazakhstan’s teams did their best, qualifying for the next water polo world championship. The Kazakhstan team had a In extra time, they stayed tied, scoring By Miras Abdikarim one goal each. But then the penalty strong start and led 3:1 at the end of the first period. But the Chinese ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s men’s shoot-out was won by the Chinese. The Kazakh players were un- women rebounded and came back water polo team won second place at the Asian Championships in Du- lucky: Rustam Ukumanov almost from behind, winning by a score scored 14 times but managed to do of 13:8. bai on November 25. China won gold in water polo, In the dramatic final, the team lost to so only once. But Sergey Gubarev Kazakhstan became the silver meChina. It was a tough fight and for most scored six goals in regular time. Kazakhstan women’s water polo dalist and Japan won bronze. of the game the teams were even in Both male and female water polo scores. The Kazakh team, coached by team was also defeated by China in Sergey Drozdov, scored the first goal, the final match of the group stage of teams from Kazakhstan have thus then the Chinese equalized. Regular the championship which was also qualified for the next water polo world championship. time ended with the teams tied at 8:8. held on November 25.

Kazakhstan’s speed skaters show good results at World Cup By Yerlan Baimagambetov Stage three of the World Speed Skating Cup has come to an end in Astana. Day 2 of the competition started with a women’s 1500 metre contest. Yekaterina Aydova from Kazakhstan showed the best result in Division B coming sixth in the standings. Tatiana Sokirko finished in the eighth place while Yelena Urvantseva found herself at the bottom of the table. Athletes from Norway, Hegge Bokko and Marie Hemmer won the first two places as Kaylin Irvine from Canada gained third place. Division A was dominated by Canadian Christine Nesbitt, who demonstrated the time of 1 minute 57.18 seconds. Second and third places

are occupied by Marrit Leenstra and Linda de Vries from the Netherlands. The Kazakhstan team’s leader Dmitry Babenko showed the best result in his career and updated his record in the men’s competition with the time of 13 minutes 10.31 seconds. The event’s favorite Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands became the winner of the men’s 10,000 meters race. He also updated the venue’s record with the result of 12 minutes 50.40 seconds. His teammate Bob de Jong took second place being 0.82 seconds behind. Third place is taken by the previous record holder of the Alau Ice Palace, Seung-Hoon Lee of South Korea. Canadian Christine Nesbitt won the 1,500-metre event and captured gold in the women’s team pursuit

along with teammates Ivanie Blondin and Brittany Schussler at the Essent ISU World Cup in Astana, Kazakhstan on Sunday. The London, Ont., native stopped the clock at 1:57.18. Dutch skater Marrit Leenstra finished second with a time of 1:57:29, while fellow countrywoman Linda de Vries took bronze (1:57.30). “I had a good opener and first lap, so the first 700 metres was decent. I was trying to feel smooth because I didn’t have a really good one last week,” said Nesbitt. “In the last two laps I was struggling to keep smooth. My last lap was painful but it was just enough to hold off a win. It’s a nice way to finish the 1,500 World Cups this fall.”

International sportsmen enjoyed the quick ice of the Alau Ice Palace.

Kazakhstan’s national boxing championship took place in Astana. The uniqueness of this championship was in the fact that fights were held without headguards and were conducted in accordance with new rules in the judging system. New rules introduced by Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (AIBA) are to be put into practise by all international tournaments and championships of national federations to be held under auspicies of the AIBA in 2013.


The Astana Times

B8

Monday, 10 December 2012

Capital

Ambassadors Club is New ‘Must’ Annual Christmas Charity Fair Venue for Movers and Shakers Raises Funds for Orphans

By Yelden Sarybay ASTANA – Established in 2009, the Ambassadors Club, a small, elite group of people, is planning to take on a new form to accommodate the rising interests of Kazakhstan. The club offers its members a special opportunity to establish communication channels and experience Astana’s spirit of hospitality rooted in the heroic nomadic traditions of the Eurasian steppe. The Ambassadors’ Club is Kazakhstan’s only diplomacy, business and cultural club. Based in the

Ramada Plaza Hotel, it provides a venue for personal contacts between diplomats, business people, journalists and cultural creators in the Kazakh capital. In 2013, the club is launching an ambitious new programme of business and leisure tours outside the capital for its members. The club is planning its 2013 programmes in close cooperation with major embassies and government institutions in the capital and is utilizing the skills and talents of the city’s creative community. It is the first institution of its kind in the capital where the leading representatives of major nations play an active role in setting the agenda. The club was launched by the Kulanshi Art Center, which continues to play an important role, and it enjoys the close support of the Ramada Plaza Hotel and the Kazakhstan National University of the Arts. Astana has become Central Asia’s major location for holding exhibitions, expositions, cultural festivals, official receptions and international conferences. Members of the club are, therefore, uniquely

situated to enjoy privileged access to the most important business developments in the largest and fastest growing economy and major energy power at the heart of Eurasia. Every month, the club’s secretariat organizes a high-powered reception. The club provides the diplomatic corps with a window on the political, economic and industrial dynamics of Kazakhstan. The club’s organized monthly meetings and briefings focus on topical themes of national importance including developments in the fields of education, energy, science, technology and the arts. The guest list of monthly meetings will be limited to professionals in the fields being discussed who are approved by the club’s secretariat. An official registration sheet will be uploaded on to the club’s Facebook page in January 2013. The club will enter the New Year with a new, expanded and upgraded staff and new services for its participating members. Inquiries could be sent to ambassadors@mail.kz.

It is customary for diplomatic missions accredited in a country to organize a Christmas Charity Fair, bringing together diplomats, businessmen, and locals.

By Vladimir Kuryatov

The Ambassadors’ Club is Kazakhstan’s only diplomacy, business and cultural club.

Gala Concert Marks Day of First President

By Natalia Kurpyakova ASTANA – The gala concert “Halkynyn Uly Perzenty” (Kazakh for “great son of the nation”) dedicated to the Day of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan was held recently in Astana. It is well known that music occupies a special place in the life of President Nursultan Nazarbayev,and during the public holiday all of the songs were performed in honor of the head of state. The concert programme in Astana included the president’s favourite songs: Kazakh folk songs, contemporary works bylocal musicians, as well as older music. The Sazgen Sazy group and singer Karakat Abildina opened the programme with compositions of “El Tolgau” and “Iligay.” Artists from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan came to congratulate the people of Kazakhstan on the new holiday. They performed songs in Kazakh and in their native languages, recognising that members of more than 100 nationalities live in Kazakhstan under a single shanyrak (Kazakh for “roof of the yurt”).

Ramiz Usmanov from Uzbekistan sang the famous “Kozymnyn Karasy” and the passionate “Besame Mucho” songs. The audience greeted Honoured Artist of Bashkortostan Alfia Karimova and the Omsk State Folk Choir with applause. And People’s Artist of Moldova Constantin Moskovich breathed new life into the “Bul-bul” composition by Hamidi. Aleksei Matias, a winner of Ukraine’s Star Factory, performed the song “Saulem, Saulem” with Kazakh singer Ardak Balazhanova. “People in our country love and respect the President of Kazakhstan. It is a great honour for me to be with you today,” Aleksei Matias said. “I am delighted with your president. Only confidence, strength, and hope could have built such a beautiful city as Astana,” Karine Asiryan from Armenia said. She delighted the audience with the Kazakh folk song “Bir Bala.” The performances of the artists were accompanied by the video “The Chronicles,” depicting the recent past of independent Kazakhstan, and a biography of Nazarbayev. The concert culminated with songs whose lyrics were written by Nazarbayev, including “UshKonyr”, “Saryarka” and “My Town.” The concert concluded with the song “Ak-ordam – Astanam” performed by People’s Artist of Kazakhstan Roza Rymbayeva, during which the concert’s participants gathered together on stage. Spectators, sharing their impressions after the concert, noted that the Day of the First President is a new, but much needed, holiday. Many said this day will be one more holiday of unity for Kazakhstan’s people who live in peace and harmony.

ASTANA – On Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, the Fifth Anniversary Charity Christmas Fair organized by diplomatic missions accredited in Kazakhstan took place at the Radisson SAS hotel in Astana. Guests of the event enjoyed lotteries with valuable prizes and souvenirs made by representatives of embassies and international organizations. Goods were also offered for sale by fair participants from around the world. Visitors to the fair were able to buy unique items at low prices and taste international cuisines prepared by the wives of ambassadors and embassies’ staff. The charity fair was established in 2008 to be a bright festive event for visitors and residents of the

capital. This year's charity fair was attended by representatives of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, South Africa, Italy, Brazil, the United States, Germany, the UK, Japan, India, Austria, Russia, Ukraine, Spain and other countries of the European Union. Norway, Sweden and Finland organized a joint stand and provided the highlight and the very special guest of the event, Santa Klaus from no other place but Laplandia. It is customary for diplomatic missions accredited in a country to hold this type of event. Proceeds from the Astana event usually go to orphanages and other civic organizations. “Money was collected for charity purposes for orphanages in Kazakhstan. It was harder in the past because there was no contact

with orphanages. Now we communicate well with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and we have the entire list of orphanages in Kazakhstan and communicate with the society of disabled children. During the first year we collected less than three million tenge, last year it was nearly six million,” said Eleonora Kopecký, wife of the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Kazakhstan. She noted that many private companies donate money and gifts for children and some businessmen have expressed their desire to participate. Events organized by the representatives of missions significantly contribute to the development of relations between nations.

The Astana Times  

The Astana Times, December 10, 2012

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