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The Astana Times Wednesday, 20 february 2013

Almaty Readies to Host Int’l Powers for Talks over Iran’s Nuclear Programme

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Kazakhstan to Astana Condemns Launch New Generation Green North Korean Smart Mine in Nuclear Test 2015 By Rufiya Ospanova

By Galiya Nurzhan

Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city of 1.5 million, is getting ready to host top negotiators from relevant countries for an important round of talks. represented by Saeed Jalili, Iran’s affairs at the State Department, is of the same six countries and Iran By Yelden Sarybay top nuclear negotiator, is set to set to lead the US delegation. held three rounds of talks in IstanThe P5+1, or EU3+3, depending bul (April 14), Baghdad (May 23ASTANA – The world’s powers, meet the European Union’s High including Britain, China, France, Representative for Foreign Affairs on how one chooses to count, suspect 24) and Moscow (June 18-19), all Germany, Russia, and the United and Security, colloquially known Iran of developing nuclear weapons of which ended without any breakStates, are set to meet with Iran in as the EU Foreign Minister, Cath- under the guise of its peaceful nu- throughs. Before those three rounds Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Feb. 26, erine Ashton, who is expected to clear programme. Tehran says its of talks, negotiations with Iran had for a new round of talks on that co-chair the negotiations leading nuclear programme is aimed solely not been conducted in over a year. the EU delegation. Wendy R. Sher- at meeting the country’s electriccountry’s nuclear programme. Continued on Page A3 The Islamic Republic of Iran, man, undersecretary for political ity needs. Last year, representatives

Pope Welcomes Kazakhstan’s Efforts to Promote Inter-Religious Understanding By Assem Kazybay Pope Benedict XVI welcomed the efforts of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to promote inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding on Feb. 6 and gave his apostolic blessing to Kazakhstan’s initiatives in this field. The pope shared his views in a meeting with Chairman of Kazakhstan’s Senate and Head of the Secretariat of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions Kairat Mami that took place at the Vatican on Wednesday. Mami’s visit was timed to mark the 10th anniversary of President Nazarbayev’s initiative to convene the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Meeting Pope Benedict XVI, Mami expressed gratitude to the

Pope and the Holy See for allround support for the Congress, and conveyed cordial greetings from the President of Kazakhstan. The Pope praised the efforts of President Nazarbayev in preserving inter-confessional and intercultural understanding and accord, and wished success in the development of a multicultural dialogue and strengthening the peace. Pope Benedict XVI also gave apostolic blessing to Kazakhstan’s initiatives in the area. During his visit Mami also met Dean of the College of Cardinals of the Holy See Angelo Sodano, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue JeanLouis Tauran, Secretary for Relations with States in the Roman Curia Dominique Francois Joseph Mamberti.

“The Vatican is a strategic partner for Kazakhstan. We have recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, 20 years of constructive and sustained interaction based on mutual respect and full confidence,” Mami stated at the meeting with Cardinal JeanLouis Tauran. He stressed that President Nazarbayev’s official visit to the Vatican in November 2009 gave a strong impetus to the development of bilateral relations. It was during that visit that Pope Benedict XVI assured President Nazarbayev of the Vatican’s full support for Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the OSCE and for the idea of organizing an OSCE Summit in Astana. The relations between Kazakhstan and the Vatican have always been strong and warm.

President Nazarbayev first met Pope John Paul II in 1994 and in September 2011, a few days after the terrorist attacks of September 11 in the United States, Pope John Paul II visited Astana. That visit was seen as an affirmation of traditions of tolerance prevailing in Kazakhstan and of the importance of continued efforts to strengthen dialogue and understanding among various religions and civilizations at a time when terrorists were trying to hijack religion and drive a wedge between countries and peoples. During that visit, Pope John Paul II called Kazakhstan “an example of a country where men and women of different origin and belief live in peace with each other.”

Continued on Page A3

ASTANA – In keeping with the global trend for saving energy and resources, the Kazatomprom National Atomic Company (Kazatomprom) announced the development of a smart uranium mine project at the fifth seminar dedicated to the development of Kazakhstan’s uranium and atomic industries held on January 31 in Almaty. The implementation of the project will contribute to positioning of Kazakhstan as a country committed to a new, green development strategy. The main goal of the project is testing and introducing new technologies in uranium mining to bring down costs. The meeting was organised by the Institute of High Technologies LLP (IHT), a subsidiary of Kazatomprom NAC, and focused on the development of the concept of a new generation green smart mine. The event brought together experts from Kazatomprom; its subsidiaries, joint ventures and affiliated companies; representatives of foreign companies currently working or planning to work with the national atomic company in the field of innovation as well as leading technicians and professionals involved in introducing new technologies.

Continued on Page A5

ASTANA – Kazakhstan, which experienced firsthand the devastating effects of nuclear weapons testing under the Soviet Union, has joined other nations in condemning the latest underground nuclear test by North Korea. On Feb. 12, Kazakhstan’s National Data Centre, a part of a global system for monitoring nuclear tests, recorded seismic disturbances caused by the test on the territory of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In its statement on Feb. 12, Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry said Astana “strongly condemns the nuclear test carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea which violates the UN Security Council Resolutions #1718 (2006) and #1874 (2009).” “Testing of nuclear weapons affects the non-proliferation process and bears security risks on regional and global scale,” the foreign minister continued. “Having experienced the harmful consequences of nuclear tests, our country took the lead to initiate to proclaim the UN International Day against Nuclear Tests. Kazakhstan stands for immediate resumption of negotiations on North Korean nuclear issue within six-party talks and calls on Pyongyang to abandon any steps which might lead to the escalation of tensions.” The explosion was the third underground test by North Korea. For many years, North Korea has been actively developing intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.

Continued on Page A3

Journalist Asks Obama to Intervene with AES on Water Crisis By Maral Zhantaykyzy

ASTANA – Fedor Kovalev, a Kazakh journalist from Pavlodar, published at open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama calling on him to press the AES Corporation to fulfil its investment obligations to the Shulbinsk Hydroelectric Power Plant. Journalist Fedor Kovalev claimed

that AES (Applied Energy Services), a major American company, had delivered far too little water, too late, through the facilities of the Shulbinsk hydro plant in eastern Kazakhstan from the resources in the Upper Irtysh reservoir cascade to the Irtysh flood plain.

Continued on Page A5

President Nazarbayev’s Visit to Spain Advances Political, Economic Ties By Altynai Sultan In a sign of growing friendship and expanding strategic partnership, President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid a working visit to Spain on Feb. 5-6 for meetings with King Juan Carlos I, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and chief executives of major Spanish companies working in Kazakhstan, including Patentes Talgo S.A., Airbus Military and others. President Nazarbayev arrived in Madrid on Feb. 5 and on Feb. 6 he met King Juan Carlos I to discuss cooperation on tourism, culture, international issues and humanitarian affairs. President Nazarbayev awarded Juan Carlos I Kazakhstan’s highest award, the Order of Altyn Kyran, for his outstanding contribution to Kazakh-Spanish relations. The same day, Nazarbayev met Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and discussed boosting trade and investment ties with him. They also exchanged views on international issues Spain is a major partner of Kazakhstan. It is the second European country with which Ka-

zakhstan has signed a treaty of strategic partnership. Spain is also the first EU member state to sign a full package of agreements with Kazakhstan on criminal law. “This visit is a reflection of the very wide-ranging and expanding bilateral ties between Astana and Madrid which are mutually beneficial and reach into trade, military equipment, transportation and culture,” Assylbek Mendygaliyev, a leading research fellow at the Nazarbayev Center’s Institute for Statehood, Issues of Security and Development, said. “The relations have always benefited from the very close personal friendship between the President of Kazakhstan and King Juan Carlos I.” On Feb. 5, President Nazarbayev met leaders of major Spanish companies. With Carlos Palacio Oriol, the president of Palentes Talgo S.A., President Nazarbayev discussed further cooperation in the manufacturing and technical maintenance of railway equipment and passenger rail cars. Nazarbayev said a joint venture between Patentes Talgo S.A. and Kazakhstan’s national railway company Kaza-

khstan Temir Zholy has already built around 70 passenger rail cars and in the near future the production is set to rise to 150 units. He then noted that there were great opportunities in that area. “Now our challenge is to build high-speed railway between Astana and Almaty, and I think we will continue to work in this field,” he said. Oriol said his company had worked with its Kazakh partners for 10 years with successful results. “We are pleased that the president of Kazakhstan has a clear vision for the development of the railway sector and, above all, for high-speed railway transport. Cooperation with Kazakhstan is important for us, and we will do everything to continue its development for the benefit of the both sides,” Oriol said. President Nazarbayev also held talks with Domingo Urena-Raso, head of the Airbus Military Company. They explored further cooperation on developing technical programmes for air military transports.

Continued on Page A3

During his visit to Spain President Nazarbayev met King Juan Carlos I to discuss issues of bilateral cooperation and also awarded him Kazakhstan’s highest award, the Order of Altyn Kyran.

Inside Nation New Border Law Passed to Boost Security Improved Adoption Policies Protect Children’s Rights Page A2




Major Transport Corridor to Connect Kazakhstan, Russia, China by 2015 Kazatomprom Reports Year of Achievements

Social Media: Shaping The Way We See the World or Shaping the New World Itself?

ABDYKALIKOVA: State Policy to Unlock Women’s Potential BOUCHEZ: EU and Kazakhstan Kuyukov: Act before Too Late Pages A6-A7

Pages A5

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NATION & CAPITAL Curling Comes to the Capital Kaleidoscope of Touristic Destinations Pages B1-B8

US$1 = 150.50 KZT 1 Euro = 200.83 KZT 1 Rouble = 4.99 KZT

The Astana Times



New Border Law Passed to Boost Security By Rufiya Ospanova ASTANA – The government of Kazakhstan has introduced a new border security law for the first time in 20 years. It came into force on January 16. The new law is designed to combat a wide range of threats to national security and the daily wellbeing of the people of Kazakhstan that have emerged in recent years. These include drug trafficking, illegal migration, international terrorism, religious extremism and separatism. It was the first time the law had been amended and updated since the old one came into force on Jan. 13, 1993. The new law takes into account the great changes in international relations, the country’s new foreign policy and the dramatically different economic conditions that have developed over the past two decades. It has provisions to deal with the increase in transnational trade and migration and the conditions governing state border controls since Kazakhstan created the new Customs Union with Russia and Belarus. It also has updated aspects that deal with the legal status of Kazakhstan’s sovereignty over the areas it controls in the Caspian Sea. The new law was drafted by the Border Service of the National Security Committee working in co-

Defenders of state borders protect and ensure safety of the country’s frontiers. operation with the Ministry of De- dent’s Office and the Mazhilis of the ereignty over the seabed and its underground resources. The 1993 law fence, the Ministry of Transport and Parliament of Kazakhstan. The new law defines the areas of had no such provisions. Communications, the Ministry of The new law also consolidates Agriculture, the Ministry of Foreign responsibility of state bodies particiAffairs, the Ministry of Justice, the pating in the protection and control responsibility for the protection of Ministry of Finance and other rel- of state borders. It decides the state frontiers under the new State Border body which will be responsible for Commission. The commission will evant government agencies. The new law was drafted after ex- protecting maritime borders on the include representatives of all intertensive consultations with the Presi- Caspian Sea, and for retaining sov- ested state bodies. They will be in-

Improved Adoption Policies Protect Children’s Rights By Maral Zhantaykyzy ASTANA – One of the priorities of state policy in Kazakhstan is the right of every child to live and grow up in a family. Raissa Sher, Chairwoman of the Children’s Rights Protection Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science, recently held a briefing where she spoke about the implementation of the National Strategy of Adoption and the innovations in national legislation on children’s rights. International (also known as intercountry) adoption has been permitted in Kazakhstan since 1999. Over 14 years, more than 8,000 orphans have found new families outside their home country. Under the laws of Kazakhstan, all of them remain citizens and are eligible for Kazakhstan passports. At age 18, the child can choose a citizenship. Today, Kazakhstan has 10,887 orphans and abandoned children who live in children’s homes, hoping one day to have a family. In 2010, the government of Kazakhstan introduced a moratorium on international adoption. It was adopted because the previous unregulated and chaotic process of adoption had spawned many abus-

es and made it impossible to trace the fate of the child. That same year, Kazakhstan ratified the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The government carried out the necessary work on the foreign adoption process in accordance with international standards and regulations. Accession to the convention will allow authorities to monitor a child and ensure he or she will not be treated cruelly. Today, if any case of such mistreatment is revealed, children can be returned to their homeland, Kazakhstan. The adoptive parents are now required to report about the fate of the children. In late 2011, President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed into law a new code “On Marriage (Matrimony) and the Family.” In March 2012, the government passed six regulations to be added to the code. The main innovation is the creation of regional interagency committees to select children for international adoption and to approve candidates for adoptive parents. Under the new rules, all documents provided by foreign adoptive parents will be collected by accredited agencies abroad and then transmitted through their branches

Accession to the convention will allow authorities to monitor a child and ensure he or she is treated properly.

in Kazakhstan to the Children’s Rights Protection Committee. The accreditation process for adoption agencies was carried out over the last year and was completed on Jan. 18, 2013. About 60 agencies have submitted their proposals. The commission has approved the accreditation of 37 of them. Another 20 adoption agencies have already completed the registration process. These include eight agencies from the United States, five from Spain, three from Canada, one from Germany and one from France. Every agency will be allowed to find adoptive parents for only two children. “Today, adoption agencies accredited in Kazakhstan undertake the control of adopted children in foreign countries and the responsibility of providing timely reports about them. During the first three years, these reports will be required twice a year. In the following years, they will be required once a year until adulthood. If the accredited agency violates the requirements of Kazakhstan’s law to any extent, the accreditation will be recalled,” Sher said. The international adoption of children from Kazakhstan is permitted only to countries that share Kazakhstan’s international obligations to protect the children’s rights and interests (paragraph 5 of article 84 of the code). The terms of selection of adoptive parents for their children have been changed. The list of persons who cannot be adoptive parents (single men, people with no fixed abode, stateless persons, and others) was extended. The period of communication of future custodial parents with their child has been increased from two to four weeks. In addition, the age difference between the adopter and the adopted child must be at least 16 years and not more than 45 years. After the child meets and communicates with his or her prospective parents, the interagency commission will decide whether candidates correspond to the child’s interests. If approved, the adoptive parents must be listed in the consular register in the Department of Consular Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Upon arrival in their own country, they are obliged to register the child at the embassy consulate of Kazakhstan accredited to their country. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education and Science and its Foreign Ministry, represented by diplomatic missions and law enforcement agencies, are charged with controlling the execution of this process. As The Astana Times reported in its article about the Mercy Voluntary Society on July 27, 2012, a new webpage called was launched. The page provides collected resumes of all children living in Kazakhstan’s orphanages, including detailed information for those who want to adopt a child in Kazakhstan.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

structed to draft new proposals and recommendations on state border issues. The 2013 law requires all authorities involved in enforcing border security to apply administrative norms and all national criminal legislation in the exercise of their duties. To reduce administrative barriers and protect the constitutional rights of citizens, entry passes into Kazakhstan will be required only for foreigners and stateless persons. Citizens of Kazakhstan will be able to enter the country with only their IDs. The new law encourages ordinary citizens to voluntarily participate with the law enforcement agencies in fighting drug trafficking, illegal migration and other transnational crimes. The new legislation is designed to make entering Kazakhstan a far easier experience for tourists, businessmen and other lawful travellers. However, this does not mean that the border will become transparent. All its security aspects will be preserved and enforced against violators. The new legislation is also designed to increase security in communities in border regions. It contains a combination of balanced measures to ensure safety and freedom in these areas. The law is also designed to encourage local communities to create their own voluntary groups to participate in patrolling and securing the country’s land borders. The growth of these voluntary groups is envisaged as a gradual, evolutionary process.

PM Supports Multiple Legal Reform Efforts By Alina Usmanova

ASTANA – Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov has given the green light to an ambitious programme of law reforms this year. The prime minister participated in a planning conference at the Justice Ministry where Justice Minister Berik Imashev outlined plans for legal reforms in 2013. Imashev said the Justice Ministry was preparing 12 new laws and was working with other ministries and state agencies to prepare another 36.

the main task of the Justice Ministry was to enforce the implementation of new laws drafted within the framework of the government’s strategic development programme. “First, the ministry shall address current legal problems, detect their causes and comprehensively resolve them. Second, coordinate the rule-making activity of state agencies, ensure the quality of draft laws and reduce the number of unscheduled drafts,” he said. The prime minister also instructed the ministry to speed up Parliament’s work in preparing new

Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov participated in a planning conference at the Justice Ministry where Justice Minister Berik Imashev outlined plans for legal reforms in 2013. The process of legal reform is already well underway. In 2012, President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed 62 new laws and another 61 draft laws are currently under consideration by Parliament. “This year, the government will submit 53 draft laws for the consideration of Parliament,” Prime Minister Akhmetov said. The prime minister also instructed the Justice Ministry to submit proposals for reforming the execution of judicial acts. The ministry will continue its work to streamline administrative procedures and revise literary copyright law. It is also working to modernise patent legislation and simplify the registration of inventions to meet the standards of nations in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The patent reform process is designed to promote domestic inventors. It recognises that intellectual property law is essential to promote national competitiveness and fulfil the Strategy-2050 to make Kazakhstan one of the world’s 30 most competitive countries. In 2013, the government will also introduce a new edition of the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Criminal Executive Code and the Code of Administrative Offences to Parliament. Prime Minister Akhmetov said

guidelines for state regulations. “Starting this year, we pass to a new stage of cooperation with Parliament and the Nur Otan party in line with the national strategy for framing new official regulations,” he said. This strategy has not been finalised yet because the state agencies have not agreed on their proposals, the prime minister said. Therefore, he instructed the Justice Ministry to take responsibility for completing the process and to coordinate the legislative initiatives of the government, Parliament and Nur Otan. “The tasks of the ministry lie in strengthening its analytical work, detecting the reasons for legal claims, assessing the prospects for legal proceedings in different cases and participating in negotiation processes,” the prime minister said. In his address to the nation in December, President Nazarbayev said 60 percent of all state services, including the issuing of all types of licenses, should be available online. The Justice Ministry has already achieved this goal, making 71 percent of all state services available online. Justice Minister Imashev said the number of state services available online increased by 35.2 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.

Domestic News in Brief ● Erzhan Mayamerov, 40, the former imam of Semey, was elected the Chief Mufti of the Muslims of Kazakhstan at the 7th Extraordinary Congress of Muslims in the country which took place in Astana on Feb. 19. He replaced Sheikh Absattar Hajji Derbisali, 65, who had served in this position for 13 years and who had expressed desire to devote himself to scholarly work. Mayamerov has graduated from Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he had lived for 10 years, from 1993 to 2003. He is married with three children. ● The working population of Kazakhstan will grow to 9.5 million by 2017, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection said in a statement. However, the ministry said the working population of the Akmola, Kostanay, NorthKazakhstan and East Kazakhstan regions of the country would fall in the next five years. “The most significant growth in the number of employed people will be seen in Astana where the total is projected to rise by 107,000 by 2017 and the largest decrease will occur in North Kazakhstan where the working population is projected to fall by 2,700 by 2017,” the ministry said. “Economic growth will cause an increase in labour efficiency and the fall of the percentage of self-employed people in the labour force by 2.4 percent,” it said. ● Kazakhstan’s educational and science programmes should focus on innovations and ecology. President Nursultan Nazarbayev told Education Minister Bakhytzhan Zhumagulov at a meeting that developing the green economy would require extensive innovations and invention. “If everything is good with the ecology, new technologies will keep developing as well,” the president said. He said innovative technologies would grow in importance as Kazakhstan prepared to host EXPO 2017 on future energy in Astana. ● President Nursultan Nazarbayev has appointed Rapil Zhoshybayev, executive secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, as commissioner in charge of EXPO 2017. ● All incomes and assents must be declared to the government by 2017, Finance Minister Bolat Zhamishev said, “The individual is the final beneficiary of economic activities. There is an individual behind any capital and any property. We can keep talking about tax administration, but this system will be far from perfect if we cannot monitor the property of final beneficiaries. We are aiming to carry out a gradual transition to comprehensive reporting by 2017,” he said. ● The national toguz kumalak championship was held in Pavlodar from Feb. 4 to Feb. 13. The tournament was held in three classes classic, blitz and rapid - based on the Swiss system. Some 104 players from 13 provinces took part. Toguz kumalak, or nine balls, is a game in the mancala family, which is played throughout the region. It is a national sport in Kazakhstan where there are 10,000 organised players. The game is similar to backgammon. ● More than 98,000 traffic violations have been recorded in Almaty over the past two and a half months and 95,000 traffic tickets issued for over 1 billion tenge ($6.7 million), the city’s Road Police Department said. Video surveillance cameras record up to 2,000 traffic rule violations daily. The most frequent one is speeding. ● Kazakhstan TV channels will be available in 110 countries, Culture and Information Ministry said. “The country’s Internet media will reach more than 100 countries,” he said. ● The application process for this year’s Bolashak international scholarships opened on Feb. 18. The registration period will run from Feb. 18 to Oct. 1, 2013.. ● An exhibition of the works of contemporary artist Kazakbay Azhibekuly was held in the Presidential Museum in Astana on Feb. 20 Azhibekuly, 46, is a citizen of Astana who was born in 1966 in the village of Bestamak in the Tselinograd region.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Eurasia and world

External News in Brief ● Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov spoke on the phone with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Feb. 19 to discuss bilateral relations, the upcoming talks over Iran’s nuclear programme in Almaty as well as the continued cooperation in stabilizing Afghanistan. ● A Russian space official said lease agreements for some launch facilities in Kazakhstan could be suspended, opening the way for their joint administration by the two countries. Roscosmos deputy head Sergei Savelyev told the Ivzestia newspaper in an interview, published on Feb. 16 that the first facility to come under review would be the pad used to launch satellites on Zenit rocket boosters. Savelyev said Kazakhstan had expressed interest in training its own space engineers. Russia currently pays Kazakhstan $115 million annually to use the Soviet-built cosmodrome under a deal that stretches until 2050. ● Kazakhstan will provide the best possible conditions for all media outlets which intend to cover the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program. Press centres will be opened and conferences will be organized at the Intercontinental Hotel in Almaty. During the negotiations official representatives will hold briefings for media outlets periodically. Over 150 media representatives have been accredited to cover negotiations of “Group of Six” and Iran. ● The Kazakhstan film “Harmony Lessons” received the Silver Bear award for photography at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. Cameraman Aziz Zhambakiev thanked the team that worked on the film, including the director of the movie Emir Baigazin, as well as especially Kazakhfilm chief Ermek Amanshaev. ● Kazakh delegation discussed cooperation with Japanese companies in energy sphere within the visit to Japan of delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Industry and New Technologies Minister, Aset Issekeshev. The Minister met with representatives of the Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC). ● French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will pay an official visit to Kazakhstan, starting on March 1. “The next year is the Year of Kazakhstan in France. I can assure you that there are big cultural and economic projects ahead for France and Kazakhstan,” Jean-Charles Berthonnet, French Ambassador to Kazakhstan, said. “I believe the forthcoming visit of Mr. Fabius is a good impetus for further development and strengthening of the bilateral relationship.” ● The aviation authorities of Kazakhstan and Thailand have agreed to expand flights and increase their frequency, the Transport and Communications Ministry announced on Feb. 18. Previously, regular flights took place twice a week only on the Almaty-Bangkok route. Now, Kazakh airlines will be able to make regular flights from any city in their own country to Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi and Utapao. Thai airlines will be able to make regular flights from anywhere in their country to Astana, Almaty, Karaganda and Shymkent. The two countries also agreed to increase the number of regular flights up to 14 per week between Almaty and Bangkok, up to seven flights per week between Astana and Bangkok and up to three flights per week on all other routes. ● On Feb. 15, people in Russia’s region of Chelyabinsk, Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan and in the northern Kazakhstan watched the explosion of a large meteoroid, shattering thousands of windows across the region. In the Chelyabinsk area, more than 500 were injured. Scientists said it may have been a fragment of a disintegrating asteroid 45 metres in diametre that originally weighed 130 tons. ● Andrey Gundarev of Almaty, who climbed his first volcano in February 2012, has picked the Pico de Orizaba in Mexico, the highest North American volcano at 5,636 meters (18,490 feet) as his next goal.

Almaty Readies to Host Int’l Powers for Talks over Iran’s Nuclear Programme From Page A1

Kazakhstan will not play a role in the negotiations, other than being a host country. However, Kanat Saudabayev, Director of the Nazarbayev Center and chairman of the Commission on NonProliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction under President Nursultan Nazarbayev, believes the location of the talks in this country is not coincidental. “The fact that the participants in the new round of international talks on Iran’s nuclear programme are going to hold a meeting in Kazakhstan is further proof of the recognition of the initiatives of our country in the field of non-proliferation and reducing the nuclear threat,” he said. Ashton said the talks are a window of opportunity for achieving “real progress” regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. What progress means is open for interpretation, but one thing is clear: these negotiations will be the most pressing and urgent to date. Iran recently stated its intention to install advanced centrifuges of the IR2m type at the Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz, which could significantly increase the production of enriched nuclear

material. According to Ashton, this would “add to the already severe concerns of the international community about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme” and would be a “clear violation of Iran’s international obligations to suspend all enrichment and enrichment related activities.” British Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed the new round of negotiations, but harshly criticized Iran. In a statement, he said Britain wanted to find a diplomatic solution, “but the need to make progress is increasingly urgent. Iran continues to enrich uranium in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions and on a scale that has no plausible civilian explanation.” Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israel’s military intelligence directorate, recently told journalists that Iran has what it needs to build a nuclear bomb in a matter of four to six months. “Iran has completed in the last two years two components that… give it all of the necessary means to manufacture a nuclear weapon as soon as it chooses to do so,” Yadlin said. Hague said world powers have made Iran “an updated and credible offer.”

Astana Condemns North Korean Test From Page A1

States in the region and the international community perceive these steps by Pyongyang as a serious threat to their security. North Korea signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1985. The treaty, which entered into force in 1970, requires nonnuclear powers to refrain from the production and acquisition of nuclear weapons, and to recognize the authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), based in Vienna, Austria. The nuclear powers pledged under the NPT to refrain from transferring technologies and materials to non-nuclear states that could be used for the production of nuclear weapons, except for transactions concluded under IAEA control. All NPT member countries pledged to strive for the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to make all necessary efforts for nuclear disarmament. However, right after North Korea signed the treaty, its nuclear facility in Yongbyon started operating its reactors to produce highly enriched uranium and plutonium. In 1993, Pyongyang refused to provide the IAEA with information about its nuclear programmes and withdrew from the NPT. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, North Korea lost its main sponsor and its economy was in ruins. In 1994, the U.S. and its allies in Asia convinced North Korea to eliminate its uranium reactor in Yongbyon in exchange for a new light water reactor that could not produce the raw material to make nuclear weapons. North Korea then signed the NPT. However, that move appears to have been only a tactical manoeuvre to buy time. In August 1998, North Korea conducted the first test launch of its long-range Taepodong-1 multistage ballistic missile under the pretext of attempting to launch a satellite into low earth orbit. The U.S. then accused Pyongyang of developing nuclear weapons. The North Korean government denied the claim. In September 1999, against the background of improved relations with the United States, Pyongyang pledged to suspend its tests of longrange missiles. In 2002, North Korean diplomats unofficially informed their American counterparts that their country had nuclear weapons. In January 2003, North Korea again announced its withdrawal from the NPT. It then agreed to enter a series of six-party talks with the U.S., Russia, China, Japan and South Korea to discuss its nuclear and missile programmes. In February 2005, North Korea promised to stop those programmes, re-enter the NPT and allow IAEA inspectors into the

country. However, in March 2005, Pyongyang refused to observe the moratorium on missile testing, citing what it called “hostile” U.S. policy. In April 2005, North Korea tried again to launch a satellite into low earth orbit on its Taepodong-2, or Unha-2 missile. The launch failed. However, in December 2012, an Unha-3 multi-stage booster successfully launched a satellite into low earth orbit at last, showing that North Korea had made considerable progress in developing its own ballistic missiles. The UN Security Council condemned the action. In response, North Korea indicated it would carry out another underground nuclear test and did so on Feb. 12. After Tuesday’s test, the Security Council held an emergency meeting on the issue. Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters that the Security Council “must and will deliver a swift, credible and strong response” in a resolution to deal with Pyongyang’s missile and weapons programmes, she said. North Korea “does not and will not benefit from violating international law,” Rice said. She said the Pyongyang government had “isolated and impoverished its people from its ill-advised pursuit” of weapons of mass destruction and weapons delivery systems. North Korea was criticized by several foreign countries for conducting Tuesday’s test. The Russian Foreign Ministry described it as a “violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said North Korea should “abandon its nuclear arms programme,” and he called for the revival of talks on the issue. South Korea’s presidential national security adviser, Chun Young-woo, said the test was an “unacceptable threat to the security of the Korean peninsula and northeast Asia... and a challenge to the whole international community.” U.S. President Barak Obama called the test “provocative” and called for an urgent international response. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “If North Korea continues in this way, it will face increasing isolation.” The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation described the test as an “irresponsible act” and a “grave threat to international and regional peace, security and stability.” The North Korean test has also been condemned by the IAEA, the European Union, China and Japan. The UN Security Council said it was starting work “on appropriate measures in a Security Council resolution” and that “North Korea will be held responsible for any consequences of this provocative act”. The council is chaired this month by South Korea.

“The onus is on Iran to respond seriously and turn its declared willingness to negotiate into concrete action,” he said. World powers have used selective economic sanctions and diplomacy to try to persuade Tehran to halt, or scale back, its uranium enrichment. However, negotiations over the last year failed to produce a breakthrough and European courts are deeming the sanctions on Iranian banks and state companies as illegal. The EU's General Court said the EU had failed to provide sufficient evidence that Bank Saderat was involved in Iran's nuclear programme. A week earlier, the court issued a similar ruling about Bank Mellat, the biggest private sector lender in Iran. Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that he welcomed the United States’ willingness to hold direct talks with Tehran in the standoff over its nuclear aspiration but didn’t commit to accepting any terms it might be offered. Salehi insisted that Washington must show “fair and real” intentions to resolve the issue and complained about “threatening rhetoric.” Tehran has announced that it welcomes the fact that the P5+1 group are ready to hold constructive talks with Iran.

The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing noncivilian objectives in its nuclear energy programme. Iran rejects such allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities. However, it has never found any convincing evidence to prove that the Iranian nuclear programme is used for nuclear weapons production. At the end of January, Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the world community should take a realistic approach to the talks in order to achieve their goals. “The success of talks on Iran’s nuclear programme depends on the agency’s compliance with the realities,” Ali-Asghar Soltanieh was quoted as saying by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). As a predominately Muslim secular country that voluntarily gave up its large nuclear arsenal, Kazakhstan is very clear in its

А3 stance on nuclear issues. President Nazarbayev, having closed the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site in 1991, takes pride in the country’s leading role as a driver of nuclear non-proliferation around the world. To further contribute to the strengthening of the security of the international nuclear fuel cycle, in 2009 Kazakhstan offered to host an international nuclear fuel bank under the IAEA. Saudabayev said the Kazakh side “sees the possibility of a new round of international talks on Iran’s nuclear programme as a very important and positive development.” Saudabayev expressed the hope that “the talks will be a significant step in building trust and understanding between the parties and contribute to resolving the situation diplomatically, to the reduction of tension in the region.” In its statement on the matter, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry said Kazakhstan will do its utmost to provide all necessary conditions and conducive environment to successfully hold the negotiations which bear an exceptional importance for global security and stability. The talks in Almaty are set to attract not only negotiators from the seven countries involved but also scores of foreign journalists. Already, as of February 15, more than a hundred foreign journalists have sought accreditation for the talks, according to the press service of Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry.

President Nazarbayev’s Visit to Spain Advances Political, Economic Ties From Page A1 Earlier, in January 2013, Kazakhstan has taken delivery of the first two C295 transport aircraft from Airbus Military that it ordered last year, marking the company’s entry into the CIS regional market. The aircraft, the first two on firm contract and a further six on options to be progressively confirmed in the coming years, were formally handed over in Seville before the ferry flights, via Astana, to Almaty, where they will be based. In a meeting in Madrid, Nazarbayev said Kazakhstan was carrying out several joint projects with Airbus Military and said their ties should be expanded. Urena-Raso said the company’s prospects in Kazakhstan were sound thanks to the good rela-

tions between the governments of the two countries. Airbus Military would participate in the further development of the country’s aviation industry, he added. Following the talks, a memorandum of understanding for further cooperation was signed between Kazakhstan Engineering and Airbus Military. President Nazarbayev also met the heads of the Maxam, OHL and Next Limit Technologies companies and discussed future cooperation with them. They discussed cooperation in manufacturing explosives for use in the construction and mining industries and on future infrastructure construction projects, including ports, airports, roads and railways. They also explored jointly developing software for

computer simulations in scientific and engineering research. The Maxam Company consists of over 140 enterprises with production capacities in 40 countries. Since 2002, it has been engaged in ore mining in Kazakhstan where it employs 181 people. The OHL Company specializes in designing and building infrastructure facilities. The company has built facilities in 39 countries and is currently constructing new ones in 30 nations. Next Limit Technologies is famous for the quality and capacity of its computer simulation software. Overall, there about 30 small and medium-sized Kazakh-Spanish joint enterprises working in Kazakhstan.

Pope Welcomes Kazakhstan’s Efforts to Promote Inter-Religious Understanding From Page A1 At the meetings in the Vatican, Mami and his counterparts exchanged views on the topical issues of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the Vatican and discussed activities of the Congress of World and Traditional Religions. “I am happy that the congress is held regularly. This initiative of the President of Kazakhstan is alive and growing, and no one questions now the existence and future of the Congress,” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran said. He also noted the high importance and uniqueness of the existing understanding between different religions in Kazakhstan. Also, during the visit, a roundtable on interreligious dialogue and a photo exhibition dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Congress were held. Speaking at the opening ceremony of an exhibition, the Senate Speaker said the forum proved its effectiveness and has become a useful platform for promotion of the global dialogue for the last ten years. “By a twist of fate Kazakhstan became the second home for thousands of Catholics. Today, 79 Catholic communities operate in the country,” Mami said. “There were about 1.5 billion Catholics in the world according to 2010 data. More than 100,000 Catholics live in Kazakhstan. In this connection, strengthening of

cooperation with the Vatican is strategically important for Kazakhstan,” Shokan Orazbekov, a senior research fellow for geopolitics and international relations at the Institute of Statehood, Issues of Security and Development of the Nazarbayev Center, said commenting on the visit. The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions has become one of the largest international regular international gatherings. Senior representatives of the Vatican and of dozens of major religions from throughout the world participated in all Congresses held in Astana in 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012. “The growing interest of the international community in the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is evidence that this international initiative of the President of Kazakhstan has become an integral part of a global process for the establishment of inter-civilizational and inter-religious dialogue, which is especially critical in the current turbulent times. For ten years, the Roman Catholic Church has supported this initiative aimed at promoting inter-religious dialogue in the world. Promoting tolerance and intercultural dialogue is considered as a key priority in cooperation between Kazakhstan and the Vatican,” Nazym Malibayeva, a senior research fellow for religious studies at the Nazarbayev Center’s

Institute of Statehood, Security and Development Issues, added. “Friendship and confidence are built step by step together. This visit to the Vatican of the Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Head of the Secretariat of the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, Kairat Mami, represents one of these important steps,” Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia, the Apostolic Nuncio in Kazakhstan, told the Astana Times. He noted: “The friendship and confidence that happily exist between Kazakhstan and the Vatican, head of more than one billion Catholics, is not only a model for international relations but a significant point of reference in how to promote religious understanding in today’s world. The Vatican has always appreciated the harmony that characterizes the daily life of the different religious communities in Kazakhstan and has supported from the beginning President Nazarbayev’s initiative of convening the congress of religious leaders, which is transforming Astana into a world religious strategic centre.” On Feb. 11, Pope Benedict XVI announced his abdication effective as of Feb. 28 due to ‘deteriorating’ health. A conclave to elect a new pope is likely to take place before the end of March.

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Major Transport Corridor to Connect Kazakhstan, Russia, China by 2015 By Maryam Turezhanova

ASTANA – Russia, China and the European Union have signed new agreements with Kazakhstan giving the go-ahead to complete the Western Europe-Western China international transport corridor by 2015. The new transportation corridor is the largest project of its kind ever undertaken in the history of Central Asia. The total length of the route – St. Petersburg - Moscow - Nizhny Novgorod - Kazan - Orenburg Aktobe - Kyzylorda - Shymkent Taraz - Kordai - Almaty - Khorgos - Urumchi - Lanzhou - Zhengzhou - Lianyungang – is 8,445 kilometres (5,247.5 miles), 2,233 kilometres (1,387.5 miles) of which run through the territory of Russia, 2,787 kilometres (1,731.75 miles) through Kazakhstan, and 3,425 kilometres (2,128.2 miles) on the territory of China. Some 2,452 kilometres (1,523.6 miles) of the new roads will be constructed in Kazakhstan. That programme will cost 825.1 billion tenge ($5.47 billion) and involve 1,390 kilometres (863.7 miles) of the Kyzylorda - Turkestan - Shymkent - Taraz - Almaty - Khorgos highway to Category I standards with four-lane highways and 1,062 kilometres (659.9 miles) of the route from the Russian border

through Martuk, Aktobe, Karabutak, and Kyzylorda) to Category II standards. Conditions for turns, visibility and angles on inclines and descents will be substantially improved. The corridor will dramatically cut transportation timetables and costs compared with maritime traffic through the Suez Canal and will also cut shipment times compared with the Trans-Siberian Railway. Current average transportation time by sea is 45 days and along the Trans-Siberian Railroad it is 14 days, compared to only 10 days along the new Western Europe Western China corridor. The project will create three major transportations routes: China - Kazakhstan, China Central Asia, and China - Kazakhstan - Russia - Western Europe. By 2020, the volume of freight traffic passing through Kazakhstan is expected to increase by 250 percent compared with today and the value of the total savings from the reduction of travel time thanks to the new corridor will be 33.9 billion tenge ($220 million) per year. The cities and regions of Aktobe, Kyzylorda, South Kazakhstan, Zhambyl and Almaty will directly benefit from their positions along the corridor. It will generate a vast boost for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), service indus-

tries, tourism and other sectors of the economy. “In 2012, 800 kilometres (480 miles) of the Western EuropeWestern China international corridor were opened for traffic and another 700 kilometres (420

miles) has been commissioned,” said Minister of Transport and Communications Askar Zhumagaliyev. The work involved 21 general contractor organizations, 66 subcontractors, 4,500 major

machines, 34 asphalt laying machines, 32 cement mixers, 37 crushing plants and over 35,000 workers. This year, another 806 kilometres (500.8 miles) of the corridor will be upgraded and opened for traffic.

Almaty Becoming Central Asia’s Financial Hub By Yernat Mukhamadiyev Almaty is establishing itself as Central Asia’s business, tourism and transportation hub. “Kazakhstan today has a thriving economy, governed by consumers, not plans. With material improvements, the city has also developed a well-deserved pride and selfconfidence,” said Thomas Mirow, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development at the EBRD annual meeting in Kazakhstan in May 2011. As the largest city in the country and the nation’s capital at its independence in 1991, it was inevitable that the success of those policies would transform Almaty into a major transportation hub and

regional centre for visiting foreign businessmen and investors. “We have been developing Almaty as a large business and financial centre, promoting tourism and services,” President Nursultan Nazarbayev told a meeting of the Council of Foreign Investors. “Almaty has great potential for further development as a financial centre of the Central Asian region,” said Carolyn Browne, Britain’s new ambassador to Kazakhstan, during a meeting with Almaty Mayor Akhmetzhan Yessimov. Mayor Yessimov said Almaty was not only the largest city in the country, but also its business, financial, cultural, innovative and educational centre.

Business News in Brief ● Kazakhstan has allocated 1 billion tenge ($6.7 million) for people needing organs transplants abroad this year, Azhar Tugaliyeva, director of medical aid organisations at the Health Ministry, said. “Our citizens go abroad only for transplantation of organs and tissues. These are the serious patients who failed to find their donors and for whom there is no possibility to have the surgery in Kazakhstan,” Tugaliyeva said. “The budget for treatment abroad is increasing, as these are serious patients. These cases involve complicated surgeries that involve donor searches and transplants of major organs that are very expensive abroad. A single such surgery can cost around $200,000. Best Western International recently entered Kazakhstan, with the opening of Best Western Plus Atakent Park Hotel, in Almaty. The four-star hotel has 196 rooms with 23 suites and conference halls that can accommodate up to 500 people. Its amenities include climate control rooms, mini-bars, safes, international direct dial telephones, free wi-fi and a gym and spa. The hotel’s Bastau restaurant serves traditional Kazakh and European cuisines for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ● Kazakhstan is planning to invest $3.7 billion in a new gas processing plant at the Karachaganak oil and gas field being developed by the consortium operated by the British BG Group. “The plant will work to meet the needs of the country’s capital, Astana, and the northern regions starting from 2017,” the KazMunayGas National Company said in a statement. ● A new industrial park will be built in Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan, Magzum Mirzagaliyev, deputy chairman of KazMunayGas, told the Oil and Gas: Kazakhstan Content-2013 forum. Mirzagaliyev said KMG had launched a new investment forum in Aktau in September 2012 to attract investors. KMG has signed memorandums with several foreign companies to build new production facilities.

Source: Kazakhstan Financial Review, June 2012 “This city is the largest contributor to Kazakhstan’s budget and the most attractive region for foreign investment,” he said. Kazakhstan’s modern banking system developed under difficult conditions. When Kazakhstan was still a Soviet Socialist Republic, the banking system was introduced in branches of the State Bank and the Industrial Bank and, later, as branches of other banks. Today, the Russian and Kazakh banking systems still share several common features, but there are fundamental differences. Banks in Kazakhstan have experienced a lengthy period of political stability and economic growth. Together with a rational approach to banking and finance policy, this has helped propel Kazakhstan’s banking system to a higher level of development. Banking technology and the personnel qualifications required for working in banks are stronger in Kazakhstan than in Russia. Today, Kazakhstan has a twolevel banking system: • The National Bank of Republic of Kazakhstan (NBRK) which is the state bank. • The second-tier banks, which include a range of state, private, joint stock, combined and foreign banks. The law defining the functions of the National Bank established it as the central bank of Kazakhstan and the highest authority for banking in the country. The National Bank is a legal body possessing separate properties. Commercial banks and credit institutions comprise the second tier of the country’s banking system. Commercial banks are the oldest. With the credit companies, they perform most of the financial operations and services required by businesses in the country’s market economy. There are 38 commercial banks

operating in Kazakhstan, and most of them have their headquarters in Almaty. They function as multidisciplinary credit institutions and are a key link in the credit system. The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 was a major test of Kazakhstan’s financial system. The country’s banking and real estate sectors were particularly exposed to the adverse impact of the global turmoil. Kazakhstan’s economy, however, endured these challenging times in a resilient manner and continued to grow. It recorded GDP growth of only 1.2 percent in 2009. However, this returned to pre-crisis levels of 7.3 percent in 2010 and 7.5 percent in 2011.

“Almaty has great potential for further development as a financial centre of the Central Asian region,” said Carolyn Browne, Britain’s new ambassador to Kazakhstan, during a meeting with Almaty Mayor Akhmetzhan Yessimov. The country is working hard to diversify its economy by developing its banking sectors and expanding new industrial sectors based on its wealth of natural resources. It aims to become one of the top 30 countries in terms of providing a favourable business environment by 2050, and to become one of the top financial centres in Asia by then.

Number of Commercial (Second-Tier) Banks 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2012 Commercial banks 33 35 37 38 39 38 (number) Bank branches (number) 1 813 2 381 2 546 2 299 2 246 2 262

● A new gold mine has been discovered in the Zhambyl region. The Golden Compass Jambyl Company discovered the deposit while carrying out a geological survey in April-August 2012. It will invest three million tenge in the project. The total gold reserves of the mine are estimated at 300-350 tons. ● Kaznet has bought the Wheels and Roof newspapers and websites. The cost of the properties was not announced. Kaznet is owned by Vyacheslav Kim, managing director of the Kaspi Bank and Kaspi board chairman Michael Lomtadze. ● Average wages per month have increased by 6.9 percent. The highest wages are in the mining industry and averaged 247,500 tenge per person. Wages in professional, scientific and technical fields averaged 264,600 per person. Workers in financial fields averaged 267,700 tenge per person. The highest wage levels were 232,700 tenge per person in the Mangistau region, a rate 180 percent higher than the national average. ● The insurance market of the three Customs Union nations of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus has been growing. Kazakhstan insurance companies increased the value of the premiums they collected in the first half of 2012 to $662 million, an increase of 12.5 percent compared with the same period in 2011a year before. ● The Japan Atomic Power Company and Marubeni Utility Services, Ltd., signed the Memorandum of Understanding with National Nuclear Center of Republic of Kazakhstan for Cooperation toward the Introduction of Nuclear Power Plant in Republic of Kazakhsta. This Memorandum is aimed to agree the area of technical cooperation on serious study toward the introduction of nuclear power plant which is promoted by the government of Kazakhstan, as a part of cooperation implemented based on “Cooperation Agreement for LWR Nuclear Power Plant Introduction in Republic of Kazakhstan” signed among the Japan Atomic Power Company, NNC and other relevant organizations at the occasion of joint public-private sector delegation on April 2007.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 20 February 2013



economy News in Brief ● The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD) has predicted that, in 2013, the Kazakhstan economy will grow by six percent, confirming its forecast of October 2012. In 2012, Kazakhstan’s GDP increased by five percent. The bank said the start of commercial production in the Kashagan oil field in the North Caspian Sea will boost growth this year. ● Kazakhstan National Bank has approved the country’s basic monetary policies for 2013, Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov said. The new plan has the goal of keeping the annual inflation rate within the six to eight percent range. “The National Bank’s main objective is to ensure stability of prices and retain the annual inflation rate within 6-8 percent,” the prime minister said. This year, the National Bank will work closely with the Finance Ministry to strengthen the government securities market. “The new mechanism will help reduce the dollarisation of the economy, harness the volatility of interest rates, cut speculation on the money market and, therefore, increase the flexibility and efficiency of liquidity regulation,” the National Bank said in a statement. The bank will continue to grow its long-term investment portfolio in government securities by buying them from sellers in secondary markets. The bank will intervene to regulate fluctuations in the tenge exchange rate, without influencing the overall trend of the exchange rate based on market conditions. ● Kazakhstan export companies have signed contracts worth $1 billion over the past three years. More than 300 Kazakhstan entrepreneurs have entered foreign markets in that time. Domestic companies sold goods to five new countries last year. Kazakhstanmade goods are exported to over 100 countries. However, Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan remain the major markets. “We are ready to reimburse the costs related to companies seeking to sell their goods in foreign markets. If a Kazakhstan producer spends money on advertisement campaigns, makes video ads or places advertisements in foreign media, our agency will reimburse 50 percent of all those costs at the end of the year,” said Kaznex director Askar Arynov. “Half of the costs are reimbursed when a company takes part in exhibitions and trade missions abroad. Several Almaty companies have used this support and are now opening their representative offices, branches and stores abroad,” he said. Over the past three years, Kaznex has supported more than 300 Kazakhstan businessmen. Kazakhstan-made products popular in foreign markets include engineering equipment and food. ● The government of Kazakhstan has announced plans to build 1.04 GW (gigawatts) of renewable energy capacity by 2020, including four solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. PV-Tech said the four PV plants will generate 77 MW (megawatts), Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov was told at a meeting on Feb. 5. The government also plans to build 13 wind plants and four hydroelectric plants by 2020. ● The Organisation of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC) expects Kazakhstan’s oil production to reach 1.73 million bpd (barrels per day) in the fourth quarter of 2013 ● The Science Fund of the Education and Science Ministry of Kazakhstan will finance a biological plant to make vaccines against influenza, poliomyelitis and brucellosis, as well as veterinary drugs. The new plant will be built at the Scientific Research Institute for Biological Safety in Almaty. Science Fund Chairman Kuatzhan Ualiyev said the plant would produce up to 10 million doses of vaccines a year. ● Kazakhstan expects its grain exports to Russia to rise substantially to between 900,000 and 1.1 million metric tons in the period from Sept. 1, 2012 to Aug. 31, 2013, the head of the Kazakh grain trader said on Feb. 12. Russia imported 440,000 metric tons of Kazakh grain from Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2012, Kazakhstan’s stateowned grain trader, the Food Contract Corporation, said.

Kazatomprom Reports Year of Achievements By Galiya Nurzhan ASTANA – On January 24, the Kazatomprom National Atomic Company reported its production activities in 2012. The company’s work has been conducted within its development strategy, aimed at keeping Kazakhstan’s current leading position in the world uranium market. Kazatomprom is becoming a transnational, vertically-integrated company involved in all stages of the atomic fuel cycle. It is also expanding in the fields of rare-earth metals and alternative energy sources. Over the past 21 years, Kazatomprom has become one of the world leaders in the production and processing of uranium. It has consolidated the advantage of Kazakhstan in the most advanced markets in the world and has demonstrated the sustainable development, high profitability and prospects of the atomic industry. New opportunities and directions are emerging. The company has started new projects in the research and processing of rare metals. It also promotes the growth of the domestic chemical industry. Working with French partners, Kazatomprom has successfully created a project to produce nuclear fuel components at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant. Kazatomprom has also launched projects to generate renewable energy based on wind and solar power. It has started to manufacture heat pump installations. The highly original Bolotov wind-rotors were designed by the famous Kazakh scientist Academician Albert Bolotov and are unique in the world. The new wind power plants are a part of a large-scale programme that Kazatomprom is pursuing in alternative green energy. These projects have allowed Kazatomprom to create new jobs in the country. The programmes use components from local companies and have cut the costs of energy production. They have also reduced pollution into the atmosphere. Kazatomprom says it is continuing its prospecting operations to find new uranium deposits around the country. In the past year, the company drilled more than 2,000 exploration wells with a combined depth of 1,010,000 metres. Three billion tenge will be spent on more prospecting projects to increase the known uranium reserves by 20,000 tons over the next three years. In 2012, work was completed on preparing the new sulfuric acid plant in the Zhanakorgan region of Kyzylorda province. The plant will provide all Kazatomprom’s requirements of sulfuric acid and in 2012, it produced 98,000 tons. The Zhanakorgan plant was built

by Kazatomprom in partnership with its Mining Company, the Japan Corporation of Japan (SAP) and Uranium One of Canada. It is more advanced than any comparable plant in Europe or the Commonwealth of Independent States. Sulfuric acid is the main reagent used by the in-situ leaching (ISL) method of uranium production. The plant will supply sulfuric acid to the Khorassan-1, Khorassan-2, Northern and Southern Karamurun uranium mines. It will eventually produce 500,000 tons of sulfuric acid per year, or 1,500 tons per day. The plant cost $216 million to build. The plant uses advanced technology that is effective and environmentally friendly. Some 99.9 percent of its raw material is converted to the finished product. Its production processes are fully automatised. The plant produces its own electricity that also contributes to the local power grid. Eventually it will generate 18 МW. The plant will make Kazatomprom less dependent on foreign suppliers of sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid plant was the first step in Kazatomprom’s import substitution programme. The company next plans to start producing its own ion exchange resins and hydrogen peroxide in a new complex of chemical plants in Pavlodar and Aktau. It is planning to build a series of mini-plants to manufacture sulfuric acid using nano-catalysts directly at the uranium mines. Kazatomprom is working with Canada’s Cameco Corporation to start conversion production in the nuclear fuel cycle. The company signed a Memorandum of Mutual Understanding with Cameco in September 2012 to create the new project at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant. In November 2012, NAC Kazatomprom and the TVEL OJSC Fuel Company of Russia’s Rosatom Corporation signed an agreement to build an alternative Uranium Enrichment Centre. Work on it is expected to start in the first half of 2013. In 2012, Kazatomprom and the French AREVA Company worked on a joint feasibility study about producing nuclear fuel in Kazakhstan. In November 2012, Kazatomprom and the Sumitomo Corporation of Japan launched the Summit Atom Rare Earth Company (SARECO) Joint Venture to build a new industrial complex producing rare earth metals (REM) in Stepnogorsk city in the Akmola region. A new REM pilot factory costing about $30 million was built in Stepnogorsk. Kazatomprom owns 51 percent of SARECO and Sumitomo 49 percent.

The plant, launched last year, is a unique complex for the thermal and hydrometallurgical processing of rare earth metals. It embodies the work of Kazakh, Japanese and European scientists and engineers. It has advanced environmental safety systems and will produce 1,500 tons of TREO (amount of REM oxides) per year, rising to 3,000 tons of TREO in 2015, and up to 5,000-6,000 tons by 2017. Most of the plant’s output will be of heavy rare earth metals, which are in great demand for use in high tech appliances manufactured in Japan. Its first exports are expected in the first half of 2013. The Stepnogorsk plant will not restrict its production to the primary product of bulk REM concentrates. By 2015, it will also contain an isotope separation facility and will produce rare earth metals magnets. Rare earth metals production is a new form of industrial-innovative development for Kazakhstan. It introduces more value-added high technology production into the country and allows it to enter the REM market. Kazatomprom plans to increase the production capacity of the Stepnogorsk plant and build more in the future. Demand for rare earth metals, especially dysprosium and neodymium, is expected to increase rapidly in the near future due to the increasing popularity of hybrid and electric cars. Rare earth metals are also important in preparing special structural steels and alloys to make powerful permanent magnets, coloured glass and lasers. They are used in the defense industry and in agriculture. The Core Consultants analytical group values the current global annual demand for rare earth metals at $15 billion. There is an annual shortage of 20,000 tons in the production of such critically important rare earth metals as neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium. China is drastically cutting its export of these REMs to give priority in using them in its own industries. Some 140,000 tons was produced around the world in 2012, and that figure is expected to rise to 200,000 tons by 2015. In the field of renewable energy, Kazatomprom is already manufacturing its own solar panels based on domestically-produced silicon in the KazPV Project Astana. The factory to make them opened in December 2012. Also last year, the company opened a new silicon processing plant for the solar panels in Ust-Kamenogorsk city. In 2012, Kazatomprom opened another silicon production plant in Ushtobe village in the Almaty region where it also resumed quartz production.

KazPV is also implementing new high tech joint projects between Kazakhstan and France that were signed during President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s official visit there in October 2010. KazPV promotes sustainable economic growth, knowledge-intensive industries and renewable energy sources. The Astana Solar Plant is the final technological unit in KazPV’s master plan to construct a fully integrated industrial production line of alternative energy sources in Kazakhstan. The Astana Solar Plant will manufacture photovoltaic panels made of entirely domestically produced silicon with an estimated capacity of 60 MW and a further expansion up to 100 MW. The plant is equipped with the latest automated generating equipment meeting the highest safety and environmental standards. It will come up to full capacity in the next two months. The Astana plant’s solar panels will be sold both in the domestic and international markets. The company has already signed several contracts, including with the joint Kazakhstan-French Company KATCO, the uranium-mining joint venture of AREVA and Kazatomprom, to make panels for AREVA factories in France. Kazatomprom also plans a joint venture with French companies to build and operate combined hydroelectric, solar and wind power stations on the rivers flowing from the mountains of the East Kazakhstan and Almaty regions. The KazSilicon metallurgical plant started operating on Dec. 31, 2006, when the first Kazakhstan’s industrial silicon was extracted. Kazatomprom became the only participant in the project on Oct. 31, 2011. The KazSilicon plant is equipped with modern metallurgical equipment and has an automated control system. Its output will be sent to Ust-Kamenogorsk city for further processing and then transported to Astana to make solar panels. The finished products will be exported to Asia, Western Europe and Japan. Kazatomprom is also considering exporting its silicon to Germany and the United States. The Quartz Company LLP (limited liability partnership) is also involved in the process of making photovoltaic solar panels based on KazPV’s domestically produced silicon. Kazatomprom became the sole shareholder of the Quartz Company on Oct. 31, 2011. The Quartz Company extracts its product from the unique quartz field at Sarykulskoe with proven reserves of 1.7 million tons. The quartz is then processed to make metallurgical silicon at the KazSilicon metallurgical plant.

The Quartz Company control its own production cycle, quality control and manufacturing processes. Quartz grit is widely used in industrial production, especially in the fields of aerospace, electric power, electronics, semiconductors and medical equipment. A new heat pump boiler started operating at the Kirov secondary school in East Kazakhstan on Oct. 30, 2012. It was the first heat pump units (HPU) made by Mashzavod, a subsidiary of Umba Mettallurgical Plant, to be used in schools. The heat pump consumes low heat from the environment and transmits it into the heat supply system in the form of hot water or air. The school has two heat pump boilers with a total capacity of 317 kW. Their heat source will be groundwater. Each heat pump cost 60 million tenge. Kazatomprom Chairman Vladimir Shkolnik said the project was the first ever in Kazakhstan and would serve a model for future energy-saving technologies. In 2012, Kazatomprom opened a horizontal-pellicle desalination plant at the Mangistau energy complex to distil fresh water from the sea. Its capacity is 12,000 cubic metres per day and it will reach full capacity this year. All these new projects are part of the successful implementation of the 2010-2014 State Programme for Accelerated Industrial-Innovative Development (PAIID) to boost domestic technology, science and training. Kazatomprom has also been recognized as one of the best run industrial corporations in Kazakhstan. KPMG experts gave it a 70.4 percent rating in 2012, making it the highest rated of all the Samruk-Kazyna Sovereign Welfare Fund’s companies. Kazatomprom produced 11,900 tons of uranium in 2012, or more than 20 percent of total world production. Overall, at year-end 2012, the uranium production volume in the Republic of Kazakhstan made up 20.900 tons (this figure includes all joint ventures where Kazatomprom has a stake). Kazakhstan remains the world’s leading uranium producer with approximately 37 percent of the total global uranium production of 55,700 tons in 2012. In that year, Kazatomprom exported 9,260 thousand tons of uranium in concentrated form. The company also produced 213 tons of tantalum, 43 tons of niobium and 2,526 tons of beryllium. In December 2012, Kazatomprom won President Nazarbayev’s special Innovative Breakthrough award and was recognised as an Innovative Leader.

Kazakhstan to Launch New Generation Green Smart Mine in 2015 From Page A1 Experts discussed innovations in the atomic and uranium industries including related industries such as metallurgy of non-ferrous, rare and precious metals; geology, geophysics and geo-technology in the uranium industry; processing uranium and associated valuable components; scientific and technological issues of intensification and optimisation of production and deep processing of uranium deposits to produce competitive products with high marketability; the production and processing of rare earth elements from mineral and industrial sources; the production of technological, analytical and laboratory equipment; advanced mining technologies and issues surrounding the development and use of renewable energy for the nuclear industry in Kazakhstan. Among the issues discussed were also opportunities and prospects for the innovative development of radio ecology, environmental protection, uranium production safety and training qualified personnel for the uranium mining and atomic industries of Kazakhstan. Experts believe this experimental mine will become a prototype for a new generation uranium mine, which will provide for more environmentally safe and at the same time more cost-effective exploitation of uranium deposits. Advanced technical solutions tested at the smart mine will be introduced at the uranium mining companies of Kazatomprom, including its joint ven-

tures, as holders of the intellectual property rights. “Kazatomprom has started developing a new smart mine. We will invite our leading foreign partners to participate in the development of the concept. The mine will allow us to reduce technogenic impact at sites where uranium deposits are being developed, to increase their complexity of processing, to reduce the cost of energy significantly and to develop solar energy,” Director General of IHT Serik Kozhakhmetov said at the meeting. National companies are actively developing ways and mechanisms to ensure their development, inflict minimal harm on the environment and maximize efficiency. In order to achieve these goals, modern “smart” technology is needed. The mine to be developed in accordance with smart technology will be called Green Smart Mine. “The Green Smart Mine will be located on fields owned by Kazatomprom and currently being developed by the company. After declaring our objectives and goals, we will start working on obtaining subsoil use rights. A distinctive feature of the project is that the return on investment is expected to be the highest. The mine will start operating at the end of 2015, thus Kazatomprom will be able to demonstrate that a new generation green smart mine has been operating for more than a year in Kazakhstan by the time EXPO 2017 takes place,” Kozhakhmetov continued. The smart mine will be located

The “smart” mine will implement advanced technologies aimed at energy savings, environmental and production efficiency. at the Ortalyk canned site, Central ing production and environmental to the final product. IHT has a pilot facility testing Mynkuduk deposit in the South Ka- friendliness. Experts will complete zakhstan region. Kozhakhmetov ex- a feasibility study of the project by site and two affiliated specialised pressed the hope that the technolo- mid-year and the mine is scheduled engineering companies: Research & Production Centre ULBA LLP gies developed at the smart mine to be commissioned in 2015. IHT was established on February and Research & Production Assocould be transferred to the mining 5, 2002 as a scientific institute for ciation ULBA-Engineering LLP. sector. Kazatomprom plans to raise $10 the innovative development of the In general, it represents a complex research and design institute which million from the launch of the new atomic industry of Kazakhstan. To improve the competitiveness solves problems of the scientific and project. According to the Institute of High Technologies, the imple- of the operating enterprises of the technical maintenance of the uramentation of the project will cost atomic industry of Kazakhstan, IHT nium industry. IHT also implements approximately $30-35 million. Ka- carries out the development of new research and a skilled and innovazatomprom will allocate part of the technologies of a high degree of tive approach in construction; monitoring, analysis, adaptation, use and funding for the project; the balance readiness. IHT is the basis of an infrastruc- transfer of the newest scientific and will be funded through loans. According to IHT estimates, the term ture of effective scientific support of technological developments of the of return of direct investments is development of the domestic ura- uranium, metallurgy, renewed en4.5-5 years. nium industry. The structure of IHT ergy and other allied industries; as The Green Smart Mine is de- assumes carrying out the full work well as the exchange of best pracsigned for pilot testing and imple- cycle, from a scientific idea to scien- tices and technologies with leading mentation of advanced technologies tific research and the introduction of foreign educational and scientific aimed at saving energy and increas- the entire process chain from mining organisations.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Astana Times editorial

Social Media: Shaping The Way We See the World or Shaping the New World Itself ? Digitalised communication has made the manageThe rise of the Internet has spurred the development of web-based communication platforms. Digital ment of organisations and institutions more transparplatforms have been growing stronger throughout the ent. It has personalised the images of companies and last decade, facilitating the exchange of information. governments and created new, more human, participaOnline content has undergone a transformation from tive and socially directed images for them. For the last five or six years, Kazakhstan’s governbeing a source of raw data to also becoming an interactive tool, enabling the public to collaborate on ment has been enhancing its online presence. Now, projects through the exchange of knowledge and almost all ministries and agencies have websites. President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the Presidential opinions. As a result, consumers of information have now also Administration provide data on decrees, meetings, and become producers of information. People with com- other important activities of the president at www.akomon interests organise online groups and societies in The Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists the latest which every participant can contribute by using social news as well as useful information on obtaining visas tools such as social networks, videos, blogs and photo- and Kazakhstan’s embassy contacts abroad at www. blogging to establish common ground. The Internet One of the most popular governmental webenables any person to influence public opinion, creat- sites is, which has data on taxation, laws ing inclusiveness and a new dimension for public rela- and regulations and more information to make the lives of citizens more convenient. tions. Previously, governments and their agencies have Social media has established new ways of communicating and creating perceptions between businesses used digital technologies like websites to provide inand consumers, organisations and their audiences, po- formation about themselves. With time, governmental websites evolved from being online news services litical offices and their electorate. Though in Kazakhstan the development of online and data providers to becoming sources with active platforms began comparatively recently, they have al- content supplemented by podcasts and real-time data. ready achieved some success. If in the past locals were In sum, online services created what is now called eturning to Russian and European platforms, now both government. With growing social media consumption, the quality and quantity of national products have im- e-governments enhanced their communication with the public through blogs, social networks and other online proved. Among the most popular of Kazakhstan’s blogging software. Another positive development is the existence of platforms are Yvision ( and Gonzo (, good examples of the new online personal blogs by governmental officials, first implepresence of Kazakhstan. A study of their content, and mented by former Prime Minister Karim Massimov of the content of countless other blog platforms, dem- (who now serves as chief of staff to the President), onstrates the diversity of interests of Kazakhstan’s on- whose blog received widespread support and penetraline society. The first pages of these platforms cover tion. Now, when citizens have issues or concerns, they issues of poverty, adoption, design, current events, trip have a way of contacting the responsible official directreports and more. This kaleidoscope of themes was ly. This kind of direct contact can help society in varicreated by users themselves and each topic will find ous ways: decreasing corruption through transparency, increasing convenience along with reducing costs or its audience. The other famous platform is Voxpopuli (www.vox- preventing the misuse of public funds. Thus, social, the philosophy of which could be stated dia “socialises” the government by changing its image as, “It’s better to see.” Voxpopuli specialises in photo from being something ephemeral to something more essays. Great pictures depict hidden fears and obscure concrete and human. All in all, social media create new virtual worlds and issues, and at the same time show beautiful captured moments. On this platform, photos give the audience a new realities in all aspects of social life. These are new chance to form personal opinions based on what they realities of ever-changing opinions, realities no one can fully control, realities demanding continuous online see. Among the newcomers to this online world is Blog- presence to respond adequately. Social media has an influence on society. Though basta (, a moderated platform of entries and comments on the most current political, so- short-term values do not replace long-term ones, they can corrupt traditional perceptions of relationships and cial, cultural and economic trends. lifestyles. They have litAnd, most certainly, the tle influence on long-term people in Kazakhstan has politics, though politics taken to globally and re- Social media is a unique manages directions of gionally popular social me- global phenomenon whose social development by dia such as Facebook, Twitintroducing programmes ter, Youtube, VKontakte, true reach and potential to which affect lifestyles in Odnoklassniki, Moi Mir affect not only short term, the long-term. and others. While the peneFrom an economic tration and attractiveness of but also long term change standpoint, social media these media differ accord- can only be understood have become a new model ing to people’s age, prefbetter as time progresses. of low-cost production, erence and social activity, since to post content onthe general trend is point- In its turn, Kazakhstan, with line is in most cases free. ing towards ever increasing its ever growing Internet At the same time, with growth of Kazakhstan users developed directories and on these networks. At that, penetration and usage, high traffic, producers are the Kazakh-speaking ones, is among those countries able to earn fortunes from i.e. the ones offering their advertising revenues. In consumers a chance to nav- where social mediaother words, social media igate the functionalities in related developments are offer opportuniKazakh, have recently seen progressing with the breath- platforms ties for high returns from the most dynamic growth. low investments. Of course, to attract au- taking speed. From a cultural point of dience attention, websites view, social media platforms, with their availability of tend to raise issues of widespread concern. Our perception of the world is based on the infor- information and opinions, do not promote long-term mation we obtain. The media provide us with news of values. Moreover, they erode traditional values by ofevents happening beyond our immediate surroundings fering short-term alternatives. From a social standpoint, the new media affects reand though situations around the world are touched upon, the topics shown are chosen by editors. Media lationships through changing people’s perceptions. and public opinion have always been connected, as the Individuals are fragmented according to their interests media play a significant role in mass communication and concerns. Users come together for short periods to and reflect issues of the greatest concern to a particular protest or solve issues that concern them, but once any society. With the increasing role of the media in shap- problems are solved, users no longer remain together. Social media platforms are often marketing tools, esing public opinion, it has become more commercialised on one side and has experienced more limitations tablished to create opinions and to persuade the public and restrictions on the other. Raw information evolves to take particular actions. When the action is completinto perceptions based on that information. Thus any ed, the group collapses and does not rise again until the opinion formed on the basis of a news outlet could be next crisis. But in the end, does democracy online reflect democconsidered as having been shaped under the influence racy offline, or is it a path to chaos? A conflicting set of external sources. Public opinion is a question to be explored. In some of opinions will never be satisfied by the same action. cases, it’s subject to constant fluctuation; in others, Only what is perceived as the opinion of the majority public opinion is more solid and stable, based on tradi- will be taken into consideration. But who shapes that tional thought processes. In sum, it could be defined as opinion? Are we approaching the moment when socialideological consent, where the opinion of the majority media-influenced public opinion can dramatically inis dominant and leading so as to influence that of the fluence and change society itself? Or are we already past this stage as many observers have claimed that the community in which it exists. With social media, persuading the public and influ- social media had played a key role in the so called Arab encing opinions have become more achievable and, Spring chain of revolutions? With the new social media, the old limiting factors – yet, more uncontrollable. Content presented through social media does not time, distance, nationality, and ideology – are gone. If have to have approval to be published, which is posi- public opinion can be influenced, so can societies. Sotive in the sense that it can contravene censorship and cial media is a unique global phenomenon whose true control. On the other hand, this freedom creates new reach and potential to affect not only short term, but issues for the governmental affairs area of public re- also long term change can only be understood better as lations. Social media platforms have thus become au- time progresses. In its turn, Kazakhstan, with its ever tonomous participants in building and influencing growing Internet penetration and usage, is among those democratic societies. Everyone can be engaged in the countries where social media-related developments are progressing with the breath-taking speed. decision-making process.

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Let Us Act before It Is Too Late ly towards the elimination of the nuclear weapons threat. Louder than ever before, the world should declare, “We have to destroy all nuclear weapons, we have to stand as one and say no to nuclear war!” We, as survivors and witnesses of horrific madness, strive to warn the world before it is too late about the consequences of nuclear weapons. If billions of people around the world would realize the consequences of nuclear weapons testing, global public opinion united as one would have enough power to eliminate atomic bombs forever. I reject the pessimistic voices that doubt the weapons race can be halted. I believe our destinies are in our own hands and it is in our power to save the future. I call on the world and each one of us to support a nuclear weapons-free world.

By Karipbek Kuyukov I want to address the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a survivor of nuclear weapons testing with the words of Kazakhstan’s writer Rollan Seysenbayev: “Pursuing nuclear superiority cannot be an act of self-defence of any country in the world. The souls of us all – Asians, Europeans Africans, Americans tremble alike when we love or cry…” We have to mobilize global public opinion more active-

The author is Honorary Ambassador of The ATOM Project.

A Question of Humanity By Setsuko Thurlow, Kenneth McGinley, Karipbek Kuyukov and Roland Oldham Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. We are the Hibakusha, survivors of the nuclear bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and people harmed by years of nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific and Kazakhstan. It is our hope that never again will anyone suffer the catastrophic humanitarian consequences caused by the use of nuclear weapons. With nine countries now possessing 19,000 nuclear weapons, it appears that the world is in danger of forgetting the appalling and irrevocable harm caused by nuclear weapons. We listened with horror as we heard about the testing of nuclear weapons by North Korea. This brings the potential use of nuclear weapons closer.

A humanitarian catastrophe

Most of today’s nuclear weapons are much bigger than the nuclear bomb that incinerated Hiroshima in 1945. The nuclear weapon used in Hiroshima was around 13 kilotons and it killed 118,661 people instantly, seriously injuring over 78,000 more people. By the end of 1945, a further 140,000 people had died. Most of these deaths and injuries were due to the immediate effects of the massive fireball that rose into the sky. The flash of intense white heat burned people where they stood, imprinting their shadows on walls and setting fire to most of the city. The blast tore people’s clothes and melted flesh from their bodies. It turned homes, shops and offices to rubble, killing and trapping people. Then came the fires, which were quickly whipped into a vast firestorm, burning and suffocating thousands more. This was followed by radioactive fallout, leaching out of the great mushroom cloud as greasy black rain. After some of the atmospheric tests in the Pacific islands, the radiation fell like white fluffy snow. Children got excited and played in it. Islanders, like the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, fell sick and died from radiation poisoning, from breathing, eating, drinking and absorbing the invisible radioactivity that contaminated our homes. Children lost their hair. Their skin erupted in cancerous kheloids. Women miscarried or gave birth to “jellyfish babies”, dead before they could draw breath. This also happened to downwinders near the US and Soviet test sites, denied and covered up for decades. The Soviet Union conducted more than 450 nuclear weapons tests at its Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in eastern Kazakhstan, including 120 in the atmosphere. The total power output of those tests was equal to 2,500 bombs dropped on Hiroshima. The tests caused deaths and illnesses to an estimated 1.5 million people in Kazakhstan and contaminated huge swaths of land with radiation. Consequences of nuclear tests still negatively affect the locals, as 70 percent of survivors are the descendants of second and third generations born to exposed parents. Now we know that even micro-

scopic amounts of radioactively contaminated material can cause genetic damage and many types of cancer. These effects pass down through generations.

No one is safe

After a single nuclear explosion, the dust clouds darken the skies for days, with deep crimson sunsets. If there were a nuclear war using a hundred bombs – a fraction of today’s arsenals – the soot and dust from incinerated cities would circulate, causing much of the earth to become much darker

With nine countries now possessing 19,000 nuclear weapons, it appears that the world is in danger of forgetting the appalling and irrevocable harm caused by nuclear weapons... We appeal to governments and civil society leaders: don’t wait for another nuclear catastrophe to occur before you ban these weapons of mass suffering. Our pleas are borne out of our experience. The time to prohibit nuclear weapons is now. and colder than normal. This global freezing could last for many years, disrupting rainfall and the seasonal cycles, and causing crops to fail. It is estimated that up to a billion people might starve to death in the first decade after a ‘limited nuclear war’. Many of these nuclear famine Hibakusha

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would come from regions like Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America, which have regional nuclear weapons free zones in place. The Red Cross and other humanitarian assistance organisations would be quickly overwhelmed, unable to provide an adequate response. No one on this planet would be safe if any of the nine nucleararmed countries decided to detonate any of their nuclear weapons. How can we prevent such a humanitarian catastrophe from taking place in our lifetimes? The Red Cross argues that to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again, the nations of the world need to “pursue in good faith and conclude with urgency and determination negotiations to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons”.

It’s time to act

On 4-5 March, over a hundred governments will gather in Oslo, Norway for the first ever global meeting of states, civil society and UN agencies that is focused on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. By considering the humanitarian consequences and the impossibility of providing effective humanitarian assistance to survivors, governments must realise that a ban on nuclear weapons is needed to ensure that these atrocities are never carried out again. We appeal to governments and civil society leaders: don’t wait for another nuclear catastrophe to occur before you ban these weapons of mass suffering. Our pleas are borne out of our experience. The time to prohibit nuclear weapons is now. Ms Setsuko Thurlow, Hibakusha Mr Kenneth McGinley, Christmas Island Nuclear Test Veteran Mr Karipbek Kuyukov, Atom Project Honorary Ambassador Mr Roland Oldham, Président de Moruroa e Tatou

The Astana Times is registered by the Ministry of Communications and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan under the registration number N 11208-G of 1 November 2010. The newspaper is typed and made into pages at the computer centre of “Kazakhstanskaya Pravda”. Published biweekly, the size of 8 pages. Order: 193

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

State Policy to Unlock Women’s Potential By Gulshara Abdykalikova

The role of women in building a strong society was reflected in the president’s state-of-the-nation address, Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy: A New Policy of the Established State, which also focused on maternal and child welfare. Women are “the support of the family and of the state; our country’s future depends on how we bring up our children,” the president said. Kazakhstan ranks 31st out of 135 countries in the World Economic Forum rating of gender equality. Family values are important in our society. To support these values, the National Commission for Women’s Affairs arranges public meetings with model families. It has also been assigned the task of enhancing patriotism in Kazakhstani youth. This year, the commission plans trips to remote districts in order to establish contact with local youth leaders and continue to work on the motivation of young workers. This century will be dominated by active people. Unfortunately, sloth and the pursuit of easy money is not uncommon. The president called these characteristics social infantilism. The great poet and thinker Abay Kunanbayev said that he who works and is not lazy will be rich. Albert Einstein said that it is not nice words but work and its results that creates outstanding personalities. Our youth needs to be motivated to work, and a man of labour should be given special respect in society. Socially useful work needs be encouraged in every way. We intend to use electronic and other media to this end and appear in television and radio programmes with talks and discussions on national traditions, character building, motivation to seek knowledge and meaningful work and parents’ and children’s responsibilities and duties. People’s welfare is the foremost concern of the country. It is more important than the GDP, gold currency reserves or international ratings. After all, unless we educate the younger generation properly and fit them to be masters of the country, all the mineral resources and innovations are worthless and all our ambitious plans for the future do not make sense. “We need to build a religious consciousness that is aligned with the traditions and cultural norms of

the country, and emulate best behaviours,” said the president in his address. “Youth, particularly neglected children, easily fall under the influence of religious sects, extremists, drug addicts and criminal groups,” he continued. This is a signal to society that families and schools must conduct coordinated educational processes to prevent children from falling under dangerous influences, and the commission has to focus not as much on fighting negative consequences, but on understanding how to counter their root causes. Demographic development is another important aspect of state policy. Although there has been an increase in the population of Kazakhstan as a whole (mostly in the southern regions), in four regions it is declining due to low birth rates and a negative migration balance. To stop this decline, the state programme Generations Fund for 2010-2014 has been adopted. We are concerned about the frequency of suicide, teenage pregnancies and abortions and violence against women. To fight these social ills, legislative amendments have been proposed penalising early and forced marriage, the abduction of young girls and inducing girls to undergo neke kiyu (a type of wedding ceremony in accordance with religious laws of Islam). In his address, the president also expressed concern about domestic violence against women and children, demanding that penalties for such offenses be stiffened. The commission will be working on this task and at the same time supporting and expanding crisis centres to provide psychological, medical and legal assistance to domestic violence victims. There are 28 such facilities in the country and we are soliciting funding for them; the relevant regulations are currently being created. The crisis centres alone, however, are not a solution. To address this challenge, public awareness of the problem should be increased as well. Society is changing fast under the influence of globalisation, and along with progress, some regressive phenomena are evident. Among the latter is the choice of our girls to wear hijab, oblivious to the roots of this tradition. “Kazakhstan’s girls,” the president said, “must have more access to good educations and good jobs; they should



Fighting for the Rule of the People By Vladislav Kosarev

feel free. They should be able to use credit cards, drive cars, make careers and wear modern clothes instead of wrapping themselves in fashions that are alien to us, that we have never worn. Our nation has its own culture, traditions and customs.” We plan to team up with professionals to raise awareness among young people and students regarding this issue. Sometimes, women dress simply to attract attention. Then there are cases when young girls, without any idea about the true values of Islam, are drawn into a sect fraudulently, or are even bullied into it to spread harmful ideology or to be used as suicide bombers. Resolution 1325 of the U.N. Security Council, On Women, Peace and Security, states that countries must ensure peace and security through the integration of gender aspects in their national security policy. This means increasing women’s involvement in decisionmaking about security, peacekeeping operations and the settlement of conflicts and disputes. The prosecutor general’s office is upgrading the law enforcement system and the Foreign Ministry is scheduling an international conference on the implementation of the resolution. The topics of global and regional development and women’s involvement in the political, economic and social life of the country were also raised at the recent Third Eurasian Women’s Summit. One of its goals was to train local businesswomen and share their success stories. It said that the Customs Union opens ample business opportunities to Kazakhstan’s women to develop Kazakhstan’s, Russian and Belarusian markets and establish joint ventures. The author is an adviser to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and head of the National Commission for Women’s Affairs, Family and Demographic Policy under the President of Kazakhstan.

The Communist People’s Party’s faction in the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan was not built from scratch: We have been involved in national politics for a long time. The party contests parliamentary seats and declares its positions on policies to the public at all levels. We addressed the government and the executive office of the president and clearly presented our positions on all issues before the national elections. Our programs are aimed at improving social welfare. A three-party legislature is new for Kazakhstan. Fortunately, in Parliament, we do not feel any kind of neglect. Our contributions are weighed and considered. We do not hear reproaches or sneers from our colleagues in other political parties. We work as equals, but, of course, the number of seats we have does not give us the opportunity to carry out our policies. What is most important is that we know the voice of the Communist People’s Party is heard in Parliament. It did not fade and we clearly declare our principles and positions. The Communist People’s Party wants to achieve its goal of helping people get the housing they need. In September 2012, the government launched its Affordable Housing 2020 programme. This plan still has serious shortcomings and distortions, but it aims at responding to the requirements of the people. The distortions and omissions in this programme are as follows: It has not taken into account that the employer has to participate in solving the housing problems of his employees, to build a house and pass it on to the people in need on certain conditions. Houses, for example, could be purchased, leased or provided on proprietary possession for merit at work. The advantage of the three-party legislature is that it does not express the voice of only one party, but takes into consideration the views of all three. Our party raises questions of the most public concern. The Communist People’s Party has recently protested the attempt to increase the retirement age for women from 58 years to 63 years. Our appeal was also reflected in the decision of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to unite all pension funds in a single fund under state administration. We also discussed the necessity to help farmers and agricultural workers by maintaining existing farms.

That is an initiative of our faction and we are studying these issues very seriously. When our members of the Mazhilis of the Parliament raise issues, we study them at the level of governmental implementation, the views of other political parties and the way they are covered in the mass media. This was the way we approached the issue of food production and supply. The work of our parliamentary faction closely intertwines with the work of the party’s central committee. If issues are discussed at a plenary session, the same issues are considered in Parliament from the parliamentary perspective. This work is conducted by primary party organizations, but as soon as the Parliament makes statements, the political activity begins. We insist that these movements be picked up in the lower party organisations at the regional committee, district committees, and primary party bodies. Thus, to create united movement of Communist People’s Party deputies, we take a series of coordinated steps. And our party organisation gives priority to working with the public. Our party gives importance to improving the number of farms and the conditions under which they operate. We recognise the importance of the agricultural sector in providing food for the general population and employment for the rural population. Today, meat is expensive because of the shortage of fodder to feed livestock. We raise this and other issues in Parliament. The Communist People’s Party is not losing its ideological direction at a time when the state has started to move towards the modernisation of the social sphere, the economy and culture under the new Kazakhstan 2050 national strategy. This practically coincides with the ideological directions of our party. Our party, therefore, agrees with this national strategy and supports the government

in implementing it. We will continue the work together because it is right and because we have never ceased to be patriotic. At the same time, the goal of our party is to enhance the role of ordinary citizens, and the rule of the people in the management of state affairs. It is necessary to implement the national employment programme, which we have carefully studied. Our party is committed to improving the working conditions of the people and to achieving full employment. We consider that employment is the main factor in maintaining the welfare of society. What does self-employed mean? It means people who do not participate in the production of gross domestic product, who do not keep records of their working contributions and who have no right to use national health services. It is time to stop this disregard towards these people from the side of the state. Therefore, our party insists that all people should be employed. Ordinary people should be involved not only in the working process. They should also be involved in the industrial innovative development of the state. The population needs to be directed by state programmes to help them learn to master new technologies, study science and raise the country so that the bourgeois forms of oppression do not prevail in Kazakhstan. We also strive so that people can get a good salary and enjoy the necessary vital conditions for life, health protection, childcare and other social services. We want to achieve all these goals as quickly as possible to ensure that the fruits of labour are the property of all the people. The plans for the future development of Kazakhstan have great potential. This progress should serve all of society, but the people should participate in it fully and ensure that their voices are heard by those who have the means and the power. We recognise that we have relatively little electoral support. Half a million people voted for us in the most recent parliamentary elections. We have the goal of winning 10 percent of the vote in district and regional elections. We continue to make the case that bourgeois society does not show respect for all people and that it is inevitably characterised by acquisitiveness and corruption. If the Communist People’s Party will be involved the representative bodies, we will effectively curb the negative effects that prevent the full development of our society. The author is the leader of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan.

EU and Kazakhstan: Twenty Steps Towards Each Other, Twenty Years of Comprehensive and Vibrant Partnership By Aurélia Bouchez This year, the European Union and Kazakhstan celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. On the eve of the anniversary, on 29 January, Foreign Minister Idrissov visited Brussels. His meeting with President Barroso gave an opportunity to take stock of the two decades that have elapsed since the first official visit of President Nazarbayev to the European Union, on 2 February 1993. On that occasion, the agreement on the establishment of a permanent EU representation in Kazakhstan was signed. Bilateral relations between the EU and Kazakhstan entered a new stage of mutual recognition and interaction. In terms of human life, 20 years is not old. And I feel tempted to dedicate my comments on this anniversary to the youth of Kazakhstan, to students, to the new generations. It is not an accident that almost all the activities we plan to celebrate the occasion will take place in schools and universities – classroom lectures by European Ambassadors, academic conferences, civil society gatherings or concerts and exhibitions. The young people will not be the audience – they will be the participants and the performers. When relations between the EU and Kazakhstan began 20 years ago, determination and dedication were required from both sides. From the start, Kazakhstan made the strategic choice to develop links with Europe and consistently pursued this direction, notably thanks to the Path to Europe adopted in 2009. The EU did its best to support Kazakhstan's steps – very rapid steps! – towards full inde-

pendence and towards economic and social sustainability. In Kazakhstan, as in other countries in the region, the European Union is concerned with such key issues as development, democracy and security. They are at the heart of the EU Strategy for Central Asia, and are becoming more pressing than ever as security challenges in the region increase. This is why the EU and the five Central Asian states decided last October to set up a new EU–Central Asia High Level Dialogue to enhance our engagement on security issues, including on Afghanistan. And here let me stress the central role played by Kazakhstan . On security, we would like to praise in particular the contributions made by Kazakhstan with regard to Afghanistan post-2014; through the provision of training and education to Afghan students, but also through the Heart of Asia process and the hosting of the Ministerial meeting next April. As to economic development, Kazakhstan is now

an upper middle income country, with over USD 12,000 per capita income; it also attracts the bulk of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the region. As OSCE Chairman in 2010, and now as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and of the Venice Commission, Kazakhstan has taken important steps in the ongoing process of democracy consolidation. We appreciate Kazakhstan’s pivotal role for the stability and the security of the region, thanks to its constant emphasis on good neighbourly relations. We also appreciate the global initiatives launched by President Nazarbayev, in particular in the field of nuclear non-proliferation, but also the effort to address the climate changesecurity nexus with initiatives like the Green Economy project. It is not, therefore, surprising that Kazakhstan is the only country in the region with which the EU is currently negotiating a second generation agreement, the “enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement”, which reflects our very broad and comprehensive relationship with Kazakhstan. Practically all areas of life are covered, paving the way for deepened and expanded dialogue and cooperation, based on mutual trust and respect, shared goals and interests. EU–Kazakhstan relations show an impressive record of achievement over a relatively brief period of time. And now? Now, the EU is Kazakhstan’s first trading partner and first provider of FDI. It is the main destination of Kazakhstan’s exports and the main source of its imports. Kazakhstan is key for the EU’s energy security, European companies are key for the development of Kazakhstan’s impressive oil and gas reserves – a shining example this

year will be the Kashagan oil field. The EU is also Kazakhstan’s partner for the further modernization of its institutions and structures, in particular in the areas of public sector reform, judicial reform and regional development. Such cooperation contributes to the consolidation of democracy, the empowerment of civil society and also to the improvement of the business climate – all areas which are indispensable for a fully modern state and for its citizens. With Kazakhstan, the EU has also developed a mutually confident and fruitful dialogue on political and security matters, and we constantly seek ways to support each other on international issues of common interest. Your experience of the broader region is of interest to the EU, and you know our overall objectives. We can work together in a complementary and mutually supportive manner. Ours is a partnership oriented towards peace and modernity. I have briefly spoken about peace and security. Let me dwell on modernity, which goes hand in hand with education, innovation, new technologies and research. Modernity, in my view, begins with education. And here let me praise Kazakhstan for its achievements in this field. In 2009, Kazakhstan ranked first in the UNESCO’s Education for All Development Index, with particularly positive results in securing a near universal level of primary education, high adult literacy and full gender equality. The remarkable Bolashak program designed by President Nazarbayev allowed young Kazakhs to find their way to foreign universities. From 1994 on, the priority given to education has been supported by the EU, notably through the Tempus and Er-

asmus programs. 22 universities from Kazakhstan are involved in Tempus, 600 students and teachers in Erasmus partnerships for mobility. These decades of efforts provide Kazakhstan with enlightened and socially mobile elites, as well as with intellectual back-up matching the country's active role in the region and beyond. Modernity cannot be dissociated from the quest for innovation; this is another common point between the EU and Kazakhstan. We already cooperate on topics that belong to the future through the European Space Agency programmes at Baikonur. There are new and very promising prospects for using the EU’s FP7 programme for Research and Technological Development to further develop research and innovation efforts in Kazakhstan. And I am sure that EXPO 2017 in Astana, with its focus on Energy for the Future, will boost our cooperation, given the EU’s unmatched experience and expertise in the field of renewable energy and its attachment to the promotion of sustainable energy as a contribution to UN-led efforts on the Rio and Doha agendas. Last but certainly not least, modernity is about freedom – freedom to think, talk and exchange. In Europe, we learnt the importance of this with Galileo. A free society, a free economy and free trade are the best foundations for sustained prosperity and lasting stability, ensured by a broad consensus acquired through political dialogue and a vibrant civil society. Effective implementation of fundamental freedoms, and respect for the rule of law, are part and parcel of a modern democracy. They also ensure prosperity, since economic actors value predictability and transparency, as

well as fair legal process. And we are all aware that freedom needs to be accompanied by social justice, as well as by the concern to avoid burdening future generations with ecological disasters. We know how much Kazakhstan’s authorities pay attention to these issues, and here again we stand ready to provide help and support. Let me be clear here. We in Europe do not set ourselves up as examples, since we may have our own shortcomings. We do, however, have experience and expertise drawn, sometimes painfully, from our history and also from the transition made by some EU Member States in the 1990s. We have commitments, as members of the OSCE and parties to UN legal instruments which also apply to Kazakhstan, and all of us have to deliver accordingly. Cooperation with the EU can benefit its partners. In this regard, we appreciate Kazakhstan’s interest in getting closer to EU standards, and look forward to further progress. The success of our relationship is a two-way process. In many fields, it is clear that we need each other. Thus, since much is at stake in EU–Kazakhstan cooperation, each of the two sides is determined to make its best efforts to pursue our win-win relationship. A few months ago, on her first official visit to Kazakhstan, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton had a clear message for all her interlocutors in Kazakhstan: Be assured that the EU will remain faithful to its commitments to Kazakhstan and to the rest of the world, to protect peace and democratic values for future generations. The author is Ambassador of the European Union to Kazakhstan.


The Astana Times

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Nation & Eurasia

Kazakhstan Broadens Scope of Space Programme By Yulia Polonskaya ASTANA – Many changes and upgrades are being planned for Kazakhstan’s National Space Programme. First, changes will be implemented in the multi-vector development of space infrastructure, including the creation of a space communication and KazSat broadcasting system, a system of remote earth sensing (RES), construction of an assemblage-test facility and the Baiterek space and rocket complex and Kazakhstan’s participation in the commercial use of the Dnepr rocket carrier, Chairman of Kazkosmos Talgat Musabayev at the organisation’s board meeting revealed. “KazSat-2 functions normally. All the satellite’s systems are stable. Today, the system load is more than 56 percent. Rental services of

the satellite’s resources are granted to nine operators in Kazakhstan,” Musabayev noted in the progress report. “Currently, design and technical work on KazSat-3 projects have been completed, including on the payload, solar devices and service systems of the satellite.” In 2014, the space agency will be actively involved in the design and manufacture of commercial satellite KazSat-3 and commissioning a reserve ground control communication complex near Almaty. There are also plans to test a remote sensing system, in particular to launch a RES spacecraft of medium spatial resolution. The launch of KazSat-3 is scheduled for the first quarter of 2014, concurrent with the launch of the Russian space module Luch 5B from Baikonur Cosmodrome. “Development of space infra-

During their recent meeting, Presidents Nazarbayev and Putin agreed to continue the joint space programmes’ development. structure on the basis of modern technical achievements is the future of the most knowledge-intensive industry of the national economy,”

Musabayev said at the meeting. As for strategic direction, the agency is involved in developing scientific and technological bases,

forming the system of environmental regulation of space activities, international cooperation and developing human resources. The head of Kazkosmos also added that “at present they are considering options for the use of the Zenit rocket (as part of the Baiterek complex). That leaves the question of Kazakhstan’s participation in commercial use of the Dnepr carrier rocket. “I would like once again to officially confirm our unconditional commitment to the agreements signed by the leaders of Russia and Kazakhstan in 2004 to extend the term of the lease of Baikonur Cosmodrome up to 2050,” Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov said, summing up discussions on the future of the domestic space industry. “All possible problems are dis-

cussed within the framework of the intergovernmental commission, which we head jointly with Igor Shuvalov,” Kelimbetov said. “Negotiations are also held at the level of the space agencies of the two countries. Thus, they were instructed to prepare agreements on the joint use of Baikonur, the development of its scientific and technological capacity and on the training and participation of Kazakhstan’s specialists in launch services. All disputed issues can be solved through constructive negotiations, in particular the issue of reducing rocket launches with highly toxic fuels that are harmful for the environment in Kazakhstan. According to the agreement, the Russian side pledged to help reduce the launch of Proton carrier rockets, which adversely affect the environment. For my part, I would like to say that our main task is to protect and defend the national interests of Kazakhstan with respect to the interests of our strategic partner.”


The Astana Times

Nation & Capital Wednesday, 20 February 2013 Generations of Handicraft Masters Preserve National Traditions Page B2

Hollywood’s Russell to Make Kazakh-Russian Comedy Thriller Page B3

Curling Comes to the Capital

National Tennis Federation Wants to Groom Future Grand Slam Winners By Askar Beisenbayev ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s national tennis team achieved a significant victory on their home court in the first round of the latest Davis Cup World Group competition. In the wake of that achievement, Kazakhstan Tennis Federation President Bulat Utemuratov recently spoke with The Astana Times about the success and future of Kazakhstan’s elite tennis players. In the first round of the Davis Cup this year, our rivals were the Austrian team, a tough nut indeed. Many Kazakh fans, it must be admitted, did not expect the 3-1 victory over the masters standing much higher in world rankings. Actually it was a win over rankings! Andrey Golubev, number 187, defeated Andreas A. Haider-Maurer, who is 80 places above him in the world rankings.

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ASTANA – Tarik Volkan Oskay, director general of Sembol Investment and Development came to Kazakhstan for the first time at the end of 1996 to meet the family of his then girlfriend, now wife. After that, a job opportunity came up, and in June 2005 he arrived to work for Rixos President Hotel. Since then, he has been working and living in Astana. The Astana Times talked to Mr Volkan to find out his opinion on

Kazakhstan’s Fashion: Young, Unique and Diverse By Anel Adilbayeva

Kazakhstan's National Tennis Team demonstrates good results and strong team spirit.

Turkish Expat Sees Astana as Depiction of Country’s Future By Azat Abyroi

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his second motherland and discuss how expats perceive Kazakhstan and its future.

Did you notice any changes here since you first arrived? I note real changes happening in social life and in commerce. This doesn’t only apply to places like Almaty or Astana. I say this as a person who knows the regions well from first-hand experience. With my job, I periodically visit rural areas. I have travelled before as well, with my wife’s father, just out of

curiosity. Because of that, I know there are serious changes in the regions apart from Astana, Almaty, Aktau, and Atyrau. Kazakhstan has this sort of advantage with approximately 1617 million people: the processes that happen at the top level always have an impact on the ground very quickly. In my country, that isn’t the case, things usually take time. I think this can be seen from the outside as well. What about negative changes? Of course, there are going to be

ASTANA – Fashion week has returned to Kazakhstan, prompting fashionistas in the country to scope out what’s happening in design both within the country and abroad. The development of the fashion industry is considered to be one of the most topical issues in the social and contemporary life of the country. Kazakhstan is changing and so are its people. Young people across Kazakhstan want to stand out from the pack; they sport the latest trends from London, Paris, Tokyo and New York. Increased opportunities to travel and to study and live abroad have opened new horizons for the people. Globalisation is fueling the trend to show off a global style. And Kazakhstan’s fashion industry is evolving. The growing number of fashion events, designers and stores demonstrate that fashion in Kazakhstan has grown beyond the beginners’ stage and is ready to make a bigger splash in the world of couture. So far, Kazakhstan has only been represented at Paris Fashion Week once, by the breakall-boundaries designer Kenzhe

Devyatko (Kenje), who in 2008 used the international opportunity to show bold nomadic haute–couture. Since then, Kazakhstan’s designers have not made it to Paris. At home, however, amidst the growing competition, diversity of trends and availability of materials, as well as the changing mentality of the nation, a number of new and promising designers have appeared among the existing titans of Kazakhstan’s fashion.

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imperfections, they will never end. As long as people live they will always have flaws. Firstly, I think people have to think about employment in a different way, because Kazakhstan doesn’t only need oilmen and miners and financiers. A country needs everything. So if people change their mindset to accept that, and not just seek riches quickly. You have to look at the situation differently to see what the country needs and realise that people are required in every sphere.

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Astana on Ice: City Offers Winter Fun

Kazakhstan’s boxer Gennady Golovkin has been selected as the January Boxer of the Month by the ratings committee of the World Boxing Association.

Things to Watch February - March People of all ages enjoy Astana’s skating rinks.

By Miras Abykov ASTANA – Winter in Astana has its charms: fresh cold air, sun and deep blue skies, all of which call residents and visitors outdoors despite the cold. Now the capital is adding ice skating to its list of winter charms. New ice rinks and

entertainment venues are being constructed all over the city. Astana doesn’t have much for skiers, so ice rinks don’t have much competition in drawing winter sports enthusiasts. The rinks will function from December 12 until the end of April, when the sun is finally strong enough to melt the ice.

Astana offers both indoor and outdoor skating. Indoor rinks are located in big malls and entertainment centres, where in addition to skating visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee, tea and desserts. Outdoor rinks are open only during the winter months and are constructed on the frozen Yessil and Akbulak rivers. There is also a skating rink in the centre of the old city, next to Cine Tempore Mall. Locals love the outdoor rinks. The prices are reasonable and the wind does not allow you to stand still. You’ll have to skate to keep warm, no matter what your skill level. Photos with the ice sculptures around the rinks are musthave winter holiday souvenirs from Astana. Astana has a total of five skating rinks: in the Central Park, next to

Duman Aquarium, on the Akbulak River, in Zheruyik Park and on the Yessil River opposite Samal Microdistrict. For the convenience of visitors, it is possible to rent skates next to the rinks. Visitors can also enjoy warm dressing rooms, buffets with hot tea and music and a skate-sharpening service for serious skaters. Skate rentals are 500 tenge (about $3.30) per pair per hour. Nearby snowmobile riding costs 1,000 tenge ($6.60) per lap. “Many people are willing to go skating. We have in total 200 skates for hockey and for figure skating. We also have snowmobiles and skis. We have so many visitors, sometimes we run out. To date we expect to work prior to the beginning of March,” Zhazilbek Kanseitov, administrator of the ice rink on the Yessil River, says.

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National Theatre of Opera & Ballet named after Kulyash Baiseitova March 2 at 17.00 March 4 at 19.00 March 6 at 19.00

“Othello” (opera in 2 acts) Concert of three bass singers “La Bayadère” (ballet in 3 acts)

Russian Drama Theatre named after Maxim Gorky March 1 at 18.30 March 3 at 18.00

Opening night of comedy “Toth, a major and other people” by István Örkény Comedy “There are no strangers here” by “The Government Inspector” of Nikolay Gogol

Kazakh Music and Drama Theatre named after Kairat Kuanyshbayev February 26 at 18.30 February 27 at 18.30

Drama “Ak keme” (the white boat) by Chyngyz Aitmatov Drama “Kenesarykhan and Kunimzhan” by Duman Ramazan

The Museum of contemporary art to March 14

Exhibition of museum collections “Portrait, landscape and still life”

The Central Concert Hall Kazakhstan February 28 at 19.30 March 1 at 19.00

qualifying festival of KVN (Club of the Funny and Inventive) the concert of People’s Artist of Russia and Georgia Tamara Gverdtsiteli

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Generations of Handicraft Masters Preserve National Traditions household items, musical instruments, weapons and armour. In his native village he organised a school-workshop, Asyl (“precious” in Kazakh), where he taught young people ancient folk crafts and traditions. Now his son, Daulet Shokparov, director of the Darkembay Shokparuly Ethnographic Museum, is passing the torch. The museum opened in July 2010 in his father’s house as part of the state cultural heritage programme. Daulet Shokparov has donated all the items his father collected. There

are six exhibition halls in the museum, which is a temple of history. Here, young scientists can trace the origin and development of Kazakh arts and crafts. Now Shokparov teaches his sons and assistants the nuances of Kazakh art. Studying the works of old masters, the artists from Akshi village have resurrected the manufacturing technology of leather housewares. They have become highly soughtafter masters. Their bracelets are very popular among women, and men have snapped up horse harnesses and saddles.

The beautiful museum, built in the oriental architectural style and blended splendidly with the surrounding majestic peaks of Alatau attracts the attention of travelers on the Ghuljin route. Akshi village is located on the ancient Silk Road. The old crafts revival and the artisans’ works of art are becoming the region’s calling card. Focused museums like this one could become magnets for tourism, attracting lovers of antiques and instilling in local people a sense of pride in their country.

generations of craftsmen in the Shokparov family have honed their skills.

By Aset Kalymov ALMATY REGION – Battle swords, jars for koumiss (the traditional mare’s milk drink) and jewelry boxes are all made from natural materials at Akshi village, Enbekshikazakh district, where generations of craftsmen have honed their skills. Graphic designer Daulet Shokparov, who creates unique pieces of traditional Kazakh art, comes from a long line of craftsmen. His great-grandfather, grandfather and father worked with metal, leather and wood, and he has inherited their gift.(He first showed an interest in this kind of work at age seven) Now, the work of these generations of craftsmen

is being displayed and preserved in the Darkembay Shokparuly Ethnographic Museum. This complicated work requires creativity as well as a jeweler’s precision and patience. “Hasty people cannot ‘take root’ in our art,” Shokparov says. “They come and go almost immediately, unable to maintain a serious rhythm. It all depends on your inner tranquility. After all, while you’re working, you are surrounded by a lot of sharp objects and tools. Safety in our practice is a priority, along with quality of work. It starts with the love of the profession. Patience and meticulousness together open the secrets of our art.” Shokparov knows what he’s talking about. He was disciplined at his father’s knee. Darkembay

Shokparuly, a member of the Union of Soviet Artists and Designers of the USSR, was known across the country as a scientist-ethnographer. Darkembay Shokparuly, who hated idleness, fostered in his children a love for work. A Renaissance man, he stamped metal, carved wood sculptures and painted in oil. He was chief artist-restorer at the Kazrestavratsiya National Museum of Applied Arts and head of the department of metal and wood arts at the Zhurgenov National Academy of Arts. The results of his years-long scientific research are more than 200 scientific articles on folk arts. He himself created unique objects, while also collecting vintage

Turkish Expat Sees Astana as Depiction of Country’s Future From Page B1 In the work that I do, hospitality, a lot of things can happen. I am a person who believes that Kazakhstan has many more wonderful opportunities that are not related to oil and raw materials. There is a huge potential in tourism. Not many people may believe me but in my country, we didn’t have a tourism industry 25 years ago. Now we can talk about approximately 30 billion dollars. And this is a country that’s four times smaller than Kazakhstan. Toursim isn’t only the sea, sand and sun. In Kazakhstan, there is a serious culture of hunting tourism. It can also use the relationship with its Turkic neighbours. We have, for example, the Mevlana museum, a visit to which is said to be equal to a mini hajj. You could say the same thing here with Khodzha Akhmet Yassawi mausoleum. These are still not active but closed destinations that can be expanded, or say, be made more attractive, preserved. Hotels on route and related services could be developed. Not only that but this list also includes the cradle of Turkic civilization, the Altai mountains, and I could list many more attractions. And there are things being done already, and I try to keep up with them. You have to look at it through that perspective. Let’s not call it negatives, but with efforts things can improve. And you can’t change the image of Kazakhstan to what it wants to be by just selling oil or mineral resources. You have to do these kinds of things so that the image of the country is seen from different perspectives, and a major part of this perception is shaped through tourism. Is there any advice or comments to our readers? Actually, I can give quite a lot of recommendations regarding Kazakhstan. I’ll speak from my experience: this is a very positive country, at least that’s how I feel about it. Maybe not everybody does this, but when I travel abroad I try to sense the air, the water and the people of a place their openness to you. In those terms Astana

Tarik Volkan Oskay can be perceived as perhaps the most competitive city. However, I live here and know it. There is still a very positive atmosphere and I hope it never ends, because it is something unique. You cannot find this in any other place in the world. This is a cultural, historical moment. Foreigners don’t usually stay here for long, or at least, people like me who stay for 8-10 years, as they say, are a rare example. I hope they really get into the taste of things and when they return, they can enjoy the memories of the time spent here. This is the modern world and one can travel a few hundred years within 100-200 kilometers. Because there aren’t many people, a lot of things seem to be just hanging in the air. Especially if you go to the south you can feel it. 50-100 kilometers from where people live, you can feel a different environment and I think they have to enjoy it. I would recommend it at least. Other than that, there is something I notice all the time: Kazakh culture has stayed very raw, basic and not far from its roots. They have to live this, because in a lot of countries in the world there isn’t a dialogue between a people and their forefathers. There is, for example, the beshparmak ceremony and I am sure that a thousand years earlier it was the same. Maybe they didn’t use porcelain dishes but in some way the Kazakhs are incredibly bound to traditions. And even in Turkey, which considers itself very cultural country, you can’t live the culture this close. I just think foreigners have to entrust themselves to Kazakh friends and

that will be enough. I am sure this is something they can see and feel in every family and home here. Some people can say it’s cold here. Well, it’s cold in Canada, but you cannot find in Canada what you can find here. I’m talking about human connections, and you have to relish it. I think there are few things better than having a Kazakh friend. I’m not saying that because I live here and want to make somebody like me, it is really like that. I have been to other places, lived in other countries but here I do not feel like an alien. I am not made to feel like a foreigner. My friends who surround me simply do not let me feel it. To be abroad and to feel at home, for me this is one of the few countries in the world. Maybe a German or an Italian may not feel this way. I can recommend making friends among Kazakh, and I am sure they will arrange for everything. They provide me this comfort and ease, and I therefore I feel happy here. Is there anything else you would like to share? I think Kazakhstan, Astana especially, being one of the youngest capitals in the world, must be one of the most creative as well. And its work to attract and inform foreigners carries great importance. At the Rixos President Hotel, the first place where I worked here, we tried to support these types of works. It is the message that the country wants to convey, it is what the capital wants to say. And it is important because you have a great guide in Nursultan Nazarbayev with a great vision stretching into the future. When I first came to Astana in 1999, I couldn’t comprehend it. “Why?” I asked myself, “why” was the capital moved here? I thought about it for a long time but now I understand. If you want to give a message to the world, you had to do this type of thing. And it’s being done. So really, it must be appreciated. Whenever I show my friends who haven’t been to Astana photos of the city they are amazed, asking “Is it really like this?” They then go online, and I bring them more books. They are surprised and want to visit.

Kazakh traditional jewelry made from natural materials fascinates by its beauty.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 20 February 2013



Hollywood’s Russell to Make Kazakh-Russian Comedy Thriller police officers, Harper and Ivan, who live on the opposite sides of the world. But fate and duty bring them together to fight the Russian mafia. Ivan goes undercover in the Russian mafia gang that controls the illegal pharmaceutical business in the United States. The group plans to contaminate Harper’s hometown with a deadly virus. The movie will be filmed in the United States, Kazakhstan and Russia. Russell has proposed Steve Guttenberg, the star of “Police Academy,” for the role of Harper. Now he is looking for a Russian actor to play Ivan. Russell is also making another Kazakh-American film called “Arabian Nights.” It is a new ad-

aptation of the famous book “A Thousand and One Nights.” The KazakhFilm studio is producing the film in partnership with Inferno, a leading Hollywood film company. Among its other productions, Inferno has made “Hachiko” (2009) and “Professionals” (2011). The Film District Company acquired the U.S. rights to present the film at the Cannes Film Festival. “Arabian Nights” tells the story of a young commander, played by Liam Hemsworth of “The Hunger Games.”After the death of a king, he joins forces with Sinbad, Aladdin and the genie of Aladdin’s lamp to rescue Scheherazade and her kingdom from dark powers. Anthony Hopkins will play the villain Pharotu, who killed the king.

Hollywood director signed a contract with KazakhFilm to shoot “Arabian Nights” in Kazakhstan .

“Arabian Nights” has a budget of $70 million and most of it is filmed in Kazakhstan. The country was chosen primarily because of its desert regions, where most of the action will take place. Sets include a full-scale medieval city 120 miles from Almaty that was built a few years ago for Russian director Sergey Bodrov’s “Nomad.” Other locations include the sandy hills and gullies at the Altyn Emel National Park near Almaty. “When I saw such a huge variety of nationalities and traditions existing in one country, I realized that anything is possible. Even on my first day here in Kazakhstan, I met a troupe of actors performing some incredible tricks while riding horses. It amazed me!” Russell said. “Ancient traditions are still alive in Kazakhstan,” the American director said. “They coexist with the making of a contemporary movie.” “In my opinion, it is very worthwhile to produce movies in Kazakhstan, thanks to your spectacular scenery, hospitable people and rich cultural traditions of music and dance which I want to show to my Western colleagues. Kazakhstan has everything,” he said. Russell first visited Kazakhstan in 2011, when he took part in the Eurasia Festival. He was awarded the main film festival award for his contribution to world cinema. “More than a decade ago I made ‘The Mask.’ Now I want to make a film that is understood all over the world. The manuscript of ‘A Thousand and One Nights’ which is the basis for this film was found in the ninth century and represents a collection of myths and legends of North Africa, the Middle East and

Kazakhstan’s Culture on Display in Prague

Sotheby’s to Display Works of Kazakh Painters

By Maral Zhantaykyzy ASTANA – Famous Hollywood director Chuck Russell who made the hugely popular films “The Mask,” “Eraser” and “The Scorpion King” will make the joint Kazakh-Russian film “Politsioner” (a tongue-in-cheek mix of “Policeman” and “Militsioner” (Militia men in Russia). The film will be a comedy thriller with a $10 million budget, produced with the financial support of the World Cinema Fund. Its producers are Pierre Spengler, who made the first three and most successful “Superman” movies, Yegor Konchalovsky, Alexandra Lee and Ernar Kurmashov. The film tells the story of two

By Manshuk Bekentayeva

By Anel Adilbayeva

ASTANA – The rich culture of Kazakhstan has gone on display in one of Europe’s most ancient and fabled cities. A new exhibition called “Kazakhstan – the Heart of Eurasia” opened in the Charles University in Prague on Feb. 7. It will remain on display until March 17. The exhibition celebrates the 20th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic. Kazakhstan’s embassy in Prague organized the show. It worked in cooperation with the geographical department of the Faculty of Science at Charles University. The opening ceremony was attended by diplomats, representatives of leading Czech universities and media, and by Kazakh students studying in Prague. The audience was introduced to the natural riches,

ASTANA – For the first time, selected artwork from the Caucasus to Kazakhstan will be displayed at Sotheby’s in London in a selling exhibition called “At the Crossroads,” open from March 4-12. According to its description, the exhibition will bring together 50 pieces by artists from post-Soviet republics including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Organisers intend to introduce the diverse styles of the region, “socialist-realist to non-conformist, right through to the forefront of emerging contemporary, arising from the unique encounter of ancient historical heritages with evolving modern day techniques.” The exhibition is being organised with the participation of the Rysbek Akhmetov Gallery in Almaty, which has provided paintings by Salikhitdin Aitbayev (“Virgin Soil. At lunch,” 1960) and Bakhtiyar Tabiyev (“Village at the Caspian Sea,” 1985). In Soviet days, Aitbayev’s work was criticised. He was accused of copying the “bourgeois” style of Picasso, which contrasted with the ideal of Soviet art. Aitbayev had to

Guests of the exhibition enjoyed the event. ecology, history, culture and life- artist Leyla Makhat, an honorary style of the Kazakh people, to the member of the Prague Academy of accompaniment of national musical Fine Arts. instruments played by virtuosos. “I am very pleased that KazaThe exhibition included a show khstan is presenting interesting of works by the famous Kazakh cultural projects in Europe, and all over the world,” Makhat told The Astana Times. “Naturally, I am very pleased to see such a positive reaction from art lovers in the Czech Republic. This interest towards the art of Kazakhstan demonstrates the intensive development of creative processes in our country which is attracting the attention of the world community.” “The works presented at this show are dedicated to the ancient art of our nation,” Makhat said. “The study of the folk art of our ancestors was always of special interest to me and ancient petroglyphs occupied a special place in my work.” “It seems to me that the ancient symbols of our culture are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for different generations of Kazakh artists,” she continued. “I am privileged to be able to exhibit my works on the walls of one of the oldest universities of Europe. Charles University in the beautiful city of Prague is a unique platform to showcase the achievements of Kazakhstan.” The exhibition follows a rise in interest in the Czech Republic in the culture of Kazakhstan in recent years. Orchestras and leading musicians from the country regularly perform in the concert halls of Prague. And bilateral relations generally have grown over the past several years, including through a visit to Prague by President NurDiplomats, representatives of Czech universities and sultan Nazarbayev in October media were invited to the event to share the rich 2012 when agreements worth 155 million euros were signed. culture of Kazakhstan.

In 2001, Russell first visited Astana to take part in the Eurasian Film Festival. China. My grandmother read me those stories when I was a child,” Russell told reporters in Almaty after signing a co-operation agreement with KazakhFilm. On his visit, Russell also held casting auditions with Kazakhstan actors. “For a director, nothing is more pleasant than to discover new talents,” he said. “What is happening now in Kazakhstan, China and India demonstrates the rapid growth of young cinema and their rise to world standards. The Kazakhstan cinema today is like Hollywood studios in the 1950s and 1960s, when they were discovering new faces and supporting young, novice directors.” Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has made supporting the national filmmaking industry a priority goal. His backing over the past two years has sparked

make changes to his work. Now, his work is included in the permanent exhibition at the Kasteyev Museum in Almaty and is recognised as classic Kazakhstan art.

Critics praised that event as a new page in the history of the region’s art, which has revealed new names for the international market... Participation in the Sotheby’s exhibition is another major step for the Kazakhstan artists. “Village at the Caspian Sea” depicts traditional life and spiritual values and reveals the ties binding nature and humans, which have become the artist’s calling card. Permission to ship these paintings abroad was given by the artists’ relatives, as both artists are deceased. Elmira Akhmetova, director of the Akmetov Gallery and daughter of Rysbek Akhmetov himself, is in charge of preparing

a major investment programme in Kazakhstan film-making and has helped to revive the domestic film industry. “The domestic film industry of Kazakhstan has the capacity to make 100 films a year including 20 films of the high standard required for movie theatre distribution,” the president said when he issued the annual presidential and state grants for literature and art at his Almaty residence in January.“Hundreds of movies can be produced, but we need those to be of high quality.” “We know that the quality of our movies has been confirmed by audiences in 48 countries. The importance of cinema in the education of patriotism is very great,” the president said. “We will continue to support KazakhFilm and we will look critically at the quality of the product.”

the exhibition. Previously, Kazakhstan’s art was shown by another London-based auction house, Christie’s, which displayed sculptures by Rysbek Akhmetov and lithography by Evgenii Sidorkin. Rysbek Akhmetov was one of the first sculptors to create genuine interest regarding Kazakhstan’s heritage in contemporary architecture. Akhmetov’s works carry a diversity of feelings, mood and rhythms, reinterpreting traditions of Kazakh art. Critics praised that event as a new page in the history of the region’s art, which has revealed new names for the international market. For the Kazakhstan artists, who had never been shown at an exhibit on this scale, the Christie’s show was a breakthrough, since Christie’s curators rarely select artists who don’t have a successful history in auction sales. Participation in the Sotheby’s exhibition is another major step for the Kazakhstan artists. Sotheby’s is a multinational corporation, which was established in London in March, 1744 and currently is U.S. owned. Sotheby’s is the second largest auctioneer of fine and decorative art, jewelry and collectibles, and the world’s fourth oldest auction house, with 90 locations in 40 countries.

One of the masterpieces to be presented at Sotheby’s is a painting titled “Virgin Soil. At lunch,” 1960, by Salikhitdin Aitbayev.

The Astana Times



NGOs, Government Tackle Problems Related to Youth Migration By Nurlan Kaimoldayev The Soros Foundation Kazakhstan recently presented in Almaty a study on the problem of mass youth migration trying to draw additional attention to the problems remaining in this area. In its study, the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan said: “In Almaty, every year the number of young migrants increases and this reality should not be ignored. Their problems should be resolved on the spot, rather than hoping to send them back to the villages. Instead, the development of programmes aimed at addressing the problems of registration, professional education and job creation will be more effective.” As a result of its study, the foundation made the recommendations which are primarily addressed at the local agencies in Almaty. A number of recommendations are addressed to the Government, the National Bank, civil society and international organizations. On one hand, internal migration occurs regularly in societies as they urbanise, and urbanisation is considered by scientists and public opinion in general to be an objective of the development of a modern society and a result of the ambition of people to live more comfortably. Migration has positive effects not only on increasing the population, but also on qualitative characteristics of the region. In Kazakhstan, every year about 300,000 citizens are actively migrating domestically. Of these, more than half are young people who want to go to university or find a job with high salary. The concentration of universities in Astana

and Almaty cities, a large volume of domestic and foreign investments, greater economic opportunities and wide choice of employment cause a large influx of young people in these cities. For example, the population of Astana has more than doubled since 1997.

According to the Statistics Agency, the level of migration from rural to urban areas in 2012 compared with 2011 declined by 4,500 people. Agency Chairman Alikhan Smailov colligates these indicators with the social policy of state. “I attribute this to the improvement of the socioeconomic situation in the country and the government’s social policy implemented in rural areas,” he said. According to the Statistics Agency of Kazakhstan, Almaty and Astana cities and the Almaty, Atyrau and Mangystau regions have been the most attractive areas of internal migration in the last decade. On the other hand, there are negative sides to internal migration. The youth leave areas unfavourable to life. This creates shortages of

professional staff and a decline in agriculture; the regions lose their economic value. Internal migration is a complex indicator of the economic and social situation of a particular region. After moving, migrants are faced with difficulties in their new cities. An absence of official registration complicates access to some social services. To support and create favourable conditions for rural youth, the government developed the Aul Zhastary (Rural Youth) Nationwide Initiatives Plan for 2009-2011, which provided for regional studies to determine the real problems of rural youth. The state programme ”With Diploma to Village” was created to effectively promote the influx of human resources to rural areas, create conditions to overcome staff shortages in the social sector and improve living standards. The programme provides social support to young specialists who come to work and live in rural areas, in particular providing soft loans for housing and 25 percent increases in salary and installation allowances. From 2009 this programme spent 16 billion tenge for 24,000 young professionals: 75 percent of them are working in education, 20 percent in health care and the remaining five percent in culture, social protection and sport. For 20122014, the state budget provides 21.6 billion tenge to attract more than 16,000 young professionals. The Youth Practice” directive has been successfully implemented within Employment Programme 2020. It aims at creating conditions for young people to gain their first experiences in their careers, promoting employment and competi-

tiveness in the labor market. Youth Practice is conducted at any enterprise, institution and organisation regardless of its ownership. The government pays the salaries of participants for up to six months. To provide housing for young families, the government plans to build 1.2 million square metres of affordable housing through 2020. The total amount of funding for the national projects Aul Zhastary, With Diploma to Village, Youth Practice and Zhasyl El (Green Country) is 37.7 billion tenge. The youth wing of the Nur Otan People’s Democratic Party, Zhas Otan, tries to attract young people to socially and economically significant issues. The “Prosperity of Village–Prosperity of Kazakhstan” initiative brought together more than 700,000 young Kazakhstanis, who planted 640,000 saplings, cleared lakes, rivers and watercourses and scraped 450 tons of trash. Zhas Otan developed the new strategy “Zhastar – Otanga” (Young People to the Homeland), which identifies 11 directions for support and involvement of young people to achieve the objectives of industrial innovation development and increasing stability and security in the country. According to the Statistics Agency of Kazakhstan, the level of migration from rural to urban areas in 2012 compared with 2011 declined by 4.5 thousand people. Agency Chairman Alikhan Smailov colligates these indicators with the social policy of state. “I attribute this to the improvement of the socioeconomic situation in the country and the government’s social policy implemented in rural areas,” he said.

Life Expectancy Grows, Mother and Child Mortality Decreases By Marina Parkhomenko

ASTANA – There are now more people living in Kazakhstan than in the past few years, and they live longer and have healthier lives than before, Minister of Healthcare Salidat Kairbekova said at a recent board meeting of her ministry. According to Minister Kairbekova, the population increased by four percent compared to 2011, while life expectancy has grown by five months, from 69.01 years in 2011 to 69.6 in 2012. Presenting the performance report on the second year of the state programme Salamatty Kazakhstan (Healthy Kazakhstan) 2011-15, Kairbekova added that work conducted in the area of mother and child protection resulted in a 23 percent decrease in maternal mortality and a nine percent decrease in infant mortality. Women and children are regularly given preventive examinations, screenings and immunization. In 2011, Kazakhstan launched a vaccination programme

for children against pneumococcal infection. Developments in neonatal surgery facilitated an increase in the malformations detection rate and timely surgical intervention. Postsurgery survival is up to 87 percent. Since 2010, the guaranteed volume of free medical care includes in-vitro fertilization, which increased by six times more cycles in this year. Mortality of cardiovascular diseases was reduced by 20 percent; of cancer pathology by three percent; accidents, poisoning and injuries by 5.3 percent. In compliance with international standards, 20 stroke centres were opened in the regions, with another 28 to be opened before the end of 2013 to fully meet the needs of citizens. Kairbekova reported active development in transplantation in 2012. More than 90 transplants (kidney, bone marrow, heart, pancreas and others) were provided to adults and children. The most significant

transplant event in 2012 was a heart transplantation. Health screening, part of the national healthcare programme, reached approximately 6.9 million people. More than one million were diagnosed with diseases, and 600,000 were cured. Related to healthcare improvement is the ongoing development of transport medicine and sanitary aviation. Chair of the Mazhilis Committee for Socio-Cultural Development Dariga Nazarbayeva brought attention to shortcomings in the screening programme, specifically in the formation of a single information system, emergency care as well as to issues with understaffing. Deputy Prime Minister Erbol Orynbaev, who attended the meeting, outlined the 2013 healthcare focus, namely the development of the emergency care, per capita funding in primary care, streamlining the system of specialised care provision and improving staff training. As part of efforts to improve staff training, a new

medical school will be opened at Nazarbayev University in 20142015, which is to become a benchmark for other schools of medicine in the country. “The president has called for the National Oncology Research Centre to open in Astana,” Orynbayev reminded participants. “It should be possible to start construction work in the second half of the year on the designated land site. We are also in need of inter-regional cancer centres.” The vice prime minister also cited the president, saying “the measures taken by the state would be a thousand times more effective if healthcare was each family’s concern.” “In this respect a number of tools are being developed to ensure joint responsibility of the state, the citizen and the employer for the health of every citizen and the society at large, including through targeted social assistance on the basis of the Employment 2010 state programme,” Orynbayev added.

The advancement of healthcare sphere and education of medical specialists are major goals of the state.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Seven Children Get Expensive Care Abroad Seven children were able to get expensive treatment abroad thanks to Alexandre Vinokurov, who put up his champion’s bike for a charity auction, and raised money amounting to 230,000 dollars donated to seriously ill children. Among those being helped there are children suffering from congenital heart desease, infantile cerebral paralysis, coarse nodular cirrhosis, chronic kidney disease, crurae ectomelia. The average price of every operation costs 32,000 dollars. Parents of ill children were not able to raise the required funds for the treatment. The organisers of this charity project have conducted negotiations with medical experts from Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Financial payment has been transferred directly to clinics (hospitals), where children are being treated. Half of them have been operated successfully and undergoing rehabilitation courses, others are waiting for donors. Milen Mezenzeva, from Almaty region will be three years old in April. Milena has crurae ectomelia, lack of shinbone on both sides. Operation cost 15,000 dollars. The operation has been successfully carried out at “Russian Ilizarov Scientific Center for Restorative Traumatology and Orthopaedics”. At present, Milena undergoes rehabilitation course. 14-year-old Nurlan Erezhepov with diagnosis of infantile cerebral paralysis from Shymkent was operated at N.Burdenko Neurosurgeon Institute in Moscow. The total cost is 41,902 dollars. He continues undergoing rehabilitation course in a Moscow clinic. 15-year-old Evgeniy Boikov from Kostanay suffers from chronic kidney disease. Operation costs 46,509

dollars. Evgeniy and his family went to Belarus to go through medical tests and are waiting for operation to be carried out soon. Now, they are in search of a donor. Indira Amanzholova, from Kokshetau, 14, her diagnosis is coarse nodular cirrhosis. Operation costs 85,000 dollars. At present, the donors are being searched for Indira, as soon as the transplantant organ will be found, Belarus specialists will arrive to carry out the operation. Ayaulim, four years old, from Astana, has congenital heart desease. Recently she was being operated at Tomsk Institue of Cardiology. The operation has been carried out successfuly. Operation cost 6,500 dollars. Aysha Beksultan is five years old, born in Almaty, with congenital heart desease, she will be operated in Ukrain. The operation costs 17,188 dollars. Evgeniya Raspopova (aged 14) was born in North Kazakhstan region with a diagnosis of congenital heart desease. With the help of charity funds she was operated in a Tumen clinic. Operation costs 13,917 dollars. Nowadays, Evgeniya is under the care of a physician. The project is still going on and the Bolashak charity foundation are closely keeping eye on every child’s future. Thanks to initiative of Olympic Champion Alexandr Vinokurov seven lives are being saved and children are getting a chance for a healthy happy life. The project is developed and implemented by “Bolashak” Charity foundation under the support of Kazakhstan Cycling Federation. The Organisers express their special gratitude to “Mercy Volunteer Society” charity foudation.

Book Explores Kazakhstan’s Oil and Gas Industry History By Ravil Chardabayev Oil and politics go hand in hand. Most significant events in world politics from the second half of 20th to the beginning of the 21st centuries – coups, military conflicts and financial crises – have been in some way connected to oil. Oil also plays a central role in Kazakhstan, with its location in the Caspian region and its important impact on ensuring energy security at the regional and global level. Kazakhstan’s foreign policy from its first years of independence have proven successful and have allowed Kazakhstan to maintain the status quo in the region, where the interests of many world political forces overlap and sometimes clash, and also to conduct an effective and multidirectional economic policy, particularly in our energy export and investment policy. All these aspects are considered in the book “Kazakhstan Oil: A Century-Long History.” I began to study the chronicles of the oil industry many years ago. I have always been interested in the history of oil, especially in a global context. The outcome of this research was the book “Oil: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” published in 2009, on the eve of the 110th anniversary of the discovery of oil in Kazakhstan. This is a very important part of our history, and I believe the book to be interesting to a wide range of readers, from students of technical colleges to oil experts, workers and executives of the oil and gas industry, journalists, politicians, analysts and historians. In addition, the book was also released in an English edition, which significantly expands its audience, and soon it will be available in electronic format. To write the book I engaged firsthand with the technology of exploration and production of hydrocarbons; I know the history of the deposits’ development from the inside. Each is unique in its geological and geophysical parameters, not only for our country but also globally. Take, for example, the Tengiz field. It can be called the quintessence of the heroic work of several generations of Kazakh oil workers, who knew the troubles of war, famine and persecution, who overcame the difficulties of the transition period in the early 1990s and who achieved the highest level of professionalism in the oil industry, now recognised worldwide. They are true patriots of their professions, these engineers, geologists, geophysicists, drillers, oil producers and ordinary workers

in the oil fields. I was fortunate to be able to work side by side with many of them. And, of course, my experience in industry, science and management as well as my memories of working days in the fields helped me very much in writing the book. Today, the oil and gas industry of our country is, of course, on the rise. During its years of independence, Kazakhstan has managed to increase production of oil and gas enormously. Last year the country produced 80 million tons of crude oil and 40 billion cubic metres of natural gas. The state plans in the next 5-10 years to increase oil production up to 100 million tons, gas to 60 billion cubic metres a year. I think this is a realistic forecast, provided that the current production growth is maintained. Kazakhstan has made considerable progress in exporting hydrocarbons. Of course, there are still unresolved issues. Some of the most important are increasing the internal volumes of oil and gas, upgrading our refineries and developing the petrochemical industry. The oil and gas sector of Kazakhstan has enormous potential. Despite all the financial and political crises in the world, demand for hydrocarbons continues to grow. Oil and gas for many years will remain the main source of energy on Earth, and significant amounts of hydrocarbon reserves and production growth will provide our country with leadership positions among the largest oil producers in the world. In addition, Kazakhstan is gradually moving toward economic diversification and the use of alternative energy sources. It should be noted that Kazakhstan has great potential for the development of wind, hydro- and solar energy. But in speaking about the future of the oil and gas and energy sector of Kazakhstan, we cannot forget the past and what we had to go through in order to achieve the economic results recognized around the world. It took 80 years to make our way from the first oil fountain in Karashungul in 1899 to the discovery of Tengiz, one of the world’s largest oil fields, and another 20 years to reach offshore and open the super-giant Kashagan deposit. This centurylong road was an eventful period in the history of the domestic oil and gas industry, full of bright pages, victories and discoveries. Ravil Chardabayev is the author of the book, “Kazakhstan Oil: A Century-Long History.”

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 20 February 2013



Kazakhstan’s Fashion: Young, Unique and Diverse From Page B1 According to fashion historians, the term first appeared in the 12th and 13th centuries, when people began to wear clothing that was clearly designed more for beauty than function. Since the 17th century, French fashion has been the model for the world, and the country maintains its position as a global trendsetter. Fashion began to take hold in Russia in the 17th century. Today, the fashion industry is international and highly globalised, with clothing often designed in one country, manufactured in another and sold worldwide. Only in 1987 did a group of talented designers establish the Kazakhstan Union of Designers to provide organisational structure, support creative activities, promote achievements, share experiences and protect the professional interests of Kazakhstan’s designers. Now, the country has its own fashion week, KFW, a seven-day period during which, in a kaleidoscope of events, runways are set up, walked, and broken down for the next show, models scurry frantically from one backstage to the next and people in the most extraordinary and stylish outfits come together to see what Kazakhstan’s fashion industry has to show. The National Chamber of Fashion, the organiser of the Kazakhstan Fashion Week, promotes the industry through this event and by many other means. The chamber unites designers under its wing and promotes designers in Kazakhstan and beyond. One of its primary functions is to act as a union for domestic designers to defend their interests. The chamber also provides assistance and supports emerging designers.

Aida Kaumenova’s dresses are a combination of elegance and style. All designers wish to sell their own collections, and recognition and fame are major motivators. The fashion industry in Kazakhstan hasn’t reached the level of world-famous Italian or French brands because of its comparatively short history and a lack of financial investment and professional designers. With time, this situation should change, thanks to young talents. Local designers, however, have already found their key to success: they don’t try to compete with worldfamous fashion houses but offer unique products based on their cultural heritage. Light industry in Kazakhstan has begun to grow because of increased demand for materials such as wool, denim and accessories by the local fashion gurus.

The following personalities are the current leaders of the Kazakhstan fashion industry: Kuralai Nurkadilova, whose collections sell like hot cakes in Paris and the United Arab Emirates; Balnur Asanova and Saida Azikhan, who also sell in the United States; Aida Kaumenova, who sells her collections in Moscow; Dilbar, who sells in St. Petersburg; Kuandykova & Karibzhanova, which sell in Germany and Oksana Corby in Southeast Asia. Kuralay Nurkadilova is a Kazakh fashion designer who has made it to the global fashion market. She is the designer and director of her own fashion house, Kuralai, which was established in 1995. Her collections are exhibited in multi-brand boutiques in Paris and offered in major foreign markets including Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, the United States and Europe. In 2012, the Kuralai House of Haute Couture launched a new line, Kuralai-Muslim. This line uses very high quality fabrics embroidered with stones and Swarovski crystals. In her collection, Nurkadilova presented clothes for special occasions, the cost of which varies from 20,000 to 150,000 tenge. The designer says that Kuralai-Muslim combines Muslim robes with the rich colour of Kazakh traditional costumes. Kuralai collections always contain a variety of dresses with breathtaking cuts and techniques. Another popular designer in Kazakhstan is Aida Kaumenova. Kaumenova is a successful designer and her sensuous and romantic prêt-à-porter deluxe collections can be seen in Kazakhstan Fashion Week every season. This brand

Journalist Asks Obama to Intervene with AES on Water Crisis From Page A1

“During the last four spring seasons, AES has allowed gross violation of the overflow schedule of the Irtysh river flood plain,” Kovalev wrote. “Water was supplied to the riverbed with a big delay and in insufficient volume. The annual absence of artificial flood waters has caused huge damage to the environment, agriculture and interests of a quarter of Kazakhstan’s population. Flood meadows are exposed to gradual desertification and the forage crop is significantly reduced. Unique valuable species of plants and fish are threatened.” “This year (2013) is a critically important one for us,” Kovalev wrote. “Repeated drought may become fatal, especially on the threshold of Kazakhstan joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Please ask AES to observe the rules. Give us the river overflow back now!” Svetlana Mogilyuk, an independent ecologist, in comments to various media outlets said that Kovalev’s concerns were valid ones. “The issue of Irtysh water flood could have a catastrophic effect on the development of the whole Pavlodar region,” she said. Mogilyuk, an expert on the region, said the delivery of insufficient water from the reservoir would seriously harm the region’s agriculture and threaten public health because the floodplain could not compensate for the effect of saline ground water, threatening public water supplies. In 2002, the government of Kazakhstan issued new rules to regulate the exploitation of water sources in the upper Irtysh reservoir cas-

cade. AES respected these requirements until 2009. However, critics allege that in the following years, those regulations were consistently infringed. Further infringements were explained by investors as due to water shortages in the Shulbinsk project. Svetlana Nishchenko, AES director of public relations in Kazakhstan, told The Astana Times that the Shulbinsk power plant was discharging the correct volume of water daily on the schedule set for it by the Irtysh basin water inspection authorities. The volume of water discharged every spring and the schedule for its flow are set by the State Commission on Floods. “Due to the dry winters and reduced water volumes in the Irtysh River in recent years, the spring water discharge at the Shulbinsk HPP took place in the difficult conditions of reduced water flow. This year, due to the presence of large quantities of snow in the mountains of East Kazakhstan, the Shulbinsk HPP is preparing for anticipated significant increase in the inflow into the Irtysh River in the springtime,” Nishchenko said. Kovalev sees the root of the problem less in the breach of rules of water usage, but rather in the non-fulfilment of investment obligations to build a dam. In accordance with its agreement, the AES Corporation is obliged to finish construction of the dam and the navigation lock at the Shulbinsk plant. However, over the past 16 years, AES has made only routine repairs instead. In 2003, the navigation lock was returned to the government of Kazakhstan. It was then completed using budget funds. The dam has still not been completed.

The Shulbinsk hydro-electric power station.

In 2010, Kazakhstan’s Agency for the Regulation of Natural Monopolies accused AES of defaulting on investment commitments worth $459 million. The Agency for the Protection of Competition continues its litigation with AES in the London International Court, claiming that the corporation has set unreasonably high prices for electricity of more than 20 billion tenge. “The head of the Pavlodar region administration raised the issue of the Irtysh river overflow with the government and confirmed AES’s obligation to provide sufficient water in summer 2013. But nobody can guarantee that AES will fulfil its obligations,” Kovalev wrote in his letter which he published on his page in Facebook and sent to the White House. Mels Eleusizov, chairman of the Tabigat Green Party, does not consider the AES the only culprit in the growing environmental problems of the Pavlodar region. He supports Kovalev’s civic action philosophy but believes the issue should be resolved at government level with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant authorities. “The government should set strict requirements. China is also involved in the Irtysh problem. Our government should work to convince China to accede to the International Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes. We must fundamentally resolve the water problem, otherwise we can expect a second Aral Sea tragedy to happen,” Eleusizov, who ran for president in 2011, told The Astana Times. On Jan. 22, the 10th session of the Kazakhstan-China joint commission on transboundary rivers in Astana concluded with an agreement to complete the scientific assessment of the water resources of the two countries in 2014. The results of this assessment will be used as a basis for developing a bilateral agreement on the division of water resources in 2015. AES is a multinational corporation founded in the United States that generates and distributes electric power in 27 countries. In 1997, the Ust-Kamenogorsk hydroelectric and thermal power plants and the Shulbinsk hydroelectric power plant were leased to the company for a 20 year term.

has gained popularity within Kazakhstan and abroad. “When I am creating collections for the next runway show, I must not only think creatively but I need to understand and select a particular sector of consumers. Because clothes are different if they’re for children, for glamour ladies, for large sizes or teenagers,” Kaumenova says. “The clothes affect the internal state of the women and vice versa: mood influences style.” Creating new collections, Kaumenova first imagines the type of women she wants to wear her dresses: successful, beautiful and harmonious. Every image gives her a new style and new ideas for her work. Oksana Corby Fashion House was founded in 1997 by Oksana

Elegance of dresses by Aida Kaumenova impresses with its flawless

Corby herself. The house has participated in international fashion weeks and exhibitions and held solo shows in Kazakhstan. Many Oksana Corby dresses have become cult objects; some are in major museums. Oksana Corby creates exclusive dresses for weddings, evening dresses and cocktail dresses for special occasions. The richness of their fabrics and their exquisite style and beauty of form have made the Oksana Corby trademark one of the most popular and beloved among the creative glitterati, political leaders and business elites of Kazakhstan. In addition, the house is involved in events such as creating the table decoration for the Pope of Rome’s visit to Astana and the Essence of Women fashion show at the Luxor Wellness Club in Almaty. Oksana Corby prefers natural fabrics and likes combining complex shades and colours. Dilbar was named after its owner, lead designer and creative director of the house Dilbar Ashimbayeva. Dilbar focuses on prêtà-porter deluxe women’s clothing; its image is bohemian and intellectual. One of the basic principles advocated by the house is to work only with natural materials and textures produced by artisans in India, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and other countries. Think Indian saris, hand-weaving in a single editions, silk-dzhamavar with metal threads traditionally produced in a limited volume— usually no more than 10 metres— and special grades of silk with different natural colour palettes. The house also uses natural, highquality wool, linen, cotton, leather and fur. Ashimbayeva’s favourite technique is kurak or patchwork,

achieved by using complicated articulation, decorative patterns, a lot of texture, subtle colour blends, or, conversely, colourful decorative contrasts. Unlike many European fashion houses, large embroidered patterns are another hallmark of Dilbar clothes. What we should expect from Kazakhstan’s designers in the springsummer season is still a question but globally, spring-summer 2013 promises to be bright, patterned and striped. Spring – summer collections are impossible to imagine without blouses with floral motifs. The 1990s saw a lot of sporty spring and summer looks. Exquisite black dresses with sneakers, beige coats with jogging shoes, leather jackets with sweatpants and bright stylish bags all promise to be global sports trends of the season.

The Astana Times



Kaleidoscope of Touristic Destinations Almaty Region’s Nature Has Much to Offer Tourists

New Tourist Routes in Eastern Kazakhstan By Svetlana Abenova

By Aset Kalymov ALMATY REGION - The Almaty region’s unique mix of natural beauty and resorts attracted a total of 167,000 tourists last year, according to records, and the services offered to them amounted to 2.8 billion tenge. Zhetysu (Seven Rivers) region, the unique landscape rich in nature reserves, parks and resorts is a leader in the domestic leisure and travel industry. There are nearly 500 hotels, resorts, campsites and other tourist sites in the area, plus 118 developed routes passing through Charyn Canyon, Kolsai Lake, old-growth ash forests, Altyn-Emel Nature Park, the Tamgaly Tas mountain region and Turgen Gorge. This summer, tourist services will be offered to thousands of tourists at Alakol Lake, and new tourist facilities with sports grounds, chil-

dren’s playgrounds and comfortable cottages have appeared on its shores. In addition, the construction of the Zhana Ili tourist centre (“New Ili” in Kazakh) on Kapshagai Reservoir, recreational facilities on the shores of Lake Balkhash and ski resorts in the Kaskelen and Tekeli districts will be launched in the near future. Another tourist cluster and roadside infrastructure will be created along the old Silk Road which is recreated today as a transcontinental road corridor Western Europe - Western China. The ethnographic and ecological routes “Along the Silk Road”, “To the Mountain Lakes of the Tien Shan” and “In Ancient Times” have gained popularity, as have rafting on the Karatal and Charyn Rivers, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, biking and cross-country skiing tours.

EAST KAZAKHSTAN – East Kazakhstan is a land of peaks and valleys, with heights ranging from 145 to 4,500 metres above sea level. The highest point is the peak of the famous Mount Belukha at 4,506 metres. Due to its unique geographic features and diversity of flora and fauna, the ancient Altai area has always attracted travelers from around the world. Many new tourist routes have appeared in the region. In addition to Belukha Mountain there is also Mount Berkutal, rafting in headwaters of the Katun, White Berel and Ulba rivers and more. The first programme for the development of East Kazakhstan’s

tourist industry was prepared in 1992-1993 with the involvement of specialists in tourism and related disciplines. For the first time, they identified promising districts, tourist and excursion routes and developed activities for training personnel. However, the predominance of outbound tourism like shopping tours in the structure of tourism flows and the lack of incentives, especially financial support, for the development of inbound and domestic tourism made the programme unrealistic to implement at that time. Now, horseback tours are especially popular among travelers on the Altai paths and the routes to Kokkol Waterfall.

Ecotourism Growing in South Kazakhstan By Lyubov Dobrota SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN - Ecotourism could become a profitable part of the South Kazakhstan region’s budget. The number of domestic and foreign tourists eager to summit the snowy mountain peaks, roam the unique gorges and look for argali, snow leopards and Turkestan lynx is growing each year. For those who prefer less-

traveled areas, the management of the Sairam-Ugam National Park has developed seven tourist routes: four horseback and walking journeys, one horseback trek and two hiking trips. All of them are educational and athletic. The total length of the tourist paths in the national park is more than 600 kilometres. The park includes seven natural areas, from the steppe zone in the foothills of

the Western Tien Shan to the highlands. The area is rich with wildlife with 59 species of mammals including the endemic Western Tien Shan Menzbir’s marmot, about 300 species of birds and 1,635 species of plants. 240 species in the area are included in the Red Book of Kazakhstan. Bears, wolves, wild boars, goats, deer, badgers and porcupines are common sights in the park. The graceful Karatau argali

that appear there only in spring are infrequent guests in the southern parts of Boralday Ridge. Green cover, wildlife, diverse terrain, rivers, waterfalls and mountain lakes create picturesque landscapes, which have great recreational potential. There are also religious sites, petroglyphs, ancient settlements and tombs of different historical periods. The cultural landscape is still poorly studied and ripe for exploration.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Akbulak Mountain Resort: A Winter and Summer Destination By Galiya Nurzhan The Akbulak Mountain Resort in the foothills of the Zailiysky Alatau Mountains is a picturesque place for family holidays, corporate events, business meetings, parties and training camps for athletes. Located about 40 kilometres east of Almaty at a height of 1,600 metres above sea level, the Akbulak resort has established itself as a prime location for summer and winter vacations and a favourite holiday destination for both domestic and foreign tourists due to its location, mild climate and natural landscape. In spring, autumn and summer, visitors can swim in the waters of the river and walk in the coniferous forests that surround the tourist complex. Fans of extreme sports can go mountain biking on trails around the green slopes of the ski stadium. In winter, sledding and skiing trails and an ice rink are available for visitors. A unique ropeway 3,700 metres long helps visitors climb to ski and snowboard trails. Trails are 5,000 metres long with a maximum slope angle of 55 degrees. The highest point in the ski area is 2,700 metres above sea level. The Akbulak Hotel is located in the ski resort area and was designed to provide the highest levels of service and comfort. The Akbulak Hotel offers standard and deluxe rooms. All rooms have minibars, fire alarms, electronic locks, satellite TV, DVD equipment, telephones with long-distance communication, central air conditioning with climate control functions, electronic safe-boxes and bathrooms. Wi-Fi access is provided in the lobby. The hotel also has modern and well-equipped conference halls, a restaurant with 120 seats, three bars, an indoor heated swimming pool and sauna, bowling and billiards. The Almaty conference hall, with a capacity of 80 people, is located on the third floor of the hotel and is ideal for small seminars, conferences and round-table meetings. The conference room is equipped with projection equipment. Tables, chairs, flip charts, projectors and screens can be installed. The Astana conference hall on the second

floor of the hotel is designed for 50 people and is set up for conferences, seminars, presentations and exhibitions. The complex offers two bowling lanes in a small room ideal for family games and team tournaments. All tracks are equipped with an automatic control foul line for serious bowlers. There are also pool and billiards tables and plasma screen TVs. The Akaydin ice-concert complex within the Akbulak ski complex is a unique construction. It can be used for hockey, figure skating and short-track events, but it can also be transformed into a playground for volleyball, basketball, handball, tennis, gymnastics, boxing, ballroom dancing and other sports. It can also be used for exhibitions, conferences, presentations, concerts and entertainment events. It was here, in fact, that the OSCE informal ministerial meeting took place in July 2010 during Kazakhstan’s year of chairmanship in this organization, bringing together delegations from 56 participating states as well as more than 20 partner and observer states. Other sports fields are open on the grounds of the ski complex, including a football field with artificial lawns, tennis courts with acrylic surfaces and volleyball and basketball courts with synthetic surfaces. There are also table tennis tables and a boxing gym equipped with a punching bag, balloons and sledgehammers, exercise equipment to strengthen the hands, multipurpose trainers and balls. A general gym is also located in the ice-concert complex. The room is equipped with multipurpose trainers, barbells, dumbbells, gymnastic sticks, bicycle trainers a straightening trainer for the back and a Smith machine. Winter and summer are the high seasons at Akbulak, drawing thousands of people who come for the unique local flora and fauna, the pine and leaf forests, and the long range views of the Seven Rivers Valley with its cold waters and waterfalls. Farther up are alpine meadows filled with wild flowers such as alpine poppies, clovers, cornflowers and wild onions. Higher climbs take visitors to the Talgar Glaciers and the 4, 973 metre Talgar Peak, a destination for climbers and mountaineers.

Almaty’s Tram Café Is Favourite Ride for Romance

The tram café is attracting romantic couples, friends and families who seek an interesting time out. (photos by

By Maral Zhantaykyzy ALMATY – An unusual new travelling café in a restored tram has become a hot stop for dating couples and proposals of marriage. The tram café travels on a regular route and daily schedule around the city of Almaty. But its passengers sip coffee and drink champagne, savour quality desserts and even listen to soft music as they ride around town enjoying the sites outside and the soft, ambient lighting within. The café opened in May 2012 and was an immediate success: It is always packed with customers and has already generated dozens of enthusiastic Internet reviews, making it a magnet for tourists.

Three Almaty friends who went to university together created the café. Bakhtiyar Sadvokasov, Nurken Duysembekov and Pavel Grebennikov all attended KIMEP, the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Economic Prognosis. Located in the centre of Almaty, it is a leading independent North American-style academic institution in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The three did everything together, from studying for exams to playing sports and even making parachute jumps. Sadvokasov, Duysembekov and Grebennikov started out with no experience in the restaurant business and they knew nothing about trams. But they had their vision,

or high concept. And thanks to the support and help of their families and friends, they succeeded in taking out a lease on an old, decommissioned tram. It was a vintage 1976 Tatra T3D that had previously served the town of Chemnitz in Germany. In 2004, the tram was originally purchased by the city of Almaty for its tram route No. 6. It took the three friends more than six months to refurbish it for its new role. They did most of the repair work, including the repainting, insulation and interior design themselves. The tram travels on a regular, fixed schedule. It starts from a bus stop at Shevchenko-Kunayev, travels along Baitursynov and Makatayev streets and finally re-

turns to its starting point. The journey takes two hours. Every day except Monday, passengers buy their cups of coffee and line up for their trip at exactly 8:30 pm. The tram café is open for customers until 4 am. It can carry 25 passengers on every trip. The menu includes fresh bread and desserts from the French patisserie La Tartine, snacks from the restaurant La Grenouille, sandwiches, Japanese sushi, champagne and other drinks and cocktails. The three owners make the gourmet coffee themselves. They learned to do so at bartender’s courses. The business quickly proved a success and the owners hired two new drivers and three waiters, giving themselves time for

their families and other business projects. However, they still try to serve their customers personally and maintain good service and a friendly atmosphere. Other businessmen have offered Sadvokasov, Duysembekov and Grebennikov $250,000 to buy the place but they are not interested in selling it. Instead, they plan to franchise the idea in other locations and other cities. The café has become a favourite romantic destination and a popular location for marriage proposals. The owners and staff are happy to work with customers to plan romantic surprises for their loved ones. And they have already developed a loyal clientele. As the owners say, “every visitor will find

in our tram his or her favourite table.” The idea of a coffee shop in a tram is new to Almaty and Central Asia. But it is already a common sight in the cities of Belgium, Italy, Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic. The first trams in Almaty’s public transportation system were introduced in 1938 before World War II. Today they remain a major means of public transportation and contribute to the image of the city as one of the most beautiful and scenic in the region of Central Asia. Now, the café on wheels has become Almaty’s latest beloved landmark. It looks set to serve the city for many years to come.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Women’s Tennis Team Makes Fed Cup Playoffs By Askar Beysenbayev ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s national women’s tennis team has won its way into the playoffs of the international Federation Cup. After previous victories over Thailand and India, the team won a decisive series of matches against Uzbekistan, the leading nation in their group. Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan won the first match in the series against Uzbekistan’s Nigina Aburaimova and beat her in straight sets (6-0, 6-4). Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova won her first set against Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-1. But she then lost the next two sets after a tough duel (7-5, 6-4). The outcome of the series was decided in the women’s doubles match between Yaroslava Shvedova and Galina Voskoboeva against Nigina Aburaimova and Akgul Amanmuradova. The Kazakh pair defeated their opponents (6-2, 6-4). The playoffs of the second World Group will be held on April 20-21. The Kazakhstan’s women’s team will then fight for the right to play in next year’s second World Group in the tournament. They may play teams from France, Ukraine, Belgium and Argentina. The national women’s team is currently in 19th place in the updated rankings of the Federation Cup, improving its standing by five rankings.


Kazakh Teams Play in Winter Special Olympics By Miras Abykov

Kazakhstan’s national women’s tennis team has won its way into the playoffs of the international Federation Cup. The Federation Cup, or Fed Cup, is the largest female international tennis tournament in the world and

is the equivalent of the Davis Cup for men. It is organized by the International Tennis Federation (ITF)

and was first held in 1963. The Fed Cup is held between different national teams.

ASTANA – Seven teams from across Kazakhstan took part in the World Special Olympics Winter Games, held from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang. Kazakhstan’s national team has participated in the Special Olympics12 times and has won550 medals. This year, Kazakhstan was represented by 45 athletes from all five regions of the country. Athletes from Astana and Almaty participated in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, speed skating, figure skating and the new Olympic sport of running on snowshoes. Kazakh athletes won 28 medals in the 2013 Winter Games including 13 gold medals, seven silvers and eight bronze. Most of the medals were won by the alpine skiing team who took home five gold and two silvers. In speed skating, the team won three gold medals, a silver medal and two bronze medals. Special Olympics branches operate in all regions of Kazakhstan. Almost 17,000 people participate in training and competitions for Olympic sports. Held over eight days, the Special Games united the world in South

Korea. Thousands of volunteers, families, friends and sponsors watched and supported the athletes. The Special Olympics movement seeks to change lives around the world through the power of sport. It empowers people with physical disabilities, promotes acceptance for all and fosters communities of understanding and respect in every country. The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of OO “Special Olympics in Kazakhstan”, deputy of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan Zagipa Baliyeva supported the national team in Pyeongchang. “All students from Kazakhstan, who are studying in Seoul, came to Pyeongchang to support our team. And our team was probably the only one who had that great support.. Our athletes showed a great performance and several times our flag was raised skyward,”Zagipa Baliyeva said. In his turn, athlete of the national team Evgeny Rudnitsky commented “I have been participating in sledge sport for 3 years already and I’m not going to stop trainings in the near future.”

National Tennis National Greco-Roman Wrestling Team Federation Wants to Compete at World Cup to Groom Future Grand Slam Winners By Miras Abykov

ASTANA – On Feb. 19-20, Kazakhstan joined nine of the world’s top national wrestling teams in the Iranian capital Tehran to determine who is king of the mat. The Kazakhstan team’s head coach, Tanat Sagyndykov, is

From Page B1 We were happy with this victory and it was very important for us, especially because it gave confidence to Yevgeni Korolev against Jurgen Melzer, who is among the thirty best players in the world. It’s incredible but the 29th ranked player in the world was defeated by the 210th ranked player! Korolyev did his best in this match and brought the team the victorious point. After that, the third victory of Andrey Golubev in singles over Jurgen Meltzer was quite expected. But in the doubles match, Golubev with Yuri Schukin were less fortunate against the tandem of Peyia and Knowle. Perhaps this was the only time in these games when the higher rating of our opponents was confirmed by the result. It’s worth mentioning that our federation organised a training camp in Dubai in December last year to prepare for this competition; therefore, they were well prepared for the matches. Of course, the difficulty of the situation for us was the fact that Mikhail Kukushkin, the highest ranked member of the team, had undergone two surgeries on both hips and had not completely recovered from them, so he could not take part in matches. Also it should be noted that Kukushkin, who is one of the most stable players, very successfully performed in his Davis Cup matches. I’d like to mention one more indisputable advantage of our team: all our athletes are very trainable. Generally speaking, as newcomers in the World Group, we were able to gain much-needed experience from the matches against such strong national teams as Argentina, Spain, Uzbekistan, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. What was the victory over the Austrian team for you personally, as president of the Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan? It has become a source of pride and inspiration for achieving new goals. With each success our country is approaching leadership among the world’s tennis powers. As a matter of fact, it was a collective victory. I cannot help noting the contribution of my deputy in the Tennis Federation, Adil Burlibayev, and all members of the coaching staff, starting with Dias Doskarayev, the captain of the team and a

taking the following promising wrestlers to Tehran: Zhanserik Sarsenbi and Nursultan Kalmyrzayev (up to 55 kg), Almat Kebispayev (60 kg), Yerbol Konyrat (66 kg), Doszhan Kartik (up to 74 kg), Alkhazur Ozdiyev (up 84 kg), Yerulan Iskakov (up to 96 kg) and Nurmakhan Tynaliyev

(120 kg). 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Daniyal Gadzhiev won’t be part of this trip. Senior trainer Bakhtiyar Bayseitov and trainer Boranbek Konyratov will help Sagyndykov during the tournament. Just a few weeks ago, Kazakhstan’s team appeared in the

United States, where the wrestlers won first place in an all-team competition. The wrestlers flew to Tehran this Saturday, February 16. “We’ve set ourselves the goal of getting in the top three teams. But as they say, only the mat will show!” said Coach Sagyndykov.

Curling Comes to the Capital By Askar Beisenbayev

Bulat Utemuratov former player; and Mieczyslaw Boguslavsky, head coach of general and special physical training. They found the right training and psychological approach for each player at the competition and off the court. What are the key areas for developing Kazakhstan’s tennis in the future? We adopted the programme for tennis development approved by the head of state. Thanks to his support, tennis in our country is one of the fastest-developing sports, although so far it has not been promoted among the masses and it has needed to generate its own players. That is why the strategic goal is the creation in each region of tennis centres equipped with everything necessary for the development of tennis skills. Great importance is attached to children’s and youth tennis. It is among our priorities. Interest in this sport among youth is growing from year to year. In 2012, the number of people playing in professional domestic tournaments and registered junior players increased by 20 percent. We organise the training of future champions inside the country, including in the format of master classes of world stars. For example, for this purpose we invited international stars Martina Hingis and Dinara Safina and our compatriots Elena Likhovtseva and Irina Selyutina, the most titled representatives of Kazakhstan’s tennis. We also send talented young players to the best foreign tennis academies in the world. Making tennis more widespread, paying more attention to it and attracting players from other countries as examples, we will, I think, over time, be able to create Grand Slam winners.

ASTANA – This year, one of the most modern ice rinks on the continent hosted the first curling tournament in the history of Kazakhstan’s capital city Astana. Managers of Alau Ice Palace and specially invited curling experts from Omsk, Russia were the first players to slide stones across the rink’s smooth surface. “First, we conducted a test-drive, evaluating the ability of the palace to become a centre of curling in real conditions. Alau is an ultramodern complex, and we have no

doubt that in technical terms it fully provides for the needs of a sport like curling,” Alau Director Nail Nurov said. “Preparing ice for curling is a special art. It needs high-quality purified water, which is frozen strictly at minus five degrees. The surface then has to be maintained at the same temperature. Alau provides all necessary conditions for that. The only thing to be done is to make professional markings,” Omsk Regional Curling Federation Representative Igor Pasechnik said. The managers of the ice palace

A player tests the ice at the Alau Ica Palace.

intend to promote professional and amateur curling. This year the exotic sport will be available to local citizens. Curling is an Olympic sport and is included in the eight compulsory winter sports of Universiade in 2017 in Almaty. Thus, its appearance is fully consistent with the emergence of the concept of Alau, both in terms of professional sports and mass accessibility. The Curling Association was created in Kazakhstan in 2003. The first “chess on ice” tournament was held in Almaty in March 2004, but in the capital this sport

was not popular. The managers of the ice palace decided to correct this omission and promote curling in Astana. Today, negotiations regarding hiring professional coaches are underway. Most likely they will be experts from Eastern Europe. In the near future it is planned to organise ice-making training to ensure that surfaces are always in accordance with international standards. In summer the curling sheet will be marked up and equipment will be purchased; this autumn the first curling club will be opened in the capital.

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Astana Exhibition Celebrates Kazakhstan-France Relations By Marzhan Imanbayeva ASTANA – From the Louvre to the cuisine to the language, Kazakhstan has declared 2013 the Year of France in Kazakhstan and has 12 months of events planned to celebrate and strengthen ties between the two countries. One of these, the international France and Kazakhstan Exhibition, opened on February 16 at the Hall Astana Artline in the new Students’ Palace. “This is a special year in the history of Kazakh-French relations,” said Head of the Astana City’s Education Department Asima Bimendina. “This event is about friendship and mutual understanding between the two nations; it is a great joy to show the wealth and inheritance

of our cultures. I want to thank our famous artists whose works are exhibited here today.” Bimendina presented to French artist Martine Rivasi-Offant the Letter of Gratitude for her contribution to the development of cultural relations between the two countries. French Ambassador to Kazakhstan Jean-Charles Berthonnet opened the exhibition with Bimendina by cutting the red ribbon. The exhibition presents the work of Rivasi-Offant and of well-known and emerging artists and sculptors of Kazakhstan, including Umsyn Arkabayeva, Director of the Students Palace and a member of the Artists Union of Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as Armat Bektas, Yerlan Nazarkul, Gulmira Telgo-

ziyeva, Yerkinbek Yessimov, Yeraly Dosmaganbetov and Zhannet Abish. Works displayed represent diverse genres including still lifes, portraits and landscapes. Armat Bektas presented his “philosophy of the steppe,” the philosophy of its linear structure, dictated by the space of the steppe itself. With mythical characters and ethnic symbols, Yerlan Nazarkul created a completely new direction in art—a three-dimensional image in the postmodern style. Gulmira Telgoziyeva demonstrated a deep spiritual world. The sculptures of Yerkinbek Yesimov tell the history of their ancestors, of its traditions. Yeraly Dosmaganbetov used a warm colour palette to show the identity of steppe culture, the romance of daily life.

Asima Bimendina and Jean-Charles Berthonnet cut the ribbon at the official opening of the exhibition.

Martine Rivasi-Offant poses in front of one of her creations. A lawyer by education, Rivasi“Central Asia is an endless, harsh, Martine Rivasi-Offant has been living in Astana for the past three hard landscape, but it is unusual for Offant has been drawing for more years because of her husband’s an artist to draw it. Kazakhstan than 15 years. The artist is actively job. It has affected her work: in a landscapes are gorgeous, like involved in the cultural life of the remarkable manner, the artist con- they’re asking to be painted. This capital, showing her paintings in veys the beauty of Kazakhstan’s feeling of human facing the infi- various galleries. Rivasi-Offant’s land: vast steppes, Astana city- nite is fascinating. I had never seen portraits and landscapes, done in scapes and views of snow-covered such an endless and open steppe. pastels, watercolours and oils, have Borovoy. She was particularly im- And the steppe helps me to express been exhibited in many famous galpressed by a visit to Tengiz Lake, it. Steppe inspires me at any time leries and salons in France, Australia where she saw the lake’s amazing of the year, in winter and autumn. and Norway. She has won multiple Snowy steppe – it is like a blank awards and prizes. pink flamingos. Rivasi-Offant will take the land“This is my fifth exhibition in canvas, about which every artist Kazakhstan. I’ve had two personal dreams. For a painter, it is fantas- scapes of Kazakhstan to France exhibitions. We organised my first tic experience. In winter, the bright where she will discuss and show the show in 2010,” she recalls. Her colours of nature disappear and a riches of Kazakhstan to the French long stays in Paris as well as several white space remains. Gray, yellow people. 2014 has been declared the years spent in Norway and later in and white colours only increase the Year of Kazakhstan in France. The France and Kazakhstan exKazakhstan have shifted her artistic depth and spirituality of the local expression more towards introspec- nature,” the French artist said to hibition will last until the end of February. The Astana Times. tion.

New Astana E-Ambulance Astana on Ice: City Offers Service Improves Survival Rates Winter Fun By Manshuk Bekentayeva ASTANA – After its first year in operation, Astana’s new E-ambulance service is proving its worth. The service was introduced as part of the Smart Astana programme in December 2011. Since then, the ambulance service’s mortality rate has dropped to 98 people dying before reaching hospital in 2012 compared to 105 in 2011. Under the programme, city hospital ambulances were equipped with new navigation software, GPS navigation systems and new directories for ambulance staffers to quickly contact hospital specialists. Thanks to the use of IT tablet devices, the accuracy of diagnoses and delivery time of patients to hospitals increased by 0.9 percent. Ambulances delivered 18 percent more patients to the hospital in response to emergency calls in 2012 compared to 2011. Emergency medical care service is crucial to giving heart attack, stroke and accident victims their best chances of survival until they can be given full intensive care

treatment in hospitals. There is a so-called “golden hour” in the international standards, which is a time during which timely and adequate medical care helps to save injured people’s lives. Astana’s ambulance service has now been upgraded to the highest global standards. The new information systems and navigation devices in the Eambulance fleet reduce travel time for patients and optimise the work of ambulance crews. Access to online consultations upgrades the quality of treatment they can provide. The ambulances now carry full medical reference books on tablet PCs that describe all likely symptoms. The information on them is updated on a monthly basis. Throughout the country, Kazakhstan has introduced two other new IT programmes to upgrade its mobile medical services. The Salamatty Kazakhstan, or Healthy Kazakhstan, railway health service was introduced in 2011. It operates two diagnostic trains, Densaulyk, or Health, and Zhardem, or Assistance. In the past two years, they have diagnosed 230,000 patients

at 234 stations around the country and provided medical examinations for 63,000 people, including 25,000 children. The Air Ambulance Coordination Centre has made 1,005 flights, provided more than 1,300 medical services, 450 consultations, and performed 90 surgeries. Twelve medical rescue stations are now based at the most dangerous sections of the national road system. Since the programme was launched, the doctors of the mobile medical services have examined more than 530,000 people, conducted more than one million laboratory diagnostic tests and held more than 450,000 consultations. The Constitution of Kazakhstan requires healthcare to be available for the entire population on an equal basis. The mobile medicine service with its fleets of helicopters, medical vehicles and trains provides the most remote inhabitants with the same full access. Currently 49 mobile medical complexes equipped with advanced diagnostic systems visit the most remote districts of the country.

From Page B1

The ice skating rink in the old city occupies 1800 square metres and is equipped with seating for 600. There are snack bars, big screens for showing entertainment programmes and a medical centre.

Missing this winter are ice towns, which didn’t make the economic or aesthetic cut for 2013. “The ice rinks for the city have become a traditional place for leisure and sports activities for the public and for the guests of the city, so this year we have organ-

ised traditional large rinks in three parts of the city to help serve all the sports-loving population. The rinks have all the safety equipment and other infrastructure visitors would want at a skating rink,” Deputy Mayor of Astana Vasiliy Krylov said.

The Astana Times, February 20, 2013  

The Astana Times, February 20, 2013

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