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The Astana Times Wednesday, 12 June 2013

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Leaders Expand Basis for Stronger Partnership between EU and Kazakhstan

UN Refugees Latvian Chief Urges President Stronger Remembers Cooperation Tragic Past, in Central Looks towards Asia Economic By Ilyas Omarov

On the eve of the June 5 Second Ministerial Conference on Refugee Protection and Mixed Migration: Almaty Process, Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, sat down for an exclusive interview with The Astana Times to talk about the challenges his agency faces and his views on what could be done globally to address the problems of refugees more effectively.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev met European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Akorda on June 3 to discuss opportunities for expanding both political and economic ties. Meeting in Akorda on June 3, Kazakhstan considers the develop- signed strategic partnership agreeBy Rufiya Ospanova the two leaders also discussed the ment of relations with the EU stra- ments with EU countries such as ASTANA – During a June 1-3 broader international agenda and tegically important. France and Spain. We have also visit of European Commission Presi- activities in Central Asia in partic“During recent years, the EU has agreed with Germany on the delivdent Jose Manuel Barroso to Kaza- ular. Barroso noted that the visit of been the main foreign trade and ery of raw materials in exchange khstan he met President Nursultan Nursultan Nazarbayev to Brussels political partner of our country. It for technology. EU and European Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan to discuss in 2010 contributed greatly to the is worth noting that the foreign in- companies are actively participata wide range of issues, including the expansion of relations between Ka- vestments of EU countries to Kaza- ing in the industrial development current status of and prospects for zakhstan and the European Union. khstan reach US$80 billion. Bilat- of our country,” the president said. political, trade and economic, cul- Later, at a joint press conference, eral trade turnover has reached $53 Continued on Page A3 President Nazarbayev stressed that billion. Moreover, Kazakhstan has tural and humanitarian cooperation.

What can you share with us about the conference on June 5 and the Almaty Process? We are bringing together the countries of Central Asia with our support to discuss what are today the most complex problems of what are we call people on the move. We live in a period in this century where more and more people are moving, some of them because they just want a better life, some of them because they are forced to move because of conflict, because of persecution and now with climate change, other people are forced to move because of environmental, insecurity or other relative issues. And it is very important that states are able to manage this process in a way that takes into account their national interests, security and pacifism, but also that allows for migration to be dealt with and for those dealing with persecution from conflict to find international protection.


By Gulnaz Kalikhanova ASTANA, June 5 – Relations between Kazakhstan and Latvia are marked by the development of close ties across numerous sectors and the June 2-4 visit to Kazakhstan by Latvian President Andris Berzins further strengthened this relationship. During his visit, Berzins met with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov and Chairman of the Mazhilis of the Parliament Nurlan Nigmatulin. Berzins also attended business forums in Astana and Almaty. The Latvian President began his visit to Kazakhstan, however, with a June 2 trip to the Karaganda region where he opened a memorial to Latvian victims of political repression during the Soviet times and met the Latvian diaspora in the village of Spassk. In Astana, his discussions with Kazakhstan’s leadership focused on key areas of bilateral cooperation, including economic and trade relations and prospects for transport and transit cooperation. Speaking after his meeting with Berzins, President Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that relations between the two countries have always been marked by systemic development.

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Vincenzo Nibali Looks to More Customs Union States Strengthen Economic Integration As Kyrgyzstan, Victories with Astana Team Ukraine Seek Closer Ties By Askar Beisebayev

By Nadezhda Khamitova

ASTANA – The creation of the Customs Union (CU), the Common Economic Space (CES) and the Eurasian Economic Union remains a priority and offers great potential to move the region forward economically, the heads of state participating in last week’s sitting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Astana agreed. The presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, Aleksandr Lukashenko, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Vladimir Putin respectively, participated in a May 29 meeting in the capital of Kazakhstan and were later joined by Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich who both also expressed interest in closer cooperation with the three countries that have advanced the most in terms of integration. “We are pleased with the results of the meeting,” President Nazarbayev said as he added that the presidents of the CU countries will meet twice more in 2013. They will meet in Minsk at the end of October and in Moscow in December. Following last week’s talks, the heads of state signed a number of documents adopting changes in the regulations of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s activities in international negotiations on trade. These documents, as President Nazarbayev said, will enable the member states of the Customs Union to cooperate actively and to

expand its circle of trading partners. According to Nazarbayev, this is an important step towards a closer integration of the countries concerned. In addition, the presidents adopted the concept of a coherent agricultural policy for the CU member states and set out measures for the establishment and development of the integration of the information system relating to trade within the Customs Union. They also concluded an agreement on informational cooperation in the field of statistics. New directions of integration, including the activity of the Eurasian Economic Commission in the field of development of cooperation mechanisms between parties, as well as perspectives on the participation of Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine in the work of the Customs Union, were also discussed in Astana. “The creation of the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space and the Eurasian Economic Union is a complex issue. Such questions could not be solved in a single day. There are inconsistencies and in some cases failure to comply with the decisions we made and discontent with trade and interaction between the businesses. These issues are natural and will be solved as we progress. The most important thing is that we have the political will of the heads of state,” President Nazarbayev said as he summarized the meeting. The Eurasian Economic Union is scheduled to launch Jan.1, 2015. On

May 1, 2014, the union’s package of documents should be introduced to the heads of state, Nazarbayev said. “We agreed that our integration will be implemented step by step. Now the main goal is to eliminate all hindrances in the Customs Union and the final formation of the Common Economic Space. Based on this, we will decide on further deepening of integration processes. I would like to emphasize this is a purely economic integration. It is based on pragmatism, the mutual benefit of all states and the union as a whole,” Nazarbayev stressed. “We are confident that this is beneficial for all parties involved in the integration process, not only in terms of increasing commodity production but also in terms of occupying a worthy place in a developing world and in the current difficult economic situation,” President Nazarbayev continued. Kazakhstan is estimated to receive a profit of US$16 billion by 2015 from its membership in the CU. The CU could also significantly shorten the distance and time traveled by goods from China to Europe. According to analysts at the Institute of Economic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the creation of the Customs Union between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia will stimulate economic development and has the potential to provide an additional 15 percent GDP growth for the participating countries by 2015.

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The May 26 Giro d’Italia victory of Astana Cycling Team Captain Vincenzo Nibali made big news in Italy, Kazakhstan and the cycling world. Following the race, Nibali, also known as Shark, visited the Kazakhstan capital, where he sat down for an interview with The Astana Times. Have you been to Astana before? Yes, this is my second visit to Astana. The first time I came here

was in December of last year for the presentation of our team.

You have raced in elite races around the world. Do you think it’s possible to hold a professional cycling tour in Kazakhstan? Yes, Kazakhstan in this respect has a lot of prospects. As far as I know, Almaty will host a test event this fall in October, in which famous cyclists will take part. It will be kind of a test drive, after which it will be possible to explore the possibilities of your country in this direction.

Before joining Astana Cycling Team, you spent seven seasons with Liquigas. And now you have extended your contract with Astana until 2016. Do you like frequent changes? From the first day I arrived in Kazakhstan, I felt as if I was in a family. I realized that this is my team, and eventually I decided to extend the contract until 2016 with the Astana team. It is very important for me to stay with Astana and compete for it. I will do everything I can.

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The winner of the 2013 Giro d'Italia Vincenzo Nibali brought glory to Astana Team.

Inside Nation


Gov’t Seeks Ways to Support Citizens with Disabilities Mazhilis Discusses Bill Restricting Use of Traumatic Weapons

Energy of the Future Needs anotechnological Breakthroughs, Cambridge Expert Says Shanghai Shares Expo Experience with Kazakhstan

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Long-Term Regional Stability Is an Institutional Challenge

Min Zhu: The Caucasus and Central Asia: The Road Ahead Danenov: EXPO 2017 and Green Economy Will Benefit International Development

New Almaty Museum Highlights Women in Country’s History Archaeologists Discover Ancient Princess’ Burial Site

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US$1 = 151.38 KZT 1 Euro = 200.05 KZT 1 Rouble = 4.69 KZT

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Kazakhstan Celebrates Day of National Symbols By Manshuk Bekentayeva ASTANA – On June 4, the “Our Flag! Our Emblem! Our Anthem!” campaign to celebrate the Day of State Symbols of Kazakhstan took place across the country and celebrations, including simultaneous performances of the national anthem both across Kazakhstan and internationally, were held in honour of the holiday. The sixth national forum of patriots, “My Kazakhstan!” organised with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Information took place in Atyrau on June 3-4 as part of the celebrations. Minister of Culture and Information Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed, parliament members, authors of state symbols, representatives of the president’s executive office, central and local executive bodies, the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan and nongovernmental and youth organisations took part in the forum. Kul-Mukhammed read an address from the president in which he emphasised that the state symbols show the unity of all the country’s citizens and that the flag, emblem and national anthem are sacred and important visual attributes of the nation’s independence. Representatives of NGOs, creative and scientific intellectuals, youth, mass media, war and labour veterans, soldiers and athletes participated in the forum, representing all regions of Kazakhstan. The main event was the annual ceremony honouring the Patriot of the Year. Traditionally, outstanding athletes, distinguished artists, people who have reached the tops in their profession, scientists, in-

Large scale celebrations were held across the country to commemorate the Day of State Symbols of Kazakhstan. novators, philanthropists and leaders of major social organisations in different categories have received that honour. A large-scale youth and patriotic campaign, “My Kazakhstan! My Astana!,” was held in Astana as part of the Day of State Symbols celebrations. More than a thousand people, including students of higher educational institutions and colleges, representatives of youth organisations and the creative elite, Bolashak programme scholars and Olympic champions

took part in it. Participants of this campaign organised a simultaneous international performance of Kazakhstan’s national anthem in Astana, London, Washington, Moscow and Shanghai. A screen in Astana broadcast the event. At the Ministry of Internal Affairs, across all military units, the best of the best had an opportunity to raise the National Flag of Kazakhstan. In 1992, the new state symbols of independent Kazakhstan were first approved. These symbols have

great significance in the country as tokens of nationhood and independence. The blue flag, designed by Shaken Niyazbekov, reflects the pure sky and represents peace and prosperity. The sun on the flag is a representation of life, energy and openness; the soaring steppe eagle illustrates the power and sovereignty of the state and its high aspirations. The vertical band with the national ornamental patterns and the national ornaments along the flagstaff represent the art and

cultural traditions of the Kazakh people. The authors of the state emblem are famous Kazakh architects Zhandarbek Malibekov and ShotAman Ualikhanov. The state emblem has the shape of a circle or wheel, a symbol of life and eternity that was especially valued among the nomads of the Great Steppes. The image of shanyrak, the round closure at the top of a yurt, in the centre of the state emblem symbolises the peoples’ common homeland. The horse stands for bravery; the wings, the dream of the multinational people of Kazakhstan to build a strong and prosperous nation. The star reflects the dream of building a state open to all countries of the world for cooperation and partnership. Its primary colour, gold, serves as a symbol of wealth, justice and magnanimity. In the history of independent Kazakhstan, a national anthem as been adopted twice, in 1992 and in 2006. The latest version of the anthem, based on the patriotic song “Menyn Kazakhstanym” (My Kazakhstan) written in 1956 by Shamshi Kaldayakov and Zhumeken Nazhimedenov, is popular among the people. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has contributed to modifying the original lyrics of the song. In 2012, President Nazarbayev signed the law, “On Amendments and Additions to Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the Issues of State Symbols.” The purpose of the law is to strengthen responsibility for adhering to the legislation on state symbols.

Mazhilis Discusses Gov’t Seeks Ways to Support Bill Restricting Use Citizens with Disabilities of Traumatic Weapons By Maryam Turezhanova

By Valentina Fironova ASTANA – On May 29, the Mazhilis of Kazakhstan’s Parliament discussed the legal aspects of the use and acquisition of traumatic weapons at a round table chaired by Speaker Nurlan Nigmatullin. Traumatic weapons are non-lethal or less-lethal weapons, especially firearms that are intended for use against an unarmed person, particularly for self-defence or crowd control. Addressing participants of the event, initiated by the Mazhilis Committee for Legislation and Judicial Reform, Nigmatullin noted that a weapon is by definition an instrument of attack, not defence and any turnover of arms would require strict control. “Over the past five years, the internal affairs’ authorities (police) have reported on 19 cases of the use of traumatic weapons for the purpose of self-defence, whereas they have been used thousands of times for criminal purposes. Therefore, when the gun designed to protect becomes a source of threat, the only way to protect our citizens is either to legislate against it or tighten the requirements for its use,” Nigmatullin said. According to the speaker, a shot from the Russian-made Osa (Wasp) handgun, part of a family of Russian nonlethal pistols, could be as fatal as the sting of a wasp can be. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has also taken a firm attitude on traumatic weapons. Minister Kalmukhanbet Kassymov underlined in his speech that the ministry is not only prepared to prohibit their sale, but also to buy weapons back from the population. Reasons for prohibiting the class of weapon include the 800 offences committed with the use of traumatic weapons in only the last five years, the fact that only 47 of those guns were registered and that one third of all “gunshot” violations result from traumatic weapons. The cities of Astana and Almaty account for nearly half of such cases. Other crime statistics and specific examples cited by Deputy Prosecutor General Andrei Kravchenko supported the case against the availability of traumatic arms.

Similar examples were cited in speeches by Vice Minister of Health Erik Bayzhunusov and Vice Minister of Education and Science Murat Abenov. Vice president of Koramsak, the Kazakhstan Association of Arms, Sergei Katnov; President of the Association of Security Organisations Anatoly Kalinin; chairman of Honour, the public association of veterans of operational services, Yedilbay Shakirov; head of the nongovernmental organisation Justice, Olga Ryll, and Regional Director of Public Penal Reform International in Central Asia Saule Mektepbayeva also shared their views. The starting point for the discussion was a bill that enshrines into law the right of police and law enforcement agencies to acquire these weapons and use them in addition to firearms in accordance with weapons laws. As stated in the draft of the bill, traumatic arms can be purchased and used as service weapons by private security organisations and other entities which have this lawfully enshrined right. Among them are legal bodies with special assignments, such as organisations for the protection of the environment and natural resources, the Kazpochta courier service, the aviation security service and a number of others, as well as law enforcement and special agencies. The bill also provides for the withdrawal from the public of traumatic weapons and their transfer to the category of service weapons. The changes do not establish a complete ban on the circulation of traumatic arms, however. The legislation allows citizens to acquire, keep and bear gas and electric arms. Citizens may also purchase and keep (without bearing) smooth-bore and longbarreled arms, which are deemed acceptable for self-defence and defence of property. Aerosols, which do not require any special permissions to purchase, may also be used. The implementation of the law on the redemption of registered traumatic weapons, if adopted, would require expenditures from the state budget. The necessary funds will be taken into account in the formation of the draft budget for 2014-2016.

ASTANA – The issue of supporting the equality of citizens with disabilities was discussed at the sitting of the government chaired by Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov on May 31. “In general, due to consistent social policy and attention given the disabled, important progress is traceable over recent years,” Head of the Shyrak Association of Women with Disabilities Lyazzat Kaltayeva said, referring to new benefits, new services, laws and measures to ensure gender equality that affect individuals with disabilities. Specifying the issues, Minister of Labour and Social Protection Serik Abdenov pointed to a multilevel system of support for people with disabilities, such as social benefits and insurance payments, prosthetic orthopaedic care, equipment for the deaf and blind, wheelchairs, personal assistance and sign language interpretation services. As of the end of 2012, more than 96,000 citizens of Kazakhstan, or 88 percent of the total number of people in need, were provided with the required equipment and assistance. “People with disabilities are assisted with domestic services, filling out and filing of entitlement documents for benefits and allowances and are given psychological and educational assistance,” Abdenov added. The development of a competitive market was initiated through the involvement of nongovernmental organisations. Today, in total, 47 NGOs serve the needs of 2,000 children; in 2009 there were only

four such NGOs. However, for all that, Kazakhstan’s level of social and medical support to people with disabilities still runs short of developed nations. The socialisation level of people with disabilities is still low; they have very little chance of getting a job, although the Employment 2020 programme is meant to ensure the provision of education and employment to such citizens. To solve the situation, a law on social jobs is in development and the Employment 2020 programme is to be expanded in the area of training and employment support for people with disabilities. Lyazzat Kaltayeva said that a special environment needs be built for disabled people, for their learning and employment, so they do not feel themselves to be a burden on society. People in wheelchairs are an uncommon sight, not because there are few of them, but because they are simply unable to get out of the house because of a lack of infrastructure; ramps, for instance. The prime minister criticised the quality of existing ramps, which he said are hazardous to able-bodied people, let alone the physically handicapped. “Houses built without them [ramps] must not be accepted by the acceptance commissions,” he demanded. The certification of buildings revealed that the social infrastructure of 7,000 out of 9,100 assessed buildings does not meet the accessibility requirements. “Local executive bodies must pay particular attention to access for people with disabilities to accommodation, education, health, culture and sports facilities,” Prime Minister Akhmetov insisted.

“A total of 102 special taxis are currently available in the country, which is only seven or eight per region, and that is not enough. Public transport must be provided with seats for the disabled and lifts at railway and bus terminals for the boarding of people in wheelchairs should be installed,” Akhmetov instructed the ministries of regional development and of transport and communications. “At the same time, the installation of the right ramps alone will not solve the problem. The needs of all disabled persons must be addressed, and this requires the involvement of several ministries, local executive bodies and necessary inclusions in regional economic planning, as it often appears that locally such matters are treated cavalierly,” Kaltayeva complained. “If we cultivate a tolerant attitude towards people with disabilities from childhood, maybe construction developers in pursuit of profit and deadlines will not, in the future, overlook the needs of the disabled. At the same time, it is necessary to inform disabled people of the accomplishments being made in this direction,” she continued. “Within the framework of the ongoing social modernisation programme, the government is considering a draft nationwide concept of social development up to 2030, and Kazakhstan has to meet the international obligations of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To this end, it is necessary to create socio-economic conditions that will allow each physically disadvantaged person an active public life,” the prime minister concluded.

Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan Elects New Leadership By Assem Kazybay

ASTANA – Secretaries of the Central Committee of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan (CPPK) Vladislav Kosarev and Tulesh Kenzhin, as well as chairman of the Central Control and Auditing Commission of the CPPK Alexander Kholodkov relinquished their powers during the June 1 eighth extraordinary congress of their party giving way for the election of a new leadership. The Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan will

now be represented by secretaries Aikyn Konurov, Deputy of the Mazhilis of the Parliament, Zhambyl Akhmetbekov, Deputy of the Mazhilis of the Parliament, and Dmitryi Legkyi, first secretary of the Kostanay branch of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan). Vladislav Kosarev, 75, was unanimously elected Honorary Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPPK and he will continue to lead the party group in the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, where it has seven deputies. Tulesh Kenzhin will head

the Central Control and Auditing Commission of the party. Changes in the membership of the Central Committee of the party have taken place as well. The Charter, the Programme of the party, the Regulations on the Central Committee, the deputy factionand the Council of Veterans of the party have undergone a number of changes. Due to the recent changes, the people’s communists held a press conference in Astana on June 3 and shared their plans for the future. The CPPK was established in 2004. Currently the party has more than 94,000 members.

Domestic News in Brief ● On June 8, Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov of Kazakhstan held a meeting on the implementation of the instructions given to the government by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev on June 7. “The president returned to the Parliament the draft law on pension reform for additional discussion and voting on the term of the introduction of the rules to raise the retirement age for women. The president proposed to begin a phased increase of the retirement age for women, not from January 1, 2014, but from January 1, 2018,” Akhmetov said. The prime minister also said that the president instructed the government to work out the issues of legal support before the entry into force of the new law. In particular, to provide subsidies for compulsory pension contributions for working women during their stay on leave for the birth and care of children at the expense of the state. Total payments to the pension savings fund will be increased to 10 percent of their former income. An additional 5 percent of mandatory contributions from employers for the benefit of their employees will also be introduced. In addition, the government was tasked to develop a set of measures to further modernize the pension system until 2030, as well as mechanisms for investing pension fund assets in promising sectors of the economy. “We need to urgently start the execution of the instructions of the head ofstate,” Akhmetov said. In this regard, Akhmetov directed the establishment of a working group headed by Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov, which will prepare proposals and related calculations, as well as the draft concept for further modernization of the pension system until 2030. “In accordance with the instruction of the president, the concept should provide for the joint liability of state, employer and employee for the social protection of the citizens of Kazakhstan,” the prime minister added. Akhmetov also noted that the “president rightly criticized the government in terms of public outreach on the draft law.”I n this regard, Akhmetov instructed the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to prepare a plan for expanded outreach to modernize the pension system taking into account the comments of the head of state and, particularly, to strengthen the involvement of the public. “We have a lot of work to further improve the pension system. This area concerns every citizen of the country, so all our actions must be verified and coordinated. The future of the pension system in our country depends on it,” Akhmetov concluded. In related news, President Nazarbayev dismissed Minister of Labour and Social Protection Serik Abdenov on June 10, following his criticism of the government’s clumsiness in communicating key fundamentals of the proposed pension reform. ● New high-speed passenger train service Saraishyk, which will run between Almaty and Atyrau, began service on June 8. The 27-car train will depart every `other day, and travel time from Almaty to Atyrau will be 35.5 hours. The Grand class car has one section for people with disabilities and includes a shower, bathroom, specialized doors and a conductor call button. The car’s corridor is also wider for easier boarding and unloading. The train’s cars are assembled at the joint Kazakh-Spanish plant Tulpar-Talgo in Astana. The cars were purchased within the framework of the programme to increase the service life of the rolling stock of the Passenger Transportation JSC. In accordance with the programme, the plant will assemble 420 more cars by 2014. The new high-speed service will reduce travel times from Almaty to Atyrau (1,675 miles) from 49 to 35 hours. As earlier reported, high-speed trains utilizing Talgo cars currently run in four directions: between Almaty and Astana, Almaty and Shymkent, Almaty and Petropavlovsk, and Aktobe and Astana. Another five high-speed trains are expected to be launched as part of the programme on transport infrastructure development to 2015, and will run between Astana and Atyrau, Astana and Kyzylorda, Almaty and Aktobe, Astana and Zashchita, Almaty and Zashchita. ● The new 1,250-seat Astana Opera and Ballet Theatre is to be unveiled in late June, according to city authorities who are also planning for the 15th anniversary celebration of the Kazakhstan capital. The opera “Birzhan Sara” by Kazakh composer Mukan Tulebayev will be the first to be staged at the new opera house.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Eurasia and world

External News in Brief ● One of the biggest mosques in Asia has been built in Shymkent, Kazakhstan, the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation (KZHF) announced.The Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Mosque, which can accommodate 6,000 worshippers, was inaugurated by Dr. Hadef Bin Jua’an Al Daheri, minister of justice, as a cluster of projects funded by the foundation. The mosque is situated on a total area of 8,000 square metres. It includes a separate prayer area for women and a parking area for nearly 120 vehicles, the foundation reported. “Estimated at 45 million dirham, the mosque’s construction was completed in a period of three years,” Al Daheri said. “The mosque serves worshippers in Shymkent and its design is based on the Islamic architectural style. It aims to provide a suitable place for worship and serves as a centre for cultural enlightenment for Muslims in Kazakhstan as well as a large public library, which includes copies of the Quran and several cultural and Islamic books,” he added. Additionally, about 15 million dirham ($4.08 million) has been donated by the KZHF to complete the construction of two clinics and a nursery in Shymkent. ● A group of Kazakhstan citizens plans to send an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama concerning the detention of two Kazakhstan students following the bombing attack in Boston. “We the undersigned citizens of Kazakhstan offer our deep condolences to theAmerican people who suffered from the tragic actions that took place on April 15 in Boston during the traditional marathon, when a bomb explosion caused the deaths of three people and injuries to 260 people,” the letter says. The 65 citizens who signed the letter said they all were against any kind of extremism and never supported terrorism. “We are citizens of a state desiring and supporting peace, friendship and cooperation,” the letter says. “We demand unbiased and just legal proceedings concerning the two citizens of Kazakhstan. These rights are set in all international documents including the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by the U.S. We are seeking the implementation of international human rights commitments by the U.S. Government.” According to the letter, U.S. mass media outlets are releasing biased information concerning the case of the Kazakhstan students. “That is why we request that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Attorney General provide official explanations on this case. We ask for the observation of human rights and the provision of proper legal assistance,” the Kazakhstan citizens wrote. ● Consul General of Kazakhstan Askhat Nuskabay has met with Prime Minister of Tatarstan Ildar Halikov in Kazanwho congratulated the Kazakhstan diplomat on the establishment of the Consulate General of Kazakhstan and his new appointment. During the meeting, the parties discussed the current status and future directions of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, noting the enhancement of and increase in mutual visits of official delegations and representatives of the business community. They also touched on issues of regional cooperation, and the prospects of the work of the consulate of Kazakhstan in Kazan. ● On June 6, Minister of Justice of the Czech Republic Pavel Blazek and Prosecutor General of the Czech Republic Pavel Zeman paid a visit to Kazakhstan. The main result of the visit was the signing of an agreement between Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic on mutual assistance in criminal matters. This document will allow Kazakhstan and Czech lawenforcement agencies to render active legal assistance to each other, including assistance in criminal prosecution. Both sides emphasised that the signing of this document will allow relations between the two countries in this sphere to reach a new level and create an impetus for further expansion and strengthening of the contractual and legal base. Prosecutor General Askhat Daulbayev noted that international cooperation is considered by Kazakhstan to be an important instrument for ensuring transnational security, and the signing of this interstate agreement is a significant step toward further development of the existing productive relations. The sides focused on issues such as countering money laundering activities and deepening cooperation, especially in the exchange of experience in fighting organised crime. The same day, Prosecutor General Daulbayev met with the deputy attorney general of Slovakia. As a result of the meeting, a memorandum on mutual understanding was signed and the sides reached an agreement on beginning the process of approval and conclusion of an interstate agreement on mutual assistance in criminal matters.


Leaders Expand Latvian President Remembers Basis for Stronger Tragic Past, Looks towards Partnership between Economic Future EU and Kazakhstan From Page A1

From Page A1 President Nazarbayev also noted that during negotiations it was agreed to accelerate talks over a new enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement between Kazakhstan and the EU. “We talked about simplifying the visa regime for certain categories of our citizens. We also discussed the possibility of providing free flights for our airlines to European countries and the assistance of the EU in the process of Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). We have reached consensus on these issues and we have the EU’s support, for which I am grateful to Mr. Barroso,” the president added. “We have discussed issues of regional security and stability in our region. During the discussion about the Customs Union (CU) and the Common Economic Space (CES), it was noted that they would not interfere with our trade with third countries, including the EU. I am confident the talks will become a new milestone for the further rapprochement of Kazakhstan with the EU countries in economic and humanitarian terms. I believe that the first visit of Mr. Barroso was successful and fruitful,” President Nazarbayev said. President Barroso in turn noted that this visit was his first official visit to Kazakhstan in the position of president of the European Commission (EC). Its timeliness lies not only in the fact that it takes place in the year of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the EU, but also because bilateral cooperation is actively developing in all areas. “We intend to open a new

era in our relations through the completion of negotiations for adopting a new agreement on our expanded partnership. This document is aimed at a more comprehensive cooperation. The EU plans to continue to promote the expansion of this partnership in all fields of mutual interest. The enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement will provide a strong foundation for further intensification of our relations, which are very dynamic. The EU is indeed one of the largest trade partners of Kazakhstan; its share accounts for about 45 percent of the total trade turnover of the country, and the level of bilateral trade is around 31 billion euros. Despite the difficulties that Europe has recently seen, the past years have seen rapid growth in trade turnover between the parties,” President Barroso stressed. The president of the European Commission highlighted that the accession of Kazakhstan to the WTO will promote a higher growth potential of investments. “The EU has always supported the initiative of Kazakhstan on WTO accession. I am pleased to confirm that our parties have come to an agreement on the essential elements of the terms of entry into the organisation. We look forward to signing the relevant documents. We also support the strategy of Kazakhstan to further diversify the economy and focus on the development of the green economy,” he added. He also stressed the important role of Kazakhstan in promoting regional cooperation in Central Asia, in particular in the joint resolution of the problems of extremism, terrorism, drug trafficking and water resources management.

“The bilateral political dialogue between our two countries is both active and fair. We have created close ties at the level of parliaments and governments, ministries and agencies, as well as businesses and academia. The borders of our relations are increasingly expanding,” Nazarbayev said. He also highlighted the importance of opening the memorial in Spassk. “The peoples of the two countries have always respected and supported each other. The opening of the memorial is a true sign of respect to the memory of compatriots who had been fated to live in the Kazakh steppes,” the Kazakh leader said. Around 17,000 Latvians were deported to Kazakhstan between 1938 and 1941. During his visit to Latvia in 2006, Nazarbayev learned of 268 cases of the Latvians who were repressed in Kazakhstan during the Soviet times. “Latvia considers Kazakhstan the most important partner in Central Asia. Over the past two decades, your country has achieved a great deal both in economic development and in other areas. It has also increased its international influence and authority. The decision to hold EXPO 2017 in Astana is proof of this fact,” the Latvian President said at a press conference following his meeting with Nazarbayev. He also stressed the importance of opening the monument which will serve as a factor in strengthening bilateral relations. “We remember your visit to Latvia in 2006 and welcome you at any time. Given that Riga will be the European Capital of Culture in 2014, the mutual exchange of knowledge and experience will be beneficial to both countries,” he said. According to Berzins, Latvia intends to further deepen its political cooperation with Kazakhstan within the framework of the European Union. “We support the efforts of

President of Latvia Andris Berzins (left) and President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed key points of cooperation between the two states on June 3. Kazakhstan to join the WTO (World Trade Organization) and hope the country will become a member of this organization this year.” Kazakhstan and Latvia have established regular and productive dialogue at all levels. The two countries have a working intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation. The volume of bilateral trade has increased by 50 percent over the last year and today amounts to US $350 million. The heads of state discussed the possibility of increasing the level of trade to half a billion US dollars in a short period. Kazakhstan has 138 joint ventures involving Latvian companies. The heads of state also discussed prospects for transport and transit cooperation. “We are implementing significant projects in the transport and logistics sector. In addition, we want to establish container shipping from China through Kazakhstan to the Baltics. It can be a very promising joint venture. It is well known that the transportation of goods from the Pacific to Europe by sea takes 45 days, while rail transit

UN Refugees Chief Urges Stronger Cooperation in Central Asia dimension and depth of these three crises that help explain the high number of refugees in Asia.

From Page A1 And this conference aims to do exactly that by establishing a mechanism to reach this cooperation among states that can become more effective, more permanent in order to make sure that the movement of people does not become a destabilizing factor in Central Asia. This would be an element in a direction to solving the problems both economic and social in the region. Again, I’m extremely grateful to the Kazakh leadership in this regard because Kazakhstan is in a very, very special position. It is a country that is attracting migrants, but it also a country of transit for the people of one country to another country through Kazakhstan. So, the role that Kazakhstan can play is an absolutely central one and Kazakh leadership is very much welcomed. The total number of refugees according to UNHCR is 33 million. Do you have any unofficial data? Maybe the real number is higher or lower? It is difficult to estimate. We believe that our data is correct. What is dramatic is that we see the number of refugees growing. There are more and more conflicts. If we look at the recent two years, we had Cote d’Ivoire, we had Libya, we had Yemen, we had Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Somalia and South Sudan just to mention a few and at the same time with this multiplication of new conflicts we see that old conflicts never die. The international community has significant capacity to prevent conflict and to find solutions. That’s why the number of people fleeing wars is on the rise. Just to give you an example, we have 8,000 people fleeing Syria to neighbouring countries every single day. This shows the dramatic nature of the refugees’ situation in this world. That’s why, again, it is important to see Kazakhstan adopting a very important initiative (dealing

with this issue). The Human Rights Commission of Kazakhstan has presented a very important report with key recommendations to improve the way Kazakhstan addresses the problems of refugees. We are at the disposal of the government to work together in order for Kazakhstan to adopt and implement these recommendations, making it – we hope – a very important symbol of adequate refugee protection in the world. So, fortunately, refugee questions do not only present dramatic news, they also present good examples of the country’s willing to do its best to support the people in it and I commend Kazakhstan for its efforts in this regard. Fifty percent refugees are from Asian countries. What could be the reason behind that? I think the reason is related to the fact that three of the most dramatic crises of the last decade have included the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. War produces the largest number of refugees. And these three situations alone are sufficient to explain this dramatic contribution (of Asian refugees). But let us not forget that we have an Africa that is also in dramatic crisis from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Somalia to Sudan. We even have the Columbia and Europe situations very recently to tragic areas in the Balkans and Caucasus. So, it is certain that the problem of refugees is not an Asian phenomenon. It is a universal phenomenon and I think it is the special

Did the phenomenon of the Arab spring revolutions have any impact on the activities of UNHCR? It is true that linked to it we had a certain number of situations of conflict that generated movements of populations. The two most dramatic examples is Libya, where it was centrally a problem of migrant workers that had to flee the country in numbers totaling more than 1 million. UNHCR is very actively involved in helping them go home. And Syria now, from which people are forced to flee because of this brutal conflict. What do you think the situation in Central Asia regarding refugees will be after 2014? I believe that when talking about 2014, we are talking about the transition in Afghanistan. I was today [June 4] very impressed by the wise words that I heard from the President of Kazakhstan. We know it is going to be a difficult period. There are many problems we have solved, but not everything will be easy. I am hopeful that Afghanistan will be able to go through this very important moment without a collapse or dramatic increase in violence and that there will not be a meaningful number of Afghans that are forced to flee the country. I think it is the duty of all of us to be prepared for less positive scenarios, but all the efforts now must be concentrated on prevention. I’m very happy to see the Kazakh government is very actively engaged in it. All efforts must begin helping the Afghans to find a way; to find an Afghan solution to this crisis, and be able to find ways to live with each other, to respect each other and to create conditions for the country to be successful in its transition. Many countries have major problems with corruption and brib-

ery. How do you think the UNHCR is facing these problems? Fortunately, our activity has not been very dramatically impacted, but I think that is centrally a very important problem for the economic development of countries. And, obviously, wherever there is widespread corruption, people will suffer because economic development will be severely undermined. But in relation to refugee protection, that has not been a major impediment. We have been fortunate to be able to work sometimes in countries that are considered to be failed states or with very weak administrations and we are grateful that we are always allowed to do what we are supposed to do for the protection of the people we care for. So do such factors as bribery and corruption hinder UNHCR activities? I don’t think it has been a main factor. I think much more dramatic than that is the fact that some governments do not allow us to be present in some areas, or do not give us access to the borders or put restrictions on humanitarian aid to certain groups or populations or are engaging in dramatic violations of the human rights of communities.

through Kazakhstan will take two weeks,” Nazarbayev said. The presidents also identified a number of new areas of cooperation beneficial for both countries. “Adopting an intergovern Kazakhstan and Latvia have emental agreement on cooperation in environmental protection will be an important step. We would like to have Latvian participation in the preparation and holding of the EXPO 2017 in Astana. We will also sign an agreement on tourism, which will lay the foundation for fruitful cooperation. Special attention will be given to the training of Kazakhstan professionals in tourism in Latvian universities,” Nazarbayev said. The Latvian president’s visit resulted in the signing of numerous education and science agreements. The presidents also discussed international issues, in particular the situations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. They also focused on the development of integration processes under the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space between Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus. I’m not talking about voluntary migrants. A group of countries led by Norway, Switzerland, Mexico and Costa Rica discussed an initiative exactly to discuss the problems of people forced to flee for reasons related to climate change, security and other aspects. And I hope that the international community will be able to find ways, respecting the interests of states, to improve the human rights and the protection conditions for those who can no longer remain in their areas. In one of your interviews, you mentioned that there is not a uniform Europe. How do you see the future of EU? Well, I see a lot of concern. When I was politically engaged, I was deeply committed to European solidarity. I believe that Europeans today, unfortunately, are not moving for the European Union. To a certain extent, public opinions lack confidence in the European process and the political leadership of many countries. And because of that, European solidarity is also decreasing with very dramatic consequences for the continent. But I hope that better times will be coming in the future.

In one of your interviews, you mentioned that we must first overcome the crisis in our minds. What did you mean by this? All conflicts in the world start in the minds of people. And there is no way to make peace in the world if we don’t make peace in our own minds.

You are famous as a political statesman and put properties of character over political gain. Do you think that is important? I think that it is true that political leaders of the world are today perceived by the people less positively than few decades ago. There are many reasons for that. I think the way technologies evolved, the way communications evolved, everything became instantaneous, everybody is under permanent scrutiny. But many political processes are still as defined as they were in the 19th century and there is sometimes a disconnect between the way political systems work and the modern world.

One main problem is that refugees can be not political refugees or economic refugees. What is being done in this area? Well, there is political persecution and other forms of persecution, be they religious or cultural. But we are more and more engaged in the international debate on the protection problems of peoples forced to flee.

You work with Kassym-Jomart Tokayev who is Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. Could you share your impressions of working with him? He is a great colleague and an extremely wise and cosmopolitan man. And he is doing a very fantastic job in Geneva and I am very proud to be his colleague.

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Astana to Host Days of Mining and Metallurgy By Rufiya Ospanova ASTANA – On June 12-13, Days of Mining and Metallurgy Sector (MMS) will be held in the capital’s Palace of Independence. The Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan has designated this project for the industry as the main and annual event in the domestic mining and metal sector. The Days will bring together a number of important events of the industrial sector, including the 4th International Mining and Metallurgy Congress Astana Mining & Metallurgy (AMM 2013) and the 4th Congress of MMS employees. The programme will also include the national industrial competition Golden Hephaestus and events dedicated to the professional holiday,Day of Metallurgist, as well as study tours for delegates around Astana. During the congress, the topic of MMS technological growth prospects against the background of an unstable global economy will be addressed. Speakers from Australia, Britain, Germany, Kazakhstan, China, Russia, Turkey and France will present their reports at the congress. Astana Mining & Metallurgy is expected to host more than 700 delegates from Kazakhstan and neighbouring countries, as well as members of official delegations of the participating states, ambassadors and representatives of trade missions of countries accredited in Kazakhstan.

Mining and metallurgy have since 1950s been one of the backbones of Kazakhstan’ s industry. The 1st Kazakhstan Conference on wastes of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, as well as panel discussions on topics including utilization of energy of waste gases in the ferroalloy industry, advanced solutions for processing of ores and industrial wastes, and a new era of rare and rare-earth metals will be held within the Congress. On June 13, at the 4th Congress

of MMS employees, a number of specific initiatives will be presented. In particular, a presentation of the Fund of Kazakhstan subsoil users will take place within the industrial forum. Thematic round tables will also be held on issues of the development of human capital in the MMS and the improvement of the legislation on subsoil use. A separate set of questions will

be devoted to the development of social partnerships in the MMS, proposals to improve the system of remuneration of MMS employees and other topics. The congress of MMS employees will bring together about 400 delegates, including heads of mining and metallurgical sector enterprises, trade unions of MMS employees and the coal industry, government agencies and

members of the Parliament of Kazakhstan. The concept for holding the Days of Mining and Metallurgy in Kazakhstan meet the country’s basic objectives of industrial and innovation policy on increasing exports and creating high valueadded products, as well as the introduction of innovative developments and the training of qualified personnel who will bring the Kazakhstan MMS to higher level. The Congress is an open platform for the discussion of strategic issues of the MMS of Kazakhstan and international partnerships. The key theme of the forum is “Exploration. Production. Processing.” Within the MMS event, the winners of the National industrial competition Golden Hephaestus will be declared and industry awards for achievements in geology, metallurgy, mining and the coal industry will be presented. ENRC company is the general partner of Golden Hephaestus. The main organizer of this event is the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan. The organizer of the Congress of employees of the mining and metallurgy industry is the National Association of Mining and Metallurgical Enterprises. Kazakhstan’s exhibition company Iteca jointly with international partner ITE Group Plc are responsible for organizing the Congress. The Astana City Administration, the Samruk Kazyna national welfare fund and others are also providing official support to the organization of the event.

Customs Union States Strengthen Economic Integration As Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine Seek Closer Ties From Page A1 Nursultan Nazarbayev also stressed that Kyrgyzstan has applied for accession to the Customs Union. “We have already established a working group to develop a road map. [for Kyrgyzstan’s joining the CU]. Ukraine has expressed an interest in obtaining an observer status within the framework of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space as well as the Eurasian Economic Union. In this regard, the presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine have been invited to this meeting. We support their intentions and all the necessary documents will be prepared so at the next meeting of the Supreme Council we can approve them,” Nazarbayev said.

In addition, at a separate joint briefing relating to last week’s meeting, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Viktor Yanukovich stressed the economic viability of the Customs Union. “Our economies have had close ties since the Soviet era. They are complementary. The growth of trade between the two countries leads to the creation of new job opportunities and facilitates preparation for global competition. This is of critical importance for the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. I want to stress again that no transfer of political functions to supranational bodies affecting the independence of the states, is planned. This is an exclusively economic integration,” Nazarbayev said. Yanukovich also said all the de-

cisions taken at the meeting are based on consensus and it is an important principle of the Customs Union. The President of Ukraine said a memorandum on the country’s participation in the work of the Customs Union as an observer will be signed at the Commonwealth of Independent States summit in Minsk. “Ukraine’s bid for observer status in the Eurasian Economic Union was supported by the decision of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space. Moreover, at the meeting, I also participated in a discussion on the formation of future economic policy in the framework of integration associations because in the core of the economic policy are issues that

affect the interests of Ukraine,” Yanukovich said. President Nazarbayev also held a bilateral meeting with President Putin. Regarding bilateral Kazakhstan-Russia relations, President Putin expressed the hope that a comprehensive treaty on goodneighborliness and alliance, currently under development, will be signed this year. “We can see how much personal attention you pay to the development of Russian-Kazakh relations. Due to this direct participation, our relations are developing very quickly and efficiently, and our trade volumes are growing. You definitely are the leader in the integration processes,” Putin told his Kazakh counterpart. The Customs Union within the Eurasian Economic Community

is a form of trade and economic integration among Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia that provides a single customs territory. Within that union, the mutual trade of goods is not subject to customs duties and economic restrictions, with the exception of special protective, antidumping and countervailing measures. In this case, the member states of the Customs Union share a common customs tariff and other common measures regulating trade with third countries. At the moment, the common customs territory includes the territories of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, as well as artificial islands, buildings and other objects located outside of the territories of the Custom Union states, in respect of which the member states shall have exclusive jurisdiction.

Kazakhstan Continues Transit Cooperation to Stabilize Afghanistan By Gulnaz Kalikhanova ASTANA – Despite the widespread international apprehension regarding Afghanistan’s future once the majority of foreign military forces leave next year, the leadership in Kazakhstan believes that with the right level of foreign assistance and through the creation of a peaceful environment, that country can achieve stability, growth and prosperity. To this end, Kazakhstan is committed to expanding its direct assistance as well as supporting international efforts. Kazakhstan’s government helps Afghanistan through various means ranging from direct technical and humanitarian aid to multilateral mechanisms, such as international organisations. The country annually delivers thousands of tons of food, fuel and equipment to Afghanistan and has offered 1,000 university scholarships to Afghan students. Kazakhstan’s main initiatives are aimed at increasing bilateral trade and investment as well as agriculture, education and infrastructure development. During the past decade, Kazakhstan has also played a critical role in multilateral efforts to stabilise Afghanistan. Since the beginning of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission, the country has supported the coalition by providing access to its rail and road networks through

transit agreements with NATO and individual countries, including Germany, the United States, Spain, France, the United Kingdom and Italy. Since the early 2000s, Kazakhstan has allowed NATO warplanes to fly through its airspace without cost in support of operations in Afghanistan and provided rights for emergency landings and refuelling on its territory. Since 2010, Kazakhstan has permitted NATO countries to send non-lethal ISAF cargo to Afghanistan by rail. As of 2012, Kazakhstan and NATO also have an agreement for the redeployment of non-lethal ISAF cargo from Afghanistan. The most recent agreement expands transit capacity for NATO cargo by offering the use of the Caspian port of Aktau in western Kazakhstan. Germany was the first country to sign a military transit agreement with Kazakhstan. The document was completed in February 2007 and came into force in January 2008, allowing Germany air and rail transit of military equipment and personnel to and from Afghanistan. The transit flights are carried out on the basis of special permits issued in accordance with Kazakhstan’s laws. To obtain them, the German side provides full information about the flight, personnel and cargo 24 hours prior to the transit. Rail transits of military equipment and personnel are also carried out on the basis of special single-issue

permits upon provision of all transportation details. Cooperation with the U.S. started in 2009 following an exchange of diplomatic notes on rail transit of non-military cargo to Afghanistan. In June 2010, the two countries signed a document on rail transit of motorised, wheeled, armoured vehicles not fitted with weapons, and ammunition. In November 2010, they formalised an agreement about the air transit of military and civilian personnel and equipment by signing the relevant document, which came into force in May 2011. The document resulted from agreements reached by the presidents of the two countries, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Barack Obama, during their meeting in Washington in April 2010. Kazakhstan and Spain also have an agreement on air transit, which was signed in 2009 in Astana and ratified in May 2012. The transit flights are carried out based on special permits that have to be reissued every year. In addition, the Spanish side has to notify Kazakhstan of its intention to use Kazakhstan’s air space at least 24 hours in advance by sending the plan of the flight and relevant details. “The agreement is a message of our good will and support for the international forces ensuring security in Afghanistan. This complies with our national interests, as everything that happens in Afghanistan is very important to Kaza-

khstan,” the then Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Omarov said when presenting the draft agreement to Parliament. France and Kazakhstan signed their own agreement on air and rail transit of military equipment and personnel in October 2009 (it became effective in September 2011). In January of this year, Kazakhstan ratified a protocol on amendments to this agreement, signed in Paris in November 2012. The modified agreement allows French aircraft arriving from Afghanistan, upon prior notification of Kazakhstan’s authorities, to land in Shymkent airport in southern Kazakhstan and re-load military property. France will be transporting containers with military property for noncombat purposes and vehicles in non-battle-ready condition. The freight will arrive by plane from Afghanistan, be stored in special temporary bond storage and then be transported through Kazakhstan and Russia to the Baltics by railroad. France will fund the construction of the needed infrastructure for the temporary bond storage and the area of enhanced customs control for transshipment operations through Shymkent airport. In addition, France will fund the procurement or rental of loading equipment and vehicles for the railroad spur, construction of additional roads with hard surfacing of around 400 metres and protection

of freight in temporary storage and en route on Kazakhstan’s railroad. At present, France has already allocated 150,000 euros for preparatory work. On May 23 of this year, Kazakhstan’s Parliament ratified an agreement with the U.K. on air transit of military property and personnel through its territory. According to this document, British aircraft will not be allowed to stop on Kazakhstan’s territory or perform technical landings for refuelling, resting their crews or other purposes except for emergency landings. Presenting the draft agreement to the Senate, Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksey Volkov said the U.K. is expected to pay approximately 300,000-400,000 dollars per year for transit, but the actual amount will also depend on the frequency of flights, the type of aircraft, cargo and their weight. He also added that the payment is similar to those made by other countries that we already have agreements with.” The agreement between the governments of Kazakhstan and the U.K. was signed by the defence ministers of both countries on February 27, 2012, in Astana. Similarly, the defence ministers of Kazakhstan and Italy signed an agreement on air and rail transit of Italian military property and personnel in February 2013 in Astana. The document is now being considered by Kazakhstan’s Parliament.

economy News in Brief ● An IMF mission led by Hossein Samiei, Division Chief at IMF visited Almaty and Astana on May 22-June 3 to conduct the 2013 Article IV consultation. The mission met with government and central bank officials, as well as representatives of the private sector and civil society organizations. The authorities’ vision of Kazakhstan developing into a major economic emerging market is commendable, but will require concerted efforts to strengthen the policy architecture, the mission said following the trip. The currently stable macroeconomic environment provides a unique opportunity to speed up this process. The mission thanked its counterparts for the helpful and productive discussions. ● During the official visit of the President of Latvia to Kazakhstan on 2-4 June, Economy Minister Daniels Pavluts signed a tourism cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan on June 3. The goal of the agreement is to continue the development of cooperation between the two countries in the field of tourism, creating effective coordination of information and events in the interests of the two countries. Also, Pavluts took part in the Latvian-Kazakhstan business forum, emphasizing the interest of Latvian businessmen in strengthening cooperation with the countries of Central Asia. Economic relations with Kazakhstan have great potential to develop cooperation in transit, logistics, tourism, information and communication technologies, agriculture and environmental protection, education and science, pharmacy, healthcare and other industries. ● Nine agreements on cooperation were signed between the member states of the Customs Union at the Business Forum of the Common Economic Space (CES) in Minsk on May 31. According to Chairman of the Confederation of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Anatoly Kharlap, five agreements on cooperation in innovation and scientific activity were signed at the forum. Two more agreements will help develop cooperation in tourism. Following the industrial cooperation workshop, MAZ Open JSC and Kazresursprom signed an agreement on the supply of Belarusian MAZ trucks to Kazakhstan. Another agreement in the transport sector was signed between Interavtotrans and WestInterTrans on technical assistance for Kazakhstan’s forwarders on the territory of Belarus. ● The establishment of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan will become one of the factors increasing the efficiency of the economy, Deputy Minister of Regional Development of Kazakhstan Serik Zhumangarin said presenting the draft law “On the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan” in the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan. “The National Chamber of Entrepreneurs is established by the Government of Kazakhstan and the Republican Union of the Association of Private Enterprise Entities in the form of a non-commercial organization. The National Chamber of Entrepreneurs is formed on the principle of mandatory membership for its entrepreneurship entities registered in Kazakhstan, excluding those that are subject to mandatory membership in the other non-commercial organizations and state bodies,” Zhumangarin said. He also emphasized that when developing the draft law, an analysis of international practices was conducted, showing that consolidating the entrepreneurs in the chambers is one of the most important factors for increasing economic efficiency. Similar associations of businessmen are successfully functioning in Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands and other countries. “In order to ensure the formation and operation of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs, a period of one year is given and the transition period is expected to take five years, during which the government jointly with the National Union will be founding members,” he noted, adding that during the transition period, the government reserved the right to veto decisions of the Chamber. Chamber organizers are also proposing the formation of executive and representative bodies in the structure of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs. Chamber affiliate organizations are expected to be opened in outlying regions, as well as in the regional centers in big cities.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 12 June 2013



Business News in Brief ● The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is ready to assist in financing innovation projects of small and medium-sized businesses in Kazakhstan, bank head Sir Suma Chakrabarti told a plenary session of the Council of Foreign Investors under the President of Kazakhstan on May 22. “After restructuring the largest banks in Kazakhstan, the system is now on the way to recovery. Nevertheless, the level of nonperforming loans remains high. This limits the ability of banks to provide loans for innovation projects. Especially often, a shortage of credit is faced by small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). EBRD is ready to provide assistance in the management of SMEs’ credit risks,” Chakrabarti said. In particular, he said that the bank was considering the opportunity of implementing a project to improve Internet infrastructure in Kazakhstan. “Throughout the world, access to mobile and broadband technology is changing the face of business. These technologies are also very important in closing the gap between town and country and providing access to a global network regardless of location. Therefore, EBRD is now studying the possible implementation of a joint project with JSC Kazakhtelecom to improve access to the Internet in Kazakhstan,” Chakrabarti noted. According to him, the successful introduction of innovations in the economy depends on the development of human capital, project financing, favourable business environments and the state of infrastructure. ● On May 22, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) (the country’s state railways) and the Estonian AS Vopak E.O.S. Company signed a contract for the acquisition of 15 TE33A locomotives made in Kazakhstan. The document was signed by President of KTZ Askar Mamin and Chairman of the Board of AS Vopak E.O.S. Ltd. Arnaut Lugtmeyer. The signing ceremony was held in the presence of Minister of Economics and Communications of Estonia Yukhan Parts and President of General Electric Transportation Lorenzo Simonelli. In his welcoming speech, Yukhan Parts emphasised the importance of bilateral cooperation and expressed the hope for further cooperation between the two countries. In his speech, Mamin said Estonia was an important partner for Kazakhstan in trade and economic relations and the signing of the contract was clear proof of a fruitful relationship. Negotiations between KTZ and AS Vopak EOS Ltd., which is the largest independent terminal operator in the Baltic States, began in 2010. In December 2011, the Kazakh side provided TE33A 0080 locomotives for rent and for operational testing on Estonia’s railways. The tests lasted five months. After the tests and the analysis of competitive locomotive models from other manufacturers, the Estonian side purchased the locomotives manufactured in Kazakhstan. ● On May 23, as part of the Sixth Astana Economic Forum, LLP Kazcentrelectroprovod and the Austrian Frausсher Sensorteсhnik GmbH Company with the support of the Kaznex Invest, the government agency responsible for promoting non-resource exports and attracting more foreign investment to Kazakhstan, signed an agreement on investment cooperation. Frausсher Sensorteсhnik GmbH works to facilitate high quality production in the field of inductive sensory technologies. The company plans to invest more than one million dollars to localise the production of the axles counting system in Kazakhstan. It also plans to train Kazakh specialists and organise the transfer of technologies. The signed agreement is a continuation of the cooperation between the Frausсher Sensorteсhnik GmbH Company and the Kaznex Invest Agency that commenced during the visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan to Austria in October 2012. ● Kazakhstan’s wheat exports fell by 72 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2012. Wheat shipments from Kazakhstan, the world’s eighth-largest exporter, totalled 628,000 tons in the first three months of this year, compared with 2.22 million tons in the corresponding period last year, according to customs data.

Expert Shows the Way Forward for Kazakhstan’s Startups By Rysty Alibekova ASTANA – Sanzhar Kettebekov was born in Kazakhstan and founded his company, Segment Interactive, in Silicon Valley. He has been involved in several startups involving modern interactive technologies and was part of a research team nominated for Discover Magazine’s Award for Technological Innovation. He has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a research scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. He has also worked on emergency management system of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and is involved in the development of technologies to study abnormal behavior in psychiatry and neurology (Harvard Medical School) and gesture-speech interfaces. Kettebekov came to Astana to take part in the international conference and exhibition of information and communication technologies, ASTEX 2013, held within the framework of the Sixth Astana Economic Forum in May 2013. The Astana Times met with the IT company head and asked him about the secrets of successful startups. What does your company do? Our company is engaged in applied technologies for processing user behaviour to increase the effectiveness of online advertising; that is, we estimate the cost of displayed advertising for the user. This is new technology, introduced based on a new direction called cognitive analytics: the synergy of mental simulation and artificial intelligence. Practically, we forecast the level of user attention for each viewing, based on his or her behaviour. The U.S. market is very dense and it is hard to get access there. In order to do this, we offer a niche solution. At the same time, our company is aimed not only at the U.S. market, but also at the global market. We have already presented our technology in Russia. I hope that in the near future we will work in Kazakhstan as well. The theme of your presentation at the conference was “Behav-

Sanzhar Kettebekov, CEO of Segment Interactive company. ioural analytics is a gold mine.” What makes this so promising? This is the next level of technology. It has replaced technology designed for speedy processing of data. At this stage, we focus on the psychology of people, on human relationships or transactions in which the person is a constituent element. This is done to optimise the process. In principle, we try to understand the psychological status of the person and offer him on that basis something he can consume at that moment. In Kazakhstan, to give an impetus to the development of the IT sphere, startups are provided with various incentives and preferences in the Park of Information Technologies. What is it like doing business in Silicon Valley? There is no such support and everything is encouraged by commercial interest. When technologies pay off, private capital fulfils what is here the role of the government.

Kazakhtelecom to Focus on Fixed Mobile Convergence Services By Assem Kazybay ASTANA – Fixed mobile convergence services will be a major priority for JSC Kazakhtelecom across Kazakhstan beginning this September while by next year all rural areas in the country will be provided with telecommunications services and the Internet, the company’s chairman of the board of said on June 3. Kuanyshbek Yessekeyev, speaking to reporters at a briefing of the Central Communications Service, provided information on the activities and priority areas of the national company under the current conditions of globalisation and increasing competence in the telecommunications market. The development of telecommunications is an important condition for large-scale industrial and innovative development and increasing Kazakhstan’s competitiveness, Altay Abibullayev, the official spokesman of the Central Communications Service, explained. The government pays special attention to issues of the development of telecommunication services, the provision of Internet access to the population and the improvement of quality and reduction of cost of Internet services. Kuanyshbek Yessekeyev said that full provision of rural areas with telecommunications services and the Internet will be possible next year. “I think that next year it will be possible to speak about one hundred percent coverage of all rural settlements,” he said. However, he noted that the provision of villages with Internet connections also depends on the process of urbanisation. According to the company, as of June 1 of this year, the number of fixed telephone lines in households and organisations in the country had reached four million. Over the past year, the number of broadband

connections grew by 30 percent and amounted to 1.3 million. In addition, the number of connections to iDNet service for five months of this year has almost doubled, to 182,000, and at moment there are 182,000 ID TV customers. Kazakhtelecom intends to take a major niche in providing an integrated package of services to the population through the creation of fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) services. “Our company will provide a set of system services for households, including fixed-line telephony, Internet at home, free television and mobile communications. In the next five years, we want to come to this service convergence and the company wants to have the main niche in the provision of such services as FMC,” Chairman Yessekeyev said. “One of the innovations is an integration and creation of FMC at the point of service—an integration of fixed and mobile networks, where the company will provide a package for the family and it will be possible to pay immediately for fixed services and mobile services together. We plan to do this from September,” he said. At the same time, he noted that innovations are also expected in tariff plans for the provision of 4G services. “The second issue is innovations in the 4G connection, which is high speed... We will have interesting tariff plans. At present we have involved skilled marketing consultants who are working at providing interesting tariff plans.” According to the chairman, Kazakhtelecom will review their marketing strategy and will introduce service management. “The company will introduce service management internally and we will revise the liaison protocol with our customers in order for our service to be faster and stronger,” Yessekeyev concluded.

Therefore, relationships there are based on the benefit and capital. There is an acute shortage of personnel in the IT area in our country; high-level professionals go abroad. What steps do you think we need to take to attract them to the domestic industry? It is necessary to create an ecosystem that provides adequate funding and critical mass of personnel. You probably need to speed up this process, involving experts from abroad and at the same time developing domestic specialists, thereby creating the critical mass that will allow people to stay here. The problem is that you do not have companies like and Yandex in the IT field. Although in Kazakhstan there are such companies, Kazakhtelecom, for example, that have resources and are in need of personnel, you need more companies that are interested in attracting staff.

How is a strong staff supported in the U.S.? By demand for these specialists. Competitiveness is also one of the main conditions of our company. Personnel determine almost everything. You were involved in the selection of startup projects organised by the Foundation for the Development of ITC. How would you characterise the quality of the projects? Frankly speaking, most of them are raw both in technological and business terms. Their competitiveness leaves much to be desired. The fact is Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian companies are already present in Kazakhstan and the CIS market is open. And a startup developed in Kazakhstan should be competitive in the CIS space. This is the main challenge and at the foundation we will focus our efforts on it. Submitted projects will pass sev-

eral stages. At the first phase, the projects will be accelerated: we will develop an adequate business model and identify key technologies. A group of experts, including Western specialists, will be engaged to help the startups, which will determine their competitive direction. Then the projects that have passed the initial screening and proved their viability and effectiveness will reach the stage of incubation. At this stage, the group of experts will focus on some niche markets. Of course, these startups will not be supported by seed capital, as in the case of acceleration, but by the specific infusion of venture capital, possibly corporate sponsorship by national companies such as Kazakhtelecom, Kcell and others; this is the way the foundation provides financing for newly minted companies. This process will begin with the ICT Development Fund and, I hope, will spill into other areas. Indeed, the ICT will become an engine for innovation.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Astana Times

Diversification Drive Requires Long-Term Regional Stability Concerted Long-Term Is an Institutional Challenge Approach to Succeed, Expert Says editorial

‘Economy first, politics second’ has always been the motto of independent Kazakhstan but sometimes you cannot have the first without the latter. The political climate must allow for economic growth. President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s strategy Kazakhstan 2050 is in fact a new political course that sets the goal of the country making it into the top 30 countries in the world by 2050. Over the first 20 years of its independence, Kazakhstan has managed to create an atmosphere of stability that gives confidence to its numerous investors, as can be evidenced by the large amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country, totaling US$170 billion at last count. However, Kazakhstan is not an isolated entity cushioned in its own microclimate. Kazakhstan has matured as a full-fledged participant of international processes and effectively managed to create favourable external conditions for its development. The question now lingers on how to utilize these conditions to the most benefit to this country and to the wider region. In politics, one of the most valuable qualities is predictability. And according the Strategy Kazakhstan 2050, unveiled by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in December 2012, some of the focal points are consistent and predictable foreign policy and the promotion of national interests and strengthening of regional and global security. In essence, Kazakhstan, solidifying its role as a reliable partner, wants to share with its neighbours a vision of a friendly and cooperative region. Kazakhstan’s foreign policy priorities remain unchanged – developing of partnerships with Russia, China, Central Asian countries as well as the USA, European Union and Asian nations. Undoubtedly, the Custom Union and the Common Economic Space will continue in their development and improve the economic incentives for the parties involved. Further on, the country’s next aim is to create a Eurasian Economic Union in consensus with its partners whilst respecting full political sovereignty. But before moving on to the continental scale, work needs to be done at a regional level. The Kazakhstan president’s initiative to convene a Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), put forward in 1992, has seen CICA grow into an organization with 24 member countries that have a combined population exceeding 3 billion people. CICA is a critical element of Kazakhstan’s security. Kazakhstan’s balanced foreign policy means the country is developing friendly and predictable relations with all states and playing a significant role in the global agenda that represents the interests of the country. Upholding the principles of peace and understanding, Kazakhstan hopes for a peaceful future. Nevertheless, the international situation and geopolitical environment has changed dramatically. In some circumstances this has not been a favourable change. There is a giant arc of instability stretching from Northern Africa and the Middle East to North-East Asia. Given these changes, the role of the regional security mechanisms has increased and organizations such as the UN, OSCE, NATO, CSTO,

SCO, CICA and others have gained greater importance. New national security threats have appeared in Central Asia. Just as Kazakhstan has sought to modernize its domestic policy, it needs to consider the impact of regional and global changes and modernize its foreign policy. The priorities of such modernization are also outlined in the presidential strategy: 1 Strengthen regional and national security by all means; 2. Actively develop economic and trade diplomacy; 3. Intensify international cooperation in cultural, humanitarian, scientific and education fields; 4. Enhance the legal protection of our citizens and their personal, family and business interests abroad. While the foreign policy promotion of the national interests is based purely on pragmatic principles, the challenges faced are sometimes abstract and personal. In order to move these ties from the chaotic realm of interpersonal relations, ties and guarantees need to be placed at an institutional level. Strengthening regional security means identifying new threats, cooperating to eradicate the prerequisites of conflict situations in the region as much as possible. Diplomatic ties that Kazakhstan has set up with its neighbours and partners will be developed further and strengthened so as to allow for honest discussions on this topic. Kazakhstan fully understands its responsibility for regional security and is making its own contribution to the stabilization, and creating conditions for sustainable development, of Central Asia. Undoubtedly, issues important for the whole region will be high on the agenda for the talks President Nazarbayev will hold with his Uzbek counterpart, Islam Karimov, as he pays an official visit to Tashkent on June 13-14. Perhaps, the best way to stabilize the region is through intra-regional integration. In doing this, countries of the region can decrease the conflict potential of Central Asia, resolve vital social and economic problems and address water, energy and other contradictory issues. This means specifically an exchange of ideas and culture as well as strengthening its defense capability and military doctrine and engaging in various mechanisms of defensive containment. By developing a national defense model, Kazakhstan will cooperate with various countries and organizations. Kazakhstan will closely interact with its CSTO allies and foster the improvement of potential and military capability of Collective Rapid Reaction Forces. Together with all interested partners and our neighbours, Kazakhstan will strive for immediate political stabilization and restoration of Afghanistan. Already, close to a thousand Afghan students are studying at universities throughout Kazakhstan who will undoubtedly serve as the initiators of relations between the two countries. During his speech in December, Mr. Nazarbayev said: “No single country in the world can overcome the contemporary challenges we all face. The essence of my initiative is to unite all efforts to establish a fair and safe world order.” With combined efforts, this envisioned world of peace and harmony can become a reality, one brick at a time.

Calories and Consequences in Kazakhstan Today By Sergei Obolenskiy

ASTANA – According to data published by the National Statistics Agency, citizens of Kazakhstan consume, on average, 3,169 calories every day. Ten years ago, this figure was 2,858, and people in 48 countries consumed more calories per day than people in Kazakhstan did. However, Kazakhstan has since passed many countries in daily calorie counts. These daily calories can be converted into very different amounts of food: 20 kilos of tomatoes, for example, or about 12 kilos of cabbage. A couple of cakes with cream will get you nearly there, as will a 600-gramme bag of sunflower seeds that a serious snacker could easily make a dent in. The difference between being stuffed or starving on these calories depends entirely on one’s food choices – and poor food choices can lead to serious problems. Doctors say that every year the number of people in Kazakhstan suffering from obesity increases by 1-2 percent. Scientists estimated that over 40 percent of the population has problems with excess weight. Recent studies by the Kazakh Academy of Nutrition and the National Centre for Healthy Nutrition conducted in the West Kazakhstan region paint a more discouraging picture: 63.3 percent of the women and 54.6 percent of the men examined had excessive body mass, and residents of this region aren’t even leading calorie consumers. In Almaty, Aktobe and Kyzylorda ob-

lasts, where calorie consumption is the highest, these figures would seem bound to increase. Meanwhile, nutritionists all over the world are trying to convince overfed residents of developed nations to be sure to spend as many calories as they take in. Each individual has his or her own norm, which depends on gender, age, weight, height and the intensity of metabolic processes. Experts at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have defined 2,385 calories per day per person as the average global rate of food energy needs. Of course, the bodily needs for a similar way of life in cold Greenland and the hot Sahara are completely different, as is the energy consumption of a miner versus a newsagent. In Russia, for example, the adult working-age population is divided into five groups with regard to activity. For those whose jobs are primarily intellectual, the recommended daily allowance is 2,200–2,800 calories, while for those engaged in particularly strenuous physical activity, the allowance can rise to 4,300 calories. Astana and especially Almaty are full of places selling caloriepacked products. And they are not marketed as treats for special occasions or rich foods to be consumed in small amounts. Instead, they’re supersized. “Their marketing policy is quite tricky,” said nutritionist Diana Askarova of common fast food. “For example, a children’s menu item will contain a normal

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portion of food, while the “normal” adult portion is just huge.” The United States, of course, is the birthplace of much of the fast food that is now wreaking nutritional havoc around the globe, and is now suffering an obesity epidemic. Trendsetters in overeating, some Americans are now leading the fight against bad foods and bad habits. First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, shortly after moving into the White House, joined the struggle to promote healthy eating in her country. Similar work is being done in Kazakhstan. The School Milk programme has been implemented over the past decade and scientists at the Kazakh Academy of Nutrition have developed a menu for students which includes 12 grammes of nutritious honey. They also intend to replace chicken with turkey meat, which, according to nutritionists, is useful for children’s bodies. After Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, the shelves of shops and markets will not be loaded only with healthy food from international brands. Instead, the food choices of Kazakhstan’s citizens, when faced with an increasing variety of consumables, will become even more significant to their and the country’s health. The author is a columnist for the Kazakhstanskaya Pravda newspaper.

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The Astana Times’ Yelden Sarybay sat down with Prasad Bhamre, Deputy General Director of Samruk Kazyna Invest, to talk about his views on Kazakhstan’s economic development, diversification efforts, agriculture, as well as a few secrets for getting to know this country better.

Could you tell us a bit about your background? I’ve been to Kazakhstan for almost eight and a half years. Before that I was living and working in the USA, Boston specifically. I am an engineer who was born and brought up for the most part in India, then I went on to do my further education in Canada and the United States. My most recent brush, if you will, with Kazakhstan was at Harvard University, where my classmates were from Kazakhstan. And I worked together with a professor of ours Michael Porter on diversification of Kazakhstan’s economy. That was essentially the work we did for our masters in economics programme, and soon enough that became the template for the diversification of the country. These two people I’m talking about are now ministers here in Kazakhstan and they were instrumental in bringing me here, for inviting me to come to meet the Prime Minister at the time. Ever since then I’ve been involved in various government organizations starting with the ministry of economy. I was involved in the creation of Kazyna, before it became Samruk Kazyna. I was in fact, a deputy chairman of Kazyna at one point. My background is that of an engineer who’s worked in the oil sector in Canada and the US, who’s worked in consulting in the United States and then gone to get a degree in economics because that is what was my interest. After that I have essentially applied those analytical skills from engineering and economics in this country in various positions. So I would consider myself to be quite very well aware of the various economic sectors in this country especially the non-oil sectors, which would be my specialty. For eight and a half years, you’ve been living in Almaty and Astana. Do you like it? I really enjoy it. When I first came to Kazakhstan people were asking me where is Kazakhstan, especially in the West, and, for that matter, in the East, people did not know much about Kazakhstan then. That perception is changing now. But in answer to your question, yes, it was initially a pleasant surprise, I must say. For two reasons, one is the infrastructure developments were quite high, especially in Almaty where I first landed. And, number two, I found the people were very receptive, not to me as an individual, but to the ideas that I brought to the table. And the reason that I’m here until now is because they’ve continued to be receptive, especially in the policy making side of things. So that will be my take on things. I like it, I like working here. So let me ask a professional question then: how do you see the diversification in Kazakhstan? In economics, there is a term called the “natural resource curse”. There’s the “Dutch disease,” and all of those things of which we are aware of and what they entail. There are PhD theses and lots of papers written on this topic, about how difficult it is for countries to extract themselves out of this “Dutch disease,” how to move away from this “curse.” The challenge still remains for Kazakhstan if you look at the long-term, which is where we want to be, as a diversified economy. What is the longterm but a series of short-terms? And short terms are defined by political cycles. So if I’m a minister, I’ll be around for two years, I want to make an impact straight away. I’m not going to make an impact which is going to be felt eight years down the line because I might not be around. This is not necessarily a criticism but essentially a function of how the “resource curse” works. Whereas if you look at a country like Singapore, which has nothing, they can’t afford to think short term. They have to think about the long-term because they have to

make lasting impacts. Whereas we can make short-term impacts. We can say “ok, we don’t have a bridge there, let’s build it.” Or we want to build a new structure in the middle steppe, “let’s build it. We have the spending power.” It may not be the most efficient investment, and that’s essentially what the “natural resource curse” is. I’m not saying that everything being built here are “white elephants”, but there is a tendency, a proclivity among managers as well as decision makers to do those kinds of things. So to answer your question about diversification, I think we are getting there, but we are a long way away. Because diversification does not only mean non-oil related manufacturing, it also needs a lot of soft infrastructure, which means policies, ease of doing business, and building the human resources. Again, if I’m a young guy, I’m not going to go and get an IT education, because what job am I going to get? I can be a lawyer or an economist and get a really nice paying job in Astana or Almaty. There is no motivation for me to go into the real sciences. These kinds of vocational skills will continue to find less and less favour among the people unless the government consciously pushes for it, so government policy is very important. I think pure diversification is still a while away, and the way I see it, it will happen in one of two ways. One is by necessity, such as the example of Singapore. The other is a top-down approach through legislation. And I’m not saying legislation that states: “We need to have this many factories,” but “We need to have this many vocational schools and the graduates have to be absorbed into companies and factories.” I think we’re moving in the right direction but we’re not moving straight as an arrow, but swaggering and getting there. What do think about the efforts to promote Future Energy? EXPO 2017? Within Samruk Kazyna, where I work right now, renewable energy is one of my focus points. And I am very, very bullish on the prospects of renewable energy worldwide. I understand that the cost of renewable energy has to be subsidized in today’s climate. But what is not known worldwide is that oil is heavily subsidized. If you look at the International Economic Agency’s numbers, oil is subsidized globally to the tune of 2 trillion dollars. Of that, almost 450 billion is by the United States alone, which reflects their higher consumption. You might ask, “What do you mean? I don’t get subsidies when I go to the gas station,” but you are getting it from extraction, from tax defaults, from preferential tariffs when transportation is in place. So for example, if you had solar power, and you had DC lines all over the place, it would be very easy. But today you have to take solar power, convert DC currents into AC and then put it into the existing infrastructure. So, that’s where you need that subsidy. And technology is such that in solar, wind and hydro power even, the cost is decreasing rapidly. If I have to make a statement, I am very bullish and I think there will be what is known as “grid parity.” Grid parity means conventional energy made from coal, oil or gas and renewable energy will equal. They’re going to be in grid parity within the next couple of years. And that’s the function of rising conventional energy prices and decreasing prices for renewable energy. In that context, having EXPO 2017 is a great masterstroke. It’s spectacular that we’re doing that. Now, I’m a little bit concerned about how we’re going about it, because I have not read anything about it. But it’s three years down the line and I’m sure it’s in the right hands being done by the right people. MacKenzie? Well, look, MacKenzie is there just to do the master plan, it will not be involved in the execution. They’re just saying what the theme is. Do you have the infrastructure, that is going to be dual-use, because after the expo, what are you going to do? It’s not going to be ‘white elephants’ sitting out there. We need

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to use it for incubation for example. We need to create some convention centers which will be used for doing renewable energy research, affiliated with Nazarbayev University or whoever. We need to have these dual use objects. MacKenzie is just preparing that concept paper. The execution will be on our end. I think we have to do a good conceptualization, selling that concept, and more importantly, executing rightly, in a cost efficient way. And finally, we need to be able to attract the right kind of people to participate. Because in today’s networked world, Expo does not have the same value as let’s say a hundred years ago, when the only way I can see what technology is happening in Germany and I’m from China, is that you show up there at an expo. That’s not necessary today, so we have to do a very hard sell on this. What about your lifestyle here? Since I’ve been here for a while, I spend a lot of my free time in the Fitness Palace where we play squash. There’s a great bunch of people who play squash. I travel around, and also in the summer, fall and spring time I love going out into the steppe. Sometimes hunting, sometimes fishing, and sometimes just to get out of the city because the steppe is beautiful. I have seen almost all cities and towns in Kazakhstan, right from the Ust-Kamenogorsk to the Uralsk, down to Aktau, and South Kazakhstan. So you’ve travelled throughout the regions and know the situation across the country well. What would you say are the challenges for the aul (village) to survive? One thing that has become very apparent for me in the last eight years, and I have seen the statistics that support what I’m about to say as well, is that there is a high degree of urbanization happening in this country. I remember when I first came here, this country was almost 50% urbanized, now the number is something like 65%. That is a significant jump for a small population in such a small period of time. That being said, when you have conventional lifestyles being disrupted, that’s what you mean by people staying in the auls, I think the adjustment process is going to be very difficult. To the extent that even today 10% of the GDP is from agriculture, which naturally equates to an aul kind of lifestyle. There is some mechanized agriculture as well, but admittedly, we have a significant number of people who are dependent on an agrarian lifestyle. I think the challenge is twofold. One is how do you move up the value chain? Are you just making subsistence agriculture by growing small land plots? Or are you essentially cutting out the middleman and bringing produce to the market? Is there a market for your produce to begin with? Are you just making grain, which you know can be collected by a middleman and sold somewhere on the wholesale market? That kind of value addition I have not seen happen in the agricultural sector. I’ll give you an example: about 15 years ago, in China, which has done spectacular job in agriculture, 20% of their agriculture was cash crops. Cash crops meaning fruits, vegetables; 80% was cereal like rice, wheat, etc. Today, the numbers are exactly the reverse. 20% cereals, and 80% cash crops. That’s why you see so many Chinese fruits and vegetables in Kazakhstan. But for me, that does not make any sense. We have a good agrarian base, we have the funding, so we need to have an agricultural policy. The current tools that are there are inadequate, or inadequately utilized. What else would you like to share with our readers? My message to the readers is that there is a lot more to Kazakhstan than the urban centers. So they need to get out there and homestay with the locals, which I have done, and that’s when they can understand the character of the people and the cities. That would be my suggestion to anybody, because you get a really jaded view living in the capital. For the full interview, please go to our website.

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The Astana Times

Wednesday, 12 June 2013



EXPO 2017 and Green Economy Will The Caucasus and Benefit International Development Central Asia: The Road Ahead By Nurlan Danenov

November 22, 2012, has become a reference point for our country and the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE). On this day, an overwhelming majority of BIE member countries voted for Astana as the venue for EXPO 2017. The BIE members made their choice in favour of the capital of Kazakhstan and a new geographic area for the international exhibition movement. Previously, expos had been held mainly in developed countries or in countries with large economies. President Nursultan Nazarbayev, on learning the results of the vote while on a working trip to Paris, said, “First of all, it is the recognition of our capital as an appropriate centre able to host such a world-renowned event. Second, the choice of Astana speaks to the appreciation of our success and highlights the prospects for the development of our country, as well as the entire Eurasian region. Third, this victory helps bring into the focus the topic we proposed, ‘Future Energy’. And finally, it is the result of efforts of all the people of Kazakhstan.” Indeed, this is a major victory for our country and our people, the result of the successful and consistent policy of our leader and his international prestige. The countries’ support and faith is a clear indication of the increased weight of Kazakhstan in the international arena.

The origins of expos The idea to organise a venue for the display of discoveries, inventions, equipment and machines manufactured in different countries and for demonstrating worldwide industrial progress originated in France nearly two centuries ago, in 1833. It came to fruition 18 years later in the U.K. The initiative to organise the first World’s Fair came from Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, who herself topped the list of founders. The World Exhibition in London, in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, brought together representatives of more than 36 countries who submitted a wide range of industrial products, scientific research and art work. It was visited by about six million people (a third of Britain’s population at the time), and brought considerable income to the organisers. The main outcome, however, was that it became a showcase for the leadership of the British Empire. The world exhibition then moved to France, which in response to the British challenge organised in 1855 the second World Exhibition in Paris under the patronage of Prince Napoleon. Since then, France has led Europe in hosting exhibitions, with five world and two special exhibitions held in 1855, 1867, 1878, 1889, 1900, 1937 and 1951. Belgium is another active Euro-

pean host, with four world and three specialised exhibitions under its belt. Our recent competitor for EXPO 2017, the Belgian city of Liege, was the venue for some of them. Only in the second half of the twentieth century have international expositions been held in Asian countries, in Japan (1970, 1975, 1985, 2005), South Korea (1993, 2012) and China (2010). These events of the second half of the 20th century significantly broadened and deepened the topics related to progress and development, and from the beginning of the 21st century, emphasis has shifted to problems of environment. It is noteworthy that for a relatively short term (from three to six months), expos have a serious impact on urbanisation and regional development.

Transitioning to a new way of development The initiative to hold the international exhibition in Astana was voiced by President Nazarbayev during his visit to EXPO 2008 in Zaragoza, Spain. An active, wide-ranging and exciting campaign to promote the Kazakhstan project was organised at all levels. The tone was set by the president: the agendas of his talks with various heads of state always included the issue of support for Astana’s candidacy. His personal message was sent to a number of leaders. The government, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other departments, was engaged in the promotion of our candidacy. As a result of this overall teamwork, Astana was chosen to host the International Specialized Exhibition with a record of 103 votes. At the same time, it should be noted that the topic proposed by Kazakhstan played an important role in the fight for votes. Our country, despite the presence of rich energy resources, shares green interests and aspirations with other countries. The risks of the depletion of conventional sources of energy are great and the effects of their use is harmful to the environment and future generations, an understanding reflected in the Kazakhstan 2050 strategy. EXPO 2017 in Astana will be an opportunity to give a new impetus to the development of the country, the region and the planet.

President Nazarbayev has identified the necessary mechanisms and tools and appointed responsible persons for the implementation of goals and objectives set for the government and the capital. Prior to 2017, we must build up Astana as a city and create all the infrastructure and amenities required by expo participants and visitors. And we must do it at a high level in order to make our capital more attractive. But the work done can not be assessed only by constructed facilities, pavilions and their subsequent use. No less important and no less difficult a task is to change our attitudes and support the transition to a new track of sustainable development. In fact, all new projects should be implemented with new approaches related to energy efficiency, fully complying with the requirements of environmental protection. The country must make a breakthrough in the introduction of innovations in energy use and conservation. This marks a profound change in policies of development, power generation and energy use in various sectors of the economy (industry, transport, construction, agriculture, housing and public utilities and more). There are already concrete ideas and proposals in this area. I really hope preparations for EXPO 2017 will become an engine to speed up the process of sustainable development, in accordance with the Kazakhstan 2050 strategy.

Following new trends The world is changing rapidly and irreversibly. Globalisation leaves fewer chances for protectionism and non-market mechanisms for constraining competition. One of the most important conditions for maintaining development is green growth and the readiness of the economy and society for that. We are facing radical structural changes in world production and consumption, distribution of labour and, consequently, values. Not only the West but many countries with transition economies are rapidly gaining a competitive advantage in this area. The policy of promoting the green economy in Kazakhstan, the development of the ”energy of future,” is primarily motivated by concern for our citizens and the need to prepare our society for upcoming challenges, particularly in the provision of employment for our future generations. In addition, a lack of progress in green initiatives will be considered by the international community to be a sign of backwardness. It would be risky not to follow the overall global trend or not to take advantage of advanced technology. The initially costly green economy in the end will save significant financial and mineral resources of our country for future generations.

Thus, according to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) experts, the cost of fuel for organisation member countries at the expense of investment in low-carbon energy system will be more than 112 trillion dollars over 2020-2050. The club of leaders in the green economy is still small. Among them is France, which was one of the first to introduce and promote renewable energy sources. As a result, France’s energy intensity is now 140 grams of oil equivalent per one dollar of GDP (on par with Japan and Germany). In the U.S. this figure is 190 grams; in China, 200 grams; Australia, 190 grams. By comparison, Kazakhstan expends 430 grams of oil equivalent. France has played a key role in the promotion of EU green policies. The EU intends to reduce primary energy consumption to 20 percent and increase the share of renewable energy up to 20 percent of total energy production by 2020. Of renewable energy sources used in France, hydropower accounts for 91 percent of the total; wind energy, 3.5 percent; solar, 2.5 percent and the use of wood fuel 2.3 percent. It is very important that the French government is ready to transfer their technologies and expertise to Kazakhstan. Our French partners, who supported the candidacy of Astana to host EXPO 2017, are actively working on a number of profitable projects in Kazakhstan. Amid these are projects on the production of photo-electric elements from metal silicon, on the assembly of concentric solar cells, on the increase of energy efficiency at thermal power plants, the adaptation of hydropower stations to solar energy and the harmonisation of these sources in a total grid. In addition, there are proposals to build a thermodynamic power plant based on Fresnel mirrors. Kazakh and French specialists have also conducted joint research on the extraction of high-quality methane from coal deposits in Kazakhstan. France is interested in displaying its developments and new competitive advantages, not only in the energy sector but across the spectrum of the technological green economy: purification, desalination and water management; new approaches to ecosystem management and the creation of “smart cities;” the introduction of emission-reduction systems for the country’s transport infrastructure and more. I am confident that the efforts of our country in preparation for EXPO 2017 and close collaboration at this important stage with countries like France will give a new impetus to Kazakhstan’s advancement into the top 30 developed countries of the world, one of the goals of the Kazakhstan 2050 strategy. The author is Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to France.

By Min Zhu

Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries are the crossroads between Asia and Europe, and have made a remarkable transition from centrally-planned to market economies over the past twenty years. But much still remains to be done if the CCA countries are to take the next step and become dynamic emerging market economies. What, then, are the lessons from the transition so far, and what is required to realize the vision of emerging market status? These issues were debated at the high-level conference, “The Caucasus and Central Asia: The Transition Journey and the Road Ahead,” recently held in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Let me share my key takeaways from this conference, which was jointly organized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Swiss authorities, and the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Successes in the past… CCA countries grew on average by over 7 percent during 1996 – 2011, with dynamic resource sectors and strong remittances driving this impressive growth. Policy makers in the region successfully contained inflation and reduced interest rates, and implemented budget policies that created the fiscal room for CCA countries to spend to support their economies as the effects of the global financial crisis washed across the region. Financial sectors in the CCA have become somewhat deeper, and strong legal frameworks have been put in place for banking systems.

…and the road ahead CCA countries should seize the opportunity presented by current strong commodity prices and remittance flows to implement ambitious reforms. All at the conference agreed that continued strong growth that is less volatile, creates more jobs, and is led by the private sector could place CCA countries in the next generation of emerging market countries. The decade ahead is therefore an opportunity for CCA countries to diversify their economies and reduce their vulnerability to shocks that are transmitted through commodities and remittances. Other challenges they face in achieving their emerging market vision include underdeveloped financial sectors, still volatile inflation, insufficient fiscal room to offset future external and other shocks, vested interests that weaken transparency and accountability, and geopolitical risks.

CCA countries must take bold steps to help offset these challenges and achieve their emerging market vision. In terms of macroeconomic policies, CCA countries can strengthen tax collection and focus spending on core government priorities – such as infrastructure and social needs – while restoring fiscal room to absorb shocks. They can allow greater exchange rate flexibility to support their international reserves and boost the competitiveness of their transforming economies. A breakthrough in structural reforms, including in the financial sector, is needed to drive higher private investment. Greater financial sector competition will require that governments reduce direct state interventions, apply prudential rules and banking laws evenly across all banks, and fully secure central bank independence. Deeper, more vibrant, and better regulated financial systems will be critical to supporting diversified, job-creating growth in the CCA, and for the ability of monetary policy makers to better manage shocks and inflation. Greater regional integration is another opportunity that CCA countries can seize to strengthen their economies. Many countries in the region have successfully found new markets in Europe and China for commodities such as oil, gas, cotton, and gold. If CCA countries can now foster greater regional cooperation to lower obstacles to intra-regional trade – and address crucial cross-border issues like transportation, energy, and water – they would provide a significant further boost to their growth prospects. The IMF stands ready to help CCA countries achieve their goal of becoming emerging markets and cope successfully with the challenges they face. Our assistance will come as policy advice, financial support, and capacity building efforts to help the region meet its fundamental objective of fostering high, sustained, and inclusive growth. The author Zhu is Deputy Managing Director at the International Monetary Fund.

The Enduring Value of Family By Anatoly Bashmakov Family is one of the oldest social institutions, predating religion, governments, armies, trade unions and markets. It is an integral element of society, the importance of which can hardly be overstated. The future of humanity is unthinkable without this important social apparatus. Originally expressed through living arrangements, family initially contained all the basic processes of human organisation. The gradual shift of a number of these functions from the family to other social institutions has made it difficult today to single out any specific type of activity that can be carried out by the family or that can be created only in the family. In fact, all the functions that once belonged predominantly to that ancient social unit can now be fulfilled outside of it. The question of how important the family really is arises. Is it really the fundamental social institution it seemed to be? This issue is reflected by the increasing instability of marriage and the manifestations of a growing crisis in the spiritual and moral sphere. Wars and mass casualties

can be survived when people have a stable family life and, consequently, the hope that population losses can be overcome. However, since the second half of the twentieth century, humanity has been witnessing a shift in values: now, it seems, the very desire to enter into a marriage is out of fashion. Family is now only the fourth thing in common hierarchies of values. The number of divorces in our country has reached alarming figures and the instability of family life is illustrated by the reduction in the number of children per married couple. Against this background is an increase in the proportion of children born out of wedlock. This indicator causes concern for the preservation of social well-being. Let us refer to statistics. The percentage of men and women in Kazakhstan from 2005 to 2012 remained stable at 51.9 percent and 48.1 percent respectively, or 1,078 women per 1,000 men. Life expectancy for men and women varies widely in favour of women, who live an average of 73.5 years to a man’s 63.6. The divorce rate is alarming: since 2005, the number of divorces has been steadily growing. From among

140,800 registered marriages in 2009, nearly 40,000 dissolved. The same picture was observed in 2012. However, there is also an encouraging trend of growth in the number of mothers with many children. In 2005, there were 251,921 mothers with five or more children; in 2012, their number increased to more than 300,000. What previously would have been thought of as a lonely life is now often aspired to. Previously, people with no family were con-

sidered unhappy. Currently, there is a significant population of people, especially in the most developed countries, who are pleased to be unencumbered. This mindset has been adopted by a portion of our youth, and a third of young couples in the country live in civil marriage. Today, we are witnessing new, aggressive challenges to the traditional family. Not so long ago, the French president signed a law allowing same-sex marriages. Discussions on this matter were long and heated, but resulted in the law coming into effect. French society is outraged; thousands of people protesting against this decision took part in demonstrations. Similar situations exist in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United States and other countries. Today we have the first families headed by samesex couples. What is the meaning of this? In my opinion, this is a road to nowhere, the manifestation of hedonism and egoism. After all, the family and then marriage emerged during the formation of human society, primarily to legalise marital and parental rights and responsibilities and streamline the process of producing heirs.

It is important to convey to children the spiritual values of the most effective methods of survival, success. What values can be discussed in a family with two fathers or two mothers? Who is who? European liberals offer to write in the documents of children adopted by same-sex couples, “parent number one” and “parent number two”! This is absurd! To my mind, the emergence of same-sex marriage is a sign of a deep spiritual crisis. Recently, an expert working group completed a draft political doctrine of the Nur Otan party, initiated by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, which proposed the article, “Our values.” The Kazakhstan family takes the central position in it: “Only a nation that values its language, history, culture and traditions will be successful. Family is the main institution in our society to preserve traditions; the vitality of society and the state depends on its integrity. We stand for strengthening traditional family values in our society as an important factor in strengthening our state,” the document says. Understanding trends and processes in modern Kazakhstan families is very important for the

formation of a profound family policy. The analysis of social reality and the choice of appropriate strategies are directly related to its content and implementation. These issues fall within the competence of the National Commission for Women, Family and Demographic Policy. The commission, headed by Gulshara Abdykalikova, pays particular attention to problems of the spiritual and moral state of society, especially our youth. The most important task is to create conditions for the formation of an attractive model of the family. The family is a masterpiece of nature. The vitality of society entirely depends on its integrity. It is the family that, after disastrous wars and crises that lowered the threshold of morality to zero, revived spirituality as the main condition of interpersonal relationships. No matter how the socio-economic structure of society varies, family remains its unchanged foundation. The author is member of the Senate of Parliament of Kazakhstan and member of the National Commission for Women, Family and Demographic Policy under the President of Kazakhstan

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

EXPO 2017

Energy of the Future Needs Nanotechnological Breakthroughs, Cambridge Expert Says and Inner Asia, to get his views on the prospects for renewable energy development in Kazakhstan and the world and the potential of EXPO 2017 to stimulate this development.

By Aliya Akhmetova The Astana Times spoke with Siddharth Saxena, chairperson of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, Director of Cambridge-Kazakhstan Centre and Honorary Secretary of the Committee for Central

This year, two sessions of the Astana Economic Forum were devoted to the theme of the international specialised exhibition EXPO 2017. In particular, the opportunities and challenges of the transition to a sustainable energy future were discussed, as well as issues arising from the transition to a green economy. What challenges and opportunities arise for

a government during the transition to a green economy? First of all, Kazakhstan and the team put together by the president to win the expo against great international competition have to be congratulated. They have shown that Kazakhstan is one of the leading emerging forces in the world and a great consensus of the world community has democratically voted in favour of Kazakhstan. In some way, we at the Cambridge Central Asia Forum feel very proud to have supported the Kazakhstan bid from the very beginning. The key opportunity here is that EXPO 2017 offers Kazakhstan not

only a chance to show the world that it can become a leading green economy, but that it can offer green solutions for the globe. This also resonates with your president’s vision of a G-Global platform. The challenge here is to turn Kazakhstan from a resource-based economy to an intellectual property power. This is where the role of my institution, the University of Cambridge, becomes crucial. The theme of EXPO 2017 is Future Energy. What do you think sustainable future energy means? How relevant is this theme to the world?

Sustainable energy is the most relevant theme for the world at large and Kazakhstan, through EXPO 2017, is showing great leadership in highlighting this. Sustainable energy is not a simple thing; it means different things to different countries. In some places, it means electricity generated from non-petrochemical sources, while in other places it relates to the food supply, so people can live and work in the fields. How we apply correct supply-chain principles will decide the sustainability of energy in any given part of the world. Kazakhstan, though, is uniquely placed to take the global centre stage, whether we’re talking about oil, wheat or uranium! My centre in Cambridge is working daily to deliver solutions in all of these spheres. How will our lives change in the future, taking into account the energy of the future? How we eat and how we breathe, how we live or work are all intrinsically linked to how we consume energy, so the future of humankind is in the hands of the energy of the future. If we cannot find more efficient ways of living – in other words, sustainable ways of transport, cooking and living – then, like the dinosaurs, we might disappear altogether, either due to exhaustion of energy resources or through climate change and catastrophes ranging from acid rain to apocalyptic floods. Green technologies require large investments. Will such businesses be profitable and what benefits can they bring? Based on fundamental advances in the understanding of electronic materials, much of 20th century materials science was driven by miniaturisation and integration in the electronics industry, to the current generation of nanometre scale devices. The achievements of this industry have brought unprecedented advances to society and well-being and no doubt there is much further to go; note that this progress is founded on investments and studies in the

fundamentals of physics from more than 50 years ago. Nevertheless, the defining challenges for the 21st century will lie in the discovery in science and deployment through engineering of technologies that can deliver the scale needed to make an impact on the sustainability agenda. Thus, the big developments in nanotechnology may lie not in the pursuit of ever-smaller transistors, but in the design of new structures that can revolutionise the performance of solar cells, batteries, fuel cells, lightweight structural materials, refrigeration, water purification, et cetera. These developments must support manufacturing that is scalable – structures that are self-organised at the molecular and nanometre-length levels that can be manufactured in the hundreds of thousands of tons or hectares that are needed to transform the energy economy. What is important for Kazakhstan to consider in creating the designs for EXPO 2017, Future Energy? It is important to work with partners who can apply the president’s vision for a green economy and EXPO 2017. For example, it is essential to develop energy production, storage and transmission technologies based a combination of by-products of petrochemicals and rare-earth metals. These technologies, combined with what comes from under the earth of Kazakhstan and Cambridge brainpower, could revolutionise energy consumption in China, Russia and even the United States. Kazakhstan is thus at the centre of this paradigm shift.

Shanghai Shares Expo Experience with Kazakhstan By Sergei Osanov SHANGHAI – On May 17, at the invitation of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE), a Kazakhstan delegation headed by Commissioner of EXPO 2017 and Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rapil Zhoshybayev and Chairman of the Board of the JSC Astana EXPO

2017 Talgat Yermegiyayev visited Shanghai. The delegation took part in celebrations of the International Day of the World Expo Museum and held talks with the leadership of Shanghai’s state-owned investment company, EXPO Development Group, which arranges the use of pavilions and other sites of Shanghai EXPO 2010.

The delegation also met with representatives of the telecommunication corporation ZTE and leading construction companies, Beijing Capital Group and China State Construction Engineering Corporation. The parties discussed the forthcoming expo in Astana, prospects for further cooperation and the exchange of experience. EXPO 2017 Commissioner Zhoshybayev

held meetings with the management of the tourism department of Shanghai and leading Chinese travel corporation Jin Jiang, which was responsible for tourism within the framework of EXPO 2010. According to the organisers, EXPO 2010 was visited by over 73 million people, more than 3.5 million of them foreigners. Chinese colleagues shared their experience

of hosting the Shanghai exhibition and supported the opening of direct flights between Astana and Shanghai. Following the meeting, the parties agreed on further cooperation to promote the tourism potential of Kazakhstan. During the celebrations of the World Expo Museum, the Kazakhstan delegation met with Mayor of Shanghai Yang Xiong, the BIE

chief delegate and director of the World Expo Museum Lorelei Liu. Shanghai EXPO 2010 is recognised as one of the most successful exhibitions. Despite the global financial crisis, the event helped China attract more investment to various sectors of its economy, introduce advanced technologies and witness the innovations of foreign companies.


The Astana Times

Nation & Capital Wednesday, 12 June 2013 Entrepreneur Shares Recipe for Success with Youth Page B2

Goodwill Ambassador Brings Art to Astana

Uralsk Celebrates Tatar Sabantuy Page B3

Country Celebrates International Children’s Day

International Children’s Day is an important date for Kazakhstan where recent years have seen birth rates booming.

By Manshuk Bekentayeva ASTANA – International Children’s Day, a celebration in honour of children and their protection, was marked on June 1 in Kazakhstan. Falling on the first day of summer, this celebration has become one of the most exciting holidays for children in Kazakhstan. The holiday was adopted by the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) at a special session held in November 1949. The United Nations supported the initiative and declared the protection of the rights to life and health of children as one of its top priorities.

The first International Children’s Day was held in 1950. In each country, 20-25 percent of the population are children. In different countries, the problems of children vary – in developed countries, problems include addiction to television and computers. Western Europe faces the early sexual development of children; Japan is in danger of seeing the destruction of traditional methods of education and the wider penetration of Western habits and behaviours. In the least developed countries in Africa and Asia, children are at risk of hunger, AIDS, illiteracy and military conflicts. Today, more than five million children under 18 live in Kazakhstan.

New Almaty Museum Highlights Women in Country’s History

A garment collection showcased in the museum presents all types of Kazakh women’s national costumes. handle relations with neighbourBy Erkebulan Ulykbekov ing states and raised heirs to the ALMATY – A museum dedicated throne. The museum also displays samto great women in Kazakhstan’s history opened on May 29 at the ples of rich traditional clothing and Kazakh State Women Pedagogical unique women’s jewelry, various pieces of handicraft, personal beUniversity. The Aktymar History and Eth- longings of prominent women and nography Museum is part of an edu- musical instruments. The guest of cational programme called Muse- honour at the opening of the muums of Kazakhstan” and highlights seum was the first Kazakh woman multiple aspects of great women in researcher in musical instruments, Kazakh history. It tells the story of ethnologist Zabira Zhakish, who women who contributed to the es- showed slides and recounted the tablishment of the Kazakh state from history of folk musical instruments. ancient times to the present day. Lectures on the development and Among them are the legendary Umai-ana, the Scythian Queen To- history of Kazakhstani museums myris, wives of some of the khans and the history of Kazakh traditionwho, after the deaths of their hus- al musical instruments will continbands, were able to run the state, ue through the end of the year.

More than two million of them are of preschool age. Part of the daily work of the nation is to promote the interests of children and protect their rights, to prevent all forms of discrimination against them and ensure their rights to life and development. The laws “On the Rights of the Child,” “On State Youth Policy,” “On State Benefits to Families with Children,” “On the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, Child Neglect and Homelessness,” “On Children’s Villages of Family Type and Youth Houses” and “On Marriage and Family” are pursuant to that. Each year, the share of the state budget for financing the social sphere grows. In order to ensure

the rights of young citizens to education, more than 8,000 preschool organisations, more than 7,000 general secondary schools, more than 800 organisations of technical and professional education and more than 100 higher education institutions are operating in Kazakhstan. More than 150,000 children have limited opportunities for development: special correctional schools, rehabilitation centres and offices of psychological and special education and inclusive education function for them. More than 21,000 of these children are integrated and trained with their contemporaries at general secondary schools.

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Flower Festival Lightens up Almaty By Natalya Valuiskaya ALMATY – The park of the First President of Kazakhstan saw the flower festival “Almaty – Gul Qala” (Almaty – the city of flowers) organized by the Almaty city administration. This is the third annual festival of flowers in Almaty aimed at protection of greenery, and it is much awaited by the citizens and guests of the city. “Such festivals create a special tint; they are a kind of propaganda of care for greenery,” Altai Rahimbetov, head of the department for natural resources of the Almaty administration, said. “Professional skills of the festival participants are improving every year, and the festival will definitely become the brand of our city.” The festival is the concluding event in a range of activities taking place in spring on gardening and planting of the Almaty greenery fund. This spring more than 15,000 tree seedlings and bushes were planted and more than 100,000 were planted instead of the demolished and old trees. This year 190,000 square meters of flower beds are planned to be planted. The festival of flowers, music and art started at the fair, where professional florists and amateurs showed various plants – asters, pansies, impatiens, chrysanthemum and roses, nurtured in LLP “Greenhouse.” “I have been working here for 30 years, and 24 hours a day I dedicate to flowers,” director of Greenhouse Tatiana Kaminskaya says. “I am glad many flowers are planted in the city and vertical gardening is developing. Almaty is changing, approaching the European standards, and people themselves tend to create beauty around them.” Florist amateur Natalia Shevkun displayed her seedlings, hanging baskets and landscaping design. “It is great that the simplest flowers are coming back. What seemed out of fashion and useless is quite opportune,” she commented. Various art installations in a central fountain, modular gardens with the “living statues” and even huge butterflies “fluttering” among the guests were showcased. A huge car-

pet of about 450 square metres of cut flowers was really fantastic. Master classes in floral design, shows featuring circus performers, mime and shadow shows, fashion shows and performance of Kazakhstan pop singers also took place there. The highlight of the festival was a floral competition, which has already acquired an international status. This year, the best florists from Russia and Ukraine took part in it. The jury consisted of international florists: Irina Belobrova (Ukraine), Nikolai Akop (Moldova) and the first winner of Kazakhstan competition of florists Marina Shipovskaya from Almaty. Almaty Akim (Mayor) Akhmetzhan Yessimov congratulated the winners of the floral competition. In the evening, when the mountains threw a cool lilac veil, fountain gushed on the main platform. The audience enthusiastically applauded. Meanwhile, a line of cars went through the city: a parade of cars decorated with flower arrangements. Among them “floated” a trailer in the form of a floral ship, and an apple – the symbol of the city. A little truck with a dancing gymnast was the last one in the festive procession. Colourful fireworks completed the grand festival of colours, music and creativity.

Continued on Page B4

Kazakh Diplomat Celebrated 120 Years after Birth By Gulnaz Kalikhanova

ASTANA – This year, Kazakhstan celebrates the 120th anniversary of the birth of Nazir Turekulov, one of Kazakhstan’s greatest sons. Turekulov was an outstanding diplomat, statesman and scholar of Asian cultures. On June 7, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted an international conference dedicated to the life and work of this prominent figure. The event brought together a wide range of the public, including Kazakhstan’s statesmen and public figures, scholars from Russia and Uzbekistan, foreign diplomats, as well as faculty members and students from Astana and Almaty universities. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erlan Idrissov, and Secretary General of the Eurasian Economic Community, Tair Mansurov, who is also the author of eight books on Turekulov, attended the conference. In his opening remarks, Idrissov highlighted the importance of the event in teaching the younger generation about Turekulov’s enormous contribution to Kazakhstan’s history. “I hope that the extraordinary work and bright life of Turekulov will set an example for today’s diplomats and the younger generation,” he said. Participants received a congratulatory message from Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State, Marat Tazhin, in which he expressed confidence that the discussions at the conference would contribute to “the reconstruction of a true picture of the past and impartial interpretation of historical events that reveal the many sides to the personality of Turekulov.”

Turekulov was the first Soviet plenipotentiary representative, a term used by the USSR for its ambassadors in 1920s-1930s, in the Arab world and played an important role in establishing friendly relations between the Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia. According to Idrissov, Turekulov’s outstanding personality and talents allowed Soviet authorities to take a decision about his appointment in Saudi Arabia without hesitation. Idrissov read the comprehensive description then Soviet Foreign Minister Georgy Chicherin gave concerning Turekulov’s personality at the time, “Only Nazir Turekulov, the current chairman of Central Publishing of the USSR, can fully implement the state policy in the Arab world. The outstanding talent of Turekulov will allow him observe the Muslim world from Morocco to Indonesia. His intellectual capacity and knowledge of the Muslim world and outlook make us confident in his ability to fully perform the functions of the Soviet Ambassador.” The conference programme included a plenary session and two breakout sessions, entitled “Turekulov – a prominent Kazakh diplomat” and “Turekulov – a statesman and orientalist.” More than 50 scholarly papers were presented during the sessions. In addition, the participants were shown a documentary film and a comprehensive photo exhibition. The conference concluded with the adoption of a resolution with recommendations to Kazakhstan’s relevant state bodies on measures to promote Turekulov’s heritage.

Continued on Page B2

The flower festival is aimed at the protection of greenery.

Things to Watch in June Kazakh Musical Drama Theatre named after K. Kuanyshbaev June 13 at 18.30 June 16 at 18.30 June 21 at 18.30 June 22 at 18.30

Drama “Kiz- Zhibek” by E. Brusilovski Musical Comedy “Үulenu” (Wedding) by E. Zhuasbek Comedy “For you” by E. Zhuasbek Musical Comedy “Gamarjoba” by A. Tsagareli

Russian Drama Theatre named after Maxim Gorky June 14 at 10.00, 11.30 Romantic-ironical history “Wild” by V. Sinakevich June 15 at 11.00, 18.00 June 2 at 18.00 June 21 at 18.00

Comedy “La baruffe chiozzotte” by K. Goldoni Ironical drama “Valentine’s day” by I. Vyrypayev Premiere of drama “Last Sacrament,” by O. Bokey

Shopping and Entertainment Centre “Sary-Arka” June 12-14, 19.00

Week of Dutch movies

The Astana Metropolitan Circus From June 1 to 16

African elephants and other exotic animals

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Entrepreneur Shares Recipe for Success with Youth

Balziya Yeveneyeva teaches her students how to make the sweetest cake ever.

By Lyudmila Korina URALSK – Entrepreneur Balziya Yeveneyeva is demonstrating that sharing success is the way to make it grow. She has equipped a classroom and a laboratory for the practical training of chefs and future culinary experts with her own funds. Some of these future master chefs are orphans who otherwise might not have had a chance to learn a trade or develop key professional skills. An effective teacher of chefs must

be a first-class professional herself: in Soviet times, Yeveneyeva worked in the trade. “Then, the ability to cook well was useful for me. First, I started to bake cakes at home on a by-order basis. Very soon, a lot of customers appeared. I had to rent a shop at a bakery running at half capacity. At first, my relatives helped me; then I hired several workers. Business was sweet – it increased both in quality and quantity. In a couple of years, I won a contract and started to work with my team in a student cafeteria of Makhambet

Utemissov West Kazakhstan State University. This meant that the meals and pastries had to be cheap and tasty. We coped with this task quite well,” she explained. An economist by profession, Yeveneyeva was well aware that a business that is constantly developing can be a success, so she wanted to keep growing. A loan taken through the Business Road Map 2020 programme allowed her to establish her own business. “Fortunately, I could buy a spacious unfinished building. We com-

Kazakh Diplomat Celebrated 120 Years after Birth From Page B1 All of the conference’s participants spoke about Turekulov with great pride. The Soviet civil servant, brilliant diplomat, journalist and essayist, Turekulov, lived a life full of events. Unfortunately, it ended abruptly in 1937 when he fell victim to political repression under Joseph Stalin. Turekulov was born in 1892 to the wealthy family of a Kazakh cotton merchant in the city of Kokand, present day Uzbekistan. “The diverse education he received in his childhood coupled with his outstanding personality characteristics, such as an inquisitive mind, determination and irrepressible energy all pointed to the fact that he would live a life full of bright achievements,” Mansurov wrote in one of his books. Turekulov received his education first in Kokand and then Moscow, where he attended the Moscow Commerce Institute, presently called the Russian Economic University named after Plekhanov, starting from 1914. Despite the First World War, he managed to complete three years. During that time, he began to engage in political activity, which he continued to do after returning to Kokand in 1918. While in Uzbekistan, he held several government positions in Tashkent. From 1923 to 1928, he worked in civil service in Moscow. On Nov. 24, 1927, the Soviet authorities made a decision to appoint him as a plenipotentiary representative to Hejaz, the province of what would become the united Saudi Arabia. The most brilliant period of Turekulov’s life and work began there, in the Arab world, where his organizational and diplomatic skills were fully revealed. According to Mansurov, for eight years Turekulov worked in harsh climatic conditions and in an atmosphere of political tension. Thanks to his titanic efforts, the Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia formed normal partnership relations, which later evolved into the category of strategic cooperation. His greatest achievements included the export of Soviet oil to Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal’s visit to

the USSR, setting up phone communications and other significant developments. Turekulov was able to quickly establish trusting relationships with the local political establishment. Shortly after his arrival in 1929, the Saudi government announced their agreement to transform the diplomatic agency of the USSR in Jeddah into a diplomatic mission. On Aug. 2, 1931, with the participation of Turekulov and Prince Faisal, the two countries signed an agreement for the delivery of Soviet gasoline and kerosene worth 150,000 dollars as a loan. Nazir Turekulov then personally supervised the implementation of this petroleum deal. In May 1932, the Saudi delegation headed by Prince Faisal paid an official ten-day visit to Moscow. “This visit can be considered one of the major political achievements of Nazir Turekulov. Both sides took the visit very seriously. Moscow knew that it would welcome not just a son of the Saudi monarch, a seventeen-year-old boy, but the heir, the future king of the friendly country,” Mansurov wrote. The official part of the visit was complimented by an extensive cultural programme. The delegation was always accompanied by prominent figures of the USSR. During a visit to a telephone factory in Leningrad, the Soviet side gave Prince Faisal an automatic telephone exchange system, which was a technical novelty at that time. Later, with the support of Turekulov, the telephone exchange was

installed in the residence of King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud. While in Saudi Arabia, Turekulov quickly mastered the Arabic language,, which added to the other seven languages he already knew, including Kazakh, Russian, Uzbek, Tatar, Turkish, German and French. All of this along with his professionalism and personal charm earned him the sincere respect of the king and his family. King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud called Turekulov his brother. In addition, Turekulov developed good relationships with the king’s sons, especially Prince Faisal. The Soviet Ambassador enjoyed influence and respect among his foreign counterparts accredited in the Arab country as well and was the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. Turekulov respected the peculiarities of the Muslim world and the Arab East, repeatedly performing the hajj and observing local norms and traditions. He also raised from 10,000 to 15,000 the number of pilgrims who were allowed visit Mecca annually through the Soviet territory. The move was meant to produce “a very good impression and avert accusations of oppression of Islam.” In early 1936, Turekulov was recalled to Moscow and for a year worked as a senior fellow at the Institute of Language and Literature under the Nationalities Council of the USSR. In 1937, he was arrested and shot on false charges, as were many other victims of Stalinism. This tragic news shocked Saudi King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud. Through various diplomatic channels, the king let the Soviet government understand that other envoys were not welcome in his country. Following this, the relationship between the two countries broke off and was restored only in 1990. Turekulov’s name was cleared of all charges and his reputation was restored fully only on Jan. 28, 1958. His life story provides an interesting insight into the history of Kazakhstan and the Soviet Union in 1920s-1930s, but also serves as an important reference point for many aspiring Kazakh diplomats today.

pleted the finishing work and purchased equipment for the restaurant and the pastry shop. But the main goal, as always, was not just profit, but to produce products and services of excellent quality. I received a certificate of quality management, ISO 2001. Through that experience, I was convinced that such an approach ensures success. Chefs and cooks, as well as doctors, should have the basic requirement to do no harm,” she explained. “You can call our products environmentally clean. I make this even

simpler – no chemicals. I remember my grandmother’s recipes. The formula for success has been tested and proven through practice. You just need to work honestly, and the food on the table, of course, has to be not only delicious, but also pleasing to the eye.” A medical officer watches the quality along the production conveyor. It is worth noting that not every company in catering has someone in such a position. Absolutely everything is checked there – the availability of certificates, feedstock, packaging, transportation conditions, storage periods and, of course, the finished product. Yeveneyeva works only with trusted and reliable suppliers; the Russian-Italian company CrownAgro, which is considered one of the best in the international market, is one. However, she considers consistency one of the essential qualities in business and in relationships with people. So, since the times of crisis, she has been working with engineer-confectioner Bibigul Kadarova. Together, they teach current and future chefs and cooks to prepare delicious and healthy food. “With cakes and pastries, creativeness is needed, in addition to skills. We steer away from large amounts of brightly coloured cream,” she said. “Fine patterns provide more room for imagination. If a cake is called ‘A Fairy Tale,’ then the plot should be fabulous and recognisable. Besides, people nowadays tend to count calories strictly. This also has to be taken into account, because the demand creates supply.” In order to be responsive to all current requirements, Yeveneyeva is constantly studying in her native city, in the capital and abroad. She has finished courses for production management at Zhangir Khan West Kazakhstan Agro-Technical University, and through the Business Road Map 2020 programme, she passed top management training at Nazarbayev University and passed advanced training in Germany.

“Yeveneyeva can be rightly considered an example of corporate social responsibility, a leading light. As a rule, only large companies are engaged systematically in staff training. She has a medium-sized business, but there is a lot to learn from her. It would be possible to realise the idea of dual training much easier and faster if more entrepreneurs cared about the rising generation as she does,” principal of a local college Elmira Jeksenova said. Children from orphanages also undergo training in Yeveneyeva’s master class. It is no secret that many of them are ill-prepared for independent life. The Umit Union of Women of Trans-Urals, with support from the BOTA Foundation, delivers training to help them obtain crucial skills. A cooking school for teenagers is held in Yeveneyeva’s master class. “The more you give, the more you get,” she believes. Success must be shared with others. Yeveneyeva’s cabinet is hung with diplomas and certificates obtained for victories in various competitions at regional and national levels. Products “from Balziya” are more and more in demand. “Balziya is a driven and responsive person who aims at achieving better results. Public-private partnerships, the need for which was stated in the December state-ofthe-nation address of the President, must develop dynamically in small and medium-sized businesses. She illustrates this through her work. The regional coordinating council has recently approved another project: after obtaining credit on easy terms under the Business Road Map 2020 programme, Yeveneyeva will procure equipment for the production of biscuits using German technology. And there is more good news: her candidacy for an internship in the United States has been approved,” Director of the WestKazakhstan branch of the Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund Aliya Saliyeva said.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 12 June 2013



Van Gogh Exhibition Opens By Rufiya Ospanova ASTANA – The Dutch Embassy in Kazakhstan and the Nazarbayev Center jointly organised an exhibition of reproductions of paintings by Vincent van Gogh, the worldfamous Dutch post-Impressionist painter, to be open for the public from June 10 through July 7. The exhibition features 44 reproductions of paintings, landscapes and portraits, which also included “Cypresses,” “The Potato Eaters,” “The Yellow House” and others. The exhibition, became a real chance to assess the beauty of famous “Sunflowers” and other wellknown pictures. The event is part of the Second Dutch Week in Astana, taking place from June 10 to June 15. The pictures of van Gogh are showcased in museums around the world, and it became impossible to bring 40 unique works of the great painter due to technical and financial limitations. Leila Makhat, deputy director of the Nazarbayev Center, opened the exhibition expressing gratitude to the organizers and sponsors of the event. “This is a big event – the Days of Holland in Kazakhstan and a result of joint activity of two countries. The fact that we hold days of culture of our counties, get acquainted with the traditions and heritage of the people confirms our strong friendship,” Peter van Leeuwen, the Dutch Ambassador in Astana, underlined in his welcoming remarks. “Today’s exhibition of works of Vincent van Gogh is the start of the week. I also invite you to attend other events within the week of Holland, which include concerts, Dutch movie festival, workshops and various lectures.” He also expressed his gratitude to Shell Kazakhstan, which sponsored the exhibition. Peter van Leeuwen, Leila Makhat and Joost Soethout, NCPSA Shareholder Advisor at Shell Kazakhstan, then cut the ribbon opening the exhibition. “This is a noteworthy fact that the citizens of our country start to understand, value and love art because this is the cultural side of any person. It means a lot for selfdevelopment and development of taste,” Svetlana Tskhai, a visitor to the exhibition, shared her views on the occasion. The exhibition launch became a start to the Dutch Week in Astana. In addition to the exhibition of reproductions, on June 11, Leila Makhat, who is also a famous artist, gave a lecture titled “Life and Art of van Gogh”. Vincent van Gogh is one of the greatest and most recognizable painters in history. His work has had a significant influence on subsequent generations of artists. Along with the creations of Pablo Picasso, the masterpieces of Van Gogh are among the first in the list of the most expensive paintings

Dutch Cultural Festival Returns to Capital By Jane Rivers ASTANA – The second Dutch week, an event intended to present the Dutch culture to the Kazakhstan public and raise awareness about cooperation between the two countries, kicked off June 10 in Astana. The event is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and includes a wide range of cultural, social and sporting events. One of the main attractions of Dutch Week is an exhibition of reproductions of the work of Vincent van Gogh who is considered one of the greatest and most influential artists in the history. His paintings are among the most expensive ever sold on auction. The exhibition will contain copies of 44 masterpieces of the famous Dutch impressionist displayed in a gallery hall of the Nazarbayev Center through June 30. The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to glimpse Sunflowers and other famous van Gogh paintings in real size.

Leila Makhat along with Dutch Ambassador Peter van Leeuwen and others open the exhibition on June 10. ever sold in the world, according to assessments from auctions and private sales. Today, about 1,700 of his works, nearly 900 drawings and 800 picturesque paintings are preserved. Vincent van Gogh, for whom colour was the chief symbol of expression, was born in GrootZundert, Holland on March 30, 1853. The son of a pastor, brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere, van Gogh was highly emotional and lacked self-confidence. Between 1860 and 1880, when he finally decided to become an artist, van Gogh had had two unsuitable and unhappy romances and had worked unsuccessfully as a clerk in a bookstore, an art salesman, and a preacher in the Borinage (a dreary mining district in Belgium), where he was dismissed for overzealousness. He remained in Belgium to study art, determined to give happiness by creating beauty. The works of his early Dutch period are sombertoned, sharply lit, genre paintings of which the most famous is “The Potato Eaters” (1885). That year, van Gogh went to Antwerp where he discovered the works of Rubens and purchased many Japanese prints. In 1886, he went to Paris. In Paris, Van Gogh studied with Cormon, inevitably met Pissarro, Monet, and Gauguin, and began to lighten his very dark palette and to paint in the short brushstrokes of the Impressionists. His nervous temperament made him a difficult com-

panion and nightlong discussions combined with painting all day undermined his health. He decided to go south to Arles where he hoped his friends would join him and help found a school of art. Gauguin did join him but with disastrous results. Near the end of 1888, an incident led Gauguin to ultimately leave Arles. Van Gogh pursued him with an open razor, was stopped by Gauguin, but ended up cutting a portion of his own ear lobe off. Van Gogh then began to alternate between fits of madness and lucidity and was sent to the asylum in Saint-Remy for treatment. In May 1890, he seemed much better and went to live in Auverssur-Oise under the watchful eye of Dr. Gachet. Two months later he died, having shot himself “for the good of all.” Van Gogh’s finest works were produced in less than three years in a technique that grew more and more impassioned in brushstroke, in symbolic and intense colour, in surface tension, and in the movement and vibration of form and line. Van Gogh’s inimitable fusion of form and content is powerful, dramatic, lyrically rhythmic, imaginative, and emotional, for the artist was completely absorbed in the effort to explain either his struggle against madness or his comprehension of the spiritual essence of man and nature. The Van Gogh Museum first opened its doors in 1973. The museum contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world, his letters and documents.

Two virtuoso musicians, Dutch pianist Thomas Verheul and Kazakh contrabass player Karim Yengsep, will also perform together for the first time as part of the cultural festival on the stage of the Shabyt Concert hall. The performance will be the second such Dutch-Kazakh music collaboration. Two months ago, the Embassy of Netherlands organized a similar event, which included a joint performance by Mike del Ferro and Yedil Kussainov. The latest collaboration to be formed during Dutch week, “We Build Bridges,” hopes to offer a similar merging of East and West musical styles.

Dutch Week will also include the three-day Dutch Film Festival, which will expose Kazakhstan audiences to such Dutch films as “Uncle Henk,” “The Gang of Oss,” and “The Girl and Death.” The films will be screened at the Sary Arka Cinema. Dutch week, which concludes June 15, will also include a bike ride with the Astana Pro cycling team, Dutch musical performances, lectures, seminars and a mini football tournament. It will also include a Fryday W meeting with the Dutch Ambassador, Peter van Leeuwen on June 12. The public is welcome at all events.

Successors of Danila the Master Show Their Craft By Natalia Kurpyakova

ASTANA – A recent exhibition “Young Talents of the Urals”, held at the Museum of Modern Art, was a success. First, a stone bowl with berries allowed for remembering that wellknown hero of Pavel Bazhov’s fairy tales, Danila the Master. Here one could see wineberry, wild strawberry, and currant berries, as if just picked up from a branch, with leaves still breathing with life. This composition, called “The Gifts of the Urals,” gathered all the semi-precious treasures – jasper, green marble, nephrite, carnelian, agate and others. Cupronickel, malachite, phianites, smokestone and rock crystal please the eye in jeweller garnitures with telling names “Valkyrie,” “Uralochka,” “Ice fantasy,” “Spring throughfall,” and “Milky Way.” A proud peacock, a graceful crane and a laced shoe for the Cinderella, all showing possibilities of art processing of metal, were displayed behind the glass of showwindows. A total of 127 of 143 exhibits are the best graduate works of students of the Ural College of Applied Art and Design museum collection from Russia’s Nizhni Tagil. The remainder are the creation of students of the Russian State Professional and Pedagogical University

in Yekaterinburg, including ceramics, hot enamel, and art textiles such as felt. An undoubted feature of the exposition were the Nizhny Tagil trays. In 2011, unique Tagil lacquer painting on metal celebrated its 265th anniversary. Indeed, its history is worth being told in a separate story. Such stories, by the way, do exist. The most known story is “Crystal Laquer” by Pavel Bazhov. It tells about how cunning Germans hunted for the wonderful laquer recipe in the 19th century. After all, the Urals laquer was transparent as a tear, neither heat, nor frost could damage it, neither scratches, nor a boiling samovar or a heated iron could spoil it, and after being covered with such a lacquer, “drawings became like poured into the iron.” The structure of the laquer is still undefined, with the Urals masters being able to keep their secrets. Director of the museum of arts and crafts Olga Tolstobrova knows many interesting stories about how thanks to Nikita Demidov, the famous manufacturer and art benefactor, craft appeared in the 18th century, as well as about the Hudoyarov’s bond handicraftsmen and the famous rose of Hudoyarov. She says craftsmen at that time wanted to draw not just familiar cornflowers or chamomiles, they wanted to draw unusual overseas flowers, but

nobody knew at that time what the real rose looked like. In the 1920s, the traditions of the Tagil lacquer painting were almost lost. There was only woman, Agrippina Afanasyevna (this year she would have been one hundred years old), who knew how the flower paintings were applied. She was teaching that craft to the people. There is another story about how they were trained. Small painters, girls of 12 years old, first prepared brushes, which, as ballerinas, should have a “heel” and a “toe.” Then they mastered special one-stroke paintings, they learned how a floral bouquet is formed, ornaments are done, and smoke by the bark is used to create the background. Modern painters training in the department of art paint on metal, draw floral patterns, and “instructive pictures,” – multi-layered narrative compositions, portraits, still life paintings, copies of classical paintings. Their works are a real feast for the eyes. “The folk crafts reflect the soul of the people, which is the golden treasure of the country,” Tolstobrova said. “We know Kazakhstan has historically developed arts and crafts. We wanted to meet with Kazakhstan long ago – to show our works and in the future to see the creation of Kazakh craftsmen at home. We hope such an encounter will take place soon,” she continued.

Goodwill Ambassador Brings Art to Astana By Julia Rutz ASTANA – On May 30, Travel Notes, the month-long solo exhibition of French-Croatian painter, sculptor and Goodwill Ambassador Jasenka Tucan-Vaillant officially opened at the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is being held under the patronage of Ambassador of France to Kazakhstan JeanCharles Bertonnet. The Embassy of France in Kazakhstan together with the French Alliance (Alliance Francaise) strongly supports Tucan-Vaillant in her artistic and philanthropic activities. “Her unique oeuvres offer us an unforgettable romantic trip through the countries and cities she used to live in: from her native Croatia to Astana, the city in the middle of the steppes of Central Asia, then to Paris, Manila, Seoul, Warsaw, Sofia, Bratislava, New York, Rome, Abu Dhabi, Athens and Brussels,” Ambassador Bertonnet said about the exhibition. A winner of numerous art awards and honours, Tucan-Vaillant has participated in many different international conferences and seminars on weaving, textiles and sculpture. Her masterpieces have been created in the different countries that her husband, a diplomat, was sent for work. During the four years of her residence in Astana, TucanVaillant had exhibits at the A. Kasteev State Museum of Fine Arts in

Almaty and in the Has Sanat Gallery in Astana and now residents and visitors to the capital can see her work at the Museum of Modern Art. “The discovery of new methods and new materials gives her unlimited opportunities for self-expression. For example, during her life in Poland about 15 years ago, she perfected the technology of manufacturing paintings based on paper and the sap of the bark of a tree growing in Japan,” Ambassador Bertonnet said. Tucan-Vaillant is a protean artist and the purpose of her art is to create harmony and beauty. Her multi-dimensional works are perceived as an organic whole: the spectator can observe the sensual, almost tangible expression of na-

ture, which lies on the border of abstraction and reality. This is her farewell exhibition in Kazakhstan. About 100 tapestries, sculptures and works of art created from 1995 to 2013 are being showcased at the museum. Jasenka Tucan-Vaillant was born in Slavonski Brod in Croatia. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb under the guidance of maestro Josip Diminika and from the Academy of Arts in the city of Rijeka. After an internship in Aubusson, the heart of French weaving, Tucan-Vaillant created her own weaving workshop. She also completed a master’s degree in the history of modern art at the University of Sorbonne in Paris. Her first solo exhibition was held in 1974 in Zagreb, in the Lapidarium Gallery. She has had more than 60 solo exhibitions in well-known museums and galleries all around the world as well as participated in group exhibitions in public and private galleries in different countries. In 1991, she created scenery and costumes for the Harlequin Theater in Liege, Belgium. She is always looking for new ways of self-expression. TucanVaillant constantly works to improve her technique by using a variety of new technological processes. Her main focuses are weaving (tapestry and macrame), small sculptures (bronze and ceramics) and graphics. The other side of her talent is

sculpture. Symbolic, figurative expressions and the search for a balance between line and volume are evident in her bronzes. “Her magic birds, the majestic female figures, the mesmerising love of a mother for her child fascinate viewers with their simplicity, elegance, tenderness; hopefully, they will touch the heart and the soul of each of you,” Ambassador Bertonnet said.

As part of her charitable work, Tucan-Vaillant has established schools of art and exhibitions for young artists. She has worked with talented children, orphans and children from poor families from many countries, including Kazakhstan, as well as refugee children. As part of the solo exhibition, a group exposition of young artists is also being showcased at the Museum of Modern Art. This

is the result of the collaborative work of Tucan-Vaillant and Kazakhstan’s children, a sort of report to the parents and the community on the success they have had. The children’s exhibition features 171 pieces made with different techniques. Travel Notes and the exhibition of young artists will be showcased at the Museum of Modern Art until July 1.

Jasenka Tucan-Vaillant has created Golden Apples inspired by the time she spent in Kazakhstan.

The Astana Times


Country Marks International Children’s Day From Page B1

On June 1, special celebrations – concerts, gifts and a variety of entertainments – were organised in Kazakhstan to please young citizens. This day is not just one of the most joyful holidays for children, but also a reminder to adults that children need their constant care and protection and that adults are responsible for them, responsible for protecting them from danger and ensuring the continuation of generations in them. A large-scale campaign, “Kazakhstan, We are your children! We will live in the new world!” took place on June 1. Events called “Writers of Kazakhstan for Children” and “Children of Kazakhstan Choose Sport” were also organised. In Astana, talented children with disabilities from all over the country showcased their art at the Zhuldyzay festival. On June 1, an event dedicated to the celebration of International Children’s Day took place at the Eco Village resort area near Astana. Police officers of Astana organised the holiday for children from lowincome families and large families. The programme of the event included musical performances and shows by circus artists. Children had an opportunity to drive police motorcycles and police horses during the day. The servicemen of the Arlan unit and representatives of the Police Canine Unit of Astana demonstrated their skills. Young guests participated in sport games and the event ended with a party and a grand closing ceremony with fireworks. Also in Astana, fire station 16 of the Department of Emergency held a drawing competition on the pavement with the theme Kazakhstan is My Motherland. In Almaty, the holiday began with the Boztorgay annual international competition of children’s creativity. From May 29 to June 3, performances were rated. The competition concluded with an awards ceremony and a gala concert in Gorky Central Park. Having made a wish, children let 1,000 balloons loose into the sky. Free drinks and ice cream were provided. Almaty also held its fifth annual children’s cycling competition, this time drawing more than 200 par-

ticipants between the ages of two to eight years old. In anticipation of vacation, children and their parents were reminded of the basic traffic regulations of the road by means of funny quizzes and performances by road police officers and the Young Traffic Inspectors group. There was also an open zoo day, free tours and gifts at the Kunayev museum and the presentation of the summer video theatre, City of Masters. International Children’s Day in Shymkent was celebrated in the city’s biggest park, Dendropark. About 7,000 children of different ages gathered in the green recreation area. At the entrance to the park, young dancers welcomed guests, then followed an avenue of young watercolour artists, young painters, young football players, young chess players, young karate masters and other young fighters. South Kazakhstan is the leader of demographic indicators in Kazakhstan. More than 158,000 families of the region have many children. Each year, approximately 30,000 children are born in Shymkent. Today, 220,000 children are officially registered in the city. In Pavlodar, the day was celebrated with a parade of twins and 116 pairs aged four to ten took part in the festive procession. Similarly dressed and styled twins confused even their parents. According to the department of education, there are 382 pairs of twins in the region, more than 100 of them in kindergarten. In recent years, there has been a rise in births of twins. Only in the last year, 85 twins and three sets of triplets were born in the region. From June 1 to June 3, children from orphanages from all regions gathered in Kostanay. This year, Kostanay became the venue of the eighth national Tan Sholpan art competition among pupils of educational institutions for orphans and children without parental support. The competition was first held in 2006 and has become an annual tradition. The opening of the competition coincides with International Children’s Day. This year, it was a competition of musical talent. Winners of regional selection rounds go on to participate in the national competition. Also in Kostanay, the Autodrome in the Park of Culture opened on June 1, causing a boom in park visitors large and small.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Gov’t Continues Work on Innovation Technologies Park near Almaty

Young IT experts presented their ideas to President Nazarbayev on a recent visit to the Alatau Park of Innovation Technologies.

By Alina Usmanova Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited the Special Economic Zone Park, known as the Park of Innovation Technologies, near Almaty and got acquainted and with the production processes of the zone’s enterprises. President Nazarbayev saw the presentations of projects of the second stage of development of the park implemented by such companies and organizations as SAT&Co, KBTU, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy National Company and HewlettPackard. Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev also presented a report on the work recently conducted and briefed the president on development plans for the Special Economic Zone. According to Issekeshev, there

are 87 companies registered in the Special Economic Zone. That number is expected to reach 250 by 2020. Their total income is expected to reach 150 billion tenge, and they will generate about 50,000 jobs. “We are currently working on a new law on the park of innovation technologies, which will allow it to work in automated mode involving tax privileges and the preparation of platforms and infrastructure,” the president emphasized. Nazarbayev also noted that about 7.5 billion tenge was invested in the first stage of Special Economic Zone. Around 3 billion tenge was allocated for the second stage of infrastructure construction. During the meeting, Nazarbayev was briefed on a number of innovative projects involving 100 percent Kazakhstan content, as well as a number of joint projects developed

by domestic companies and world leading companies. In particular, he was shown a demonstration of technology dealing with three-dimensional video developed by SAT&Co and a joint project of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy and Hewlett-Packard. The president also instructed Akim (Mayor) of the Almaty region Ansar Musakhanov to consider the issue regarding the return of idle territories to the state for their further allocation for the use of the Special Economic Zone. The president emphasized that innovation development must not be restrained by a transfer of technologies, but include development and the introduction of technologies created in Kazakhstan. “The point is that while we are adopting foreign experience, we have already fallen behind. Even the use of the most modern foreign

equipment does not predetermine our own breakthrough. We need to be oriented toward creating something new that can be used here and that we can offer the world,” the president stressed. The head of state also reiterated the instructions given during the 26th session of the Foreign Investors Council in late May. In particular, the president gave instructions to accelerate the process of building a special venture fund financing promising innovation projects. “Competitiveness is not achi­ eved by words. There must be actions. The funds are needed for the development of innovations,” Nazarbayev noted. After the meeting, the president met with graduates of International Information Technologies University who presented their graduation projects. Expert Shows the Way Forward for Kazakhstan’s Startups.

leadership of the Tatar Ethnic and Cultural Association of West Kazakhstan Region. Vice Chairman of the APK and Head of the Secretariat of the APK Yeraly Tugzhanov also came with gifts. He presented honorary certificates and letters of gratitude to a number of citizens of the West Kazakhstan region, including to Vice Chairman of the Tatar Cultural Centre Alfiya Lezhnina. A programme of cultural entertainment was also prepared for the Urals and guests of the city on Syrym Datov square. The Kazakh aul (village) and Tatar village, exhibitions of national cuisines and crafts were showcased near the main stage. Visitors could measure their strength and abilities in sports and folk games such as breaking pots, pulling ropes, climbing poles for prizes, taking coins out of an airan and many others. At the opening ceremony of the Sabantuy, Akim (Mayor) of West Kazakhstan Nurlan Nogayev stressed the importance of the event for both parties. “Today’s celebration is another confirmation of the strengthening and development of our relations.” Veterans of the Great Patriotic War Bissen Zhumagaliev and Hamza Safin were given the honour of lifting the flag of the Sabantuy. The Sabantuy concert was attended by folk artists of Tatarstan Lydia Akhmetova and Georgy Ibushev, honoured performer of the Republic of Tatarstan Ilsaf, soloists of the Gabdulla Tukai State Philharmonic, creative teams from Russia and Kazakhstan, top performers of the West Kazakhstan region and others. As usual, the tatarcha kuryash (Tatar wrestling) attracted wide

attention. The grand prize winner, citizen of Uralsk Rinat Ibragimov, received a car, the keys of which were presented by the president of Tatarstan. “Everything was at a high level, World Champion medallists were competing in the fight, and we would be happy to see them at the World Universiade in Kazan,” the head of Tatarstan said. “I think that the chances of Kazakhstan athletes are very high.” “In general, I would like to express great gratitude to the Akim of the region and his team. The Sabantuy is an example to different people of how to live, make friends, pass culture to each other,” President Minnikhanov concluded. The gala concert of performers of Kazakhstan and Tatarstan and a performance of Tatar holiday songs, during which the passing of the symbol of Sabantuy took place, drew the event to a close. Next year’s National Sabantuy will be held in Kyzyl-Orda. Distinguished guests of the event also included Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Congress of Tatars Rinat Zakirov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Kazakhstan Mikhail Bocharnikov, President of the Association of the Tatars and Bashkirs of Kazakhstan Grif Khairullin, member of the Mazhilis of Kazakhstan Zukhra Sayapova, Special Representative of the Republic of Tatarstan to Kazakhstan Ayrat Khasanov, leaders of the TatarBashkir ethnic and cultural associations of Kazakhstan, intellectuals and academics from Tatarstan and Bashkortostan and delegations from the Saratov, Orenburg, Samara and Chelyabinsk regions of the Russian Federation.

Uralsk Celebrates Tatar Sabantuy By Rinat Dussumov URALSK – This western Kazakhstan city saw a large-scale celebration of the National Sabantuy, in which President of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, representatives from different regions of Kazakhstan and the Saratov, Orenburg, Samara and Chelyabinsk regions of the Russian Federation took part. The event was held under the auspices of the Assembly of the People of

Kazakhstan (APK) and the Association of Tatars and Bashkirs of Kazakhstan. Before opening the Sabantuy, the official guests visited the Red Mosque in the Tatar settlement and the museum of great Tatar poet Gabdulla Tukai, whose youth and development as a poet took place in Uralsk. After laying flowers at the Tukai bust, President Minnikhanov met with the Tatars and Bashkirs of Kazakhstan. Addressing the participants of the meeting,

the head of Tatarstan emphasised the historical closeness of Kazakhstan and Russia. “The role of Tatarstan is special in the rapprochement of our relationship,” Minnikhanov said. “A total of 226,000 Tatars live in Kazakhstan, and they feel comfortable here, they can bring their questions and interests to authorities. The conditions for preserving the identity of the Tatar people are created here, and I am grateful to the leadership of Kazakhstan and

personally to President Nursultan Nazarbayev for this very fact.” “In Kazakhstan, we always feel at home,” he added. President Minnikhanov also presented letters of gratitude to Chairman of the West Kazakhstan Centre of Tatar culture Rishat Khairullin, head of the Yalkym folklore group, poet Roza Akhmedgaliyeva and Chairman of the Council of Elders and Sunday school teacher Nazhiya Tukhvatullina. In addition, he presented a new car to the

During the holiday Uralsk was turned into a concert venue, with performances of traditional Tatar songs and dances taking place on the streets.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 12 June 2013



Saving the Steppe: Kazakhstan’s Environmental Protection Efforts By Mike Coleman

From the soaring, snow-capped mountain peaks of Almaty in the south to the picturesque glacier lakes nestled in the pine woods of Kokshetau in the north, Kazakhstan’s natural beauty is beyond dispute. Unfortunately, the sprawling Central Asian nation is also home to some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges, including the radioactive legacy of the Soviet-era Semipalatinsk nuclear testing facility and the alarming shrinkage of the economically and culturally significant Aral Sea. Forty years of heavy irrigation by rice and cotton farmers have taken their toll on the once-mighty Aral Sea in southwestern Kazakhstan, reducing it from one to three separate bodies of water. Over the past several decades, fish disappeared, salinity increased and large quantities of pesticides were released into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, Semey (formerly Semipalatinsk) in the northeastern part of the country suffered devastating environmental degradation under the Soviet Union, which operated the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site amidst Kazakhstan’s vast steppes. From the first explosion in 1949 until the last in 1989, the Soviets conducted a total of 456 nuclear tests, including 340 underground and 116 atmospheric. The environmental implications were severe as nuclear fallout from the atmospheric tests and uncontrolled exposure of the workers led to high rates of cancer, childhood leukemia and birth defects in Semey and surrounding villages. The good news is that Kazakhstan has worked diligently and aggressively to address these and many other environmental concerns. Since achieving independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Kazakh government has taken dramatic steps to mitigate the harmful effects of nuclear testing,

the Aral Sea degradation and other environmental calamities. Nurlan Kapparov, Kazakhstan’s 41-year-old minister of environment protection, told EdgeKz that restoring Kazakhstan’s environmental health is a top priority of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s administration. “In recent years, the government has taken significant steps to address social and economic problems that have emerged in the Aral Sea region as a result of environmental disaster,” Kapparov said, explaining how the country’s decision to reclaim and rejuvenate the northern part of the sea nearly five years ago has produced tangible results: rising water levels and the return of fish and other aquatic life. Kapparov also said that since the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, Kazakh scientists have worked closely with the international scientific community to monitor and assess the site. “The data suggests that a large part of the test site has no negative effect on the population living in the surrounding areas,” he said. However, Kapparov acknowledged that the radioactive debris isn’t stable; it is carried by winds to other areas of the region, presenting a continuing challenge. He said the Kazakh government has implemented several programs to address these challenges. “Implementation of these programs will allow for solving the problem of the Semipalatinsk test site dramatically, both in terms of radiation safety and in terms of socio-economic development of the region,” the minister said. Although the Aral Sea and Semey nuclear test site issues are likely the foremost environmental challenges Kazakhstan is working to address, they aren’t the only ones. The Kazakh government is also working to prevent desertification and land degradation, as

well as conducting reforestation work and developing protected forest areas. In addition to mitigating past environmental damage, Kazakhstan is taking proactive steps to prevent future calamities. This Central Asian nation is a key member of the Green Bridge initiative that came out of the June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio + 20,” which gathered more than 100 Heads of State and Government and over 50 thousand delegates from around the world. The program focuses on efficient use of natural resources, investments in ecosystem services, development of low-carbon energy sources and adaptation to climate change, sustainable urban development, promotiong of green business and green technologies, and promotion of sustainable lifestyles and improvement of quality of life. “The Green Bridge initiative is a practical instrument for international transition to a ‘green’ economy by promoting technological progress, improving the experience of environmental management and improvement of the legal, economic and institutional conditions for green investments and technologies,”Kapparov said. “All this will give an impetus to the development of a new, stable and more secure economy,” according to the minister.

Efforts to Clean Up Semipalatinsk

Almost since declaring its independence in 1991, the Kazakhstan government has been intensely committed to monitoring and managing decades of nuclear fallout from the Soviet test site at Semipalatinsk. The Kazakhs, in cooperation with non-governmental organizations in the republic, as well partners from U.S., Russia, the United Kingdom, Canada have implemented a com-

Kyoto Protocol Book Featured at Astana Economic Forum By Roza Amanova ASTANA – The monograph “Low-carbon development: Kazakhstan, Russia, the EU and the U.S. position (1992-2013)” won first prize in the top-publication (book, monograph) category of the G-Global info-communication platform during the recent Sixth Astana Economic Forum. The book was published under the grant project of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education and Science, and the authors were fellows of the Bolashak scholarship

programme. Doctor of Biological Sciences and professor in the International Department of Management and Engineering for Environmental Protection at Eurasian National University (ENU) Murat Nurushev, Kazakhstan National Council member, Doctor of Medicine, professor and Director General of the National Scientific Medical Center Abai Baigenzhin, as well as Senior ENU Researcher and Master of Engineering Assel Nurusheva summarized the materials and experiences of Kazakhstan and foreign countries in

addressing global climate change. The authors also systematized the materials of the Kyoto Protocol and its implementation in Kazakhstan, Russia, the European Union and explained the positions of Canada, the United States and other countries on this issue. The authors believe that gradual adoption of a new system for quota trading of greenhouse gas emissions in the country and foreign markets will allow Kazakhstan to receive more than US$1 billion of net income annually. Under operational and rational management, these green investments can be used to introduce modern environmental projects and transfer technology within Kazakhstan.

The authors believe that gradual adoption of a new system for quota trading of greenhouse gas emissions in the country and foreign markets will allow Kazakhstan to receive more than US$1 billion of net income annually. This monograph covers a 20year history of gradual low-carbon development and provides an analysis of current conditions in the outlook for the development of energy and environmental strategies. The monograph is published in Kazakh, Russian and English, illustrated with charts, maps and photographs and can be used as a reference on low-carbon development and issues of the Kyoto Protocol by environmental protection specialists, undergraduate and graduate students and other readers.

Kazakhstan has taken proactive steps to prevent future environmental calamities. prehensive program for the rehabilitation of the population and ecology of the region. Following an analysis of the effects of radiation on territories adjacent to the former Semipalatinsk test site, the UN Development Program together with UN Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund and the UN Volunteers launched a three-year project called “Enhancing Human Security on the Former Test Site in Semipalatinsk.” The countries devoted $15 million to this effort. The government of Kazakhstan has also adopted a number of nationwide initiatives aimed at minimizing negative environmental or public health effects of the nuclear testing site. However, cancer rates are still high. According to unofficial data, 1.3 million of people are considered victims of the four decades of nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk test site.

Efforts to Restore Aral Sea

The Aral Sea – once the world’s largest lake – has shrunk by nearly 70 percent. But Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has vowed to reverse the alarming trend. In 2001, the Kazakh Government has defied fate, launched a vast rescue program for the Kazakh side of the Aral Sea, working in partnership with the World Bank. The program included construction of the 13 kilometer Kok-Aral dam, which divided the sea into two halves, north (Kazakh) and south (Uzbek). The rescue program also included development of the Syr Darya river banks to increase the volume of water being discharged into the northern part of the sea. The measure had an almost immediate impact. Soon after the program was completed in August 2005, tests revealed that the surface of the northern half of the lake had

risen 13 percent from 2,850 square kilometers in 2003 to 3,250 square kilometers in 2006. During the same period, salinity dropped dramatically resulting in the gradual return of marine life and several varieties of freshwater fish. The volume of fish catches – less than 1,500 tons just two years ago, is now 15,000 tons per year – a spectacular ten-fold increase. As a result of the commitment of Kazakhstan and other international allies, a significant climatic evolution has taken place in and around the northern part of the Aral Sea. The inhabitants of the region – finally able to resume their former livelihoods – have noted a considerable improvement in environmental conditions of the region in recent years. This article first appeared in Edge Kazakhstan magazine in April 2013 and is reprinted here with permission.

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Centuries-Old Sanskrit Inscription Discovered in Dolankara Mountains By Aigul Bidanova

SEMEY – On May 9, Semey scientists discovered a rock inscription dating back to the 17th century in the Dolankara Mountains (Tarbagatai ridge). The discovery is believed to be the first Sanskrit inscription found in Kazakhstan. The find was made by experts of the Scientific Centre of Historical and Sociopolitical Research named after Academician Kozybayev, a branch of the Semipalatinsk State Pedagogical Institute. The Institute’s director Mukhtarbek Karimov was tipped off by local resident

Murad Ramazanov on the presence of mysterious rock inscriptions in the Dolankara Mountains. Unfortunately, Ramazanov died before the expedition was organized. These inscriptions were found with the help of another local, Nurlan Zhumagazin, who was also a guide in the mountains for a senior researcher from the Center, Muhametbek Asylbekov, and a faculty member from the Medical University, Galymbek Bazarbekov. The exact location of the inscriptions was difficult to reach, but the inscription could be seen from afar as it was about one me-

tre long with 15 centimetres high characters. The inscription turned out to be the well-known Buddhist mantra, “Om mani padme hum” or “Oh, pearl shining in the heart of the lotus” written in Sanskrit. The accuracy of the translation and the discoverers’ conclusions concerning the authenticity of the inscription have been confirmed by wellknown Sanskrit scholar, leading researcher of the Institute of History in Kalmyk Republic and Doctor of Historical Sciences Professor Elsa Bakayeva. The researchers believe the in-

scription was made in the 17th century and that its author is the prominent Buddhist scholar, theologian and statesman Zaya Pandit. It is believed that he spent the winter of 1642 in the region. According to Karimov, parts of the northeastern, southeastern and eastern region of Kazakhstan were under Jungar rule in the 17th and 18th centuries. To this day, traces of this era remain, including the Amirsana Zhambyl Jungar fortressmonastery in Tarbagatai. Back in 1952, silver bars were also found in the Chingiztau Mountains with the image of a Buddhist saint on them.

Archaeologists Discover National Nature Park to be Established in Karaganda Ancient Princess’ Region Burial Site By Galiya Nurzhan

By Manshuk Bekentayeva

Field archaeologists have completed preliminary work in Eastern Kazakhstan that will allow them to more thoroughly examine the burial site and materials of a third and fourth century BC “Saka Princess.” The burial site of the highranking young woman was discovered during the reconstruction of Taskesken-Bakty Road in the Urdzhar area of East Kazakhstan. The expedition to examine the tomb and prepare it for further study included workers from the Alkei Margulan Archaeology Institute and professors and students from Semipalatinsk and Pavlodar educational institutions. They discovered the woman’s stone tomb1.7 metres beneath a burial mound. Parts of the burial site have been packed up for further examination. Those parts have been packed in such a way that no element, including the remains, clothing or jewellery of the noble woman, have been moved from their original positions. Their initial positions carry important information for researchers. All items were numbered and recorded with drawings and photos to allow reconstruction of the burial site. This will allow a more thorough and careful examination of the discovery. Near the burial site of the Saka Princess, archaeologists also found a headless human skeleton. According to archaeologists, another burial was found near the original site, wherethe headless human skeleton, which was also missing its right hand, was found. The researchers believe the second site might be a place where sacrificial ceremonies were held. In addition, the scientists said that the second body was buried more carelessly

than the first and was just covered with stones. It is possible that was done to confuse potential golddiggers. The discovery is valuable, according to archaeologists, because the remains are well preserved and the tomb-chest has remained largely untouched. The discovery is known as the Saka Princess because the woman had a Saukele or headdress - similar to that of the Issyk Golden Man discovered in 1969. The woman was about 170 centimetres tall. Anthropologists will recreate the face of the woman and well-known fine art restorer Krym Altynbekov will reconstruct the young woman’s clothes. Other elements of the burial site will be studied under laboratory conditions, including tomography, X-rays and other methods. Later, portions of the discovery will be given to a new museum under construction in Astana. The remains have been preserved in the underground climate for centuries, but now that they have been exposed, they are more subject to rapid decomposition, Altynbekov said.

The discovery is valuable, according to archaeologists, because the remains are well preserved and the tomb-chest has remained largely untouched. But, he added, because the remains have been preserved, it might be possible to identify the woman’s hair or wig. According to archaeologists, the most likely place of residence of the Saka Princess was the natural

boundary Laybulak of the Urdzhar area where people still live. This is the area closest to the burial site and includes flowing mountain springs. A stone container was also found on the bottom of the burial surrounded by carefully adjusted stone blocks and boulders. Ancient people often included food, clothes and various utensils in burial sites for the deceased to use in the next world. Clay and wooden utensils were found in the same tomb, in which mutton bones and female jewellery were found. Food was an important part of nomad culture at the time and certain parts of sheep carcasses, such as the shoulder or leg, were distributed at ritual feasts. These feasts often took into account the social status, age and sex of the deceased. Many present-day Turkic traditions were established during those early periods. “Opening a unique monument in East Kazakhstan under the direction of researcher Timur Smagulov is an important event in the scientific and humanitarian thought of not only Kazakhstan, but all of Eurasia. It is important that there are opportunities to document the development of cultures of the population of the Saka period. The culture of the population of this period is well studied as the result of discoveries from Central Asia to Eastern Europe. However, the uniqueness of this discovery is that, along with similar discoveries, such as the Ukok Princess in the Altai and others, this discovery appears to confirm the statement of Herodotus (Father of History) about the high status of women in the life of the Saka and Scythian societies,” Dr. Aiman Dosymbaeva, professor, archaeologist and chief research fellow at the Nazarbayev Center, said.

The Saka Princess was found in the Urdzhar district of East Kazakhstan.

ASTANA – On May 30, the 2030 Master Plan was discussed at the Akimat of the Karaganda region (the regional government of Karaganda) with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development, the Astana branch of the Kazakh Research and Design Experimental Institute of Earthquake-Resistant Construction and Architecture (RSE KazNIISSA), deputies of the regional maslikhat (the local assembly) and representatives of non-governmental organizations. The 2030 Master Plan provides a long-term vision for territorial development and organization, which was developed between 2010 and 2013 in accordance with the Strategy 2030, Prognosis plan and the 2010-2014 State Programme for Accelerated Industrial-Innovative Development (PAIID). The Master Plan is aimed at improving the quality of life and planning for sustainable spatial development in Kazakhstan. The general plan includes the basic principles of settlement and the distribution of resources in accordance with the provisions of strategic and environmental planning; the main provisions of environmental management and economic activities, the development of production, transport, engineering, social and recreational infrastructure of national importance; basic measures to improve the environmental situation in the region, conservation of areas with objects of historical and cultural heritage, and (or) protected landscape objects; the use or restrictions to use protected areas, areas of mineral deposits exposed to hazardous (harmful) phenomena and processes of natural and man-made disasters or extreme climatic conditions for implementing architecture and urban planning. The Master Plan project is divided into two parts. The first part includes the development of conceptual provisions and directions of development of the territory of Kazakhstan for 25-30 years. The other part includes detailed basic principles and directions of spatial development of the state through detailed design elements covering the main stages of the Master Plan over 15 to 20 years. According to Kazbek Mataev, deputy director of the Astana branch of the Kazakh Research and Design Experimental Institute of Earthquake-Resistant Construction and Architecture (RSE KazNIISSA), the Master Plan for the organization of the territory of Kazakhstan provides for the establishment of the Ulytau State National Nature Park in the Karaganda region. “According to the basic elements of the natural and ecological framework created within the general scheme for the development of a network of specially protected areas by 2020, the Ulytau National Nature Park and Ulytau-Arganaty State Nature Reserve are expected to be established,” Mataev said at the presentation of the project He also noted that from 2020 to 2030, the Betpak Dala State Nature Reserve and the National Nature Park in Northern Balkhash are proposed to be created. The Master Plan also includes all bird areas in the system of specially protected nature areas of the Karaganda region.

“Along the transit elements of the natural ecological framework, the wildlife crossings through the Zhezkazgan-Beineu railway line for saiga migration are proposed to be built by 2020, via the AralZheskazgan highway by 2030 and the Zheskazgan-Balkhash highway over the projected term of development,” Mataev added. Within the Master Plan, project proposals have been drafted for the development of specially protected areas in Kazakhstan for 2020 through 2030. Currently, protected areas equal 8.5 percent of the country’s area (23,101,500 hectares). Numerous proposals for developing protected areas have been drafted. One of those proposals would increase the total amount of specially protected areas to 9.2 percent by 2020 and 14.8 percent by 2030. According to Turlybek Mussabayev, director of the Astana branch of the Kazakh Research and Design Experimental Institute of Earthquake-Resistant Construction and Architecture (RSE KazNIISSA), the creation of a steppe national park is planned for the North Kazakhstan region. “In order to protect biodiversity, the steppe national park on the basis of existing reserves in the region is supposed to be created during 20202030,” Mussabayev said at the presentation of the Master Plan. According to Mussabayev , the main environmental problems of the North Kazakhstan region include air pollution in Petropavlovsk city and the small towns of the region, the pollution of the trans-boundary river basin of the Ishim River, inefficient sewage treatment and waste problems of production and consumption. “The proposed project and prognosis options for designing the environment solutions provide a set of measures to improve the ecological status of the North Kazakhstan region,” Mussabayev said. Experts believe the establishment of the national parks and nature reserves, particularly in Ulytau, will revive the damaged ecosystem. Protected areas for conserving biological diversity in the Karaganda region include the Karkaraly National Nature Park, part of the Buiratau National Nature Park and the Korgalzhyn National Nature Reserve, nine nature reserves, the Zhezkhazgan Botanical Garden and the Karaganda Zoo. However, Ulytau is of historical and cultural significance, along with its Ulytau National Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve. Ulytau is especially abundant with natural ecosystems typical for the central part of the country. Only in this region can some plants and animals be found that are included on the list of endangered and threatened species. The area is also unique because the poetic myths and legends of argali appeared at these sites. According to hunters, the revival of the argali population is very promising if appropriate conditions are created. In 2009 and 2011, as part of the GEF / UNDP / Government of Kazakhstan project Conservation and Sustainable Management of Steppe Ecosystems, the Kazakhstan Biodiversity Association conducted field research at the Ulytau site. Their results gave an objective assessment of the current state of the region’s ecosystems. The association devel-

oped a feasibility study for expanding the current reserve. “The project area has a complex composition of land users and lands of various categories. In order to preserve the unique natural complexes taking into account the interests of the local population, we recommend the creation of a state national nature park with an expansion of the existing reserve. In fact, a new wildlife sanctuary will be created. Along with this, the project area has a number of advantages that allow us to recommend it as the state natural park - national or regional,” said Alexander Berber, head of the regional territorial inspection division for forestry and hunting. When creating the Ulytau State National Nature Park based on the existing the Ulytau forest and wildlife protection farm, all the lands of the state forest fund will become protected areas. The National Nature Park area will be more than 54,000 hectares. Experts believe a protective buffer zone of a minimum of two kilometers wide should be created around the park. The Ulytau-Arganaty Complex Nature Reserve will be established without negatively affecting land users, and if in the process of drafting the feasibility study, areas of reserve land are found on its territory, they will be classified as protected areas and included in the national park. The area of the existing reserve will increase significantly, and under the project, its management will fall under the jurisdiction of the national park. At both the park and reserve, there is a high degree of nature conservation, which is of special ecological and scientific value. Both also contain unique animate and inanimate objects, which meet the criteria of the natural reserve fund and are included in the list of rare species of animals and plants. Natural landscapes and ecosystems are extremely valuable and Ulytau and Arganaty are mountain oasises in the desert steppe. Experts believe the creation of the national park will help revive the populations of argali, which populated the area until the mid-1970s. At the same time, other wild animal populations will also be helped, including antelope, elk, deer, wild boar, grouse, partridge, Pallas, bustard, little bustard, Jack, Plover, Sandgrouse, Sandgrouse, black stork and others. Moreover, Ulytau has everything to reacclimatize the Przewalski horse, Asiatic wild ass, red deer, mountain goat, which formerly inhabited these places. In addition, there is a number of important historical and cultural monuments in the area of the park and reserve. In addition, it is not difficult to get to the protected area, which is just a 140-kilometre drive from Zhezkazgan and Satpayev cities. The reserved area is located far from active mining and industrial development areas, which is why the area is an excellent candidate for a national nature park Experts believe the flow of tourists is gradually increasing and the area is suitable for various forms of recreation, tourism and an organization dedicated to environmental education. The development of the tourism sector is included in the concept for the socio-economic development of the Karaganda region and its Ulytau district.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 12 June 2013



A Living Memory of a Great Coach By Yuri Lifintsev ALMATY – Kazakhstan’s largest city hosted the Tenth Youth Volleyball Tournament dedicated to Zangar Dzharkeshev in early June. Telling the story of this Honored Coach of the USSR and the Kazakh SSR and the professor of pedagogy, may take more than just one page. He was the one who coached “Burevestnik” in 1969 when this Almaty team won the championship of the Soviet Union for the first time in the history of Kazakhstan’s volleyball. The following year the team under his leadership won the European Cup and in 1971 they repeated this success. Silver and bronze medallists in several championships of the USSR, they also won a “bronze” for Kazakhstan at the Games of the Peoples of the USSR. The Olympic gold by Valery Kravchenko and Oleg Antropov, world and European victories by the same Kravchenko, Antropov and Zhanbek Sauranbayev, international junior medal of Alexander Portnoy, Nicholas Ragozin and others are just among many

victories where the head coach of “Burevestnik” had his hand. Even back then, in the late 1960s - early 1970s, he was called a volleyball innovator. The recent memorial tournaments started with competitions of veterans where only the best teams of the country participated. But everyone had enough of their tournaments except for the children who lacked practice. Moreover, Zangar Dzharkeshev in his last years headed “Zhastar”, the children’s and youth sports society. So a decision was made to organize sporting events for children on his birthday. The National Research Center for Physical Culture of the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan led by director, professor Merkezhan Koshayev organizes the tournament. Dzharkeshev’s widow, Zulfi, is a driving force behind the annual events. Competitions are held in the gymnasium of the Kazakh Academy of Sport and Tourism, which bears Dzharkeshev’s name. In short, there are a lot of adults who pay a lot of attention to the kids playing good volleyball including qualified referees.

“In the past, only teams from Almaty participated in these competitions but now many volleyball players come over from other regions,” the main referee of the tournament Lyudmila Kim said. “And the level of preparation of the teams has grown from year to year. I’m not even talking about the competitive mood of the participants who want to show everyone what they learned from their coaches.” In addition( to the traditional prizes – the cups and sets of medals for the first three places – the participants received awards, including cameras and electronic equipment from Zulfi Dzharkesheva herself. Among the boys, Almaty-1 Team coached by Gregory Neklyudov took the first place. The top three winners also included two teams from South Kazakhstan Region (Shymkent Sports School number 2 and SKR (South Kazakhstan Region) -1). Among the girls, the winner was the team from the local Volleyball Academy named after Zangar Dzharkeshev coached by Irina Kabulbekova. The second and third places went to athletes from Shymkent and Almaty.

Kazakhstan Chooses Master Barcelona Football Coach to Train Juniors in Astana Sochi Olympics Uniform Design By Manshuk Bekentayeva

By Miras Abykov ASTANA – The designs of Aizhan Bokayeva and her brand Ayoko Bo were chosen on May 30 as the official uniforms for Kazakhstan athletes at the Sochi Olympics. Following the results of international voting, which began on May 28, Bokayeva’s designs received the maximum number of votes at 952. That was only two more votes than the second-place winner, Almaty-based company KAZSPO-N. Third place went to designer Thais Dow Guang Zhou who received 296 votes. The winner Bokayeva called her mother her chief assistant. Her mother “turned upside down” all of Kazakhstan and contacted friends from all over the world to ask them to vote for her daughter, Bokayeva said. “Now I know what presidents experience during pre-election campaigns,” the winner said.

The competition began on May 14, and during its two-week run, 19 applicants fought for the right to dress Kazakhstan’s Olympic delegation in their uniform design. After the first stage, three competitors made their way to the final, including fashion house Ayoko Bo, the KAZSPO-N company and young designer Thais Dow Guang Zhou. Prior to that, at a press conference held May 28 upon completion of the first stage of competition, it was announced by official representative of Kazakhstan’s Agency for Physical Culture and Sports Dias Akhmetsharip that Kazakhstan plans to spend around $3,300 per Olympic uniform. “Around 370 thousand tenge ($2,444) was spent on production of one unit of uniform for the Olympic Games in Vancouver. We plan to increase the amount up to 500 thousand tenge ($3,314) for the production of the uniforms for Sochi 2014. We will not only spend budget funds but also will attract sponsors,” he said. According to Akhmetsharip, a total of 150 uniforms will be produced. Now that the design has been chosen, the next step is to organize a competition to choose a company to produce the uniforms. Officials believe that not only Kazakhstan’s companies, but also world brands such as Adidas, Nike, Asics, Lotto will be engaged in the process.

For two weeks in June and July Kazakhstan’s junior football players will have the opportunity to be trained by one of the best coaches in the world from the junior academy of the legendary Barcelona football club. From June 30 to July 15 in Astana, Executive Director of training camps for FCB in Spain and certified ProA category trainer Carles Martorell Bakes will provide free coaching to 80 lucky Kazakhstan football play-

ers from 14 regions of the country aged 9 to 11. Bakes will teach the basics, as well as the secrets of Spanish football skills. The coaching sessions will be held at the Astana Arena. Bakes is considered a master coach and holds the highest coaching license offered by FIFA. He has coached the Azerbaijan Khazar Lankaran football club and the children’s team of the Catalonia Football Federation. He is also the founder of the company Tactic Sport Services, which works with numerous schools.

The Nazarbayev Center is sponsoring the coaching programme as part of Kazakhstan’s development of junior football. Kazakhstan’s youth team won first prize at the Sixth International U-17 tournament for the Cup of the President of Kazakhstan. The best playmaker on that team, Maxim Gladchenko from Taraz, was awarded a special prize, the Gold Football Boot. It is hoped that the upcoming coaching sessions with the master Barcelona coach will contribute to

the development of youth football in Kazakhstan. The Agency of Kazakhstan for Sport and Physical Training Affairs, the Football Federation of Kazakhstan and LLP Sport Technologies of Kazakhstan participate in organizing the event. The camp will be divided into two parts. The first part from June 30 to July 7 will include 40 juniors from around the country. The second part from July 8 to July 15 will include another 40 juniors exclusively from the Astana and Akmola regions.

Vincenzo Nibali Looks to More Victories with Astana Team From Page A1

Victory in the Giro d’Italia was not easy, particularly given the extreme weather conditions. But you maintained your composure. How did you manage to do that? Giro d’Italia is a serious cycling race. Yes, the weather conditions were severe. I wished the weather was better, but we were a little bit unlucky, it was snowing. All days long we were building our victory, we believed in it. We did not have special preparations, but all members of the team trust each other. In the end, we won. Who do you think is the main contender to win in the Vuelta? It is difficult to say now or to make any predictions. I will repeat once again that race victories are painstakingly achieved and built day by day. Take, for example, Giro d’Italia. It was a difficult and exhausting test. As for the Vuelta, let's see what will happen. It has been reported that you will not take part in this year’s Tour de France. What are your plans for next year? Yes, this year I will not take part in Tour de France because I want to focus on the Vuelta and the road cycling world championship, which will take place in September in my native Italy. I plan to partake in the Tour de France next year. Some consider the Astana professional cycling team to be one of the most successful public image projects of Kazakhstan internationally. Would you agree with that? Yes, of course, the level of recognition of the Astana cycling team has recently significantly increased in many countries. This is a very serious and well-known project. I am sure that, year after year, the level of recognition of the Astana team will continue to rise and, over time, it will become a famous sports club. As for me, the management of the Astana team offered me to join them and I tried not to let them down, winning this year’s stage race in Italy. You were recently married. How do you manage having to be away for multi-day races?

Vincenzo Nibali and his team mates had to endure tough weather to win in Giro d’Italia. Yes, indeed, I got married last fall. My wife is now at home in Italy. Of course, the separation is hard for her, but she understands my work. I travel all over the world and she supports me. As a true Italian, surely you love wine. And what kind, other than Vino (nickname of famous Kazakhstan cyclist Alexander Vinokourov), of course, do you prefer? (Smiling and pointing in the direction of Alexander Vinokourov). Yes, I know Vino as a good racer, but now recognize him as the general manager of the Astana team. As for wine as a drink, then, as a rule, I only taste it. As you know, in Italy there are many varieties of wine. Personally, I prefer red wine from the famous Sicilian varieties of red grapes Nero d’Avola. Why do they call you “Shark” and “Cannibal.” How do you feel about that and what do those names mean? “Shark” is an old nickname and

my fans do really call me that. “Cannibal” is also a nickname that exists. I do not know why they call me that. For me, it does not mean anything special. Italy is well known as a producer of quality films. Which movies do you like? This is a very difficult question. The fact is that my mother worked in video sales, so I’ve always had the opportunity to see the latest movies. So again, I cannot definitively answer this question. There are a lot of movies that I like. It has also been reported that you are a serious photographer. Have you held exhibitions where the public can see your work? Yes, I have a passion for photography. But the last few years, I haven’t been able to do it. I just do not have enough time. Now I only take pictures on the weekends. For example, recently, when I was at the zoo, I photographed animals: elephants, leopards.

According to some, Italy is home to great musicians. I will not be forgiven if I do not ask about your musical tastes? In addition to Italian music, I love the music of the legendary band Queen. On this tour in Kazakhstan, instead of the usual workout gear for a cyclist, you will spend most of your time in stylish business clothes. Which Italian couturier do you prefer? Oh no, in this matter, I have no boundaries. I wear suits, shirts and shoes, which are above all, comfortable. This is my main condition. I prefer brands such as Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Hugo Boss that I combine and mix together. Have you had a chance to try Kazakhstan’s national cuisine during this trip? We visited several national restaurants. I tried horse meat and I liked it, very tasty.

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Malaysia Exhibition Showcases Best of Malaysian Services

Malaysian officials presented new products and services at the Korme exhibition complex in Astana.

By Rufiya Ospanova ASTANA – The Malaysia Services Exhibition 2013 (MSE 2013), which showcased the best of this country’s services, launched on June 4 at the Korme exhibition complex. The pavilions where representatives of Malaysian companies showed a diverse range of high-quality products and services in spheres including construction, consultancy, healthcare and others were crowded with people interested in cooperating with those companies. It was noted that Kazakhstan provides trade and investment opportunities for the companies, which are striving to establish new directions in one of the most dynamically developing markets. Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, rapidly developing both as an ad-

ministrative and business centre, was chosen due the country’s possibilities as a modern and diversified economy with a profitable high-tech industry, Malaysian representatives said. The participation of Malaysian companies in the exhibition was aimed at further developing close business partnerships and establishing joint enterprises with local companies, as well as increasing awareness of Malaysian service suppliers. Yerlan Khairov, chairman of the Investment Committee of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, noted in his welcoming speech the importance of cooperation between Malaysia and Kazakhstan. “I would like to ask our guests to consider our country not only the way to Kazakhstan, but also the way to the Customs Union, where the population is over

170 million people. I want to wish everyone fruitful work and success,” he said. Dr. Wong Lai Sum, when she took the floor, noted the importance of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Malaysia. “This is the twelfth exhibition organised by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), but this is the first exhibition of this kind held in Kazakhstan,” she said. “It is an important fact that the ambassador of Malaysia to Kazakhstan and the ambassador of Kazakhstan to Malaysia are rendering assistance to the companies to promote cooperation between Kazakhstan and Malaysia.” The ties of the two countries have become stronger because more areas of cooperation have appeared in both countries’ mar-

Kyrgyz Artists Show Their Vision of Illusion on the Steppe

Kyrgyz artists have displayed their vision of Astana at the Palace of Peace and Harmony.

By Bektur Kadyrov ASTANA – An exhibition called “Astana in the art of Kyrgyz artists” dedicated to the 15th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s capital is now open in the Palace of Independence. It includes about one hundred works of 17 well-known Kyrgyz artists, and all of them are devoted to Astana. It was organized at the initiative of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the Kyrgyz Republic with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as the department of culture of Astana and a group of patrons of arts. Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the Kyrgyz Republic Beibit Issabayev, Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Repub-

lic Sultan Rayev, and Minister of Culture and Information of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Kul-Muhammed officially launched the exhibition on June 6. Kyrgyz artists have presented their original art and their perception of what some would call the “Illusion on the Steppe.” The artists are national artists of Kyrgyzstan, winners of prestigious international exhibitions Rifkat Bukharmetov, Saparbay Osmonaliyev, Suyutbek Torobekov, Ormon Idirissov, Dina Tserendorzhieva, Jumabek Bazarbayev and others. In 2011-2013, these artists, supported by the club of friends of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Kyrgyzstan, were working in Astana, and now the results of their work are on display in the Palace of Independence. The authors presented not only traditional pictures of summer and

autumn (most colourful) motives, but also the winter motives, which is quite challenging because it is difficult for an artist to show white colour. With noticeable curiosity the artists pictured “frost and sun,” entertainment on ice-hills, snowmobile races – the joys of the northern people, which are little known to the artists from the southern areas. They painted different parts of Astana, including the old, Tselinograd part of the city, where one-story houses with courtyards are still present. However, the most inspiring parts of the city were the symbols of the city – the Baiterek Tower, the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, the Islamic Center, other colourful sights and objects, such as the Georgian restaurant Bagrationi and the Melnitsa (Mill) Ukrainian restaurant. Saparbay Osmonaliyev’s portrait of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of Kazakhstan, against the background of Astana in full view became the centerpiece of the exhibition. The painting is called the “City of Dreams”. Its plot is simple, but the performance is expressional. In addition to paintings, a large photo exhibition was presented and a catalogue with reproductions of the pictures, portraits and brief biographies of their authors in three languages were published. The exhibition was among the first in a series of international cultural events in honor of the 15th anniversary of Astana, marked on July 6. It also anticipates the Days of Culture of Kyrgyzstan in Kazakhstan.

kets. Cooperation in the sphere of education is also an important indicator of better cooperation. “MSE Astana 2013 will showcase the expertise and capabilities of Malaysian services companies under seven clusters, namely construction and its related services, logistics and freight forwarding, information and communication technology (ICT), education, healthcare services, franchises [and] business services,” Dr. Wong concluded. After the welcoming speeches, Chairman Khairov, Dr. Wong and the Ambassador of Malaysia to Kazakhstan Dato’Ahmad Rasidi Bin Hazizi cut the ribbon to open the exhibition. After this ceremony they visited the pavilions showcasing services and goods. The Malaysian ambassador in an interview said, “Last year’s visit of

President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan to Malaysia promoted cooperation between the two countries. Of course, our cooperation with your companies is longstanding; however, we are not going to stop at the current level. Today we plan to hold 15 business meetings within the exhibition.” A total of 31 companies with 54 representatives participated in the event. The Malaysian exhibitors in the construction cluster showcased architectural, engineering and construction services, manufacturers of park equipment, and interior and exterior lighting services. In addition to the exhibition, there were concurrent events including seminars and business meetings for the participants. More than 600 business meetings have been pre-arranged for participants.

The inaugural MSE was held in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, in 2008, where MATRADE presented 11 services sectors with a total of 168 participants. To date, MATRADE had successfully organised 11 MSE programmes. MATRADE is Malaysia’s national trade promotion agency. Established in March 1993, MATRADE’s primary role is to assist Malaysian exporters in developing and expanding their export markets. Assisted by a network of 40 overseas offices located in major commercial cities around the world, MATRADE provides a wide range of assistance to both Malaysian exporters and foreign buyers of Malaysian products and services who are sourcing for trade-related information.

The astana times of 12 june 2013