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The Astana Times Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Nation Celebrates Nauryz

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“Kazakhstan’s story is so important, because it disproves the notion that nuclear weapons are important” By Artur Abubakirov OSLO – At a recent major international conference in Oslo called “Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons”, The Astana Times talked to Ward Wilson, a famed scholar on the subject at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the author of a recent book “Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons” which received interested reviews in The New York Times, among others. Here goes.

Nauryz celebrations were held on main squares, parks and streets in all the regions and cities of Kazakhstan, and included concerts, shows, contests, trivia games, sport competitions, tree planting and holiday food fairs. See story on B4.

Internet Association Chief Predicts Bright Online Future By Yelden Sarybay ALMATY – With growing Internet penetration influencing all social spheres of life in Kazakhstan, the country is working to raise its online services to global standards. The Astana Times met Shavkat

Sabirov, president of the Internet Association of Kazakhstan (IAK) and asked him about the current situation and future prospects. What does the IAK do? Today, the Internet Association of Kazakhstan has 34 members and

the number is growing. These are professional communities. We are united in the association in our efforts to bring together all those who work in the Internet sphere because Kazakhstan, despite its vast territories, is actually very small. We have only about 17 million inhabitants

and those who do business here have the same common interests. The association is meant to protect these interests, as well as representing its members in government functions and perhaps even in events that concern the international community.

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Government Forecasts 6 Percent 2013 Growth By Galiya Nurzhan ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s economy is projected to grow by a robust 6 percent this year, the government and the National Bank announced March 13. In a statement, the government said its economic policy this year would focus on modernization through diversification and social programmes. It would follow a policy of seeking full employment, well-balanced regional development, making government administration more effective and fostering increased economic integration with neighbouring nations and with the global economy. The main engine driving economic growth will be investments into the non-energy sectors, the statement said. The government will work to maintain a favourable investment climate and increase oil revenues in the National Fund. A new fiscal policy will be drafted.

The government and the National Bank plan to keep inflation within the margins of 6 to 8 percent. A balanced budget will be drawn up to improve the stability of public finances, anticipating a possible fall in global commodity prices this autumn. The government is also introducing, as planned, a Single Pension Savings Fund to increase fiscal stability and increase the savings of individuals. The government will continue to implement the major industrial projects it planned in the 2010-14 State Programme for Accelerated Industrial-Innovative Development (PAIID). The government will also continue to finance major road and rail projects and work to set up more joint ventures in industry with international investors. Major modernisation programmes will continue in agriculture within the 2020 State Programme for AgroIndustrial Development.

A long-term strategy to transition to a sustainable green economy is being developed to ensure sustainable growth based on the rational use of natural resources. It will include a new system to manage national resources management, reduce the use of energy and increase energy efficiency while developing new renewable energy sources and reducing pollution. The process of issuing business permits will be revised and streamlined. All permits that are not concerned with safety issues will be abolished and replaced by notifications. The government will continue to issue shares in the People’s IPO Programme and it will continue the 2020 State Programme for Affordable Housing. Remaining trade barriers and tariffs will be removed to boost trade and complete the process of integration into the Single Economic Space and the Customs Union.

This year, the government hopes to complete work on the legal framework of the Single Economic Space and the Customs Union. The statement said the government’s economic policies in 2012 had preserved positive trends in growth and social stability despite some negative trends around the world. Kazakhstan’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 5 percent last year and industrial production increased by 0.5 percent. Service industries grew by 10 percent in 2012 while inflation remained at only 6 percent, a fall of 1.4 percent compared to 2011. The country’s foreign currency reserves grew by 17.9 percent to $86 billion. The foreign currency assets of the National Fund rose by 32.4 percent to $57.8 billion. The banking sector continued its steady recovery last year. Total bank assets increased by 8.2 percent, the total volume of loans grew by 13 percent, deposits increased by 7.2 percent compared with the figures for 2011. The national budget deficit in 2012 came to 906.5 billion tenge ($6 billion) or 3 percent of GDP and the volume of foreign trade grew by 9.8 percent. The current account trade surplus came to $8.8 billion. Social conditions have improved thanks to continued economic growth. Real money income increased by 6.8 percent, real earnings by 6.9 percent and average monthly wages exceeded 101,000 tenge ($670). The unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in December 2012. The successful implementation of the Industrialization Map and the 2020 Business Road Map preserved economic growth and created new jobs. The Fitch international rating agency increased the sovereign credit rating of Kazakhstan to BBB+ in 2012.

Continued on Page A4

Can we call nuclear weapons the most effective weapons on earth and can we say they have been effective in maintaining a global balance of power and thus to preserve the peace in the world? I would argue that nuclear weapons are not the most effective weapons on earth. They are the biggest, but the biggest is not always the best. It is certainly the case that many people imagine that nuclear weapons are enormously effective, enormously important, and politically crucial. But they are also clearly dangerous. They are big, they can blow up a lot of stuff but they are not that useful. Global leaders used to believe that although nuclear weapons were really dangerous they were also very useful, so we had to keep them. Today, after statements by U.S. President Barack Obama and others, I think most people believe that the danger and the usefulness just balance each other out. However, I would argue that nuclear weapons are dangerous and hardly useful at all. And that is why Kazakhstan’s story is so important, because it disproves the notion that nuclear weapons are important.

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Middle Class Families Optimistic about the Future By Sergei Gorbunov, Olga Berezhnova and Natalia Ryzhkova

PAVLODAR – AKTAU – KARAGANDA – Kazakhstan’s middle class - the main social base for further development of the country – is growing in strength. In Western countries, the middle class accounts for 60 percent of the total adult population, well above the current level in Kazakhstan. However, in keeping with the strategic objective set by President Nursultan Nazarbayev to make this country one of the 50 most competitive economies in the world, the government is actively pursuing policies to expand the middle class and expand its role in the community. What is the middle class in Kazakhstan? Who belongs to it and what are its main identification characteristics? English teacher Yekaterina Shevchenko told The Astana Times her family was not securely in the middle class. She said her family was not rich, “though it cannot be referred to in the category of poor either.” this Pavlodar resident said the classical definition of middle class implies some financial stability and equity, which her family does not yet have. “Of course, we do not live in poverty,” she said. Her family consists of herself, her husband Alexei and their 11-year daughter. Her husband is an electronic engineer and a university graduate with an honors degree. But he must work at two jobs to support the family receiving a monthly income of 90,000 tenge ($596.42). Yekaterina Shevchenko is also busy, working at two jobs: She teaches English language courses and private lessons (tutoring). Her monthly salary is also 90,000 tenge ($596.42).

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Ten Makes Kazakhstan Figure Skating History with Silver By Miras Abykov

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten won the silver medal at the figure skating World Cup held in London, Canada from March 11-17. On his Facebook account, Ten thanked his fans for their support.

“Thank you so much for your support. I am so proud to attain a new achievement for the figure skating history of Kazakhstan! It was my dream, my goal and without you it wouldn’t come true,” the statement says.

Continued on Page B7

Silver medal of Denis Ten proves the power of belief.

Inside Nation


Government Launches Major Civil Service Reform UN to Launch Human Rights Project in Central Asia

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Iran, P5+1 Prepare to Hold April Nuclear Talks in Almaty

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KUANGANOV: Demography Crucial for National Progress

The aviation industry in Kazakhstan and making it better Page A6

ZHAKYPOV: State Language Reaches a New Stage of Development Pages A7

NATION & CAPITAL Kazakhstan’s First Full-Length 3D Animated Film Opens Paintball Warriors Invade Nation Pages B1-B8

US$1 = 150.70 KZT 1 Euro = 194.03 KZT 1 Rouble = 4.88 KZT

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Government Launches Major Civil Service Reform By Rufiya Ospanova ASTANA – Astana has hosted two high-level meetings to launch a wide-ranging programme of civil service reform in Kazakhstan. On March 15, Alikhan Baimenov, the chairman of the Agency for Civil Service Affairs (ACSA) and John Berry, the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in Astana. The two agencies agreed to exchange information and expand cooperation. “Kazakhstan intends to create all conditions necessary for the effective operation and development of its civil service regional centres,” President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in a message to the meeting, which was held at the Rixos Hotel in Astana and attended by U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Kenneth Fairfax. “Kazakhstan is interested in actively studying the best international practice and is ready to share its own civil service experience.” UN Development Programme Permanent Representative Stephen Tull told the meeting, “Civil service reform is the engine of changes in society. The measures that we are discussing imply a constant search to improve civil services by citizens and society. The reform of public administration can be an engine for critical changes.” “The idea of creating a regional hub is very important, since we are exchanging experiences between countries on a global scale. This exchange is the ability to increase efficiency and maintain reforms in

UNDP Permament Representative Stephen Tull (r) believes in civil service reform to be the engine of changes in society. the civil service,” Tull said. “I also conference “Assessing the Effecbelieve that this is an important tiveness of the Government.” area of intergovernmental coopera“Today, lots of money is allocated tion to ensure peace. The regional to the regions, but analysis shows hub will serve as an inter-institu- that regional mayors do not have all tional network for the continuous the powers and resources they need. improvement of public service. Now, we have the political consent, This is an opportunity to improve the transfer of powers from the centhe capacity of civil service agen- tre to the regions, from regions to cies and ensure effectiveness for districts can be carried out successthe public.” fully and the issue of local self-govThe regional hub will create an ernance will be solved,” he said. institutional framework to exchange “What will be done here? Minisexperience between the civil servic- ters and their deputies are the people es of the countries of the Common- who will be engaged in industrial polwealth of Independent States (CIS) icies, improving legislation, and creand Central Asia. ating favourable conditions (of govPreviously, Bauyrzhan Baibek, ernment). Executive secretaries will former deputy head of the Presidential Administration, discussed the ensure that the system runs smoothly, impact of civil service reform on the that all government workers enjoy work of local and regional govern- stable conditions and that all orders of ments at the second international the President are effectively carried out,” Baibek, who has since moved

to become the first deputy chair of the ruling Nur Otan party, said. Regional governors and their administrations will provide stability work to solve regular problems. If the local mayor or governor cannot tackle an issue, he will ask the government, and they will make the appropriate changes in the law and form appropriate new policies. Governors and mayors will have all the powers necessary to address the problems quickly. The efficiency of the use of financial resources, the performance of the state structure will improve, the conference was told. “Currently, 10 percent of government workers are based in the provinces. That means the state bureaucracy has 2,500 rural governors and mayors and 11,000 government workers who work in the countryside who really know the problems they deal with in local communities at first hand and know the problems inside the villages. Our task today is to gradually provide them with specific powers, for they could solve most problems on the ground,” Baibek said. The civil service reform programme was designed to improve management, reform state agencies and boost the capabilities of civil service workers. The previous effort at civil service reform in the 1990s failed because the principle of smooth transition from the old system to the new one was violated. Frequent rearrangements and staff reshuffle breached the principle of taking responsibility for the consequences of decisions. The disruptions caused by that failed effort at reform cost the civil

service dearly. More than half the top managers including many of the most experienced and skilled ones left government service to work in the private sector. Government workers suffered from managers who were inexperienced and lacked perspective, a poor system of selection and staff deployment and from low salaries. Experts said the experience of developed countries pointed to the need to recruit more professionally trained managers to government service. Successful policymaking in government requires complete and objective information gathered by competent, well-trained personnel working in stable structures. The old government system included 42 independently-operating executive bodies including 20 ministries, 11 state committees, 11 general offices and a number of national commissions. However, the experience of other countries shows that the creation of a rational system of state administration capable of meeting the challenges of a free market society and employing efficient methods of management is a long and complicated process. The new reform programme recognises the need to start this process by implementing a number of priority measures. The conference was attended by representatives from more than 30 countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank (WB), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Efforts to Modernise National UN to Launch Human Rights Project Media Gain Pace in Central Asia By Nikolai Sergeyev

By Rinat Usmanov

ASTANA – A new project, “Human Rights Protection in Central Asia,” has been launched by the Central Asia Regional Office of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR). The project is financed by the European Union and will cover Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Its aim is to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights in Central Asia; its implementation in Kazakhstan will include directives such as promoting and protecting the rights of ethnic minorities and championing housing rights. The project began in November 2012 and will run until December 2013. According to the OHCHR, the project will be implemented in Kazakhstan in cooperation with the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, the Centre for Inter-ethnic and Interreligious Relations of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of Kazakhstan and the Agency for Construction, Housing and Communal Services (which has now become part of the newly established Ministry of Regional Development). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan will also support the project. The project covers three main dimensions: It will promote the implementation of U.N. recommendations in the area of human rights and commission recommendations following the outcome of investigations into the events in Kyrgyzstan of June 2010, it will analyse the rights of ethnic minorities in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and it will analyse current housing rights in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Among the expected results are the improvement of the countries’ strategies for protecting the rights of ethnic minority groups as a result of a better understanding of those groups’ needs and the use of the detailed statistics, as well as increased awareness and knowledge of the challenges inherent in protecting minority rights and fostering a tolerant society. Other expected results include following international standards and U.N. recommendations concerning the right to housing in the the legislature, programmes and in practice and increased awareness of the right to adequate housing in order to promote implementation of the right to sufficient housing. The agencies involved in this project will support the three countries’ governments in implementing recommendations relating to the rights of ethnic groups and the right to adequate housing. In particular, they will support analyses of the cur-

rent situation in the countries, publication and distribution of the results of any analysis, regional conferences regarding minority and housing rights and workshops and lectures regarding housing rights and minority rights, particularly within educational institutions. Recently, Head of the National Centre for Human Rights Vyacheslav Kalyuzhny met with Deputy Regional Representative of the OHCHR on Central Asia Elizabeth Oliveira da Costa and experts on the issues of minorities’ rights and rights for housing in the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner. At the meeting they discussed the Human Rights Protection in Central Asia project, which covers issues arising as a result of implementing recommendations regarding human rights and analyses of the current human rights and housing rights situations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Kalyuzhny gave comprehensive answers to questions put by human rights experts. He also informed them about the activity of Kazakhstan’s Human Rights Ombudsman in these areas. Upon the results of the meeting, all parties agreed on the participation of the National Centre for Human Rights in the project. Prospects for further cooperation with the UN OHCHR for Central Asia were determined. Despite the fact that the U.N. project is primarily aimed at the analysis and prevention of future international and inter-ethnic conflicts, which have taken place in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, for Kazakhstan this project is very important, as during the recent 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly held in New York, Kazakhstan became a new member of the U.N. Human Rights Council for 2013-2015. This U.N. decision not only confirms the country’s success in ensuring human rights, but also imposes on Kazakhstan a responsibility to monitor the observance of human rights in all of Central Asia. Another highlight of this programme is its analysis of the situation regarding promoting and protecting the right to adequate housing in the country. In Kazakhstan, the programme “Affordable Housing 2020” has already been launched and other similar programmes are underway. However, these programmes are not yet broadly understood or utilised. It is hoped that the U.N. project will help solve this problem. OHCHR provides expertise and technical support to various U.N. human rights mechanisms as they undertake their standard-setting and monitoring functions.

ASTANA -Progress has been made in modernising the media and its interaction with the state, the need for which was pointed out by State Secretary Marat Tazhin at a Feb. 22 meeting with media leaders. The main focuses of the meeting were economic aspects of Kazakhstan’s media and its competitiveness, content and HR policies. Since the meeting, the Ministry of Culture and Information has been working with media companies to revise their financing across the wide spectrum of initiatives. The base cost per minute for documentaries has increased from 50,000 to 180,000 tenge. The cost of programmes on non-state television channels has also been increased 25 times. An expert group was formed to

improve competitive procedures for public procurements. Another important area of focus is intellectualising the media and enhancing the expert presence therein. Topics for state owned news media were revised under Order 2013 and reduced from 121 to 87 directions. Programmes with low viewership will be replaced. The Kazakhstan Broadcasting Company is launching new programmes on socioeconomic topics with video conferences. News feeds and timing are also being reconsidered. The Khabar news agency will offer its audience family quizzes, cooking shows, intellectual game shows and other programmes to upgrade its content. Non-state TV channels came out with suggestions to re-format analytical programmes. The websites of Kazakhstankaya Pravda and Egemen Kazakhstan newspapers are also

undergoing makeovers. New websites will be launched as 400 print media outlets transfer to online formats. The Ministry of Education and Science will offer new approaches to the training of professionals in media through the Bolashak programme and internships for training key engineering staff of media organisations and companies, as well as improving journalism curricula in universities and interacting with employers to help develop professional standards. Domestic television and radio content is to be consolidated within a single portal, So far, the project has been running in pilot mode. The project ensures online placement of 37 television and radio channel feeds and provides viewing capabilities to 500 users simultaneously, including time shift options.

Housing Programme to Take Effect in Pavlodar by 2014 By Sergei Gorbunov PAVLODAR – The Affordable Housing 2020 programme has begun to be implemented in Pavlodar, where more than 560 families - 9,000 people - are on the regional centre’s waiting list for the programme. Local authorities are preparing for task of providing them all with housing by 2014. Governor Yerlan Aryn, head of the region, addressed potential participants at a meeting organised by the regional akimat and the regional affiliate of the Housing Construction Bank of Kazakhstan. “In a month we launch the construction of three multiunit buildings, which will be commissioned in 2014, and 560 young families will be provided with accommodation. Overall, 1,650 apartments will be built for young families in the region by 2020.” The governor added that eleven high-rise residential buildings are planned within the programme. Participants at the meeting were informed that the cost of housing would be significantly lower than it is on the secondary market. The rental housing being built corresponds to the third and fourth levels of comfort; third-class comfort will cost 90,000 tenge per square metre and fourth class will cost about 80,000 tenge per square metre. Through the programme, young families (the heads of which must be 29 years old or younger) will receive rental housing with subsequent purchase. Families may stay in the rental

Young families will be amid the first social groups to enjoy rental housing on favourbale terms. units for up to eight years, during building 63 million square metres which time they will accumulate of housing in the country. This housing savings for obtaining programme represents a new direchousing loans. During the period tion in the construction and sale of of residence young families are ex- rental housing on favourable terms for all citizens. Across the counempt from rent. Affordable Housing 2020 was try, 3,000 apartments are to be aslaunched in all regions of Kaza- signed annually during the term of khstan last year with the goal of the programme.

Domestic News in Brief ● President Nursultan Nazarbayev issued a decree on March 23 for the convocation of the 20th Session of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan in Astana. The session is scheduled to meet on April 24. The session will be on the theme of “Kazakhstan - 2050: one nation - one country - one destiny.” The government will organize the event. ● Kazakhstan National Railways (KTZ) has awarded Systra a contract to design and construct a 1,011 km (600 mile) high speed railway service between Almaty and Astana. The proposed 1520 mm gauge single-track line will carry trains up to 250 km per hour (150 miles per hour). A 10 km (six mile) bridge across Lake Balkhash will cut 300 kilometres (180 miles) off the current route between Kazakhstan's capital and its main commercial city. ● On March 21, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed amendments into law to allow the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to operate in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries of Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan and also has signed amendments to allow the Use of Special Funds in Recipient Countries and Potential Recipient Countries. Kazakhstan is a member of the EBRD and has to approve its operations along with dozens of other countries. It is also one of the largest recipients of aid and loans to the Bank. Since the establishment of the bank more than $15 billion were invested in the country, including free technical assistance in excess of $79 million. Today about 85 projects are implemented with a total borrowing of over $2.5 billion. ● On March 21, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed a new law to confirm the charter of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)”. Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev said Kazakhstan would get more help from IRENA “to obtain grants for international development, research renewable energy potential, and access expertise to reduce harmful effects on the environment.” IRENA helps countries develop their renewable energy resources. ● The Baikonur Cosmodrome may become a centre of EXPO 2017 activities. The space port has been already visited by delegations that have evaluated its use and assessed the costs of expanding its infrastructure up to international exhibition level. ● Kazakhstan will have around 100 universities remaining in the nearest two years. “The experience shows that the majority of the commercial universities are unable to provide education of the required quality. That’s why we plan to slash their number from 66 to 30 in the nearest three years. In the end, the total number of the universities (commercial and public) will make 100 in two years,” Minister of Education and Science Bakytzhan Zhumagulov said at the government meeting on March 26. He noted that all students of the merged universities should be able to continue their studies. According to Zhumagulov, “this is a strict requirement”. According to the Minister, the number of universities has already been slashed from 149 to 136 in the course of their consolidation. ● An international space seminar is planned for Astana on April 10-11 2013: “Space Days in Kazakhstan”. The seminar, which is taking place on the eve of the anniversary of the first manned space flight by Yury Gagarin on April 12 1961, will also herald the launch later this year of Kazakhstan’s first remote sensing satellite. The launch of a second such satellite from Kazakhstan is planned for 2014. ● The painting “Chinese Girl” by Kazakhstan-born painter Vladimir Tretchikov was sold at auction in London on March 20 for almost a million pounds ($1.52 million). Tretchikov made the painting in 1952 and died in 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Eurasia and world

External News in Brief ● Rapil Zhoshybayev, executive secretary of the Foreign Ministry and commissioner in charge of EXPO 2017, met with Chinese Deputy Foreign Ministers Cheng Guoping and Si Hanshen, director of the Administrative Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Li Chao during his working visit to Beijing on March 18-19. The two sides discussed increased bilateral cooperation and consular work, improving visa procedures and expanding tourism and business relations. Zhoshybayev thanked China for supporting Astana’s candidacy to host EXPO 2017 and discussed joint preparations for it. ● Kazakhstan and Russia are planning to establish joint enterprises to modernise and maintain their military equipment, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Defence Minister Sergey Gromov told the Majilis plenary session on March 20. The 2013-15 draft programme will create a plant to repair engines for military aircraft at the West Kazakhstan Engineering Company in Uralsk and set up a new Aviation Technical Centre in Astana. Russian companies will participate in the venture which will cover the repair of military helicopters. The projects will be carried out under an agreement on Kazakh-Russian military-technical cooperation signed at Orenburg on Sept. 11, 2009. ● President Nazarbayev has confirmed that he will take part in the 12th session of the Boao Forum for Asia. This will take place in China April 6-8, 2013 on the topic of “Asia Seeking Development for all: Restructuring, Responsibility and Cooperation”. Kazakhstan was one of the 28 signatories of the founding document of the Forum, which is aimed at improving economic integration and mutual development of the Asian states. ● Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov met Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb during his official visit to Finland on March 1719. Parties discussed the bilateral cooperation and their development prospects in context of the upcoming on state visit of Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland to Kazakhstan, on April 16-18. The Ministers also exchanged their views on cooperation within the international organizations and discussed the relevant issues of the international relations. Stubb enthusiastically reacted to the strategic plans of Kazakhstan to develop “green economy” and renewable energy sources. Prospects of this cooperation are expected to get raised during the forthcoming President Sauli Niinistö’s visit to Kazakhstan, who will be accompanied by heads of the largest companies in Finland. ● According to the United Nations Human Development Index 2012, Kazakhstan ranked 69th out of 187 countries and territories listed. Most former Soviet republics joined the group of countries with “high human development”. These include Estonia (33rd place), Lithuania (41st), Latvia (44th), Belarus (50th) Russia (55th), Kazakhstan (69th), Georgia (72nd), Ukraine (78th), Azerbaijan (82nd) and Armenia (87th). Countries with “medium level of development” include Turkmenistan (102nd), Moldova (113th), Uzbekistan (114th), as well as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which have jointly occupied the 125th position.The first three countries in the ranking are Norway, Australia and the USA, whereas Chad, Mozambique and Niger are the bottom three. Human Development Index (HDI) is a comprehensive measure of literacy, education, expectancy and quality of life, by which the country can be rated as “developed” or “developing”. ● Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov paid an official visit to Norway on his tour of Northern Europe on March 21. The foreign minister said Kazakhstan seeks to attract more environmentally clean technologies to develop its green economy and prepare for EXPO 2017. Idrissov met Norwegian Petroleum and Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe and discussed cooperation on oil and gas, hydroelectric energy and biofuels. Some 97 percent of Norway’s electric power is produced from hydropower and biofuel. Idrissov also met Marit Nybakk, Vice President of the Storting, the Norwegian Parliament and discussed inter-parliamentary relations nuclear non-proliferation and regional cooperation.


“Kazakhstan’s story is so important, because it disproves the notion that nuclear weapons are important” From Page A1 If nuclear weapons give you safety and security, then Kazakhstan should have kept them, and it should have suffered from a lack of safety and security over the past two decades since giving them up. But that has clearly not been the case. The past 21 years since national independence have been the safest, most secure and most prosperous in the nation’s history. This was Kazakhstan’s condition at the beginning of 1992: It had just become independent, it was right between Russia, a nuclear power, and China, a nuclear power, and it had the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world. It had also inherited from the break-up of the Soviet Union a plutonium reactor and a fleet of strategic bombers. Even if it had given back the nuclear missiles on its soil, within a year of independence Kazakhstan it could have had a large nuclear arsenal. So why didn’t Kazakhstan follow that route? Why didn’t it build nuclear weapons? This is an important question that people in the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France should ask themselves. I would hope that Kazakhstan’s story would be thought about more by ministers and diplomats. There are states with nuclear weapons that oppose proliferation. Is this an example of double standards? There is a provision in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that requires the nuclear-armed states to work toward disarmament. Increasingly, it seems as if the United States, Russia and China, Britain and France seem to think they have a right to have nuclear weapons because they are rational, careful, and mature and no one else should. And that is just clearly wrong. We were talking yesterday about

Iran and someone said “Well you know, we were rational during the Cold War but increasingly there are irrational actors in the world.” And I wanted to remind him about Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev taking off his shoe and banging it on the podium when he was addressing the United Nations. It seems to me that the notion that we are rational, that the P5 are rational and everyone else is irrational - that is just silly. Craziness, madness is not limited geographically. The real danger is not a madman with a nuclear weapon--with five nuclear weapons in Africa or Asia--the real danger is if you had a world leader like possibly some future U.S. president or Russian president who goes crazy. Then you end up with a real problem. Madness isn’t geographically limited. People are not sane here and crazy there, crazy people occur everywhere. The notion of limiting proliferation is a good one, but the notion that some people get to keep nuclear weapons forever and tell everyone else what to do is stupid. At this conference, many participants seem to agree that in a near future we should anticipate a nuclear conflict, possibly initiated by terrorists? I do not know if the conference proves that is a serious possibility, but I certainly believe it could happen. If you want to have a terrorist get a nuclear weapon, all you have to do is keep going exactly the way we are going now. Slowly but surely, nuclear weapons are spreading to more and more countries. That means, there are far more chances of selling them out of the back door. I am not just concerned about terrorists. There is a real danger these weapons could get used in a war. I’ve read too much history and I know of too many instances when leaders did irrational things.

This conference shows that there are countries that are concerned about nuclear weapons, particularly about the effect of nuclear weapons. What will happen and what will come out of it, I do not know, but I hope something good.

I would like to see a conference with historians and government officials from every country that once had nuclear weapons, or that once had nuclear weapons programmes but gave them up... I would like to see a conference that Kazakhstan takes a leading role in, that results in a book and tells the story about all the countries that gave up their nuclear weapons and why they gave them up. What is the value of this and other international conferences like this in making any practical steps forward towards the goal of nuclear disarmament? What could be a practical tool to achieve a nuclear weapons free world? I would like to see a conference with historians and government officials from every country that once had nuclear weapons, or that once had nuclear weapons programmes but gave them up. There is a problem in nucleararmed countries. They believe that

Foreign Minister Brings Green Economy Message to Northern Europe

Erlan Idrissov (l) and his Norwegian colleague Espen Barth Eide discussed a wide range of bilateral and international topics during their meeting in Oslo on March 22.

By Malika Rustem ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov last week wound up his tour of northern Europe in Oslo after sharing Kazakhstan’s plan for a green economy with the region. The key message from Kazakhstan’s delegation to Finland, Norway and Sweden, arising from President Nazarbayev's programme of intensive economisation of foreign policy, was the same: Kazakhstan hopes to attract more green technology to complement the development of its green economy and the forthcoming EXPO 2017. In Oslo, Idrissov first met with Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe. They discussed cooperation in traditional spheres, including oil and gas, as

well as renewable energy sources such as biofuel and hydropower. (Norway produces 97 percent of its electric power using water resources.) The heads of the two ministries agreed on further cooperation in order to attract Norway’s expertise and technologies to the ongoing development of the environmentally friendly and innovative energy sector in Kazakhstan.Minister Idrissov next met Marit Nybakk, vice president of the Storting, Norway’s Parliament, to discuss interparliamentary interaction, nuclear non-proliferation, regional cooperation and other issues. Nybakk positively emphasised the intensive exchange of delegations of various levels between Kazakhstan and Norway and expressed hope for the further development of the bilateral relationship.

At his meeting with Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Espen Barth Eide, Idrissov discussed a wide range of bilateral and international issues, including enhancing bilateral trade turnover, talks related to Iran’s nuclear programme, aid to Afghanistan and cooperation within Central Asia. Eide applauded the forthcoming opening of the full-fledged Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Kingdom of Norway this year. During the visit, Foreign Minister Idrissov delivered a speech at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs about development and strengthening bilateral relations. The Foreign Minister was also interviewed by The Dagens Næringsliv daily newspaper and Norway’s national television channel.

Ward Wilson believes a world without nuclear weapons is not a utopia and sees hope in examples like that of Kazakhstan. everyone wants nuclear weapons. They believe that people who do not have nuclear weapons are either too poor or too stupid to build them. Lots of people in Washington whom I meet and around the world think this way. I would like to see a conference that Kazakhstan takes a leading role in, that results in a book and tells the story about all the countries that gave up their nuclear weapons and why they gave them up. Such a book could contain 1215 stories that all say, “We thought about having nuclear weapons, we had a few after the breakup of the Soviet Union or we built some of our own like South Africa, and then we thought about it and we decided that this is crazy.” A conference that tells those sto-

ries would be an enormous step forward because then, whenever you meet someone at NATO or in the United States, Russia or Britain who claims that everyone really wants nuclear weapons, you could hand them that book and say, “No, it looks to me that a lot of people do not want nuclear weapons. In fact, there are more countries that had nuclear weapons or had nuclear weapons programs and gave them up than have built nuclear weapons.” Such a conference would powerfully make the argument that if there were a vote between the countries that have nuclear weapons, and those that don’t have them and don’t want them, then the supporters of nuclear weapons will lose. They will be outvoted. So I want someone to tell that story.

Iran, P5+1 Prepare to Hold April Nuclear Talks in Almaty By Altynai Sultan ASTANA – Iran and the P5+1 powers are preparing to hold the next round of their negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear programme in Almaty, which already hosted their talks in February. The latest round of P5+1 talks on Iran’s nuclear programme at the expert level was held in Istanbul on March 17-18. The P5+1 (also known as the EU3+3) presented to the Iranian side a more detailed version of the proposals they presented at the Almaty talks on February 26-27. Experts from the P5+1 group of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States provided additional information on Iran’s revised proposals for confidence building. The two sides also discussed a number of technical issues. The Istanbul talks prepared the way for further rounds of talks in Almaty on April 5-6. The negotiations follow Iran’s refusal to end its uranium enrichment programme as required by the UN Security Council. The P+1 countries and Iran all agreed to have Kazakhstan host the April talks in Almaty as well as the February ones. Kazakhstan has played an active and leading role in non-proliferation issues and was one of the first countries to unilaterally and totally renounce nuclear weapons when it gave up the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world in the early 1990’s.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev took another historic step towards nuclear disarmament when he issued a decree to close the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site on Aug. 29, 1991 in Almaty. The February Almaty talks on Iran have attracted the attention of the world press. Nearly a hundred journalists from Reuters, BBC, Xinhua, AFP, CNN, Regnum, Al Jazeera Network, Bloomberg, Voice of America, Wall Street Journal and other media corporations covered the February talks. Participants in the Almaty talks did not reveal any details about the negotiations but said they had made positive progress. “We collectively have developed a number of constructive suggestions for Iran. Today, we have voiced our concern to the Iranian side, which, in turn, should study and analyse our proposed measures and provide an answer at the next meeting in Almaty,” EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said at that time. Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran’s Supreme Security Council and head of the Iranian delegation at the Almaty talks acknowledged the positive results of the February talks. Jalili and Ashton thanked Kazakhstan for agreeing to host the April round of talks. Almaty is the main scientific, cultural, financial and industrial centre in Kazakhstan and the largest city in the country.

Catherine Ashton and Saeed Jalili agreed to meet again for the next round of talks in Almaty on April 5-6.

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Samruk Kazyna Sets 2013 Goals By Galiya Nurzhan ASTANA – The Samruk Kazyna National Sovereign Fund is embarking on a massive programme of railway and port construction this year, its chairman Umirzak Shukeyev told an expanded meeting of directors in February 2013. Shukeyev said 2012 had been a year of great success for the fund when its enterprises generated a total gross income of 850 billion tenge ($5.63 billion), 11 percent higher than projections. The net income for 2012, excluding second-tier banks came to 697 billion tenge ($4.62 billion), 14 percent higher than projected and 11 percent higher than in 2011. “Last year we worked successfully to fulfill the tasks set by the president and the government,” Shukeyev said. “Over the past year we have solved a number of systemic issues. The Fund Act and the 2022 Development Strategy were approved. New dividend, innovation, industrial and investment policies were developed.” Shukeyev said the increase in income was achieved despite lower prices and reduced exports of uranium on the world market. Global oil prices remained at their 2011 levels and the country’s oil production was cut. The fund also incurred additional costs in setting up two new development companies following the unrests in Zhanaozen in December 2011. “The operating fund return (EBITDA) increased from 17.8 percent in 2011 to 18.0 percent in 2012,” Shukeyev said. “The fund’s consolidated net assets (equity), excluding the second-tier banks, are estimated to reach 6.1 trillion tenge ($40 million) for the year, an 8 percent increase on 2011. The fund’s plans were over-fulfilled by all its major subsidiaries. Oil and gas condensate production reached 21.4 million tons. Tariff and passenger turnover increased by 5 percent and 14 percent respectively compared to 2011. Uranium output increased by 10 percent on 2011 and electricity production totaled 14.5 billion kW/h. This was 8 percent higher than in 2011,” he said. In 2012, the fund’s Corporate Governance Rating increased from 53 to 62 percent compared to 2010. The leader among the fund’s com-

panies in corporate governance rating was the Kazatomprom National Atomic Company at 70 percent. In early 2012, the most serious risks and challenges the fund faced were the situation with the BTA bank and issues of financial stability. Shukeyev said BTA’s debt had been successfully restructured, improving its prospects. The bank’s capital was reinstated from $ -8.2 billion to $ +1.5 billion, its foreign debt was reduced from $9.1 billion to $750 million, and the maturity of the loan was prolonged until 2022. BTA’s funding costs were reduced on average from 10 percent to 5.5 percent and its liquidity options were improved. The fund’s share in BTA’s capital increased from 81.5 to 97.3 percent. Samruk Kazyna is also restructuring its assets, Shukeyev said. “The work to improve the long-term value of the subsidiaries will continue through the improvement of their corporate governance, productivity, profitability, cost-effectiveness and sustainability,” he said. The fund plans to ensure the supplies of all basic needs in industrial products through regular procurement by its companies. “All the companies of the fund will have to ensure the growth of local content in line with their strategies,” the chairman said. Shukeyev said the fund was drafting new procurement rules using a new selection system to improve the quality and competitiveness of its goods and services. Within the framework of the 2013-22 programme to upgrade existing businesses and establish

new ones, the fund plans to decentralize production facilities and move to more long-term contracts with its subsidiaries. In 2013 and 2014, the fund plans to sale shares in 26 assets and 311 non-core facilities of KazMunayGas and Kazatomprom. Shares in social facilities will be first offered to local agencies, and then will be sold on the free market. President Nursultan Nazarbayev also instructed Samruk Kazyna to implement the People’s IPO Programme of share issues in 2012. KazTransOil (KTO) was the first company to sell its share offerings on the stock market in the fall of 2012. The demand for its shares was oversubscribed by 213 percent. KTO raised 59.4 billion tenge ($390 million). A total of 34,676 applications were received from individuals who comprised 79.3 percent of the total public offering. They bought 22.1 billion tenge ($150 million) of shares. In 2012, as part of the 2010-14 State Programme for Accelerated Industrial-Innovative Development (PAIID), seven investment projects totaling $2.3 billion were carried out by the fund, including the construction of two major rail lines from Zhetygen to Khorgas and from Uzen to the border with Turkmenistan. They have an annual traffic capacity of up to 10 million tons and 7 million tons respectively. On December 4, the fund opened a factory making electric locomotives in Astana’s Special Economic Zone. On December 25, another factory to make silicon-based pho-

Business News in Brief tovoltaic modules opened in Astana. A new ecological centre to deal with oil spills in the north of the Caspian Sea was opened. Shukeyev said that the fund has already begun to implement President Nazarbayev’s directions for its work this year. “The first goal is to attract highly qualified foreign specialists to work in the fund’s companies,” he said “We have analyzed the companies’ needs and are working out the conditions for recruiting foreign specialists and getting them to train our local personnel. We plan to attract high-level foreign executives to work with us on business development, logistics, airport management, new fields in chemistry, mid-level managers for power and communications as well as in market development. We also need to recruit professionals in the fields of sustainable development, human resource management, financial control and reporting, and risk management.” The fund also plans to build the Astana - Almaty high-speed rail link and is carrying out a feasibility study on it which will be completed by the end of June. Work started last year on building new railway lines between Zhezkazgan and Beineu and from Arkalyk to Shubarkol as part of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (Kazakhstan State Railways) capital investment plan for 2013. The Aktau International Sea Commercial Port will transfer its investment in expanding the port to KTZ by the end of March to accelerate the second and third stages of the project. The fund will finance a new Tobol-Kokshetau-Astana gas pipeline. Work on it will start this year. In order to strengthen energy security, President Nazarbayev instructed the fund to “complete the circle” of national power supply systems for the centre and west of the country. The fund is producing a projection for the power generation and electricity consumption needs of the Mangistau and Atyrau regions. It is drafting the terms of accession of Western Kazakhstan to the Common Power Grid. Work to construct a 500 kW North-EastSouth power connector will start in the second half of this year. The fund is drawing up a propos-

al for the location and design of the country’s first nuclear power plant and will present it to the government by May 1. The fund is also drafting a new 2012-15 Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Plan to reduce energy consumption by its companies. It is producing a new master plan to use alternative energy. Samruk Kazyna is also focusing on preparing for EXPO 2017. It will provide full energy supplies through alternative energy sources used at power plants. The fund is also working on diversifying the national economy. “The revenues of Samruk Kazyna’s companies (along with those it jointly controls) contribute 23 percent of the country’s GDP,” Shukeyev said. “The companies must become the locomotives of diversification and industrial and innovative development of the country. The fund’s total investment programme includes 157 projects worth $101 billion, of which 74 projects worth $54 billion are currently being implemented.” In 2013, as part of the Programme for Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development Programme (PAIID), four investment projects worth $1.7 billion will be implemented by the fund. They are: the reconstruction of a sulfuric acid plant with a capacity of 180,000 tons per year; the construction of three substations to provide power to homes in Almaty and the surrounding region; a factory to make road bitumen at the Aktau Plastics Plant with a capacity of 406.5 tons per year; an oil refinery to make 255,400 tons of petrol and diesel fuel and 330,300 tons of vacuum gas oil per year; and the rebuilding and modernisation of the Atyrau oil refinery to make the basic petrochemical products of benzene, paraxylene and high-octane gasoline meeting Euro-3 standards. The fund is financing four other major industrial projects in 2013 costing $645 million: an electric switches factory making 1,500 units per year; an optical instruments factory; modernizing the Semey Engineering factory; and completing the second stage of the LTE/GSM/UMTS 2012-21 programme to create a new fourthgeneration Long Term Evolution mobile network.

Government Forecasts 6 Percent 2013 Growth From Page A1

However, government experts warned that problems in the global economy could still negatively impact Kazakhstan. The global economy has slowed down again following its recovery from the 2008-9 financial crisis. Lower global growth is expected

to remain widespread till 2020. The International Monetary Fund forecasts 3.5 percent global economic growth this year, slightly higher than the 3.2 percent rate in 2012. The Fitch agency cut its growth forecast for the world economy in 2013 to 2.4 percent from its previous estimate of 2.6 percent. However, the negative impact of global

trends is expected to be less in Kazakhstan compared to 2012. Well-timed market reforms and growing foreign trade, and investment are the main forces generating continued economic growth in Kazakhstan. In some listings, the country ranked third among the 25 most dynamic economies last year behind only China and Qatar.

Kazakhstan rose in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2012 Index from No. 58 in 2011 to No. 47 out of 183 countries listed. It had the most favourable rating of any of the 12 nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States. The World Bank also put Kazakhstan among the top 20 most attractive countries in the world for invest-

ment. Since independence, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Kazakhstan totaled $170 billion. In 2012, the country invested $18 billion in its own foreign investments. Kazakhstan’s business-friendly economy offers access to the nation’s natural resources. The country’s political and economic stability, continued growth and strategic location are also attractive to foreign investors. The country’s exports are still dominated by oil, natural gas, uranium, metals and precious minerals. According to the National Agency for Export and Investment KAZNEX INVEST at the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, foreign trade totaled $135.5 billion in 2012, a 7.5 percent increase compared to 2011. Exports increased by 5.2 percent to $92.7 billion while imports increased by 12.6 percent to $42.8 billion. The country’s foreign trade surplus for 2012 is expected to remain around $50 billion, the same figure as in 2011. The United Nations Broad Economic Categories (BEC) index said 74 percent of Kazakhstan’s exports in 2012 were in raw materials worth $68.3 billion. Some 84 percent of these were crude oil, 5 percent were ores and concentrates, 3 percent were petroleum gases, 3 percent were wheat and the remaining 5 percent was other items. Processed goods amounted to 26 percent of exports worth $24.4 billion, a 10 percent increase on 2011. The balance of trade reflected the growing diversification of the domestic economy.. The proportion of trade with the countries traditional partners - the CIS and Baltic nations - remained high. The main trade partner of Kazakhstan is Russia. Trade continues to grow with other nations, especially China, Turkey, Belarus, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Italy, the United States, Britain and South Korea. In July 2010, the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia was launched. Government experts have projected that it will increase the combined GDP of its member states by 19 percent by 2015.

● Kazakhstan will reimburse the fuel and lubricant shortages due to tolling operations in China, Prime Minister’s Serik Akhmetov’s official website announced on March 20. “We agreed on the need to transport 1.5 million tons of crude oil to China for processing at the production facilities of the Chinese Dushanzi refinery within the tolling operation,” director of the Department of Oil Industry Development under the Kazakh Oil and Gas Ministry Kuandyk Kulmurzin said. Kulmurzin said Kazakhstan will process and transport one million tons of petroleum products to China by the end of this year ● Kazakhstan plans to establish an Institute of Energy and Energy Efficiency, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev told local media on March 20. He said the new institute would be set up on the basis of an earlier energy company. “Today, there is a group of professionals, engineers and scholars who were able to establish contacts with the leading organisations of Japan, Germany, France and South Korea, to examine their experience in creating an internal energy market,” Issekeshev said. “Special attention is paid to creating the relevant infrastructure which includes the development of the energy sector within the State Programme for Accelerated Industrial-Innovative Development. This sector should be developed in advance. We also need accurate calculations,” he said. ● The government will decide the site for the new civilian nuclear power station by this summer, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev told local media on March 19. “The government has not yet determined the site for the nuclear power station,” he said. “The decision has not been made yet. Work on the plan and further configuration of the plant is under way.” Issekeshev said President Nursultan Nazarbayev had ordered the government to make the decision by the middle of this year. “A working group which includes representatives of our Ministry, the Kazatomprom National Atomic Company and specialists has been established,” he said. “They must determine the site for the future plant and the configuration of the station. The choice will be made after careful analysis and taking into account all important criteria.” He said after the decision is announced, an international tender to build the power station will be announced. ● MIE Holdings Corporation, an independent upstream oil and gas company engaged in the exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas in China, Kazakhstan and USA, announced that its subsidiary Emir-Oil had signed a new production contract with the Ministry of Oil and Gas to develop the Emir oilfield, covering an area of 3.53 square kilometres (1.36 square miles) with a term of 17 years. EmirOil holds an exploration contract recently extended through Jan. 9, 2015 covering 808 square kilometres (312 square miles) of the Aksaz-DolinnoeKariman (ADE) area excluding the existing Aksaz, Dolinnoe, Kariman and Emir oilfields. MIE is listed on the main board of Hong Kong Stock Exchange. ● The Kazakhmys Metallurgical Corporation plans to invest one billion tenge ($6.62 million) in Kazakhstan’s Zhezkazgan region exploration, the company reported on March 20 following the meeting of its management with First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development Bakytzhan Sagintayev and Head of Karaganda region Bauyrzhan Abdishev. “The exploration work is planned to be carried out in the central part of Zhezkazgan region including the Zhezkazgan and Zhilandinsk groups of fields. A mining operation is underway in the Itauyz field, the second stage of work will be carried out at the Zhomart mine, and a feasibility study is being developed for the Kipshakpay and Karashoshak deposits,” the company said. Kazakhmys will invest $6 billion in these projects over the next five years. It will also invest $30 million in modernisation programmes and $100 million in developing the energy sector of the Zhezkazgan region. Kazakhmys is a leading international natural resources group with significant interests in copper, gold, zinc, silver and power generation. It is the largest copper producer in Kazakhstan and one of the largest in the world with 17 operating mines, 10 concentrators and two copper smelters.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


economy News in Brief ● Kazakhstan’s trade with its two Customs Union (CU) partners Russia and Belarus exceeded $1.6 billion in January, a rise of 7.7 percent on January 2012, the Kazakhstan Statistics Agency said. The KSA said minerals accounted for 42.2 percent of exports to the other CU countries, metals and metal goods comprised 24.3 percent and chemical goods another 14.5 percent. Minerals were also Kazakhstan’s largest import from its CU partners. ● Production of pharmaceuticals in Kazakhstan has almost trebled since the start of the State Programme of Accelerated IndustrialInnovative Development (PAIID), the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies said. Pharmaceuticals are a priority sector in PAIID. The proramme has met the goal of half of pharmaceutical drugs used in the country to be produced domestically by next year. “This indicator was almost achieved in 2011 when 49 percent of pharmaceuticals were domestically produced. The value of pharmaceuticals produced domestically in 2012 came to 29.4 billion tenge ($190 million), almost three times greater than in 2008,” the ministry said. In 2012, 93 Kazakhstan companies exported 291.2 million tenge ($1.93 million) of pharmaceutical products to foreign markets. ● The creation of a Kazakhstan, Russian and Belorussian integrated financial market within the Single Economic Space (SES) is planned for 2020, Eurasian Economic Commission Minister for Economy and Financial Policy Timur Suleimenov said at the 8th Kazakhstan’s financial forum, held on March 14. Suleimenov said the Eurasian Economic Commission was working with representatives from the three SES member countries on an agreement on financial market activity requirements to provide a basis for harmonizing different national laws on the subject. The process will proceed in three stages. ● The retirement age for women will be raised by six months every year starting from Jan. 1, 2014, Minister of Labour and Social Security Serik Abdenov said on March 12. Over the next decade, the retirement age for women will rise from 58 to 63. In most countries, the retirement age is 65-67, irrespective of gender, Abdenov said. He said women accounted for 70 percent (1.253 million) retirees in Kazakhstan out of a total of 1.8 million people. However, women hold only 3.8 million individual retirement accounts, 45 percent of the total number and the average women’s pension savings is 25 percent lower than men’s. The gap in pension savings is caused by a shorter period for pension contributions as women retire earlier than men and gender pay differences. ● Kazakhstan will revise its existing tax benefits this year. “In order to increase the role and effectiveness of tax incentives in the development of non-resource sector in 2013, the current tax benefits will be revised,” the government and National Bank said in their report on economic policy for 2013. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has instructed the government to audit all tax programmes to provide favorable taxation terms, especially in the fields of new technologies and industrialization. ● Latest research from the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan has revealed that in schools which have adopted e-learning, the success rate of students has risen by 15%. Deputy Minister of Education Sayat Shayakhmetov said it had been planned to introduce e-learning in all schools by 2020. But with these latest figures showing that the gap is growing between students exposed to e-learning and those who are not, it is now planned to speed up this process so that e-learning will be available throughout the system of secondary education by 2016. ● A committee for protection of financial services consumer’s rights has been set up at Kazakhstan National Bank on March 14. The committee will work to secure proper protection for the rights and interests of financial services consumers and services of micro-financial entities. Gulbanu Aimanbetova has been appointed as its chairperson.

Bananas, Pomegranates Flourish in South

Even palm trees could be found at the Zher Syiy plant nursery in South Kazakhstan.

By Lyubov Dobrota SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN - Fruit trees bananas, persimmons and pomegranates are flourishing at the Saryagash Zher Syiy plant nursery in southern Kazakhstan. “This year we anticipate the first crop of bananas,” the Saryagash head Tanabai Shyntasov told the Astana Times. “It is not a commercial project and there will be very few farmers willing to start the commercial cultivation of bananas. But the seedlings of persimmon, pomegranate and lemon fruit are already in demand,” he said. The nursery uses advanced technologies. The plants are grown in hydroponic pods, drip irrigation is installed and the greenhouse is warmed by special heaters designed by Nikolai Khramov. Soon, Shyn-

tasov plans to expand the project and build more greenhouses. “We need additional 55 hectares (135.9 acres) of land for further development,” Shyntasov said. “We want the nearby areas to increase production and offer new varieties of seeds.” The Saryagash Zher Syiy is currently dealing with a large order: A businessman from the neighboring Kazygurt district decided to plant his land with 70,000 seeds of the Starkrimson winter breed of apples. In 2012, Shyntasov constructed a vegetable storage silo where the required temperature could be set and then used it to store crops and seeds. Already, that young orchard is yielding 60 tons of fruits per hectare (2.47 acres) this year. In 2012, its first crop of apples yielded almost 20 tons per hectare.

A few years ago, Saryagash Zher Syiy bought 17,000 dwarf rootstocks in France. A special sprinkler was installed to provide climatic conditions similar to the French climate. With proper care, the plants will last up to 15 years. The nursery is an example of the effective cooperation of horticulture and viticulture. The farm grows world famous varieties of apples and also local ones. “We have developed various schemes for green house horticulture,” Shyntasov said. “The best option, I believe, is when 2,500 bushes are planted on one hectare. Naturally, we use drip irrigation to save resources and reduce labour costs. The state now subsidises this kind of commercial horticulture only if a drip irrigation system is installed. The legally stipulated minimum area of the nursery is five hectares (12.35 acres). I think it is too small and inefficient, the cost of irrigation and electricity will only be recouped over far too long a period.” Shyntasov wants to unite all nurseries in the country and establish a national association coordinated by the Kazakh Research Institute of Horticulture and Viticulture. Southern Kazakhstan has all the necessary conditions to develop this kind of agriculture, he said. The Saryagash Zher Syiy needs more land to open a demonstration garden and nursery and plant saplings of different varieties to change popular attitudes about these kinds of crops. Today the nursery is already growing seedlings of apple, apricot, plums, pears, peaches, cherries, grapes, lemons, persimmons, pomegranates, bananas, junipers, arborvitae, willows, and Japanese quinces. Southern Kazakhstan can look forward to a fruitful future.

Domestically Produced Cars Gaining Popularity in Public Sector Kazakhstan produced 21,236 vehicles, including trucks, commercial and passenger cars, in 2012. State agencies purchased 12 percent of the production—2,553 cars—and bought 1,365 units of imported transport. The list of car models assembled in Kazakhstan continues to grow. It seems likely that the public sector preference in the future will tend increasingly toward domestically produced vehicles. Kazakhstan already produces cars in a wide price range, including small sedans, SUVs and executive cars such as the SsangYong Chairman. The production of trucks, light commercial and special vehicles, including cars for the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Ministry of Emergencies, is growing. Design offices of production plants are actively developing modifications to specialised vehicles to adhere to the requirements of state structures. Last year, the Ministry of Health and au-

tomakers signed a memorandum on cooperation regarding the confirmation of intent to supply ambulances. In order to meet the needs of citizens, local businesses and the public sector,

some automakers plan to switch from semi-knocked down (SKD) to completely knocked down (CKD) assemblage, including welding and painting of vehicle bodies, later this year.


Chevron in Kazakhstan Marks 20th Anniversary By Aliya Musepova This year, Chevron is celebrating 20 years in Kazakhstan in the remarkable partnership that began on April 6, 1993, when President Nursultan Nazarbayev and then Chevron Corporation Chairman and CEO Kenneth T. Derr, signed the agreement that established the joint venture company Tengizchevroil (TCO). The 40-year foundation agreement to develop the supergiant Tengiz and the Korolev oil fields made Chevron the first major international oil company to invest in the newly independent Kazakhstan. Today Chevron remains the nation’s largest foreign investor. In 1997, Chevron also became a partner in the Karachaganak Petroleum Operating consortium (KPO) developers of Karachaganak, one of the world largest oil and gas fields. Commenting on this important milestone Chairman and CEO of Chevron Corporation John Watson said: “Today, we’re proud of so many things we’ve been able to achieve together. We’ve seen our shared vision grow from an idea on paper to enormous and complex facilities. As partners, we safely produce from some of the most technically challenging oilfields in the world. And we set standards throughout the industry. Chevron and our partners have also helped create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue for Kazakhstan. And in that relatively short period of time, the republic has become a global energy leader. It has strengthened and begun diversifying its entire economy.” Chevron and its partners have invested more than $20 billion to develop the reserves and increase production from Tengiz. TCO and its partners have executed a progression of strategic projects of historical scope and scale in pursuit of higher production in tandem with finding transportation paths to world markets from landlocked Kazakhstan. 2001 marked a turning point in the history of Chevron and TCO. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC; Chevron share 15%), began operation of the 935-mile (1,505 km) crude oil export pipeline that runs from Tengiz to the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk in Russia. Because of the CPC system, TCO could reduce oil transportation expenses and increase the export opportunities necessary to expand production. Expansion began in July 2002, with groundbreaking in Tengiz for the Second Generation Plant (SGP) and Sour Gas Injection Facilities (SGI/SGP), a $7.4 billion project that increased TCO’s crude oil production capacity by approximately 80 percent. Coinciding with TCO’s 15th anniversary year in 2008, the TCO team brought SGI/SGP online -- all while achieving excellent safety, environmental and production performance. The SGI/SGP projects

National Bank’s Coins Are Works of Art, Investment Vehicles By Maral Zhantaykyzy

ASTANA – On March 1st the National Bank of Kazakhstan issued a commemorative coin to mark the 100th anniversary of People’s Artist of the USSR, Kazakh composer Mukan Tolebayev. The bank also released a new, two-volume catalogue price list of the country’s coins, which depicts all the coins issued by the National Bank of Kazakhstan up to 2013. In December of last year, the bank launched an online shop on its website to provide another outlet for those wishing to buy investment or commemorative (collector’s) coins. Because of the financial crisis and fluctuations in world economies, people are concerned about the future of their savings. Volatility in exchange rates and falling real estate prices are driving people to look for alternative ways to invest. One of those ways is in coins. According to experts, in 2000s, the price of gold rose almost sevenfold, from $250 to $1,660 per ounce. Therefore, the purchase of investment coins is an investment and accumulation of money in the form of gold and silver of the highest quality. The National Bank of Kazakhstan annually produces dozens of new coins in different series,

which are very popular within the country as well as abroad. The investment coins are made of metal of the highest purity: 999.9 assay. They are imprinted with the name, face value, weight, year of issue and identification of the issuer. They are simple in decoration, but are of standard quality coinage and are uncirculated. The production of uncirculated coins is afforded to only 58 mints in the world. The commemorative coins are minted in the highest quality coinage. In such minting, the coin has a mirror finish with very precise details. The silver coins are 925 assay. The commemorative and investment coins of Kazakhstan can be purchased at cost in the National Bank on the day of their appearance in the market. Prices can begin to rise quickly the next day. For example, the investment coin in denominations of 10,000 tenge from the Silk Road series to date has a price of 263,000 tenge in the branches of National Bank. The Red Wolf coin released by the National Bank in 2005 was originally worth 28,000 tenge. Today on the market it can sell for over 150,000 tenge. The appeal of the coin is that it is made of gold (999 assay) with two one-millimetre diamonds. The Millennium coin (50 tenge) was

worth 3,000 tenge in 2011; at the end of 2012 it sold for 7,000-9,000 tenge. According to experts, the growth in value of Kazakhstan’s coins over the past few years averages 17-18 percent per year.The price of coins reflects not only the weight of their metal but also their artistic value. The value of a coin is also influenced by factors such as its uniqueness, age, physical appearance and circulation. According to numismatists (coin or currency collectors), bank examination procedures to determine the authenticity of Kazakh coins are definitely excessive from a consumer perspective. “The fact is that invesment coins are produced at a high level of technology, and professional collectors or jewelers can determine if the coin is genuine without any costly equipment,” numismatist Sergey Perkhalsky says. “Even with historical coins, where there is an objective need for special equipment... most collectors are not focused on the chemical examination and on the exact version of the coins’ stamps. Even using a 3D machine in the production of counterfeit stamps it would be very difficult to repeat the coin exactly, so the majority of fakes can be distinguished from the originals

by their appearance. Commemorative coins are made using hightech processes, especially when applying small details. But the main thing is that there is no point to forge these coins since it is much easier and more cost-effective to forge ingots.” On its website, the National Bank publishes detailed lists and descriptions of investment and commemorative coins. The valuable souvenirs are completed in full compliance with their high status and come with a special capsule and a quality certificate from the National Bank of Kazakhstan in Kazakh, Russian and English. As of March 2013, the National Bank produced 254 varieties of coins, including 130 of silver (925 assay), 49 of gold (999 assay), 62 of nickel silver, eight bi-metallics of silver and tantalum and five bimetallics of nickel-brass and nickel-silver. In the CIS, only Kazakhstan and Russia mint investment coins; not many countries in the world do. The Kazakhstan Mint has been accepted into the Association of Mints. Kazakhstan has its own place in prestigious international numismatic exhibitions, where seven of its domestic coins have been awarded

brought TCO’s daily production capacity to more than 75,000 tons (600,000 barrels) of crude oil and 22 million cubic meters (800 million cubic feet) of natural gas. To move this new production to market, CPC received approval in 2011 to begin a $5.4 billion threephase expansion project that will increase pipeline capacity progressively until 2016. Throughout the years, Chevron has simultaneously grown production and significantly contributed to the diversity, growth and strength of Kazakhstan’s economy. Development of Tengiz from 1993 to 2012 resulted in direct financial payments to the Republic of Kazakhstan of more than US $77 billion, contracts for local enterprises worth more than US $13 billion, and safe and dignified working conditions for employees, most of them Kazakhstan citizens. When TCO was founded, the workforce was about 50 percent national employees with about 2,300 Kazakhstanis, including contractors, working at Tengiz. Today, TCO’s workforce is 87 percent Kazakhstani, with nationals holding 76 percent of supervisory positions. To help diversify Kazakhstan’s economy, in 2003, Chevron invested US $24 million in the construction of its Polyethylene Pipe Plant in Atyrau (APPP). The first such plant in Kazakhstan it uses state-of-the-art equipment and innovative technologies and is staffed entirely by citizens of Kazakhstan. The plant produces high-density polyethylene pipe for use in building Kazakhstan’s infrastructure as well as for export. With an expansion project completed in 2011, APPP began producing metalplastic bonded pipe for use in heating and hot water supply. Chevron is building another plant in Atyrau managed and operated by national employees that will produce up to 30,000 iron gate valves per year for water supply and natural gas transportation. Chevron also is helping diversify the Kazakh economy through its investment in the Samal Wind Park project. The project is in the early evaluation phase and is estimated to generate between 30 and 50 MW of electricity. The project supports the nation’s strategic renewable energy initiative. Of no less importance than the production of energy resources are the social investment programmes that Chevron and its partners have implemented over the past two decades. Over the years, Chevron and partners have invested more than $500 million in social investment projects throughout Kazakhstan. In addition, Chevron has initiated and continues to implement long-term social investment programs benefitting various regions of the country-programs in education and career training, provision of basic human needs and small-and-medium-size business development. a number of prestigious awards. On January 2011, the commemorative coin Attila from the Great Military Leaders series was named the best coin of the year in the Most Historically Significant Coin category by the World Money Fairs committee of the exhibition in Berlin. The First Cosmonaut, a commemorative silver coin from the Space series, won in the Special Review category of the International Prize Vicenza Numismatica 2012 coin competition in Italy. Now, the Kazakhstan Mint has foreign customers who are ready to sell Kazakhstan’s coins abroad. The Mint of Poland buys White Stork and Sultan Baybars coins from the National Bank for distribution or sale outside of Kazakhstan. In 2013, the National Bank is also planning to produce the silver coin Shurale (a mythical creature from Tatar and Bashkir tales) within the Tales of the Peoples of Kazakhstan series; the silver coins Ice hockey, Olympic Games 2014 and Pole vaulting, Olympic Games 2016 to replenish the Sports series and Petropavlovsk, Taldykorgan and Taraz to add to the Cities of Kazakhstan series. At a recent National Bank meeting it was decided to issue commemorative coins marking the 10th anniversary of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the national currency and the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Collective Security Treaty.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Astana Times editorial

The aviation industry in Kazakhstan and making it better A KazEngineering insider has revealed that since Travelling across Kazakhstan is a lively affair, to say the least. To visit the family, attend a wedding, 2011, talks have been held with American airplane goon a business trip or simply for leisure, there are manufacturer Cessna. However, during the process of enough reasons for voyaging around the vast, 9th larg- signing memorandums of mutual understanding for est country in the world. Fifty six percent of the popu- the purchase of the western AN-2 comparable aircraft, lation live in 86 settlements that have the status of a the Grand Caravan, Russia decides to modernize the city. A modern nomad can choose to travel on the road AN-2. Now while the Kansas airplanes performance by bus or by car, take a train to his or her destination, characteristics are not worse than the Antonov models, or, where the logistics allow it, fly. With such a mas- they cost more. The Kansas plane costs a little less sive amount of territory to cover, one could easily be than 2 million dollars, while the updated Russian anapardoned for thinking that the aviation industry is well log is 40-50% cheaper and hence make it the obvious developed. But even Beken Seidakhmet, the chairman choice. The main difference between the planes is only of the Committee of Civil Aviation under the Ministry in the level of comfort, which is a subjective factor. of Transport and Communications, admits: “We have Nevertheless, even if we did buy from the Americans, problems in the aviation industry.” The problems, ex- it still would not have been the latest in technology. Another alternative to importing is of course the proplored in this editorial, are threefold: outdated equipment, economic sensibility, and lack of human capital. duction of domestic airplanes. In this regard it makes sense to start with small planes and gradually develop The government, and business, are already on it. The minister of transportation and communications, regional medium range planes. Developments in this Askar Zhumagaliyev, who recently expressed his dis- field have started in the Aktau Special economic zone appointments at a conference with airline operators, where the KazEnergoRegion investment company, highlighted the obsolete technology and practices in- with the support of the then Mangistau region goverherited from the Soviet Union. “What is this?” he says, nor, Baurzhan Muhamedzhanov, are planning to build “They [the academy of civil aviation] are still using a manufacturing plant of Slovenian Pipistrel planes. The model has won a the An-2 to teach? best airplane award in And the simulator of the 4-seater category Tu-134! Nobody op- For five Kazakh airlines operating on the at the European Aviaerates these planes tion Expo in 2012. in Kazakhstan any- passenger market, 84% of their park Kamariya Saganmore, except for consists of Western technology. dyk, the head of the the emergency air “Air Astana” and “Scat” companies alone investment company services!” Indeed, have partially updated their fleet with the “KazEnergoRegion” the aviation industry leaves much to acquisition of eight Western aircraft each in explained, “Having be desired, howev- 2012. In 2013, these companies will receive studied the overall economic situation er, there are certain additional 11 modern planes. in Kazakhstan, we realities to keep in Realistically, Kazakhstan doesn’t need a have taken the decimind when considlot of planes because the population is sion to open the main ering this delicate relatively small. It needs the right planes. production of light subject. aircraft in the SEZ A few recent events Moreover, it needs the right people. “Seaport Aktau”. have drawn extra atAlong with the ecotention to flying in Kazakhstan. Tragic plane crashes of the border offic- nomic benefits, we have taken into account the favourers' plane and a passenger plane have made the current able geographical position of the city of Aktau with its condition of the air travel industry stand out and the convenient location on the coast of the Caspian Sea issue of traveler safety and security more relevant. Mr. and access to the shores of other countries. We have Zhumagaliyev highlighted the lack of seriousness in not yet started the production itself, but today we alconsidering the subject, “At the previous meeting last ready have orders for our planes for the next 5 years. year, we said that the airlines will apply strict require- The main customers of our aircraft are in countries ments, which at the time were being developed. These such as Russia, China, Azerbaijan, and India.” Workrequirements have met obstruction in the newspapers. ing at full capacity, the plant will be employing 300 They wrote that it is too early to introduce these inter- people and make up to 200 planes a year. To be fair, for five Kazakh airlines operating on the national rules in Kazakhstan, and instead should come passenger market, 84% of their park consists of Westin 2025. And what do we have now?” The flights between cities in Kazakhstan must be ern technology. “Air Astana” and “Scat” companies over relatively short, regional scale distances. These alone have partially updated their fleet with the acquifactors tend to explain the need for regional scale air- sition of eight Western aircraft each in 2012. In 2013, these companies will receive additional 11 modern craft. “On the one hand the economics of this type of fly- planes. Realistically, Kazakhstan doesn’t need a lot ing call for simple aircraft of the utmost reliability in of planes because the population is relatively small. order that fares can be kept to an attractively low level. It needs the right planes. Moreover, it needs the right Conversely, the seasoned air traveller has come to ex- people. As the Minister of Transport and Communications pect good-quality cabin conditioning, low noise level and smooth flights unaffected by weather; he does duly noted, new recruits lack training. Starting with not take kindly to the more rudimentary surroundings the most important figure in an aircraft, the captain. generally offered, and these can have a positive de- Not only is it hard to obtain a flying license in Kazaterrent effect on the new travellers who do not know khstan, it is also hard to maintain, as the law requires quite what to expect.” (“Guide to Feederline aircraft,” that every month the license has to be backed up by flight hours. With such a conditionality, very few peoFlight International 1972) The above excerpt from Flight International, pub- ple even apply to train for piloting. A hard to attain imlished in 1972, resonates with the situation of today’s portant document required to be a pilot in Kazakhstan aviation industry in Kazakhstan. What is different is could be easily revoked for lack of practice. How that this: if anything, the demand for comfort has grown practice is supposed to be achieved if a pilot is not even more as more and more middle-income fami- working is another interesting question. On the ground, specialists also lack training and a lies appeared willing to spend time over money when travelling across the steppe. The article continues, comprehensive system of logistics which needs to be “To provide the surroundings which will attract more improved. In an attempt to standardize the system of logistics passengers to the short-haul sectors means that pressurised aircraft must be employed, and yet the very throughout Kazakhstan, the government made a princomplexity of such types makes their use unlikely to cipled decision on the creation of a holding company for local airports. The management company, created be economic.” The pressurized cabins for smaller aircraft is a con- by “Samruk-Kazyna” will operate 11 public airports. cept introduced withYak 40, which itself is a relatively The holding plans to attract foreign management. At old aircraft. Out of the 1011 planes built by the Sara- present, according to the chairman of Kazakhstan tov aircraft factory between 1967 and 1978, only 65 to Competition Protection Agency Bolatbek Kuandykov, over a half of Kazakhstan airports incur losses because 77 remain in service. Mr. Seidakhmetov has stated that the An-24 and of excessive state regulation. “Basic services of airYak-40 planes will be banned in Kazakhstan starting ports are qualified as natural monopolies and regulated from November 2013. This will effectively remove markets sector that are subject to state regulation of planes that do not meet the International Civil Avia- prices. This has caused 12 out of 21 airports to become tion Organization standards but the chairperson of unprofitable. The excessive regulation of the airports' civil aviation committee acknowledged that the deficit activities made most of the airports loss-making.” To boost competition, and liven up the aviation inof aircrafts continue. The problem is thwarted due to the high duty on aircraft imports. The fact is that until dustry, according to Seidakhmetov, “We are considerKazakhstan entered the Customs Union (CU), the duty ing the possibility of intraregional connection.” The on imported Western airliners was zero. With the crea- government recognizes the need for public investtion of the CU, Russia insisted on the introduction of ments. “It is necessary to develop small aircrafts, to a fee of 20% for aircraft. Belarus and Kazakhstan are reopen airports. Work is already being done with akionly able to hold on to the old rules until July 1, 2014. mats. Each oblast determines for themselves which “We wanted to extend the privilege to 2019, but so far airports will be developed. We have received applicathe results of negotiations with Russia have not yield- tions for 32 aerodromes from local airlines. We want ed positive results,” said Seidakhmetov. “As such, we to prepare a proposal to the budget committee for the will be offering to upgrade the fleet through Samruk- development of the flight maintenance and design esKazyna and Kazakhstan Transport Leasing Company timates for the reconstruction or creation of ground runways. Today we have 8 airports with local airline in the current year.” In March 2013, Chief of the General Staff Colonel flights, by 2020 there will be 40. Local akimats can General Saken Zhasuzakov discussed the state of safe- subsidize these intraregional flights.” The problems faced by the aviation industry of Katy, how to improve the reliability of the aviation system and ensuring the safety of the state aviation in the zakhstan as a whole cannot be met without collective country. “Currently, the Air Force of the Armed Forces efforts of the people involved. This includes the Minismaintains an effective system of aircraft in quality con- try of Transport and Communications, private airlines dition. We are actively updating the fleet: these are the and investors, and most importantly the passengers. helicopters “Eurocopter” and C-295 aircraft. We train The flag of Kazakhstan features a proud eagle gloripilots qualitatively. In other words, the country and the ously gliding in the clear blue sky. Soon, this could army have all the conditions for the full organization be a representation of a new age in the Kazakhstan’s of the state aviation system,” said Zhasuzakov. navigation industry.

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EXPO Commissioner Sees New Era Starting from 2017 Event ASTANA – Last year, the capital of Kazakhstan was chosen as the venue for international exhibition EXPO 2017, to be held in 2017. The General Assembly of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) picked Astana over the Belgian city of Liege by 103 votes to 44. For the first time in the history of world industrial expositions going back to in 1851, Kazakhstan became the first developing country to host one. EXPO Commissioner Rapil Zhoshybayev told KAZINFORM about the importance of the exhibition for Kazakhstan and plans to prepare for the event. You were the national coordinator to promote Kazakhstan’s bid to host the EXPO in Astana. How did you do it? Let us recall what President Nursultan Nazarbayev said after the results of voting had become known: “The victory of Astana in this intense competition is far from accidental. First, it is the recognition of the capital as (a global) centre and that it is worthy of its world ranking. Certainly, the economic success of our state played a role in the choice of Astana. Finally, it is important that Kazakhstan offered a very topical theme for the exhibition – “Future Energy.” So, as the president said, “The choice of Astana was the fruit of the efforts of all the people of Kazakhstan.” By itself, the exhibition theme “Future Energy” reflects the most actual problem of the rational use of energy resources by humanity, and its solution is a strategic priority for many countries. The EXPO will also address underlying themes on a global scale, such as the lack of access to electricity and the reduction of poverty. The world needs new ways of development – it needs a green economy and green development. Kazakhstan, despite its rich resources of raw materials for energy production, shares common interests and aspirations with other countries. The risks of depleting traditional energy resources are great, and the consequences of their use are harmful to the environment. This is why Kazakhstan decided to use the EXPO to raise international awareness on these issues.

to ensure conditions for the life and work of the exhibitors covering tax regulation, the provision of assistance to developing countries and other matters. We will take all the necessary measures to supply the necessary visas and to issue permits for the activities of construction workers and engineers, the exhibitors and covering customs and taxation issues. Why is there is a need to appoint a commissioner to help organise and oversee exhibition? A: The history of the EXPO movement began in London, where the first international exhibition was held in 1851. Over time, the number of exhibitions has increased, and it became obvious that it was necessary to take some measures to establish control over them. In 1928, in Paris a convention on international exhibitions was signed which established the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) and it set up simple rules that govern the approval, creation and specifications on holding them. To ensure that these rules are respected, there is a need to appoint an authorized representative of the host country. Thus, the procedure for appointing commissioners is common practice and they have repeatedly proven their worth at previous exhibitions. What functions does the commissioner have to fulfill? As a commissioner, I met with the Secretary General of the International Exhibitions Bureau Vicente Loscertales. He called the victory of Astana a triumph, because in the 20 years of his leadership he has not seen any city win by such a wide margin. During his January visit to Kazakhstan, Mr. Loscertales became convinced that the process of preparation had started well. He assured us the BIE will support us in our negotiations with participating nations. He told us it was of particular importance for the president and government of the host country to express personal support for the event. I have also held informative meetings with tourism industry officials from Britain and Austria. Similar meetings are planned with officials from other countries. We are interested in the experience of these countries as highly developed tourist destinations and as potential partner to help us implement our own Kazakhstan projects. As commissioner, I have also continued the work I started as national coordinator to promote Kazakhstan’s application. These are, first, ensuring the implementation of the agreements reached while lining up support for our bid. We established diplomatic relations with several countries in the AsiaPacific region, Africa, the Caribbean and South America. With many countries, we have agreed to establish and develop coopera-

the General Assemblies, I will be participating in regular working meetings and negotiations to prepare for EXPO 2017, and for other of current and future exhibitions. This is a good opportunity to gain experience in the conduct of such complex events. For example, currently we are working on the organization of the Kazakhstan Pavilion at the World Expo in Milan in 2015. But most importantly, we will continue to work with countries to attract them to EXPO 2017 and to achieve the maximum possible number of international participants. With each country, we will sign individual agreements on participation in EXPO 2017 in Astana. In addition, within the framework of his competence, the Commissioner is involved in the consolidation of Kazakhstan’s initiatives related to the topic of the exhibition, as well as their integrated promotion in international markets.

Is Kazakhstan ready to host the EXPO? A: President Nazarbayev has said the BIE’s decision places great responsibility upon us, because it involves trust and the hope that EXPO 2017 will truly be a unique phenomenon in the international exhibition movement. The exhibition will impact upon large and key sectors of the economy and on industry, tourism, small and medium businesses, the hotel and service industry and the creation of new jobs. The first requirement for any city applying to host an EXPO is to have the full support of its Why is this event important for national government too. There Kazakhstan? any EXPO project should be a You know, there’s a saying, “To national project supported by the see people and to show off.” It is government, regional and local just about the exhibition. First, authorities. the exhibition demonstrates the That was why our government latest records of achievements in created the State Commission and science and technology, and secthe Organising Committee for ond, it is also is a way of looking EXPO and why it has drafted and ahead. Our experts even believe approved a five year national plan that some Kazakhstan exhibits from 2013 to 2018 to organise the will belong to the day after tomorevent. Working teams have been row. formed in state agencies and doIncredible as it may seem, the mestic businesses will participate show is not as costly as it seems in the work. at first glance, and with good President Nazarbayev has said, planning, it will have a positive “It is important to turn EXPO economic effect. First, 2017 into the centre the winning country of transition into the attracts significant inThird Industrial RevoThe construction of such a unique, vestment into the econlution, which includes omy of the city that high-tech project is a good opportunity the alternative econhosts the event, with to make a great leap in technological omy, the creation of large foreign inves- development. appropriate high-tech tors participating in the materials, renewable After the show, we will get a new project. Second, new energy and relevant infrastructure will be district of the capital with modern training programmes.” constructed for Astana buildings and infrastructure, and Based on this, the and tens of thousands EXPO area will be facilities for the implementation of of jobs will be created constructed with to build the exhibition innovative ideas. green economy and facilities and maintain It is important that qualitatively new smart power buildings them. Third, a powerful technology and innovations will enter served with renewable incentive for the inflow energy to match the of foreign tourists is the life of the whole country. theme of the exhibicreated for the whole tion. The construction country. Now, we will of such a unique, highhave a large-scale project to carry tion in the economic, cultural, and tech project is a good opportunity out in accordance with the terms, educational sectors. Secondly, I guidelines and regulations sup- am responsible for coordinating to make a great leap in technologiplied by the International Exhibi- the programme of assistance to cal development. After the show, we will get a new developing countries. One of the tions Bureau. main principles of the internation- district of the capital with modern Is it your role as commissioner al exhibition movement is to en- buildings and infrastructure, and to monitor compliance with these sure equal and fair participation of facilities for the implementation countries willing to participate in of innovative ideas. It is important regulations? The post of Commissioner of EXPO. The host country should, that qualitatively new technology EXPO is a key in the process of therefore, create the conditions and innovations will enter the life interaction between the interna- for developing countries, as their of the whole country. tional participants with the host participation will add diversity The interview first appeared in country. The commissioner rep- and enrich the content of the exKAZINFORM news agency on resents the host state and ensures hibition. Part of my job is providing March 11. the fulfillment of its obligations to prepare and hold the international presentations on the progress of The author is Kazakhstan’s preparing EXPO exhibits to the exhibition. We have provided a guarantee BIE General Assembly. Between EXPO 2017 Commissioner.

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The Astana Times

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Demography Crucial for National Progress By Farkhad Kuanganov President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s state of the nation address on December 14 laid great importance on state support for mothers and children. This is a crucial issue for our society. This is a pragmatic and visionary approach to solving the issue of the country’s leadership in the 21st century. International experience shows that states with a high population growth can successfully resist any social crises and disasters. Women play a crucial role in maintaining the family which is the basic building block of any state and society. Thanks to the president’s initiatives, the government is implementing effective measures to support families with many children. A breakthrough came with the introduction of a progressive scale of one-time child benefit (from 30 monthly calculated indices (MCI) for a child up to 50 MCI, or 93,000 tenge ($616.38) for the fourth and subsequent child), and monthly payments for childcare up to a year in the amount of 8.5 MCI for the fourth child. Thanks to economically precise thresholds of payments, the birthrate in some areas has grown by almost 50 percent in three years. In the South Kazakhstan region, it has grown from 21 births per 1,000 people in 2006 to 30 births in 2009. This is a pressing issue for the North Kazakhstan region, because for 20 years, the region’s birth rate has been falling relative to other parts of the country. This was explained by general depopulation and a major outflow of population from the region, especially of young people. Since 2000, the population of the region has decreased by more than 20 percent, from 716,000 to 576,000. Under such circumstances, the challenge of supporting mothers and encouraging higher birthrates is now more important for North Kazakhstan than ever. In order to achieve this goal, the Generations Fund regional programme for 2010-14 was launched in 2010. It transfers payments of 160 MCI to personal deposit accounts. Starting on Jan. 1, 2013, this comes to almost 300,000 ($1,990) for each child in the family, where four or more children were born. This programme also applies for adopted children. At an interest rate of 10 percent with an annual capitalization, up to the legal age, this sum can reach $10,000 per child. With the adoption of the new law on education savings, there will be an opportunity to increase the available interest rates by another 7 percent. It is easy to calculate that 160 MCI or 298,560 tenge ($1,900) at the interest rate of 17 percent with an annual capitalization will appreciate during 18 years to more than

$33,000. Therefore by the time the child reaches its legal age and begins independent life, those funds will be able to give them a good start, especially when significant investments are needed to create a family, get higher education and start a new home. Because of these measures, the birth rate in North Kazakhstan increased by 10 percent, and the region rose in the national ratings by two points, outstripping in 2011 the Kostanay region, and in 2012 the city of Almaty. We hope that the positive results that we have achieved and our experience will be used in other regions of the country with a low birth rate, and will help create good incentives for the adoption of orphans by our citizens.

A breakthrough came with the introduction of a progressive scale of onetime child benefit (from 30 monthly calculated indices (MCI) for a child up to 50 MCI, or 93,000 tenge ($616.38) for the fourth and subsequent child), and monthly payments for childcare up to a year in the amount of 8.5 MCI for the fourth child. Thanks to economically precise thresholds of payments, the birthrate in some areas has grown by almost 50 percent in three years. In the South Kazakhstan region, it has grown from 21 births per 1,000 people in 2006 to 30 births in 2009. No less important for North Kazakhstan has been the macroeconomic efficiency of the Generations Fund programme as the growing savings in banks promote the growth of lending and investment in small and medium sized business. It should be noted that this programme is not unique. Since the late 1970s, similar tax incentive programmes have been used in the United States. Their author, American economist Gary Becker was awarded with the Nobel Prize in 1992 for his important contribu-



tions to family economics. He has said that the birth rate is high in states where the economic benefits from having children exceed the full expenses on their care. Thanks to such approaches, for the past 30 years, the United States has maintained the highest birthrate in the developed world. Tax incentives encourage the birth rate in the families of rich and middle class Americans. They help cover the costs of parenting and the education of children. Demands for adoption in the United States are so high that there are almost no orphans in the country, and the United States leads in international adoption. In France, the country with the highest birthrate in continental Europe, there is also a state programme called Big Family which encourages large families. It offers subsidies and tax incentives to large families as part of an overall government policy to stimulate the birth rate. Each subsequent child reduces the tax base of the household, so that a family with four children practically does not pay taxes. This privilege applies to all citizens, regardless of their income, even to millionaires. In 2012, a Center of IVF (invitro fertilization) was opened in the city of Petropavlovsk as part of the Generations Fund programme. This greatly increased the chances of women becoming mothers. Modern scientific achievements, applied in such centres can overcome the problems that previously seemed insurmountable. The cost of the economic incentives offered through the Generations Fund programme is not great. For each additional one million people in population growth, it does not exceed $600 million. That is less than the cost of the road from Astana to Borovoye. The task of successfully promoting national birthrates belongs to the national and regional commissions for women affairs, family and demographic policy. At the initiative of the National Commission, the government has recommended that all the regional authorities support the Generations Fund programme. This applies especially to regions that still have low birth rates. The implementation of the programme in these regions will be closely monitored. Today, there is a clear understanding that the support of the family is an important state function, because it gives confidence in the future. In the face of the global financial crisis, investments in demographic potential are the most reliable and profitable assets and they are not subject to depreciation. The author is Deputy Governor of the North Kazakhstan region and Chairman of the Regional Commission for Women Affairs, Family and Demographic Policy.

State Language Reaches a New Stage of Development By Mirbolat Zhakypov

In the strategy Kazakhstan 2050, President Nursultan Nazarbayev called the expansion of the state language use one of the priorities for further development of the country. Stressing the importance of multilingualism as one of the advantages of Kazakhstan, the president asserted that the official language is the core of this system that unites and cements the nation. It is important to note that this position is generally supported in Kazakhstan’s society, including among representatives of the many ethnic groups that make up the multiethnic people of this country. It is no coincidence that each year the scope of the state language use steadily expands, especially in the public administration system. The flow of documents is the heart of this process. The first attempts to revive the Kazakh language within government were undertaken back in 1921. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, they did not progress further. Later, in 1957, the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic once again made a special decision on the production of official documentation in the Kazakh language. The initiative was warmly welcomed at that time. However, it weakened over time and between 1970 and 1980 completely lost its relevance. The native language of half the nation was now only encountered on the domestic level. After gaining independence, the Kazakh language was done justice by being given the status of a state language and since then its standing has slowly but steadily improved. The nationwide movement for the revival of the language has expanded. In 19911992, the proportion of students in Kazakh language schools was 28 percent; 20 years later, it has reached 70 percent. A set of dictionaries on different branches of the language has been published, there is active replenishment of a database of Kazakh terminology and higher education specialists are trained on the Kazakh language. Kazakhstan’s first law on languages was adopted in 1997; in 1998, the first state programme for updating and developing languages for 1998-2000 was adopted, the second, adopted in 2001, covered 2001-2010. Today, the state programme for 2011-2020 is being implemented. It aims to address such timely issues as teaching the state language, increasing demand for the language, improving and systemising the lexical fund, developing the language culture, further unifying official terminology, studying the history of the language, transitioning to the Latin alphabet, training for simultaneous interpretation,

expanding the state language in preparation of regulations, using it for international agreements and in business and other steps. Government bodies have gradually shifted business correspondence to the official language. However, there is still a lot of formalism in this case. It’s no secret that in many public institutions most documentation is prepared in Russian and then translated into Kazakh. I have to underline that this issue could be solved, step by step. Today, a whole terminology base for the state language has already been formed. Many dictionaries, including those in electronic form, have been published, and some manuals exist. These are all prerequisites for preparing documents directly in the Kazakh language. It remains only to begin and to mobilise; to begin at the beginning, as it is said, and overcome the psychological barriers, the fear of making a mistake. There is no need to be afraid of making grammatical or spelling mistakes: they are all fixable (editorial specialists will catch them). Experience and confidence can be gained gradually by composing relatively small documents first. Success will then lead to writers being proud of their knowledge. In the end, starting this process is patriotic. A few years ago, the Document Processing Department suggested that our colleagues prepare oneor two-page documents (memos, orders and short reports, for example) directly in the state language. This was supported by the Presidential Administration. Six months were given to begin implementing the practice. Of course, we had been preparing documents in the state language long before, but not always and not by everyone. Now we have made it mandatory. It turned out that there were no special difficulties for our colleagues - everybody started to prepare small numbers of documents in the state language. After six months of suc-

cessful work, we suggested that they increase the number of pages written first in Kazakh to five. By the end of 2012, the Presidential Administration was preparing 60 percent of its internal documents in the state language. Documents prepared in Kazakh and translated to Russian represented 26.4 percent and documentation only in Russian was 13.6 percent (generally documents of large volume). In response to the intellectual opponents of this measure, who say that “government authorities do not speak state language, they even do not write in Kazakh,” I must say that in comparison with other public authorities, the Presidential Administration receives all documents in the state language. One quarter of correspondence is received in both languages. Therefore, we can justifiably speak of a positive turn not only in the minds, but also in the practical activity of government agencies. Language training is promoted by courses organised for our employees. We have a language laboratory where 15 people at a time can be engaged in training and practice. Our department has prepared methodical and auxiliary aids and a dictionary of frequently used terms and phrases in documentation to help our employees. All of them are published on the administration’s internal website. In addition, our specialists are carrying out the very important work of unifying the official terminology of the Kazakh language. Knowledge of the state language is included in the list of requirements for applicants to vacant state positions. All newly hired employees receive instruction within the department, where the specifics of their work in the office is explained in Kazakh. Our ethnically Russian colleagues in the administration are fluent in the state language and able to prepare documents in Kazakh. Our process of gradually expanding the application of the state language is being adopted by other central and local government bodies. Our staff provide methodical help to central government authorities. We give lectures at the Academy of Public Administration and form the jury at competitions held by ministries and agencies and the city akimat (city hall) dedicated to the Day of Languages. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We should not have any doubt about the successful future of the state language. It has already started to take its rightful place in the life of the state and the majority of Kazakhstan citizens. The author is head of the Document Processing Department of the Administration of the President of Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan Becomes Green Energy Leader By Serik Kumekov Kazakhstan is forging ahead to become a regional and global leader in developing solar power and other sustainable energy technologies. On March 7, a pilot line for the production of solar modules was launched at the Kazakh National Technical University (KazNTU). In the new national Strategy 2050 that he unveiled on December 14, President Nursultan Nazarbayev set the important goals of raising scientific research studies in the country to the international level and to ensure the effective integration of Kazakh scientists in the world scientific process. Work in this field has already started and Nazarbayev University is working in accordance with international standards as a system guide. These standards will then be shared with other universities of the country, especially research universities and those specializing in technological innovation, research and development like KazNTU. Innovative approaches and technologies at our institution are designed to train highly qualified specialists for the accelerated industrial and innovative development of Kazakhstan. KazNTU prepares bachelors, masters and PhD degrees in different fields of engineering, eco-

nomic studies, and science in seven research and educational subdivisions that have the status of institutes. All of them deliver educational services at an international level and relevant research to meet the needs of the domestic economy. They prepare competent professionals and education students of high potential. Our work is guided by the national Development Strategy for 2011-15. We have set up a new Institute of High Technology and Sustainable Development at the initiative of KazNTU Rector, Academician Zheksenbek Adilov. Bachelors, masters and PhD stu-

dents are trained on the most topical fields of science and technology including nanotechnology, space, nuclear research and technology, the environment, energy-efficient technologies, biotechnology, applied chemistry, applied physics and teachers training for vocational education. Our institution contains modern equipment. Notable scientists from the United States, France, Germany, Portugal, Russia and other countries come to give lectures and conduct joint research. We have introduced elective courses in foreign languages into our curriculum, and operate exchange programmes for our students and faculty with other universities around the world. In the first semester of the current academic year, more than 10 students from our institute have undergone training at U.S., European and South Korean universities. Today it is possible to get an internship without going abroad. Many foreign companies operating in Kazakhstan offer such programmes to KazNTU students in the fields of energy, electricity and maintenance of automated systems. KazNTU also operates joint programmes within the country at high tech centres such as its Kazakh-French educational centre where Schneider Electric equipped

the classrooms. SE is one of the leading providers of electrical and power equipment in the world. Our Master’s Programme in Industrial Ecology is conducted in partnership with the Sweden Royal Technical Institute, the Delft Technical University of the Netherlands and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona. Leading specialists of KazNTU’s Applied Ecology Department participated in a series of workshops in these universities and prepared the curriculum for our students. This programme will give a constant flow of qualified experts to develop the green economy in Kazakhstan. KazNTU also cooperates fruitfully with the scientific and technical centre of thin-film technologies of the Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the field of renewable energy. KazNTU has already launched a pilot production line of solar modules that are competitive in the marketplace. The university is encouraging internships in innovative parts of the energy sector. Our masters and PhD graduates undergo a one-year internship at the University of Texas in the United States where they are introduced to the latest developments in solid oxide fuel cells and conduct scientific research in this field. Other graduates receive further

training at the Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea, where they work in basic and applied research to develop highefficiency solar photovoltaic generators. These fields are extremely important for Kazakhstan. Today’s fuel cells have an efficiency of 60-80 percent. Experts believe this level can be improved and that fuel cells will be widely used and will be able to compete with conventional electric generators. Therefore, this technology may become one of the most important aspects of developing sustainable future energy. KazNTU also carries out researches in the field of nanophysics and nanotechnology in its Centre for Nanotechnology and Engineering Laboratory where its scientists have already obtained results of global importance. They have used magnetrons, ion-plasma deposition and subsequent thermal annealing to obtain a polycrystalline hetero-junction based on oxides of copper and zinc with unique electro-physical characteristics. This will have important applications in nano- and micro-electronics. Based on the theoretical analysis of the crystal structure of zinc oxide and copper, our scientists are seeking to prove the feasibility of a hetero-junction between substances with different crystal structures for the first time.

Hydrothermal and sol-gel techniques are being used to modify thin layers of oxide and zinc sulfide for use in solar photovoltaic power generators. These layers have a nano-crystalline structure, which has been confirmed by atomic-power microscopy and X-ray analysis. According to the measurements of the spectrum transmission in the visible scale of wavelength, the transparency of the layers reached 85 percent. This substance is expected to have practical applications as transparent electrodes. KazNTU will present some of the results of its research in green energy at the second International Conference on “High Technology – Key to Sustainable Development” in May. It will bring together scientists from Kazakhstan and around the world to discuss issues of sustainable development, space technology and research, information technology and telecommunications, nanotechnology and nanostructured materials, energy efficiency and renewable energy, industrial ecology. The conference will also explore the participation of KazNTU and other institutions in EXPO 2017. The author is the director of the Satpayev Institute of High Technology and Sustainable Development at Kazakh National Technical University

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

expo 2017

EXPO complex may become cultural center By Rufiya Ospanova ASTANA – Public hearing took place in Korme exhibition centre on March 19 regarding the use of EXPO 2017 objects after the exhibition. The hearing held in the form of the dialogue, where the participants discussed the opportunities for development of tourism, involvement of Kazakhstan population in preparations to the EXPO 2017, development of alternative energy sources and many other issues. Some people present at the meeting proposed to use the EXPO objects for cultural purposes. The people of Kazakhstan have no place to spend spare time, except for cinemas, and trade and entertainment centres. For example, it was proposed to open art galleries, theatres, concert halls youth centres with free Wi-Fi access and affordable prices for entertainment. March 19 business incubator present their projects to foreign invetors and national companies. Representatives of the health-

care system concentrat all healthcare facilities the EXPO 2017 objects for convenience in reaching them (to create a medical city inside Astana), because currently all medical facilities are located at a distance from each other and it is sometimes problematic to reach them in cases of emergency. An idea, supported by most of the present people was to establish on the territory of EXPO 2017 a small natural and historical 5D park inside the building, where the visitors will be able touch flowers, trees, see real mountains but in a smaller dimension, feel the real flora and fauna of Kazakhstan. Most tourists who come to Kazakhstan have no much opportunity to visit all regions of our land and this 5D park will help them understand the history and see the nature of our country. This will also help attract tourists to Kazakhstan. Furthermore, the building project for “EXPO-city” to include construction of housing estates in now under development. In the course of perfection and improve-

ment of the Astana transportation infrastructure by the year 2017, the launching of the light-rail tramline with a throughput up to 50 trams is planned. The session also discussed the main aspects of the National Plan for the preparation of EXPO 2017, in particular, the issues of development of the registration dossier, cooperation with the office of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE), as well as the organization of the competition for the best architectural solution for the construction of facilities and development of the territory of EXPO-2017. The discussions were concentrated on the cultural, social, leisure and public administration issues, i.e. how to use the EXPO objects in cultural purposes, and how to attract interest of youth of Kazakhstan to the culture. Further, the subjects of tourism, healthcare and other issues were also highlighted at the meeting. The goal of the event was to hear the ideas and thoughts of citizens concerning the assignment of the

EXPO objects. The EXPO representatives perfectly organized the event and shared the information on the way of preparing to EXPO to be held in 2017. A speaker, representative of EXPO in Kazakhstan was speaking on the importance of the support to exhibition not only from the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, but also from members of the government, NGOs and people of the country. They claimed the process of preparing and holding EXPO 2017 will be transparent, with the permanent participation of interested parties. EXPO 2017, “Future Energy”, reflects the greatest challenge facing humanity today. The theme’s title and content tie in perfectly with the title and recommendations of the report of the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Group, “Energy for Sustainable Development.” During the event the urgency of the theme “Future Energy” was highlighted and participants completely supported the idea of paying attention to domestic inventors and give way to their

future, for example in the country we have many inventors with brilliant ideas with regards to power generation from water, wind, etc. It was proposed to further use the EXPO territory for the purpose of Research Institutions for the Kazakhstan inventors, who are still unheard and unknown in our country, and provide them with opportunities to freely come and share their ideas without passing long burdensome procedures before registering the inventions. One of the main goals of the Astana – EXPO 2017 expand cooperation with industrialized and developing countries. “Holding EXPO 2017 in Astana will encourage the innovative development of the republic.” Earlier the invited participants were representatives of various spheres, i.e. teachers, representatives of NGOs, journalists, political experts, housewives, civil servants and focus groups were formed for the more opinions and for the lively discussion. Kazakhstan has been a member

of the International Bureau of Expositions (BIE) since 1997. The country has participated in EXPO since 2005: EXPO-2005 (Aichi), EXPO-2008 (Zaragoza), EXPO2010 (Shanghai). At EXPO-2008 in Zaragoza, Kazakhstan won a third place bronze medal for interior and exterior decoration, out of 104 participating countries in its category. It was during his visit to EXPO-2008 in Zaragoza that the President Nursultan Nazarbayev spoke of hosting a similar event in Astana.

“Green Energy” Kicks Off Production in Pavlodar

Kazakhstan to Host Expo 2017 on Future Energy

PAVLODAR - The production team of the Television and Radio Complex of the President of Kazakhstan and Pavlodar National Company have started to shoot a documentary film under the working title “Green Energy” in the Pavlodar region, which is the leader in the use of alternative energy in Kazakhstan. The film features scientists from Sultanmakhmut Toraigyrov Pavlodar State University who are involved in scientific research. They established the Centre for Energy Supply, which

In 2017 the world’s eyes will be on a young nation with a bright future - Kazakhstan. A former Soviet Republic turned engine of economic prosperity, Kazakhstan and its capital city of Astana will host Expo 2017 on the theme of “Future Energy”. This will be the first time that an international exhibition of this kind takes place on the territory of the former Soviet Union. The theme of Expo 2017, “Future Energy”, is well suited to the host country and the region it is leading toward a brighter, cleaner, more prosperous future. Kazakhstan is uniquely positioned to host this exhibition. As a significant oil producer, it is looking to the future and starting the process of greening its economy. Located in the strategically vital area between Europe and Asia, Kazakhstan has come a long way in the 20 years since it gained independence. When the Soviet Union fell apart, many wondered if Kazakhstan had the long-term viability necessary to establish itself as an independent country. In little more than two decades, it has begun the process of democratization and created a booming economy that has been named one of the world’s 20 Most Attractive Investment Destinations by the World Bank. It is now considered one of the world’s fastest growing economies (along with China and Qatar) and has benefited

By Sergei Gorbunov

includes four wind generator setups and 10 solar panels. The electricity generated is used for lighting a student philharmonic and concert hall and in the work of a water sterilisation device created by specialists at the university. Among the researchers’ plans is the creation of a dam-less hydroelectric power plant on the Irtysh River. The university scientists will present their developments in the field of green energy at the international exhibition EXPO 2017.Journalists were interested in innovative projects carried out with the participation of Pavlodar National Company, its future plans

EXPO news in brief

During the working visit, the delegation of the companies’ group of Samruk Kazyna, headed by the Chairman of the Board Umirzak Shukeyev, met with the UK business community on March 7 in London. Charles Hendry, MP and Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Great Britain headed the British side. During the meeting, the sides discussed issues of the cooperation on projects in the fields of financial and legal services, energy and mining, environment, green economy, infrastructure, education and training of highly qualified specialists. In particular, the Kazakh side expressed interest in the project to produce low-carbon hybrid buses on fuel. The projects related to EXPO 2017 preparations, in particular the construction of the ecological campus “green district” in Astana were of great interest for British businessmen. “We will carefully consider all of the proposed projects to reach specific agreements during the visit of Prime Minister of Great Britain to Kazakhstan. We support the investors willing to invest in the technology transfer, creating the new jobs, developing local skills.

We have specific tools, such as coinvestment, guarantees, signing long term contracts, etc.” Umirzak Shukeyev said. Charles Hendry said the meeting was intended to promote the dialogue between businesses in Kazakhstan and the UK to a higher level. “Both sides have great ambitions and the interests in cooperation. You are wise to want to develop the new areas and business lines, and our companies are ready to offer its technology and experience,” Hendry stressed. The delegation of Samruk Kazyna also visited the “oil capital” of the UK, the Scottish city of Aberdeen, the hub for the development of oil fields in the North Sea, located at the distance of several hundred kilometres from the coast. They are concentrated in a large number of the offices and oil service companies. The trip participants learned about the experience of Aberdeen in order to use it in the construction of a similar energy hub in Aktau. In addition, the negotiations were held with the leaders of City Hall and the major oil service companies for their participation in the construction and operation of the Kazakh hub.

and prospects for alternative energy projects, in particular the construction of wind turbines in a rural area of Ekibastuz city on the border with the Akmola region. A preliminary agreement has been reached regarding the trip to China of a joint crew of the Television and Radio Complex and Pavlodar National Company to continue shooting the film at JSC TBEA, the largest solar energy research base in China and one of the partners of the Pavlodar scientists in the development of alternative energy in the region.

Nurlan Kapparov

from over $160 billion in foreign investment since 1991. As part of the next stage of the modernization process, Kazakhstan has committed to building a green economy and taken the initiative to create the “Green Bridge Partnership”. This partnership, which gained support at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development in June last year, brings together governments, international organizations, and private businesses to find transnational solutions to sustainable growth. It is also intended to provide a platform to discuss and implement the best available green technologies and best green practices in Central Asia And it is on this platform that Expo 2017 will be built. The exhibition is expected to attract five million visits. It will serve to highlight the energy and environmental issues facing Central Asia and, at the same time, attract the world’s best experts on energy efficiency technologies. Its physical structure will reflect the chosen theme. It will be hosted on a self contained site that will be fully self-sufficient in terms of energy. Each building will have solar cells and the site will be powered by its own wind farm. Participants will be able to travel around the site via sustainable transport and dine on organic food. Because the Expo tradition is built around innovation, Kazakhstan and Astana in particular make ideal hosts for Expo 2017. As a brand new capital

city that is leading an economic revolution in Central Asia, Astana’s Expo will allow visitors to experience the possibility of a future world with a cleaner, more secure energy supply. An exhibition on this scale will build international awareness of the energy and environmental challenges that need to be faced in the region. It will also attract some of the best expertise available in the world on subjects such as energy saving technologies and alternative energy solutions, including solar, wind and biomass. By hosting Expo 2017, Kazakhstan will leave its mark on the international environmental agenda. Hopefully, the impact will be long-term and will help find solutions to some of the pressing energy and environmental needs of the region. The article first appeared in Diplomatic Courier on 23 March. The author is the Minister of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


The Astana Times

Nation & Capital Wednesday, 27 March 2013 Kazakhstan Businessman Finds Hi-Tech Success Page B2

Paintball Warriors Invade Nation

Page B6

Kuzin Wins First Speed Skating Gold for Country Page B7

Kazakhstan’s First Full-Length Annual Charity Fair Provides Tradition of Giving 3D Animated Film Opens By Manshuk Bekentayeva

By Madina Seidaliyeva ASTANA - The first full-length 3D animated film ever made in Kazakhstan premiered before the Nauryz holiday on March 21. The film, called “Er Tostik and Aydahar,” is based on the Kazakh national fairy tale called “Er Tostik.” The project was a cherished dream of veteran director, 64-year-old Zhaken Danenov. It took three years to make with a production team of 50 people and cost $1.2 million. The film tells the story of Bapy, the khan of the underground world, who has a plan to swallow the sun, the egg of the Samruk bird. Then he will put the world in eternal darkness and expand the borders of his kingdom. However, Khan Bapy knows that once in a thousand years a batyr (warrior) is born who can stop him. Bapy does everything he can so the warrior will not be born to foil his evil plans. But the warrior Tostik is born anyway and grows by leaps and bounds. Soon the bird Samruk has to lay a new sun-egg before the final battle with Aydahar (the great sky dragon) that will decide the fate of all humankind.

ASTANA – With the relocation of the capital from Almaty to Astana back in 1997, ambassadors and diplomatic missions moved to the new political centre of the country. Over the years, the number of activities held by missions in Astana has increased with the pace of human migration to this city on the steppe. The Annual Charity Fair is one of the main social events organised by diplomatic missions in Kazakhstan and has already become a capital tradition. Eleonora Kopecká, organiser of this event and wife of the ambassador of the Czech Republic, spoke to The Astana Times on the need for events like the Annual Charity Fair and the importance of charity itself.

Continued on Page B5

New Project Will Increase Green Coke Production, Independence

Continued on Page B3

Modern Day Batyrs: Ancient Kazakh Martial Art Survives By Alex Lee

Kazakhstan is a modern, peaceful and peace loving nation. Its more than 130 ethnicities of multiple religions live side by side and its in-

ternational relationships are equally weighed between East and West. But there was once a less peaceful time across the Eurasian steppe. A time when Kazakh batyrs, or warriors, were forced to defend their

Annual Charity fair attracts people of all ages with an aim to do good.

By Sergei Gorbunov

motherland against foe after foe as the great open lands were being settled. And it is from those times that sprang Kazakhstan’s own martial arts - zhekpezhek, or One on One.

Continued on Page B7

PAVLODAR – The Units of Coke Calcination Refinery-Pavlodar (UCCR-PV) recently announced its readiness to launch a project with a production capacity of 280,000 tons a year of green coke. The project is scheduled to be commissioned for the first quarter of 2014. The project is being implemented under the state programme of accel-

erated industrial innovative development and has been approved by the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies. It is also included on the Industrialisation Map for 20112014. More than 40 projects were proposed for implementation in Pavlodar's Special Economic Zone. The project is an important step in the production of domestic aluminum with the use of local raw materials. Today, the Pavlodar alu-

minum smelter (JSC Kazakhstan Electrolysis Plant) uses coal-baked anodes and the semi-finished products it requires, the so-called “green anodes,” are imported from China. This project will solve the problem of the domestic aluminum industry's dependence on external sources, as the UCCR-PV will provide the aluminum smelter with the quantities it needs to begin producing its own anodes.

By Lion King source:

Cafés and Anti-cafés Create Communities in Astana and relationships with partners,” says Assel Zhanatkanova, a head of department in one of the central banks.Marrone Rosso is also beloved by expats and guests of the city because of the people-watching it affords over Astana's main alley. “I like the place because of the location and atmosphere; you can easily sit next to a stranger if there are no free tables or sit at the bar and talk to the barista. Humans are social creatures and for many it is hard to come somewhere alone, but here you can enjoy your meal while watching what’s happening outside or work on your laptop. Also, for the first time, I've seen computer

Creative guests of Marrone Rosso on St .Valentine’s Day celebration. the city, it is necessary to provide diverse services and new opportunities for relaxation. Over time,

Things to Watch in March - April

Marrone Rosso Astana is a meeting point for coffee and dessert lovers of all ages.

By Maral Zhantaykyzy ASTANA – Has the Internet become so dominant that face-to-face communication needs a comeback movement? The “anti-café” movement that has now reached Astana certainly suggests as much. Anti-cafés are a new type of guesthouse designed for cultural activities, meetings and leisure or work. They have gained popularity in the CIS countries over the last two years. Unlike at ordinary cafés, guests at anti-cafés don't pay for food and drinks, but for the time they spend there. People gather at anti-cafés to enjoy socialising with the old and new friends or to enjoy some solitude and a new book. The first anti-café in Astana, Just a Moment, opened in 2012 and for the last six months has been a fashionable, popular venue for Astana’s youth. Just a Moment has cozy sofas, tea with cookies, a small screen with a projector, WiFi, a small kitchen for self-catering, board games and other amenities for guests who want to hang out. At present, young professionals don’t need to pay to meet interesting people, drop by a social event or organise a presentation. Anyone is welcome to gather a group for a cup of tea; guests can bring food, play

games on the X-box or watch and discuss a movie. Children are welcome – there are options for guests of all ages. Just a Moment also has an open art area where thematic evenings, seminars, workshops and exhibitions are held regularly. The anti-café is open to creativity and new ideas: anyone can offer a suggestions for a programme. Regular events at Just a Moment include the Anti-Popcorn Cinema Club, which takes place every Thursday and airs films during which there are no distractions – not even popcorn. The speed-dating organisations Love is Sought and Sweet Sunday regularly facilitate romance. Recently, Just a Moment celebrated the national holiday Nauryz. It organised a feast and prepared the traditional drink nauryz-kozhe. Guests also brought their own dishes and treated each other to those. Clients at Just a Moment rent the space to host a variety of events. Famous people sometimes attend, as when the Global Shapers Community invited Kenneth Alibek to discuss microbiology and immunology in everyday life.Another meeting point in Almaty and Astana is the café franchise Marrone Rosso, one of the most popular venues for young professionals and residents

cafés – and anti-cafés – will create new means of communication and foster creativity.

Russian Drama Theatre named after Maxim Gorky March 27 at 18.30 March 28 at 18.30 March 30 at 18.00 March 31 at 18.00

Tragicomedy “Goodbye, gulley” by Konstantin Sergienko Play “A Streetcar named Desire” by Tenessee Williams Play “Ivanov” by Anton Chekhov Play “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov

Kazakh Music and Drama Theatre named after Kairat Kuanyshbayev March 29 at 18.30 April 3 at 18.30 April 5 at 18.30 April 9 at 18.30

Play “Akan Seri - Aktoty” by Gabit Musrepov Play “The love melodrama” by Kanat Zhunisov Play “Kyzdar-ai” (The Girl – in Kazakh) Play “The Avalanche” by Tuncer Cücenoğlu Exhibition Complex “Korme”

“Just a moment” anticafe is the best venue for people who want to organize events in an unusual manner. looking for great locations and gourmet coffee. The cafés attract dozens if not hundreds of people for lunch, which is not always a break from work but frequently an opportunity to continue discussing projects. “It is great to have places where you feel comfortable not only meeting with friends but with business partners and colleagues to discuss work issues. The atmosphere makes you feel relaxed and facilitates talks

tablets for fast ordering, which also could be used as a way of texting another table, a sort of means of online acquaintance with a person you like,” Kairat Ordabayev, a guest of the café, told The Astana Times. The appearance of such places as Just a Moment and Marrone Rosso is connected with the developing communication and entertainment culture in Astana. With the growing number of residents and guests of

March 27-29 April 9-13 From March 21

The 14th Kazakhstan International Exhibition “PromStroyIndustry – Astana 2013” The 4th Kazakhstan International Exhibition and conference “KazAtomProm 2013” The Astana Metropolitan Circus “Flame and ice”

The Central Concert Hall Kazakhstan April 1 at 19.00 The Gala-concert of 3-th Music Festival named after Nurgisa Tlendiyev “My country” The Palace of Schoolchildren named after Makhambet Utemisov March 27 at 19.00 concert of the Kazakh folk instrumental ensemble “Sary Arka”

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 27 March 2013


“Red Carpet” Fashions Accessible to All at New Boutique

Designers, whose collections are presented at the “Red Carpet” enthusiastically cut the blue ribbon at the opening of the store.

By Anel Adilbayeva ASTANA – On February 27, the multi-brand boutique Red Carpet opened in one of Astana's major malls, Sary Arka. The new boutique offers its customers collections by Aida Kaumenovа, Oxana Korby, Asem Nurseitova, Nail Baikuchukov, Aigerim Kasimbaeva and Zhanna Shopanova. The shop itself is designed in an oriental style, decorated with gold highlights and brightly coloured carpets. To celebrate the opening, a presentation of collections and a charity auction were held. Aigul Kasymova was the first to present her collection of leisure wear. She also presented her print “Birds of Paradise,” which is likely to be very popular this season. Asem Nurseitova presented a collection of handmade jewelry, headbands and hair accessories decorated with faceted crystals and synthetic and natural stones, one of the major trends of the season.

Oxana Korby presented a pret-aporter collection and Nail Baikuchukov, the young designer from Kyrgyzstan and a protege of Dinara Satzhan, presented a collection with a light floral print. At the end of the presentation, a charity auction was held. The funds raised were sent to the charity foundation of Aruzhan Sain. The first lot was a black dress from Nail Baykuchukov made of lace fabric with an open back. Several ladies, including Aida Kaumenova, bid on the dress but it went for 60,000 tenge to a blonde girl in the audience. A turquoise dress with a collar and belt was also bought for 60,000 tenge. Two headbands by Asem Nurseitova, one with silver glitter and one shiny with crystals, went for fifteen and twenty thousand tenge, respectively, to ladies from the audience. The host of the evening noted that almost all of the units were purchased by blonde guests. After the auction, guests were

invited to the store to check out the collections and purchase items to their taste at a ten percent discount. Items in the boutique are priced to be affordable for everyone. The owner says “You can be just as fashionable as Miroslava Duma [the Russian-born it-girl] ... wearing clothes made by our designers, you can be original and exclusive.” The owner of boutique is Dinara Satzhan, a well-known journalist and TV presenter who became famous for her work at the Khabar News Agency. Satzhan started her career at the age of 16, shooting the music programme Music Station on the Shahar channel. She also led television news broadcasts at the Khabar and Astana channels. Satzhan manages two projects on the Astana channel, “Status Quo” and “Sagan Senemіn” (“I believe you” in Kazakh). The Astana Times asked Ms. Satzhan how she manages to be

Kazakhstan Businessman Finds Hi-Tech Success By Laura Tussupbekova ALMATY – Serikbai Bisekeyev has become the first Kazakhstan businessman to win the Ernst & Young Company’s prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year” award. Bisekeyev who is based in St. Petersburg, founded and runs the Arman (Dream) Company. It manufactures equipment for IT systems integration. The company started by supplying such equipment from Germany. Then in 2005, it moved into production as well. Bisekeyev was a sports star at school and studied at the Kalinin Polytechnic Institute in Leningrad (the former name for St. Petersburg). He dreamed of becoming a design engineer in the auto industry. “I wanted to invent a Soviet Mercedes,” he said. During the economic crisis that followed the end of the Soviet Union, Bisekeyev became a local businessman. After graduation, he established a company with a partner to provide cell phone services. He helped pioneer the development of GSM cellular communications in the Commonwealth of Independent States and then opened his own unique network of cell phones stores. “We always financed our business with our own money, unlike other competitors who took loans and at that period were ahead of us in development,” Bisekeyev said in an interview. “But the crisis in 1998 changed everything. Despite the fact that we were making good progress, I decided to continue my studies as I was distinctly aware of my lack of business knowledge.” In 1999, Bisekeyev graduated from a training course at the Stockholm Business School and decided to launch his own project. “I had a major resource: the knowledge of how to build a company in accordance with international practice,” he said. “I knew that any business based on the buy/ sell principle cannot be innovative, but I wanted to create innovative technologies.” “We already had a prospering company at that time,” the businessman said. “In addition to mobile communications, we sold ad-

vanced technology services (ATS) and equipment for mass market, but nobody was seriously engaged in industrial solutions then. This niche was free and I decided to take it.” At first, the company only sold imported dispatcher equipment to industrial enterprises that continued to use old Soviet analogue systems. However, oil and gas companies had large investment budgets to modernize their facilities and Bisekeyev decided to focus on them. It proved a successful strategy. Over the next five years, the Arman Company became a supplier of the largest companies in Russia. Then, Bisekeyev said, he “dared to a mad step” to manufacture Russian digital dispatch communications under the Armtel brand name. He gathered a team of the best programmers from around the world, contractors to make mainframes and manufacturers of communication boards. “We did not employ the staff for all stages of production, in contrast to our competitors. This gave us more flexibility in dealing with manufacturers, and we were able to concentrate on the quality of products,” Bisekeyev said. “All this took effect, and the reputation and brand image of our company began to grow, as well as the number of our customers.” The company grew to become a manufacturer and world leader in systems integration. Today, it employs 230 highly trained workers. Their products are in demand around the world. And Bisekeyev does not intend to rest on his laurels. He now hopes to bring his entrepreneurial and high tech expertise home to serve Kazakhstan. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has tasked the government with finding entrepreneurs to promote Kazakhstan’s innovations at the international level and to create a critical mass of innovators who can introduce the latest technologies and expand production. Bisekeyev believes he has a role to play in this process. “I was happy to learn Kazakhstan won the bid to host EXPO 2017 and doubly happy about its theme of “Future Energy.” Kazakhstan has the best conditions in the world to develop alternative energy. So we

Serikbai Bisekeyev decided to participate in this programme and to build a wind farm in Kazakhstan,” he said. “We have also started manufacturing operations in Kazakhstan.” “We have established near Almaty a factory to make energy units with new air-cooled generators. Usually, generators used around the world are cooled by oil. And their maintenance costs as much as the generator itself,” he said. “We offer a new business model based on the ‘cost of ownership’ concept. This includes capital costs, expenditures on fuel and consumables, and personnel costs. In our programme, the state will not have to make any contracts for expensive servicing. It will receive effective service and save public money.” “Kazakhstan invites experienced consultants and they help to make the right policies, but the country’s laws are somewhat behind,” Bisekeyev said. “President Nazarbayev is taking effective action to increase Kazakhstan content in production and to create skilled jobs, which are not followed in Russia and I am impressed by this. Also effective control is necessary over the execution of his initiatives and orders.” “Kazakhstan has plenty of possibilities,” the businessman said. “I am sure that hard-working, dedicated people will always have the opportunity for self-fulfillment there. We need to learn, gain knowledge and strive to become professional. We need to realize that everything depends on us and we can influence all the processes around us. Nobody will build the future for us.”

a popular TV presenter and the owner of a fashion boutique at the same time.

all the designers, but above all I am their client. I wear things that they have created.

Dinara, how long had you been thinking of opening a store? Three years ago I opened a single-brand boutique in Astana, selling the brand Aida KaumeNOVA. It was my first experience and I have to say it was very good. For the store, I chose clothes that I like myself. Aida Kaumenova has innumerable fans in Astana. This time I decided to introduce the residents of the capital to other Kazakh designers that I really like. I decided to collect all of them in one place. The Red Carpet show room presents the latest collections by Aigul Kasymova, Oxana Corby, Aida Kaumenova, Jaka Fashion, Nail Baykuchukov and Asem Nurseitova.

What guides you in selecting clothing for the boutique? Intuition and personal taste. Nothing more. Is it profitable to be the owner of a fashion boutique? Business is always benefi-

cial, especially if it is for the soul. Who are your main clients? Successful women. What is your favorite brand? It is difficult to answer that, but I would say that now in my wardrobe I have more from the collections of Aida Kaumenova and Nail Baykuchukov.

Why have you called the store Red Carpet? Red Carpet has been on the market for two years already. Originally, I had planned to offer only evening gowns in the boutique but now the concept has changed, though the name remains. How did you manage to collect all the designers you have in your store? Aida Kaumenova is my close friend; I wore her clothes back in 2009 when I was shooting news for Khabar. Oxana Corby designed and sewed an exclusive dress for me for the Miss World contest, which I have given to the Presidential Centre of Culture. I also know Zhanna Shopanova of Jaka Fashion. Several years ago I hosted the “Altyn Sapa” Presidential Awards in a dress of her design. I believe that clothing by Aigul Kassymova helped me win the “Mrs Kazakhstan” contest. Nail Baykuchukov is my discovery, a very talented and promising designer. Asem Nurseitova has been making chic jewelry for me for several years. You see, I am bound by certain events with

Dinara Satzhan is an example of a successful woman and a great mother. On the photo she is with her son at the opening of the store.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 27 March 2013



Kazakh Cinema Remembers a Famous Father Author-Fighter to Shoot Series about Kazakhstan’s Olympians By Maral Zhantaykyzy

ASTANA - This year marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of the famous Kazakh film director, Sultan-Ahmet Khodzhikov. On March 11, an evening commemorating the memory of this master of Kazakhstan’s cinema was held at the Cinema House in Almaty. Friends, colleagues, family members and filmmakers laid flowers at his memorial plate on the Walk of Fame in front of Kazakhfilm studios. Guests at the event saw the premiere of Bulat Nusimbekov’s new documentary “War and Peace of Sultan Khodzhikov.” The film focuses on the life and work of the great director and the creation of his great drama, “Kyz Zhibek” (“Silk Girl” in Kazakh). During World War II, the eighteen year-old Sultan-Akhmet Khodzhikov went to the front and fought in the famous Eighth Panfilov Guards Division. He returned from the war as a Commander of the Guard and was awarded several military honours, including the Order of the Red Star. On the advice of his older brother Kulakhmet, who worked in cinema, Khodzhikov went to the directorial faculty of the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. Together, Khodzhikov and Leningrad director Pavel Bogolyubov made the film “Girl-Zhigit” (Girl-Brave in Kazakh). The film “Mother and Son” was Khodzhikov’s first independent work, written from his own script. The short film about pioneers of the Virgin Lands programme problematises the important issue of the education of young generations and praises the romanticism of the work of Soviet youth. The film “We are From Seven Rivers” depicts Kazakh participation in the Great October Revolution. The Kazakh legend of the tragic fate of the beauty Aisulu formed the basis for Khodzhikov’s film “Chinar on the Rock.” The director always actively sought to reflect the past and the

present of the Kazakh people on screen. He plumbed the national epic, the pearl of Kazakh folklore, and based his most important film, “Kyz Zhibek,” on the story by Gabit Musrepov. This legend of two lovers he and his brothers had heard from their grandmother when they were children. The brother who encouraged Khodzhikov to get into film and who went on to become the first Kazakh film designer, Kulakhmet Khodzhikov, had wanted to produce a movie based on this legend, and for many years had collected works of Kazakh folklore and did graphic illustrations of them. This film, which instantly made Khodzhikov famous all over Kazakhstan, the Soviet Union and beyond, is still the hallmark of Kazakhstani cinema. Making the film was a long and difficult job. The director fought off Soviet censorship, which was trying to distort historical truth and demanded serious revisions. SultanAkmet Khodzhikov suffered a heart attack during filmmaking but still managed to defend his ideas. The director himself selected the actors and approved the casting of the young unknown Meruert Utekeshevа for the lead role, Kyz Zhibek. The final film had strong characters, vivid emotions and exciting dramatic collisions. The film memorably embodies the Kazakh Romeo and Juliet, but also shows the synergy of the team as a whole: the beautiful costumes of production designer Gulfayrus Ismailova, the beautiful nature cinematography, the moving music of the classicist of Kazakh culture, Nurgisa Tlendiev; all of these contributed to the film’s stunning success. “Kyz Zhibek” became the topgrossing film in the history of Kazakhstan’s cinema, and is still one of the nation’s favourites. The DVD sits in many personal film collections.“Kyz Zhibek” won three awards at the Fifth All Soviet-Union Film Festival in Tbilisi: a special diploma for a vivid imaginative rendering of a historical theme for production director Sultan Khodzhikov; a diploma for contributions to the dramatic arts by an actor

By Marzhan Imanbayeva

A legend of two lovers “Kyz Zhibek” became the topgrossing film in the history of Kazakhstan’s cinema. for Kenenbay Kozhabekov and a diploma and cash prize for the best artwork for artist director Gulfayrus Ismailova. At the film’s first preview at the Belgian Art Research Institute, world-renowned man of art and Belgian painter Roger Somville said, “Today’s films bear from the screen a cruelty, but I’ve now seen a picture made with respect for people. All others should learn this from the Kazakhs. What a fresh breeze is blowing from the East!” “Cinema is an art. The people must understand it. ‘Kyz Zhibek’ is not only a Kazakh film; it touched our feelings,” the French viewer said. “It could be said that such reels are

born once in a hundred years!” President of Kazakhfilm Yermek Amanshaev said in his opening speech at the commemoration evening. In 1972, Sultan-Ahmet Khodzhikov was awarded the State Prize of the Kazakh Soviet Socialistic Republic for the film “Kyz Zhibek.” Nevertheless, after “Kyz Zhibek,” Sultan-Ahmet Khodzhikov was not able to produce any more pictures for the public. He wrote many scripts that were always rejected by Kazakhfilm’s art council. He wanted to make a documentary film about World War II and his brothers-soldiers. He also did not have time to complete his trilogy about Kazakh wrestler Qajimuqan Munaytpasuly.

ASTANA – The well-known Kazakhstan’s and Dutch director Peter Berman is to begin shooting a television series titled “The Olympians.” The series will focus on the stories of three friends, Ilya, Sasha and Serik, whose prototypes are Olympic champions Ilya Ilyin, Alexander Vinokourov and Serik Sapiyev. Ilya Ilyin has already agreed to take part in the filming; Alexander Vinokourov’s son may play the role of his father. The director is planning to invite the famous actor Jackie Chan and other foreign stars to be part of the production. Last year, Berman visited the United States to sign a new contract with a Hollywood company that plans to make movie based on Berman’s book “Hard Loop,” which became a bestseller in the U.S. and the Netherlands in 2011. The film will tell the story of a young boxer who is seriously injured. His grandmother treats him and imbues him with her own psychic abilities; later, he is educated by a Chinese master of martial arts. The boy grows up to be a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. Berman knows the fighting world from the inside: he moved to the Netherlands, the home of his ancestors, to compete on the professional MMA circuit. Seriously injured after three years, he left professional fighting behind, but he still takes part in competitions for veterans. Many of his fans think that his book, “The Ultimate Fighting,” is autobiographical. Mosfilm wrote

a series based on this book, but the Hollywood company Golden Films bought the project and made a movie out of a few of its stories. Filming took place in the Netherlands, India, Japan, France and China. The story is of a young fighter who worked for the exploration of one of the Asian countries of the former Soviet Union. Berman is an honoured coach of Kazakhstan, famous athlete, writer and producer. He writes books and makes films about sports, including Kazakhstan’s sports and athletes. His first book, “Mr. Aikido,” told the story of an athlete who had been raised in an orphanage and was written in collaboration with famous Russian television journalist Vladislav Listyev. His second book, “Knockout,” was made into a film in Europe and explored the lives of Soviet actors and sportsmen who did not return to their country In 2009, the documentary “Astana Team: Chasing the Leader,” based on Berman’s book “Lie and Truth of the Great Loop” premiered in the Netherlands. In Kazakhstan, the film was presented at the Eurasia International Film Festival in 2010. Berman has directed several documentaries about Alexander Vinokourov and other Kazakhstan’s athletes, including the comic documentary “Sport Through Laughter and Tears.” As head of the International Foundation for the Protection of Athletes’ Rights, Berman actively supported Kazakhstan’s cyclist Alexander Vinokourov when he was accused of violating competition rules.

Kazakhstan’s First Full-Length Taraz Fashion Show Introduces New Names 3D Animated Film Opens From Page B1 “The idea of making an animated film based on the Kazakh fairy tale came from the film studio management,” director Danenov said. “At the beginning, I worried that after a long period of stagnation in the Kazakh film industry, it was risky to start the production of animated films from scratch. But looking at the confidence of the management and the grandiose scope with which Yermek Amanshayev (director of Kazakhfilm studios) has fostered the rise of the Kazakh cinema, I decided to take part in this project.” First, it was decided to shoot the movie in a regular format. Then, the director and his team had the idea to produce it in the now popular 3D format. An Almaty private studio team working under a talented, young director called Rustam Turaliyev made the adaptation. Turaliyev had a background in advertising and has worked in an animation studio in Moscow for years where he mastered 3D technology. He and Danenov recruited a talented group of young produc-

tion editors and technicians well versed in the Kazakh language, culture and traditions. The screenplay in Russian was edited by the wellknown playwright Lavrenty Son. Well-known Kazakhstan actors Lydia Kaden, Nuketai Myshbayeva, Kadyrbek Demesinov, Akkenzhe Alimzhan, Dulyga Akmolda, Dimash Akymov and Kairat Dombai provided the voices for the main characters in the Kazakh language version of the film. In the Russian-language version, the main characters were voiced by Leah Nelskaya, Nina Zhmerenetskaya, Igor Lichadeev, Anastasia Temkina, Oksana Boychenko and Anatoly Krezhenchukov. Kazakhfilm has planned a major promotional campaign for the film and is releasing a new line of merchandising products including comics, exercise books, diaries, clay models, watercolour paintbooks, and albums featuring its characters. Kazakhstan animation was created half a century ago. The first cartoon made in the country by pioneer animator Amen Khaydarov was called “Why is the Swallow’s

Tail U- Shaped?” It won international prizes and enjoyed commercial success, being shown in 48 countries. Since then, the animation division of Kazakhfilm has grown from six to 60 people. Most of them are graduates of the Almaty School of Art and the AllUnion State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the making of animated films almost stopped. It fell to a rate of only one or two short cartoons per year. American, Japanese and Russian cartoons filled the country’s TV screens. However, Kazakhfilm is now expanding its production of animated films. The new wave of animated films being produced focuses on two themes, folklore and contemporary subjects. The work is supported by the government under its Cultural Heritage programme. In 2010, Kazakhfilm created a new production unit using advanced technology and started recruiting a new generation of animators. The unit will also be used to create special effects for regular films.

Graphics of the national 3D cartoons soon to stand in one line with those produced in Western countries.

By Vyacheslav Lebedev TARAZ – Young fashion designers from Kazakhstan, Russia, China, Spain and other countries showed their collections at the first Aspar International Fashion Festival, organised by the Taraz Municipal Department of Culture. Winners of the Vanguard and Prêta-Porter competitions received monetary prizes and gifts from Symbat Fashion Academy. The catwalk of Balasagun Central Concert Hall witnessed a riot of colour over two days of hosting the creations of Kazakhstan’s young fashion designers. For two days the jury chairman, Chief Designer of Asyl-Design Fashion House of Taraz Aidarkhan Kaliev, and jury members including Head of the Architectural and Construction Academy Professor Gulnara Ibrayshina, Chairman of the Association of Textiles and Clothing from China Jin Ton Zhi, Spanish art expert Inmaculada Castrejon and Art Director of Symbat Fashion Academy Balnur Asanova as well as other masters, were applauding along with the audience to the creations of future fashion designers. In the Vanguard nomination, all 19 participants managed to create a modern image of Aysha Bibi beauty. The jury took special notice of the web felt dresses collection by Gulshat Dzhuraeva from Almaty and the works of Shymkent designers. Designers presented exquisite

Designers demonstrated their view on traditional costumes. embroidery, original ornaments, layering with felt and muslin, art décor and vintage dresses of panne velvet that were a hit with the audience. “Apart from styled chapans (quilted dressing gowns) and ethnic embroidery, in co-authorship with Mavluda Kasymova, we have shown casual clothes in fabrics that are unfortunately no longer produced these days,” said Yelena Ladik, a designer from Samarkand. “We made them of a so-called gift stock of cloth remnants, from ‘grandmothers’ trunks’.”

Winner of the Vanguard category was Kyzylorda student Sagynysh Orazbekova. Taraz student Gulim Balykbaeva won the Prêt-a-Porter competition. Both were awarded cash prizes of 300,000 tenge. Other prize winners were Dana Beysenbaeva and Ulbosyn Nalibaeva (Shymkent), Anastasia Umrihina (Almaty), Irina Ten and Xenia Danshina (Taraz). In addition to cash awards of 200,000 and 100,000 tenge, winners were given special prizes provided by Symbat Fashion Academy and Asyl-Design Fashion House.

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Middle Class Families Optimistic about the Future From Page A1 The family has a two bedroom apartment, purchased in 1998, after their wedding. Six years after their marriage the couple bought a country site with a house. Alexei originally had a used car, which was periodically replaced by more recent models. They currently drive a 2004 model. The family has a refrigerator, a TV set and other appliances and standard furniture in their flat. They bought them all for cash, as Alexei does not like buying on credit. “Most of our total monthly income is spent on food and utility payments,” Shevchenko said. “The utility expenses together with the fee for the parking lot cost about 25,000 tenge ($165.67), without considering expenditures on gasoline.” “We do not have enough money to travel abroad,” she said. “For our holidays, we go to the Borovoye resort, Bayanaul or Bukhtarma. We are also careful about our health, as serious treatment requires considerable resources.” “I do not buy expensive or styled clothing in the retail trade network. We use online shops, as, for example, it is cheaper to buy clothes from the U.S. through the Internet,” Shevchenko said. “I do not know what category of people on income and living standards is referred to the middle class but it is most likely that our family can be considered as middle class. We have everything for everyday life. What additional criteria are needed?” However, she then added, “I do feel concern about the future, as our current salaries do not guarantee stability and may change at any time. We also need to think about saving to give decent education to our daughter.”

Gulshat Ismailova believes she and her husband earn enough money not only to raise two of their children, Aigerim and Daulet, but also to have a third child. Gulshat Ismailova from Aktau dreamed of becoming a doctor, but did not pass the second round of her exams and was not admitted. Her father advised her to become a geologist. “Why not,” she asked herself. “That is a very suitable profession for the Mangistau region.” With help from her father, she entered the Institute of Geology.Gulshat enjoyed her early field work in the mountains. They studied rock ores and in the evening sat around campfires singing hiking songs. They dreamed of opening new fields with huge oil and natural gas reserves. After graduation Gulshat came to a research institute and plunged into scientific work. Her earlier image of a geologist was associated with a weather-beaten face and a

huge backpack but she learned that a modern geologist often wears a business suit and uses a laptop. At first, she worked as an ordinary researcher, then as a senior one. Now, she is the head of the geology department at a major oil company. “I do not complain about my salary,” she said, “Of course, when I started my career, I had to save money and deny myself some things. Now, our family can afford major purchases.” Gulshat has no doubt that her family belongs in the middle class. “This is the driving force of the economy. And of course, I include my family in it. After all, what do we mean under this term? These are the educated people who benefit our society, produce things and bring new ideas to production.

Nation Celebrates Nauryz By Manshuk Bekentayeva ASTANA - Nauryz is celebrated in countries of Central Asia on the day of the astronomical spring equinox. In Kazakhstan, it’s an official public holiday, so the celebrations were held on main squares, parks and streets in all the regions and cities of Kazakhstan. The celebrations included concerts, shows, bike races, contests, trivia games, sport competitions, tree planting and holiday food fairs. Due to celebrations, March 21-23 were announced as days off according to Kazakhstan’s legislation. Public celebrations started on March 21 in Astana. The celebrations continued on March 22 next to the city administration building, in the Lovers Park and in other parks of the capital. The main events took place next to Kazakh Eli monument (Kazakh land in Kazakh), in which four hundred performers took part. “I congratulate all the people of Kazakhstan on this wonderful holiday. All offenses are forgiven on this day. Families and friends meet and ask each other for forgiveness, wear their best clothes, go out, plant trees, clean up springs and streets,”

Nursultan Nazarbayev said addressing the participants of celebration at Kazakh Eli square in Astana. On March 19, an exhibition of contemporary art called “Golden Collection of Names” took place in Astana organized in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art and the Karaganda regional museum of fine art. The exhibition featured 52 works created from 1930 to 2012. On the next day, a unique light show started, which will fascinate guests and residents of Astana until April 1. Five thousand people gathered in Almaty for Nauryz celebration on March 22. People crowded the whole Astana square and the celebrations got underway outside the square, where residents were entertained by taking short rides on horses and camels. The celebrations included a fair of jewellery, paintings and souvenirs. Celebrations also included the shows and contests, competitions of the national singers and national dances. The cooks presented different recipes of the "Nauryz kozhe" dish: some of them were made of sour milk and groats and some included meat. Young people enjoyed traditional

Silicon Production Grows in Karatal District By Aset Kalymov

ALMATY REGION - The Kaz Silicon Plant, which reopened in April 2012, is planning to increase its production volume of high-quality refined silicon up to 10,000 tons per year. In Bastobe village, the plant processes gangue quartz mined at the nearby Sarykol field. According to experts, the deposits of this raw material equal about 1.7 million tons and will be enough for the plant’s work for more than 50 years. Silicon is an important semiconductor and the main raw material used in manufacturing photovoltaic panels (solar panels). Solar panels have great potential for growth: their share of world electricity production is expected to reach up to 30 percent by 2040. In October 2011, the plant became a subsidiary of the Kazatomprom National Company and a major participant in the KazPV project aimed at establishing a fully integrated renewable energy production line. According to the general director of

Kaz Silicon LLP, Danel Skakov, the refined silicon is sent to Astana for further processing, where at the end of 2012 a plant was launched to produce photovoltaic modules for Astana Solar LLP. The design capacity of Kazakhstan’s first solar wafers is 50 MW with an increase up to 100 MW planned for the future. The plant has an automated process control system, which allows it to produce an additional output of mikrosilica (silica fume) of up to 2,000 tons per year. This material is used in dry mortar, ceramic plates, tiles and refractory masses. Skakov says that the gas treatment facilities and high-tech stoves meet European standards and do not produce harmful emissions. This is an important issue, as residents of Bastobe district remember well how in 2006 the district centre was covered with suffocating smog when Kaz Silicon first began production. The company is planning to export the output to Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the United States and Germany.

Kazakh swings called Altybakan. The construction was strong enough to hold 10-12 people at a time. Children competed in shooting toy bows, while adults took part in sports games. Many of them wanted to recall the childhood by playing "assyk", an ancient bone-throwing game. Young people competed in lifting 24kg kettle bells; some of them managed to lift them over 40 times. While major celebrations of Nauryz were only coming to residents of western Kazakhstan, and Mangistau in particular, many people there have already celebrated “Amal meiramy” (forerunner of Nauryz) on March 14. Traditionally, Kazakhs of the western territories were the first to mark the coming of spring. They would then pass congratulations on to their relatives in other regions. One of the main parts of the celebration is the “korisu” or handshake. Historically, on this day, residents of western Kazakhstan visit elders to greet them with a handshake, ask for blessings in the new year and wish them good health. This day is also traditionally seen as a day to forgive grievances against others. Residents of the South Kaza-

And, accordingly, the work of such professionals is well-paid.” Gulshat believes the middle class are people who do not worry about the future of their children because they can provide decent education for them. Gulshat and her husband are proud of their two children, their daughter Aigerim, a fourth-grade student and their son Daulet who is in second grade. Her husband has a construction worker degree. He has fulfilled his life’s dream and became a private businessman. The family can afford trips abroad, but they still prefer to stay in Kazakhstan. Every summer, they try to go to Almaty. “For me, the material aspect is not the main thing,” Gulshat said, “I do not seek luxury and what I earn is enough for me. My husband and I have a sustained and stable income. I’m sure that even if we want to have a third child, my husband will fully support our family. But still I want to be fulfilled in my profession.” Serikzhan Zhakenov of Karaganda is an engineer and a director of the KarGorMash-M Company. He is not rich by Western standards. But he is financially independent and regards himself as middle class. Zhakenov has his own opinion: He defines members of the middle class in Kazakhstan as “those people who are optimistic about the future: they know what to do and with whom to work. They boldly plan their life.” “I know already what I will do in a year or two, because I know how to achieve that goal,” Zhakenov told The Astana Times. “I do not have huge capital, but my financial status and income allows me to organize my life in keeping with my idea of style and comfort.” Zhakenov’s wife is now in retirement. They live in a house which

they built on a plot of land which they planted with hundreds of trees and decorated with lawns. Their son lives independently with his family in Astana. Zhakenov takes pleasure in the success of his company and enjoys his work. On holiday, he and his wife travel abroad, often to the Czech Republic and Germany. A graduate of the Karaganda Polytechnic Institute, he is grateful to it for an excellent education. With 40 years of experience as a mechanical engineer he puts his heart and soul into the development of his business. The country’s stability and security are very important for him. “The welfare of the state depends on the middle class and it prevents a wide gap from developing between the rich and the poor,” Zhakenov said. “The state only benefits by creating conditions for this layer of society. I think that this category should also involve representatives of the civil service and from small and medium sized businesses. So far, teachers, doctors and the selfemployed, unfortunately, do not yet belong to this social class.” Talgat Doskenov, president of Kazakhstan Association of Entrepreneurs and director of the Atameken Union in the Karaganda region told The Astana Times that the middle class is also the foundation of a market economy. This includes those who can afford the construction of their own house, who own one to three cars and who can equip children with a good education abroad. “Of course, the income determines the social status,” Doskenov said. “A highly-qualified lawyer, coach or businessman involved in the transportation industry or a retired person who owns five to seven flats and rents them out on lease

can all be referred to as belonging to the middle class.” The middle class gives society the major advantage of psychological stability, Doskenov said. “This population stratum does not usually participate in protests and does not erect revolutionary barricades. The middle class is the foundation of the economic and political wellbeing of the state.”

khstan region celebrated the Nauryz holiday in a new way. Celebratory ceremonies start nine days prior to Nauryz as every day has its own significance. Governors, heads of cities, districts and villages will congratulate war and labour veterans on the first day of celebration. Members of youth communities helped senior citizens with household duties. “Memorial Day” is the second day of celebration. The commemorative dinners held in the memory of the border guards killed in the airplane crash in December 2012. In addition, the national aitys contest dedicated to the 350th anniversary of the Tole bi district and the 300th anniversary of Abylai Khan began on this day. In Kostanay, to mark the celebration of Nauryz on March 19 an exhibition was organized, which included products from 120 local producers of agricultural goods from the regional centre and the districts. The fair attracted visitors with low prices on products, almost 2030 percent below the current market prices. In Karaganda, lessons of friendship, peace and harmony took place in schools of the region. In the institutions, festivals and competitions, dedicated to Nauryz celebrations took place. In Karaganda, the regional competition-festival “Kүy

қaynary” held among the artists of kyui (national competitions with dombra) and the collectives with national instruments on the city stage. In Aktobe, on March 20, women with many children were awarded the state awards under thof presidential decree. Four mothers of large families were given “Altyn Alka” gold medals and five women received “Kumis alka” silver medals. On the first day of Nauryz, in Taldykorgan, elderly people were given presents, while on three streets of the city “white-winged yurts” were installed so anyone could taste the koumiss (mare’s milk) and Nauryz kozhe (Kazakh special milky soup). Beautiful women in bright costumes delighted guests with folk dances. In Ust-Kamenogorsk, youth constructed a yurt, which represented not only Kazakh national culture, but also contemporary popular forms of street art. Exhibitions of clothing and cuisine were organized with different types of national cuisine offered to the guests of celebrations. For the talented young people, a karaoke contest was held. Nauryz was also celebrated in a special way abroad, for example, “Nauryz-2013” holiday took place at “Rossiya” concert hall in Moscow. The Moscow-based foreign embassies and cultural associations

arranged the event with the support of Moscow authorities. Dancers and singers from CIS member countries as well as from Kazakhstan delighted the audience with their performances. Within the festivities, the guests were able to attend a traditional fair and savour delicacies of the national cuisine of various nationalities. The tradition to celebrate Nauryz with a very festive gala event, launched two years ago in Washington, continued this year with a major gala at the Organization of American States (OAS) historic building on March 17. U.S.-based Nauryz Commission, a multicultural notfor profit organization established for promoting Nauryz in the United States hosted its second celebration of Nauryz at the Library of Congress, which coincided, with the first anniversary of the Commission. Special highlights of the celebration included a message from President Barack Obama delivered by Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to the President. The Kazakhstan Embassy in Turkey held the Nauryz celebrations on March 20, with guests of the event including heads of state agencies in Turkey, members of Parliament, ambassadors of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, representatives of culture and arts, public, and academic circles.

Editorial note A decade ago, in his interview with the international business newspaper the Financial Times, President Nazarbayev said “We now want to create a society where the upper level accounts for 10-15 percent, the lower, perhaps for 1015 percent, and the middle class between them should make up 6070 percent.” The president’s plans have become reality. In the past decade, the average salary in Kazakhstan in dollar terms has increased by 440 percent. People have more opportunities to use public goods, make expensive purchases, travel and have savings in the bank accounts. During this decade, the gap between the wealthiest and poorest layers of society declined. The Gini Coefficient is used by sociologists to measure the distribution of income in any society. The closer the index is to zero, the more evenly incomes are distributed; and the higher the index rating, the more incomes are concentrated in the hands among a small wealthy elite. Kazakhstan’s Gini Coefficient gives it the most equal distribution of incomes among the 12 nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States and puts it among the 50 fairest countries of the world in its distribution of national wealth.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 27 March 2013



Internet Association Chief Predicts Bright Online Future ficult, but I don’t think it’s a global problem that will turn the world upside down.

The Internet is rapidly developing, and it is necessary that the laws affecting its progress must be adopted in a correct manner and in accordance with our recommendations. As a social organization, we can voice our proposals and recommendations on questions of development. It is another question as to whether our comments and remarks will be listened to, but working in our capacity, we do everything we can so that our recommendations and opinions are considered. We have participated in drafting a new law on electronic money, which is fully functioning now. We have played an active role in the project about copyrights on the Internet. We have started a special Internet resource called www.zakonoproekt. kz for the purpose of hosting public discussions. The IAK actively engages in the fight against unlawful content, including content that propagates terrorism, extremism, violence, child pornography, and similar content. In principle, unlawful is by definition forbidden, but we believe that not only do the government lawenforcement agencies have to fight it, but society as a whole. To this end, we have created another project called through which every user can complain and report that they have found unlawful content. So we as a civil society recognize our job is to monitor these activities. We also hold roundtables trying to connect the Internet community. We work with practically every government agency. We work with communities that are not our members, but that doesn’t prevent us from working with them. Will the switch of the Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet have any effect on the development of the Kaznet? I think it will have a significant effect and a very positive effect at that. After all, we shouldn’t forget that Latin is the basis of the world fund of scripts. Then there are other countries that have already gone through


From Page A1

Shavkat Sabirov this, whose examples we can follow. We are not the first, and probably are not the last. I don’t think, for example, that Turkey lost anything from their language's switch to Latin. Turkey only won. Just think about it: Today, in the Kazakh language we have only three official printing fonts: Times New Roman, Sans-serif, and something else. These are fonts that work correctly in any programme such as Word, Excel and MS Office. And they also have to work correctly in designer software. Today, every sphere of business is connected to a computer. And every programme that you use has to have the Kazakh fonts because they work correctly. Ideally, we should have around a thousand fonts to be able to use any of them. In this light, the Cyrillic alphabet in which the Kazakh language is used today creates difficulties because developing a single font and its public use costs about $40,000. So if we want to develop even just a hundred fonts, it becomes a giant number. It is understood that developing Kazakh fonts that would work in different programmes is the responsibility of the government. And to do so, it would have to spend large sums of taxpayer money. The switch to Latin allows us to quickly and efficiently use all of the fonts that are already available. It will be most difficult for the generation that lives through the switch, for those who use Cyrillic. But then again, you can already see a lot of Kazakh content being written in Latin, and many are already using translit typing, which in essence is the switch to Latin. It will be dif-

Annual Charity Fair Provides Tradition of Giving From Page B1 How and when did the idea of holding a charity event on New Year’s Eve arise? I arrived in Astana on March 19, 2008 and, of course, I had to adapt to a new city and to life here, as well as to the duties that come with being the spouse of an ambassador. As a woman, I thought of organising a useful activity and the idea of charity came up. This event [the Annual Charity Fair] is held not only by us, the Czech Republic, but by all embassies accredited in Astana, because all of us are women and mothers, and we want to help children. When we first arrived in Astana, we lived in the Radisson Hotel for a month. At that time the director general of the hotel was Austrian. We had a talk with him and manager Farah Willey and agreed that we would jointly organise a charity bazaar and the Radisson Hotel Charity Ball. I set the date as the first Sunday of December. This bazaar is a long-lasting tradition almost all over the world but here we have been holding it for only five years. Nevertheless, we have had really good results and I can proudly say that everything is going very well with it. Who is involved in the organisation of the event? Earlier this year we created the LaDiCA club, which stands for Ladies Diplomatic Club Astana and unites spouses of ambassadors, embassy staff and representatives of organisations working in Kazakhstan. I am the president of the club. We have our own charter, a beautiful badge and a website, The club is mainly engaged in charity work and organising the bazaar, which brings together all embassies. Full club members pay membership dues. Do you cooperate with state bodies, NGOs or private companies in Kazakhstan?

Our club is a non-profit and nonpolitical organisation with the primary objective of conducting charity work. However, we work with all who approach us and anyone who asks for help. Certainly we try to listen to everyone, and after researching the issues we help the most disadvantaged. I am very glad that the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs trust us; we are grateful for it. We all do this not for advertisement but to help the children of Kazakhstan. How are funds raised at your events distributed? The funds are distributed by the committee. Prior to that we discuss and check the information on all participants of the fair. We ask for what purposes the money will be used. We do not refuse to help anyone but we check all orphanages. Everyone knows that participants have the opportunity to ask questions or tell us about people in need. We help orphanages, homes for the elderly and sick children who need surgery and rehabilitation. Are you involved in any other projects? I think the charity project is enough for us. This project is already at such a level that it is an endless job. For example, today I met with the vice-rector of the law department. Last year, we paid for the studies of two students, and now we have decided to prolong the payments until they graduate. Now we will consider providing payments for two more students for a one-year period. All of them are from low-income and needy families. They will receive certificates on the Nauryz holiday. On that note, I’d like to wish all residents of Astana and Kazakhstan success, good health, happiness and well-being. I congratulate all on the beautiful holiday and wish Kazakhstan only prosperity in the future.

Access to the Internet in Kazakhstan reaches only 50 percent of the population. Is that a problem for society? We have a term called “penetration of the Internet,” and I think last time it was announced at 40 percent to 50 percent. This doesn’t, however, mean that out of 17 million people 8.5 million go online. No, penetration of the Internet is a specific parameter that is based on certain conditions. For example, a person must go online at least five times a day from a home or work office, and there are certain criteria. Take me for example, I have two mobile phones, both of which I use to access the Internet. I can also use my tablet device, I can use my work computer, and I can go online from home. And everywhere I have different accounts. These accounts are counted together, summed into one and calculated. Today, we don’t have a problem with access to the Internet. Moreover, the speed of service providers gives a good opportunity for everybody to go online. The latest 4G, the LTE standard, which is provided by a Kazakh company, gives mobility and a good channel of communication. Today, I tried it on my own mobile device, and uploaded and downloaded at approximately 15 Mb each way. I think this is a very decent speed which is good. Also, considering that access to the Internet is provided in packages with television, phone services, and so on, it is easy to connect. Even in different regions of Kazakhstan, mobile phone operators allow free access to the most popular social sites like Facebook

and, regardless of the traffic. So the provinces today add to the number of users of the Internet because it is cheaper for you to send a message through an instant message service rather than by SMS. What do you think about the development of the children who grow up with the Internet? What do you think the future will be like? You know, this is a stick with two ends. On the one hand, this is a heritage of technology and a level of development of a society creating a so-called global information society where every country builds its own online society, including Kazakhstan. And access to the Internet is a benefit of these mobile phones, gadgets and tablet devices. In principle, a mobile smart phone filled with complicated fancy functions is becoming a norm. From the point of view of children and young adults, we have a branch in the Internet Association that fights the proliferation of unlawful content, and we try to fight for a safe Internet. In 2010, all service providers and hosting providers signed a declaration of safe Internet. We have it on the website on, they have taken the moral responsibility to provide a safe Internet to our children. Other than that, we also have constant monitoring so that all Internet resources have a strict policy against child pornography, pedophilia and comparable pathologies. Europe and North America have taken an immediate and clear stand about their position. They warn users that in case of an upload of unlawful content that not only will it be deleted, but the information will be passed on to the appropriate authorities.

Unfortunately, many of our resources have only a single line that states the administration of the website does not have responsibility for any content. In essence the fight for free speech allows for permissiveness where anything goes. It is impossible to not have responsibility for any content. If your resource hosts evidence of terrorism, extremism, child-porn do you not have responsibility? No, let’s state clearly on the rules of using a website or some conditions what you are responsible for and what you are not. Is there anything you would like to share with our readers? All I can say is that in the last few years I have attended many international forums and events on behalf of the Internet Association of Kazakhstan. I actively participate in conferences and seminars. I have recently come from Vienna where for a few days within the framework of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) we looked at issues concerning the Internet. This included questions of regulation of the Internet, the safety of the upcoming generation, issues of self-regulation, blocking and filtration and other subjects. I think today the Internet realm is becoming so important and fundamental to us that it is impossible not to notice what goes on there. Today, an overwhelming number of people are getting their news from the Internet and the traditional means of mass media are weakening: It is no longer a secret. The people are going online for their news: They meet each other over the Internet and even get married through the Internet. What seemed absurd even a few years ago, “So you met over the Internet?

What? Wow, isn’t that something!” Today, it seems normal. The interaction that is happening today is taking place through this means of communication. A lot depends on the Internet. I would like to say that the Internet Association of Kazakhstan is developing, but it is impossible to do so if it is isolated from the rest of the country. We need close cooperation with different countries. We need to know the laws and regulations of different countries so that we easily harmonise with them. Within the framework of the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space, questions of cybercrimes come to the forefront. A cyber criminal does not know borders but in reality they do exist. There’s Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus in the Customs Union and there are new laws being prepared for this sphere. For this reason I think that in the near future, the discussions that are being held on an international level, all countries will have to come an understanding about what is obviously unlawful content, a position on cyber criminals and on questions of free speech and freedom of expression on the Internet will depend on the policy of individual states. For some countries, certain things are unacceptable because of their religious, say Islamic, values. Some countries may even have regional divides. China has its own Chinanet, they have their own policy. But even with all these different laws and norms, I don’t think that countries can’t agree on something. I think in the near future, laws regarding copyrights or terrorism will be adjusted on a level of accords, decrees, and contracts that work on an international level.

The Astana Times


Wednesday, 27 March 2013


By Lyubov Shashkova “Protected Corners of Kazakhstan,” a new book of photos by Vladislav Yakushkin and texts by well-known writer and naturalist Boris Shcherbakov, brings to vivid life some of Kazakhstan's most unique and remote reaches and by showing their beauty seeks to inspire a spirit of protection and conservation in its readers.

Vast territories of the country, from the Caspian Sea in the west to the snowy peaks of the Tien Shan and Altai Mountains in the east, from the deserts of the south to the steppe plains of Western Siberia in the north, amaze with the richness and diversity of their landscapes, flora and fauna. Included in the album are the splendours of the Semirechie region, the Kolsay Lakes and Charyn Canyon, Altyn-Emel National Park in Southeast Kazakhstan, the AksuZhabagly Reserve and the deserts of Southern Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, the Ustyurt plateau, the Aktolagay region of Western Kazakhstan, Borovoye, Bayanaul National Park, Karkaralinsk, Alakol Lake, Markakol Lake, Katon Karagai, the West Altay Reserve and the colourful deserts of Eastern Kazakhstan. Vast territories of the country, from the Caspian Sea in the west to the snowy peaks of the Tien Shan and Altai Mountains in the east, from the deserts of the south to the

steppe plains of Western Siberia in the north, amaze with the richness and diversity of their landscapes, flora and fauna. Presenting the book to its readers, Professor Vladimir Kazenas writes that “An inquisitive naturalist and artistphotographer finds objects worthy of his attention everywhere. But there are parts of Kazakhstan where nature has created a fantastic beauty of landscape with a rich and unique world of plants and animals. The book tells about such protected corners. Its author, the well-known photographer and naturalist, explorer and member of the Professional Photographers of the United States, Vladislav Yakushkin, traveled all over Kazakhstan. He visited not only tourist destinations but also the most remote and inaccessible corners.” Yakushkin found and took photos of everything from rare butterflies and flowers to majestic rock piles, intricately dissected hills and spectacular sunsets. These photos demonstrate the technical skill of the photographer and his talent as an artist who manages to capture nature in its most positive and emotionally expressive form. And as all the photos are provided with explanatory captions giving valuable information, the book is not only a great keepsake of Kazakhstan, but a geography and biology guide. The authors hope to inspire a love of nature and respect for its inhabitants at a time when natural environments are increasingly threatened by pollution, urban sprawl and human apathy. “Let’s believe that there will be changes in the consciousness of people and books like the new photo album by Vladislav Yakushkin will help,” Kazenas concluded. Scientists Ikar Borodikhin, Ivan Bevze and Polina Veselova helped the authors of the book identify the animals and plants pictured.

Turar Kazangapov

A Peek Into Paintball Warriors Invade Nation Country’s “Protected Corners”

Paintball is a an active sports and a “stress killer” for people, who are not afraid of bruises and looking for great memories.

By Nadezhda Khamitova ASTANA –Paintball has found a home in the capital of Kazakhstan. Paintball is a team game, where players are eliminated or “killed” when they are shot with gelatin “bullets” – capsules containing paint. The aim of the game is to eliminate all opponents by marking them with paint. Each player has a gun called a paintball marker. A game can be played indoors and outdoors but most players prefer outdoor action on natural terrain. Design of the playing area depends on the scenario for the game. Military and terrorist themes often involve the use of a bus and tires as shields for players. A popular version focuses on the capture of the opposing team’s flag defended in stylized forts. The length of the games can vary. In major championships and tournaments they can last all day. To date, more than eight paintball clubs operate in and around Astana including The Attack, Blockpost, Snipers, Shooter, Patriot and Barys. Blockpost offers its players

two versions of the game, Autodrome and Fort which is designed for a maximum number of 60 players. Blockpost’s playing area is on the steppe about 20 minutes of driving outside Astana. Games are

played through the summer and even much of winter. Participation in a game costs 3,000 tenge ($20) per person, covering 1,500 tenge ($10) for two hours of game time, including the renting of uniforms and providing an instructor, and

1,500 tenge ($10) for 100 gelatin bullets. The club’s website at www. provides all necessary information on location, prices and additional services. The Shooter club offers its clients a standard game for 2,500 tenge ($16.57) and 2,000 tenge ($13.25) for corporate players. It also offers discounts for students, who only pay 1,500 tenge ($10) each. Additional information is available on the club’s website at “I am a fan of paintball. It’s painful sometimes but for me the most important thing is to feel the adrenaline in my blood, the fun of unity with the team and the joy of scoring a goal,” Aiman Khamzina told The Astana Times. “After the game, I go with my friends to the barbeque. It’s all a much more interesting way to spend the weekend than just drinking tea at a cafe.” “For me, the game is a cure to the stress of work,” Alisher Begasymov told The Astana Times. “I have tons of energy but the volume of work I have sometimes doesn’t let me enjoy meetings with friends. A few hours spent outside playing paintball recharge me and my friends for the whole week.”

The Kazakh Steppe: The Land Book discovers historical Where the Horse was Tamed heritage of Zhetysu region By Colin Berlyne

Kazakhstan, believed to be the birthplace of the apple and the country from which the first man was sent into space, is now also thought to be the land where man first tamed the wild horse. Archaeologists have discovered new evidence of a horse-herding culture in the steppes of Central Asia where Kazakh ancestral tribes emerged more than 5,500 years ago. This is far earlier than the evidence for the domestication of horses or their use in war in Ancient China, Egypt or the Mesopotamia. Alan Outram, a British archaeologist from the University of Exeter, told National Geographic Magazine in October 2009 that his research team had discovered evidence that pushed back the earliest signs of the widespread riding and milking of horses by 1,000 to 2,000 years from previous estimates. Outram and his colleagues published their research in the October 2009 issue of the prestigious international journal “Science.” Outram and his colleagues excavated the remains of horses from the Botai region of northern Kazakhstan. Radiocarbon dating established that these remains were around 5,500 years old – a period far earlier than the Old Kingdom of Egypt or the ancient Sumerian culture of Mesopotamia and even before the Mohenjo-Daro civilization of modern Pakistan. The teeth of these small steppe horses showed unmistakable evidence of having been subjected to bits – an indication that they were used either for riding or pulling carts. They also found broken pieces of pottery used by the Botai culture that still contained elements of fat from horses and their milk. This was clear evidence that the steppe horses were already being used at this early date to provide both meat and milk - substances which remain prized in Kazakh cuisine and culture today. The researchers also found that the horse bones they excavated were slender - a sure sign throughout history of domesti-

cated and carefully bred horses, not of wild ones that had not been subjected to controlled and selective breeding. Outram’s discoveries are also consistent with a wider emerging body of evidence that many of the key developments in human civilization and agriculture took place across the vast steppes of the heartland of Asia, and not just in the river valleys of the Middle East and southern and Eastern Asia, as archaeologists for so long assumed. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of towns, and therefore of urban civilization, in the territories of modern Kazakhstan far earlier than experts previously assumed. And even before Outram's work, clear evidence had been uncovered that the horse was domesticated in the Asian steppes at least 3,100 to 3,600 years ago in the Botai region - a period of time parallel with the New Kingdom of Egypt and the Minoan Empire of ancient Crete. This previous evidence was more circumstantial than the latest findings. The early findings uncovered primitive tools for working leather that suggested, first, that cattle were being domesticated to provide the leather and hides and, second, that the leather was being worked to make harnesses that could only have been used on horses, not cattle. Western and Kazakh archaeologists had merely hoped to find more confirmation of these first findings in the Botai region. But the Outram team was surprised by the amount of confirmation they actually uncovered and, most of all, by the far earlier dates that their data belonged to. The new finds also suggest that the traditional practices of the ancient Kazakh tribes - eating the meat of their horses and drinking their milk as well as using them for transportation - go back thousands of years to the dawn of civilization. They also suggest that the spirit of innovation and technology in ancient history did not come only from towns and densely populated river valley cultures on the rims of Africa and Asia, but also from the

heart of the “grass ocean” of the steppe. Though the larger world's discovery of Kazakhstan’s early domestication of the horse is recent, Kazakh scholars have long argued that their homeland was the origin of the taming of the horse. The location, climatic and environmental demands of steppe life would have logically focused the ingenuity and expertise of its people in this direction as essential skills to their survival. The latest findings confirm these long held local beliefs. As National Geographic noted when it reported Outram’s discoveries, the domestication of the horse and their subsequent employment as draught animals or beasts of burden “transformed human society by speeding up transport, making long-distance trading more feasible and opening up new styles of warfare.” This development has therefore long been recognized as being one of the most important advances in early human history. It is striking that the archaeological evidence to solve this age-old mystery was found in Kazakhstan, the same country that today is home to the Baikonur Cosmodrome from which cosmonaut Yury Gagarin was launched to become the first human being in space half a century ago. The popularity and significance of the horse in Kazakh culture today remains strong. New hippodromes - or racetracks - have opened in Almaty, the nation's largest city, and in Kazakhstan's new capital Astana. Equestrian sports centers have sprung up and horse trekking in the nation's national parks and mountains are popular pastimes. Kazakhstan has emerged from the mists of history as both the most modern and ancient of nations along the fabled Silk Road. And its long-cherished equestrian culture has now revealed to have provided a giant gallop forward for human progress.

By Olga Malakhova The book “Zhetysu. Monuments and Museums” is a complete and colourful edition of the history of Almaty region, which has not yet been published in the country before. Turning its pages one can “visit” more than twenty museums of the region and see over a thousand of its sites. In fact, according to the chief editor of the Golden Book Vyacheslav Titenev, the number of monuments in the region of Zhetysu is ten times more than that in the official register. He discovered this when he took photos of them in four districts of the region and saw monuments in the small towns, which were not included in the list. For example, in the town of Panfilov in addition to the bust of the war hero he found five other monuments and in the national park “Altyn Emel” the keeper showed him the newly found petroglyphs. Thus, there was a new look at certain things and new openings when the book was published. For example, Vyacheslav Titenev was surprised by details of biography of Nauryzbay Batyr, a true hero and commander, whose life was devoted to the fight against Dzhungars. The authors of the book not only provided the photo of the monument erected at the entrance to the Kaskelen, but also information about him: they carefully studied the lives of the characters and events of that era. The land of seven rivers - Zhetysu, - located in the foothills of the Zailiskii Alatau has beautiful nature and many unique historic sites. “The new book, of course, will draw great interest among potential tourists, both domestic and foreign,” says Vyacheslav Titenev. It will be also in demand in schools and universities. As written in the introduction to the book, the historical and cultural heritage of Zhetysu is the foundation of historical memory of people and true patriotism. The history of the country and its study should become necessary and available to

the general public. The memory about achievements of our ancestors will allow the society to better understand its purpose. It is noteworthy that the whole history of this region over the past century in given successively in the publication. Realizing the importance of archaeological, architectural, natural objects, and having information on the events associated with them, young people will be aware of the need to protect historical and cultural heritage. The Almaty oblast is the third richest region in this sense along with the South Kazakhstan and Zhambyl regions. Saki mounds, in one of which was found the Golden man, petroglyphs on the rocks of the Tamgaly Tas and other places, Singing Dunes, the camp of Genghis Khan and Charyn Canyon - all these attractions related to the

history and culture of the region provide insight into spiritual life of ancestors. Today the “Cultural Heritage” state programme and the adopted regional project on the protection of Zhetysu monuments have drawn a lot of attention to the regriches cultural riches. The project’s main purpose is to create an integrated system to study cultural heritage of the Almaty region. In recent years, about 50 new monuments were erected, including to batyrs Raiymbek, Karasai and Nauryzbay, biys Balpyk and Eskeldy, Kablisa zhyrau (Ush Baiterek), Kadyrgali Zhalairi and Suyunbaev Aronuly. Restoration works were conducted on the sites of Talhir, Koilyk, mounds Issyk, Turgenev and Maibulak camps. All this is told in the book “Zhetysu. Monuments and museums” published in three languages, Kazakh, Russian and English.

The land of Zhetysu located in the foothills of the Zailiskii Alatau has beautiful nature and many unique historic sites.

The Astana Times

Wednesday, 27 March 2013



Kuzin Wins First Speed Skating Ski Champion Vladimir Gold for Country Smirnov Gives Nod to Successor

Kuzin is the main hope of Kazakhstan’s speed skating.

By Askar Beysenbayev ASTANA – One by one, Kazakhstan’s athletes are claiming

their space on the world stage. The young nation’s newest sporting first comes in speed skating: for the first time in Kazakhstan's

speed skating history, a native son has brought home a gold medal. Denis Kuzin of Kostanay became the world champion in the 1,000 metre distance at the World Single Distance Championships that started on March 21 in Sochi, Russia. Kuzin started in the ninth pair and finished in 1 minute, 9.14 seconds, while Olympic Champions Mo Tae-bum (South Korea) came in a close second and Shani Davis of the United States took third. Two weeks ago, in the finale of the Speed Skating World Cup, Kuzin won a place at the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi. Today’s victory raised the skater from Kostanay to the status of main contender at Sochi in 2014. Kuzin has been participating in world championships as part of Kazakhstan’s national team since 2007. In 2011, he won gold at the Asian Winter Games in the 1,500 metre distance. Last summer, Kuzin injured his shoulder and took a sabbatical. His coaches persuaded the athlete to return, a risk that now seems justified by his new gold medal, which represents a significant achievement in history of professional sports in Kazakhstan.

Ten Makes Kazakhstan Figure Skating History with Silver From Page A1 Three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada edged Ten out for the first place medal. In the short programme, Chan scored a record 98.37 points. However, in the long programme, the judges gave high marks to Ten. When the two exercises were summed up, the skater from Kazakhstan had garnered 266.48 points and missed gold by only 1.3 points. Spanish skater Javier Fernades took bronze. “I am proud of how I performed at this World Cup,” Ten said. “I did not expect to finish this season well. Of course, the second place in the short programme was the biggest surprise for me. And I couldn’t do correctly the long programme during the whole season.” This season has been difficult for Ten because of injuries to his legs. He wasn’t able to perform well in figure skating’s Grand Prix or the Four Continents Championships.

“The beginning of the season was rough. I struggled with injuries and equipment problems. Took off a month in December but when I got back on the ice, right after the first competition in 2013—I injured myself again. The whole season seemed to be a nightmare! It was truly a tough time... but I never lost faith and didn’t give up. I believed in myself and always knew that my family and coaches are always there for me, their support was just incredible!” reads the statement on his Facebook page. Nevertheless, Ten came fully prepared to the World Cup. His short and free programmes constituted a single coherent composition that is admired by experts and deserves high marks. And the Kazakhstan figure skater coped perfectly with difficult technical elements. After the short programme, Ten was ranked second and was able to hold that position after the free skating programme.

“We did a huge amount of work before the World Championships. I completely changed my daily plan, schedule, training system, diet and practically my life. My on-ice trainings became longer and more intense,” he said. Kazakhstan’s figure skating coach, Kenesh Sarsekenova, commented the victory, saying “Everybody is happy for Denis Ten’s victory. It is the first such result in figure skating in the history of independent Kazakhstan.” After the victory, Ten’s ranking in the International Skating Union rose from 16th to the sixth place. On social networks, he admitted that he did not expected such a result from himself and hopes to repeat the success at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. At the end of his post, Ten advises his fans. “Always believe in yourself! Remember that you can always go beyond expectations.”

Yes, Eastern Kazakhstan has always had excellent traditions in ski sports. It is natural due to the weather conditions of the region. But we should also pay more attention in the future to skiing talent from the north as well and to invest money for the development of the local sports infrastructure there. The return on those efforts will certainly come.

By Yuri Lifintsev ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s best skier Alexey Poltoranin is having a remarkable season with victories in the World Cup, International Ski Federation (FIS) competitions, and winning two bronze medals at the World Championships in Italy. In an online interview, Vladimir Smirnov, Kazakhstan’s 1994 Olympic champion in the 50 km ski race, paid tribute to the achievements of his successor. How do you assess the performances of medalist Alexey Poltoranin and of Nikolay Chebotko at the FIS World Cup in Val di Fiemme? I watched the first part of the championship on TV but I saw the final race firsthand at the stadium. The whole stadium erupted in cheers for the leaders of the marathon: Johan Olsson from Sweden, Dario Cologna from Switzerland and Alexey Poltoranin from Kazakhstan. The race was very exciting and challenging. It was a real success for Kazakhstan. I saw how happy the fans were. Everyone knew that Poltoranin was a great sprinter but his capacity for endurance in the race had only been recognized in advance by a few. So it surprised and impressed many people.

Alexey Poltoranin cess will surely come. I think that in the current winter season Alexey (Poltoranin) showed his abilities both over speed, and over endurance. He also found more time to prepare his skis. Eastern Kazakhstan was always rich with ski talents. Nevertheless, earlier the centres of preparation for skiers were Rudniy, Balkashino, Shchuchinsk, all in the north of the country. Has the time come to look for competitors from those areas for the Sochi Olympics?

What are Poltoranin’s special strengths as an athlete? Alexey is comprehensively developed already. Therefore, he only needs to learn to reap the fruits of his big victories today and to plan correctly his priorities for a season. After he won bronze at the World Cup in Italy Poltoranin told a press conference that he hopes to win two medals in Sochi and would like to win gold. In Vancouver, in 2010, he was only one place away from a medal in the individual sprint. Can he take that step in the 2014 Olympics? Alexey has great chances to do well in Sochi. But I repeat, he must establish the priority of achieving his goals there over his current races. In my opinion, he should focus on the sprint contests and on the 50 kilometre race.

When you retired, every journalist in Kazakhstan asked you to identify your successor but it was clear that in those days you felt there were no real candidates to fill your role. Do you believe that successor has finally appeared? I have already noticed a long time ago an excellent skier in Kazakhstan called Alexey Poltoranin, but time is needed for any athlete to reveal their full potential in the world of international sport. Now the time has come for Poltoranin: I can truly say, he is Kazakhstan’s hope in international skiing for the next five years. It is very significant that his talent has emerged on the eve of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in 2014. In the Soviet years, Kazakhstan’s best international skiers were Ivan Garanin and Vladimir Sakhnov. But we have never had such a universal racer as Alexey Poltoranin. In the current season, he won victories in several World Cup stages in the individual and team sprints, and in the 15 kilometre in classical style. Is it possible to compete in every kind of race today? I can tell you that there are no desperate attempts in this sport. Everything has its own natural character and if the athlete prepares and trains smartly, then suc-

Modern Day Batyrs: Ancient Kazakh Martial Art Survives From Page B1 Through the centuries on the wilds of the steppe, Kazakh men, particularly batyrs, had to learn to defend themselves, their families and their loved ones – not only against invading armies but from internal tribal squabbles. And to spare lives, as well as not lose good fighting men to tribal disputes who could be put to better use defending against invaders, Kazakh tribes came up with a unique way to settle inter-tribal scores – zhekpezhek, which in Kazakh means “one on one.” Why shed the blood of many when a dispute could be settled by a fight between just two men? So a zhekpezhek fight would mean victory or defeat for a whole tribe, while sacrificing only one man. And indeed, these zhekpezhek matches were fights to the death. The weapons to be used would be pre-determined and the batyrs in the fight would do their utmost to kill their opponent, thus sparing the lives of their fellow tribesmen. It required moral and physical courage to go into these one-on-one battles with the weight of your kinsmen on your shoulders. Though the need for such zhekpezhek matches passed and the practice was deemed too brutal as modern times arrived, the spirit lives in the efforts of modern Kazakh warriors who have revived the ways of their ancestors to bring back this traditional martial art. Minus the to-thedeath part.

Today’s ZhekpeZhek Zhekpezhek is often referred to as the ultimate fighting of Central Asia because it combines elements of wrestling, judo, jiujitsu and kickboxing and because there are few rules. The strongest fighter almost always wins. The basic rules of zhekpezhek are as follows: there are two five-minute rounds in a match. If a winner is not determined after 10 minutes, a third round is added. If there's still no winner after a third round, the referees decide the outcome of the bout. There are four referees governing the match, including three side referees and one in the ring. There aren’t many rules, but there are a few: no eyegouging, no elbowing, no knees to the head, no strikes to the back of the head, no hair-pulling and no hits below the belt. Everything else is considered fair game. Fights are held in a ring, usually with helmets and elbow pads, though safety equipment isn’t always used. Zhekpezhek might best be described as a blend of mixed martial arts and the ancient, no-holds-barred Greek Olympic wrestling sport known as pankration. Like other martial arts, it requires lots of training and practice. Bouts usually start with kicking and end up on the mat with fighters wrestling until one brings the other to submission. You’ve got to be tough, patient and wise to win at zhekpezhek.

A Modern Revival The Kazakh ZhekpeZhek Federation was established in 2004 with the help of the government

and renowned kick boxing coach, distinguished boxer and former Soviet Union paratrooper karate champion Sabyrzhan Makhmetov, who was named the federation’s first president. The federation was formed to re-introduce the oncepopular martial art to a new generation. And so far it’s working. Local and regional municipalities support zhekpezhek training centers across the Kazakh steppe, workouts are free and young kids are joining zhekpezhek programs. Numerous youth tournaments are now held around the country. More serious adult tournaments are also held annually, including a major tournament held in April in eastern Kazakhstan. The tournament attracted participants from many martial arts disciplines, including judo and jiujitsu, as the flexible, nearly no-holds-barred nature of zhekpezhek accommodates many fighting styles. This flexibility helps the sport capture the interest of a broad range of martial artists. Another tournament was held over the summer in the Almaty region which attracted some of the sport’s greats, including the federation’s current president Yelmurat Kaiypzhanov.

The New Batyrs Yelmurat Kaipzhanov, president of the ZhekpeZhek Federation and former international kickboxing champion As a two-time European kickboxing champion, Asian champion, international champion and Kazakh kickboxing champion,

Kaipzhanov is not a person you want to mess with. But that wasn’t always the case. “In school, I was the weakest kid and my peers always mocked me, made fun of me, beat me and tried to extort money out of me,” Kaipzhanov, now 37 years old and living in Astana said. “I would go home and watch Bruce Lee movies and I would dream about kicking back like him, about fighting back. But every time I faced (the bullies), the same thing would happen and I would get beat up. So I decided to stop dreaming and actually start doing something about it!” So he began training in various martial arts and quickly realized he had a talent for it. “As I matured and got better and better, my ambitions got larger. I wanted to raise the Kazakh flag over my head and become the world champion.” His hard work paid off and Kaipzhanov became the European champion in 1996 and 1998 and twice waved the Kazakh flag over his head as a champion. Kaipzhanov’s skills came in handy not only in the ring, but in the streets in the years immediately following Kazakh independence when things weren’t as stable as they are today. “Since then, Kazakhstan has changed a lot. We don’t fight anymore; it is not necessary unless I am in the ring. It’s much safer now in Kazakhstan.” Today, Kaipzhanov focuses on developing and passing zhekpezhek on to the next generation. “I wish the young starting athletes a lot of patience and perseverance. Zhekpezhek is really tough,

but we [the federation] do everything to make it as available to the kids as possible, so everyone can train and be proud of this national sport,” he said, adding that he hopes zhekpezhek will become the pride of Kazakhstan similar to judo in Japan or tae kwon do in Korea. “We are planning to make zhekpezhek an international sport, taking it to international-level tournaments and inviting some UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship] fighters to try and see if they can handle it.” Aidar Makhmetov, Asian kickboxing champion, three-time world shidokan karate champion and PhD in political science from the University of Cologne Aidar Makhmetov is another Kazakh batyr who is helping revive zhekpezhek. Makhmetov began practicing traditional judo at the age of nine and fell in love with martial arts. “I don’t know exactly, it feels like the call of the soul,” he said of his attraction to the combat arts. Unfortunately, he dislocated his shoulder nearly eight years into his judo career and had to give up the sport because the moves were too dangerous for his arm. Mixed martial arts were just coming to Kazakhstan at the time and were becoming popular. So he switched sports and took up the ancient Greek Olympic wrestling and combat sport of pankration. “Even Socrates might have been an Olympic champion in pankration,” noted Astana resident. But he didn’t stop there. He also took up kickboxing and by 1998 had become the sport’s Asian champion. And in 2002 and 2003,

Makhmetov was the world’s professional shidokan style karate champion, after having held the sport’s amateur world title. He was then invited by the president of the World Karate Federation to represent Kazakhstan in the prestigious Samurai-Grand-Prix in Tokyo. “I always feel proud and excited to represent my country. It was a big honour for me to represent Kazakhstan to the world. To feel my country’s flag on my shoulders after winning the fight was awesome. It was one of the happiest moments in my life!” he tsaid. “It was my big dream to become the world champion... I was really happy to finally achieve my dream.” When it comes to zhekpezkek, Makhmetov says that it is very similar to other disciplines and that will help increase its popularity. Makhmetov has been able to enjoy the sport as a result of the training and flexibility gained through his early martial arts training. But Makhmetov isn’t just a fighter. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Cologne and is currently the director of the Department of Public Relations for the national Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk Kazyna, the largest state-owned investment fund in Kazakhstan. His advice for the country’s next generation of fighters, including Kazakhstan’s new crop of zhekpezhek masters: “Just believe in yourself. You have to have a big dream and you have to put everything you have toward achieving it. It can be difficult along the way. But (the obstacles) can’t break you; they can only make you stronger.”

The Astana Times


Astana: City with a future By Alex Walters The city of Astana has come a long way over last years. It has grown from town to city and has been become of the world’s most architecturally interesting urban centers. What many visitors don’t know, however, is that Astana as a living, developing city is far from complete. The city is developing slowly under master plans drawn up by one of the globe’s most prominent architects and the vast Kazakh steppe you see out your hotel window will soon be filled with parks, homes, businesses and life.

The View from the Pyramid The 62-meter-high Palace of Peace and Harmony, also known as the Pyramid of Peace, fascinates thousands of visitors annually with its bold design and vision of a reconciled, peaceful world. However, most of its admirers don’t realize that the Pyramid of Peace is actually the exact center of the city of Astana. The official center of the city is represented by a single point at the bottom of the pyramid. Like many of Astana’s new buildings, the Pyramid is spectacularly lit up at night and contains the national opera house, a museum of culture and other unique attractions. In the first decade and a half that Astana has served as the capital of Kazakhstan, however, the Palace of Peace and Harmony has stood alone on the southern bank of the Yessil River surrounded only by flat plains and park land. But in the next phase of Astana’s growth and development, that is going to radically change. The land around the Pyramid of Peace and other previously empty districts are going to buzz with construction workers and machines as the city surges ahead in the next phase of its development. That development will be a living testimony to the vision of three men: Kazakhstan’s founding President Nursultan Nazarbayev

who had the vision to locate a new capital in the heart of the Eurasian steppe embodying the spirit and heritage of the Kazakh people. Kisho Kurokawa, one of the greatest architects of his time and the man who drew up the master plan for the gleaming new city. Kurokawa died in 2007 at the age of 73 but his architectural agency continues to work closely with the chief planner, the government of Kazakhstan and the city of Astana in advancing the development plan. For his part, former chief architect of Astana Vladimir Laptev has embraced Kurokawa’s vision of an aesthetically futuristic city that blends with the four seasons of the year and the changing rhythms of nature. He has given practical guidance to this vision by comparing plans for building up Astana to the plan for the German city of Berlin. Berlin, like Astana, is a city with flowing water and green, leafy parks, sprinkled with woods and forests throughout. This integration of urban and rural, man and nature, East and West in harmony remains central to Astana’s plans and the men who had the vision to bring it forth. Astana is determined to make the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation the central jewel in a stunning complex that will eventually be filled with equally stunning architecture. This vision grows out of masterarchitect Kurokawa’s spiritual concepts. Kurokawa said his plans for Astana would provide “a new direction of architectural style that will inspire the visions and perceptions of the 21st century.”

Master Plan for Capital Growth The Palace of Peace and Harmony– will soon be on a central square that will serve as the heart of Astana. “The center of any city is the main square,” Laptev told to The Astana Times. “In the case of our city, the main square is Tauelsizdik Square and it is also the location of the Kazakh Eli monument. It is important


to ensure that the locations where the Palace of Peace and Harmony and the Palace of Independence already stand will be recognized as being on the main square in the symbolic and actual centre of the city." To accomplish this the city has a master plan designating the location, design and construction of Astana’s public buildings, educational institutions, sports and tourism complexes, as well as its recreation and transportation centers. That plan calls for the construction of new buildings surrounding not only the Palace of Peace and Harmony, but also revitalization of the area on the north side – or right bank – of the Yessil River where Astana will expand business, trading and information centers, as well as industrial and warehouse facilities, Laptev said. Following the master plan of renowned and late architect Kisho Kurokawa, the city is divided into six planning areas guiding new construction until at least 2020. According to the plan, the Southwest District of Astana would encompass the center of the Olympic complex, the multipurpose Abu Dhabi plaza and the presidential library. It would also include a sports complex, track and field athletics arena, botanical gardens and an aqua park. The Southwest District will be filled with and shaped by large parks, including lakes for recreation and sporting activities in both winter and summer, as well as the city’s zoo.The Northwest District will continue to be significant to the city's development with importance being given to the construction of schools. The interaction with nature throughout the city will also be an important component here and will find practical expression through the planting of hundreds of coniferous trees to cushion the sounds of traffic. The northern area of Astana will continue to be designed around the twin axes of major urban roads into the heart of the city from the Akmolinsky and Pavlodar areas. The north of the city will also contain a modern high-tech industrial park.

New Light Show Illuminates Popular Monuments By Rufiya Ospanova

ASTANA – The city of Astana on March 20 launched a unique light show that will run daily at 9 pm through April 1 in the square near the Baiterek Monument and at Lovers’ Park. It is the first time any such lighting display was shown publicly in Kazakhstan. The city akimat (government) prepared the event to celebrate the national holiday of Nauryz, the spring New Year, as a surprise for the city. The Lovers’ Park and the Baiterek monument were illuminated by thousands of brilliant lights. The light show begins at both locations with musical accompaniment. The lighting cycle at Baiterek lasts 8.5 minutes and the entire display lasts two hours. Baiterek is a tall tower with a sphere at the top representing an egg of the Samruk bird from a national fairy tale created by famous sculptors Moustafa Hadi and Paul Marchandise. Lighting designer Koert Vermeulen and scenographer Marcos Vinals Bassol created an animated, dynamic lighting pro-

gramme for the tower. Vermeulen created visual and multimedia effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. “I came here at the invitation of the mayor of Astana, to celebrate your national holiday Nauryz with you,” Verlmeulen said introducing the show. “The time is perfect for installing light because it is possible in these weather conditions to see all the power and beauty of our display. This young city and its amazingly beautiful architecture have inspired me and I have used Kazakh classical music as a background. You will also see the symbols and ornaments of Kazakh culture and decorations from the columns integrated into the light show.” “To bewitch the crowds, we always experiment with new methods of visual designs, forms, technologies and materials from the unique locations where we work,” Vermeulen said. “We pay special attention to several key elements: originality, visual impact, uniqueness, and integrate our lighting with existing architecture. We play with new forms, technologies and materials. Combining our skills allows us to

translate the artistic experience in order to create our unique vision of light and to create a work of art.” The light show involves a combination of multiple lights. Powerful flashlights illuminate it with continual changes of colours. The show uses the latest lighting effects. Vermeulen said 98 light projectors were involved and the show took two weeks to prepare. “The number 98 symbolizes the year Astana became the capital of Kazakhstan,” he said. Vermeulen has developed lighting systems for buildings and locations including the Church of Saint Maryial, the De Klanderij, Optimum and Sanko Park commercial centres, La Defense in Paris and major parks throughout Europe, Turkey, Middle East and Asia. In April 2005 he provided the lighting for the Le Reve show in the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Vermeulen has also created light shows to honour King Albert II of Belgium and for the opening ceremony of Belgium’s six month presidency of the European Union in 2010.

Guests and residents of the capital have an opportunity to witness a unique light show daily at 9 p.m. through April 1.

Also included in plans for the city’s future center is an area currently slated to incorporate buildings which are planned to host the international exhibition EXPO 2017, as well as the covered Batygay urban complex which will spread over 154 hectares. Bringing the city of Astana to its full potential is a lifetime of work. But Laptev remains full of energy and optimism and shares the original vision of Nazarbayev and Kurokawa for the future of the country’s capital.

Happy Commuters Make Healthy City A city’s population is its beating heart and head. But a city’s transportation system, including its network of roads and railways, is its bloodstream carrying all living things to and from their homes and work places. Even the most beautiful and well-planned urban center will become a dangerous clot of frustration, stress, ill-health and misery if its transportation system is ignored or under-funded. The planners of the city of Astana know that and are determined Kazakhstan’s dazzling new capital will escape that fate. Astana’s development is being carried out within three major plans. And construction of a stateof-the-art transportation infrastructure is integral to those plans. “First, we have developed a plan to guide the contiguity of the development of the city through the creation of new residential areas: second, the construction of a planned, integrated, urban transport infrastructure; and third, the establishment of town-planning regulations to govern and guide the development of the city territories,” Laptev said. “The most

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

interesting part of the master plan is its transport infrastructure,” Laptev continued. “This has to be designed to accommodate a twicedaily pendulum-rhythm migration, or commute, from a 30-kilometer to 60-kilometer zone to allow smooth, convenient journeys for large numbers of workers into the city from the suburbs and satellite complexes where they live. But it must also ensure the convenience and practicality of short-term trips to recreation areas.” This transportation master plan is defined along eight structural axes called Korgalzhinsky, Pavlodar, Kokshetausky, Kostanaysky, Karaganda, Ereymentausky, Kosshy and Maybalyk. On each of these, Astana is creating systems of three parallel streets. One of them will serve as the central highway carrying public transportation.

The other two lanes of each major arterial highway will consist of lateral one-way traffic lanes. The plan also includes the construction of five transfer terminals from public bus routes to easily accessible railway transportation systems. These terminals will also include multilevel parking garages for cars and bicycles. Much of Astana’s new transportation infrastructure will be focused in its northern districts. This is where major railways will be located to serve both commuter needs and the requirements of a major industrial park. And through it, at least two major highways already drive straight to the heart of the city. These ambitious but practical plans are designed to expand the services and livability of the capital to satisfy the needs of its residents.

Capital’s Population Grows According to official data, the population of Astana city exceeded 780,000 in February. The number of residents in the city has increased by 500,000 since Dec. 1997, when the capital was moved from Almaty to Astana. According to the Statistics Agency of Kazakhstan, by 2020 the population of the capital will approach 1,198,000 people.

The Astana Times, March 27, 2013  
The Astana Times, March 27, 2013  

The Astana Times, March 27, 2013