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Astana Calling


President’s State of the Nation Address Strategic Plan for Kazakhstan to 2050

EXPO 2017 – Opportunities for Innovation Astana begins preparations

Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy President sets out new economic policy

President Nazarbayev attends CSTO meeting in Moscow

Finnish Ambassador Looks to Future

Member states agree 2013 priorities

Strong potential for cooperation

Also in the News

President Nazarbayev delivers his address to the nation

President’s State of the Nation Address In a State of the Nation address to the Majilis (Parliament) in Astana on December 14th, President Nazarbayev summed up the achievements of Kazakhstan in its first 21 years as an independent state and presented a dynamic vision of the path forward to 2050. In 1997, just six years after declaring independence, the Kazakhstan 2030 Strategy set out the steps to strengthen sovereignty, achieve the transition to a market economy, carve a position of influence for Kazakhstan on the world stage, and above all, improve the lives of its citizens by driving economic growth and laying the foundations of a new social system. Today, these goals have been effectively achieved, the President said. For the first time in its history, Kazakhstan has clear, internationally-recognized borders stretching 14,000km around its territory, within which 140 different ethnic groups live together harmoniously, with a standard of living and access to education and health services all far improved from the post-Soviet era. Economic growth averaging 7.6% per annum since 1999 has resulted in a seven-fold increase in GDP per capita and placed Kazakhstan among the top five most dynamically developing countries of the world. Kazakhstan is internationally recognized as a leading advocate of nuclear non-proliferation, a force for peace and stability in Central Asia, and a highly effective player in regional and international organizations. But now, it is time for Kazakhstan to embark on a new strategy for the 21st century; one which will address the major global challenges of this era and ensure the sustainable development of the country into the future, said the President.

“Over the last 20 years we have modernized all areas of our society at a very high rate. We’ve done things that many other countries achieved in 100 or 150 years.” President Nazarbayev

After outlining the ten universal challenges now facing all countries and regions (see separate table for summary) the President set out a new political course for Kazakhstan to 2050. The overall goal is clear: to elevate Kazakhstan to the ranks of the 30 most developed countries in the world by 2050. The Kazakhstan 2050 strategy prescribes detailed measures across the following seven key areas to achieve that goal: 1. Economic Policy: President Nazarbayev summed up the new economic policy as one of “universal economic pragmatism” focused on three overarching goals: defining new markets where Kazakhstan can participate as an equal business partner and create new sources of economic growth; encouraging a favourable investment climate; and developing an effective private sector economy and public private partnerships. The President set out in detail the application of the new economic policy across macroeconomic policy, infrastructure development, management of state assets, development and management of natural resources, and the industrial and agricultural sectors (see separate item below on Economic Policy for more detail). 2. Support of Entrepreneurship: the target here is a doubling in the number of small and medium enterprises by 2030, to be achieved by a range of measures to support the sector; a new model of public/private partnership to include a National Chamber of Entrepreneurs; and a new phase of privatizing non-strategic State enterprises. 3. Social Policy: The President outlined a far-reaching strategy on social policy, including: minimum social standards based on an inclusive approach to social and healthcare needs; targeted social support for vulnerable groups; training/retraining programs and social support for the unemployed; and addressing regional social imbalances through a range of measures including coordination of regional development agencies, the single-industry town development program which began in 2012 and a new small town development program to start in 2013. ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 284 / 2

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Members of Parliament applaud President Nazarbayev’s address

The strategy also includes detailed measures to modernize labor policy to protect the interests of employees, address the issue of unemployment and reduce wage disparities; protect the rights of women to education and careers as well as freedom of dress and movement in a secular society; protect the rights of all children born in Kazakhstan; and ensure access to a high standard of affordable healthcare for all citizens. 4. Knowledge and Professional Skills: Since 1997 spending on education at all levels has increased almost ten-fold. The 2050 strategy continues the emphasis on education and training, with measures to modernize teaching methods, develop social responsibility in education, create a vocational engineering education program with international standard certification, develop an innovative research development policy and encourage cooperation between science and business and the transfer of technologies and training. 5. Further Strengthening Statehood and Democracy: The President outlined a comprehensive overhaul of state governance aimed at an improved, more transparent system of state planning and forecasting and a state audit system based on international best practice. Other measures included decentralization of power to the regions and the election of local regional governors from 2013; improved training and accountability for public sector employees; the modernization of the legal system; and the continued reform and modernization of law enforcement bodies and special agencies. 6. Foreign Policy: President Nazarbayev confirmed that Kazakhstan will maintain the balanced foreign policy which has enabled it to develop friendly international relations and play a significant role in the international arena. However, he cautioned that growing instability in the global geopolitical environment has increased the need for regional security mechanisms, and the importance of organizations such as the UN, OSCE, NATO, CSTO, SCO, CICA and others. 7. New Kazakhstan Patriotism: President Nazarbayev said the basis of patriotism in Kazakhstan is equal rights for all citizens based on shared responsibility for the honor of their homeland. Emphasizing the importance of preserving national culture and traditions in all their diversity and greatness, the President said that the intelligentsia has a contribution to make towards creating a society of progressive ideals by 2050, in which an inclusive concept of Kazakhstan identity will be the firm unifying core.

Kazakhstan 2050 - Ten Global Challenges of the 21st Century identified by President Nazarbayev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The accelerating course of history – Earth’s population to reach 9 billion by 2050 Demographic imbalance – ageing population, mass movement of population Food shortages – one million people enduring food shortages Water scarcity – increasing demand while water remains a limited resource Energy shortages – the hydrocarbon era comes to an end, renewable energy sources must be developed Exhaustion of natural resources – how to manage natural resources for sustainable growth? Third Industrial Revolution – technology changes the world we live in Growing social instability – we must address the root cause, social inequality Crisis of civilization’s values – we must all commit to equality and dialogue between cultures and civilizations Threat of new global destabilization – we must be prepared for future financial and economic crises

The President called on all citizens to unite against all forms of radicalism, extremism and terrorism, and said that the secular nature of the State is an important condition of the successful development of Kazakhstan and will remain a cornerstone of its strategy to 2050.


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President Nazarbayev outlines the 2050 Strategy

Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy In his State of the Nation address to the Majilis (Parliament) on December 14, President Nazarbayev outlined a new policy of “universal economic pragmatism” designed to make Kazakhstan one of the world’s top 30 most developed states by 2050. The three key aims of the policy are: to define new markets where Kazakhstan can form productive partnerships and create new sources of economic growth; to create a favourable investment climate; and to develop an effective private sector and public private partnerships. The President explained how these overall aims will be achieved through the application of the new policy to three key areas of macroeconomic policy and various sectors of the economy: Macroeconomic policy Budgetary policy: • The focus will be on long-term, national projects related to diversification of the economy and development of infrastructure; these will be selected based on feasibility and rate of return and must be as carefully managed as private sector investments. • There will also be a renewed focus on building up reserves to provide a buffer against future global economic deterioration. Tax policy: • The focus will be on stimulating internal growth, driving exports and encouraging saving and investment by individuals. The drive to simplify tax and customs administration and reporting will continue and tax benefits will be made available to those involved in production and new technology sectors. Monetary & Debt policy: • Key tasks of the National Bank and the Government in this area will be to manage inflation while encouraging economic growth; to maintain public and quasi-public sector debt at moderate levels; and to reduce the budget deficit to 1.5% of GDP by 2015 (from the 2.1% expected in 2013). • Kazakhstan’s banks need to meet private sector demand for finance.


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People • The success of the 2050 vision for Kazakhstan will depend on the knowledge and skills of the people implementing the new strategy. There will be a renewed focus on enhancing existing managerial resources and potential by introducing modern management tools and principles of corporate governance across the public sector. • Kazakhstan will also seek to attract foreign specialists in the open market to come to work in Kazakhstan, where they will modernize production and transfer their skills to the domestic workforce. Infrastructure • The development of the infrastructure needed to integrate Kazakhstan into the global economy will continue, while there will also be a new focus on regional infrastructure. Projects currently underway should double the capacity of transit across Kazakhstan by 2020 and the President set a new target to increase this capacity ten-fold by 2050. • Kazakhstan will also embark on a program of global infrastructural integration, seeking joint venture partners to develop transport and logistic hubs at key transit points in the region and throughout the world. Managing State Assets • To maximize the effective management of state assets, the country must work as a single corporation, with the State at its core. • The policy will be driven by the National Fund and the key areas of focus will be new industries and technologies and stimulating private companies to invest in research and innovation. Innovation for its own sake is not an end in itself. Kazakhstan will reap great benefit from the selective development of new technologies and products.

“By 2050 Kazakhstan must enter the top 30 club of most developed states in the world. The competition among developing countries for a place in that club will be intense. The nation must be ready to face changes in the global economic climate, realizing clearly that the desired spot is guaranteed only to those with the strongest economies.” President Nazarbayev

Astana Calling asked two leading western experts on CIS issues for their assessment of Strategy Kazakhstan 2050: Julian Cooper, Professor of Russian Economic Studies, Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham (UK) and Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) “President Nazarbayev has presented an extremely ambitious vision for the future of his country. To promote Kazakhstan to the ranks of the 30 leading economies of the world in terms of GDP by 2050 will not be easy and will require outperforming many equally ambitious potential rival claimants to this status. However, Strategy-2050 takes realistic account of some of the key challenges of the 21st century and the need to respond to them. It will indeed be a highly competitive global order with some severe resource constraints. One can only wish the Kazakh people every success in its implementation.” Richard Weitz, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute, Washington DC “President Nazarbayev reviewed Kazakhstan’s many accomplishments during the last two decades but did not hesitate to identify the social, economic, and diplomatic challenges that still face the country. He outlined a sensible strategy for making progress in coming years, including promoting deeper regional economic integration, greater domestic democracy, and an admirable non-proliferation agenda. The economic agenda was especially well-developed, with the goals of diversifying the national economy away from its dependence on hydrocarbon exports, positing Kazakhstan to assume a leading role in advanced sectors such as nanotechnology and biotechnology, and committing to work with foreign partners to acquire foreign capital and technology while contributing to the development of the global economy.”


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Managing Natural Resources • Kazakhstan’s abundant natural resources need to be managed strategically. A two-pronged approach will maximize the value of traditional hydrocarbon commodities while observing new ecological standards, and develop alternative and renewable sources of energy which will provide half of Kazakhstan’s energy consumption by 2050. Industrial Innovation • Kazakhstan is more than half-way through the first five-year action plan under the State program for industrial innovation. A plan for the next phase must now be developed. The goal is to progressively increase the portion of total exports which is provided by non-energy sectors, to three times the current level by 2040. • Key strategic measures which will contribute to that goal include: - Developing new industries in the export-oriented non-energy sectors and supporting domestic producers in developing strategies to exploit new market niches and adapt to the impact of Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO - Maximizing the benefits of the Single Economic Area across Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus and ensuring that Kazakh producers can compete effectively in this market of 170 million consumers - Accelerating the transition to a low carbon, green economy by creating an international “Green Bridge” organization in 2013 and launching the “Green4” project based on four satellite cities around Almaty - Developing a program to develop joint international companies and partnerships, to facilitate technology exchange. Agriculture • The President tasked the Government with adopting a comprehensive development plan for the agricultural sector during 2013 and promised that state financial support for the sector would increase 4.5 times by 2020, in order to modernize the sector and enable Kazakhstan to become a global player in the eco-friendly production of agricultural products. Managing Water Resources • The time has come for a complete rethink of the management of water resources in Kazakhstan, given the increasing global scarcity of this natural resource. • Drawing on the best international practice in countries such as Australia, which have long experience of dealing with water resource issues, Kazakhstan will introduce advanced extraction technology to maximize the prudent use of its abundant underground water reserves. • The President instructed the Government to develop a state program on water management, with the aim of securing the long-term supply of drinking water by 2020 and irrigation water by 2040.


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CSTO Heads of State in Moscow this week

President Nazarbayev attends CSTO meeting in Moscow President Nazarbayev attended a meeting of Heads of State of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Moscow on December 19. The leaders of six member states (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) discussed a range of international issues and paid particular attention to the situation in Afghanistan and measures to counter threats emanating from its territory. They also reviewed the activities of the CSTO in 2012 and set a number of tasks for 2013. The six leaders agreed to strengthen and develop the Organization’s military component as well as its system of collective response to emergency situations. They also took the decision to suspend Uzbekistan’s membership of the Organization after a request from the Government of Uzbekistan received in June. Opening the meeting, President Putin thanked President Nazarbayev for Kazakhstan’s effective and productive Chairmanship of the Organization in 2012. The leaders discussed the outlook for Afghanistan up to 2015. President Nazarbayev noted that in Central Asia the CSTO’s plans are being implemented in the areas of counter-narcotics, strengthening of the Organization’s operational response forces and a common air defense system.

“I believe it is important to develop on the basis of the CSTO a collective response system for emergency situations. The experience of our countries and global practice show that emergency situations personnel often have to carry out rescue operations during natural disasters. It is essential to create special groups, and to train and equip them with special equipment to help each other in these cases.” President Nazarbayev

The leaders also discussed the issue of deepening the CSTO’s cooperation with international organizations. President Nazarbayev noted Kazakhstan’s support for the priority of international law in resolving disputes and continued coordination of the CSTO’s work with the United Nations and other international organizations. The President noted that the strengthening of the CSTO’s ability to respond to emergency situations had been a priority of Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship and that the training area of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations would be made available to help develop joint actions. A total of 18 documents were signed at the meeting. The Chairmanship of the CSTO in 2013 passes to Kyrgyzstan. During his visit to Moscow, President Nazarbayev also attended a Heads of State meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union (comprising Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan) as well as a session of the Higher Eurasian Economic Council (comprising Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia).


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Young people in Astana celebrating the announcement of the decision to hold EXPO 2017 in Astana

EXPO 2017 – Opportunities for Innovation At a December 6 meeting of the State Commission on preparations for EXPO 2017, President Nazarbayev emphasized the opportunities for innovative development which will arise from hosting this major event, the Prime Minister’s website reports. “The EXPO exhibition is a global event. In the exhibition world its importance can be compared to that of the largest economic forums and it attracts as many tourists as the most popular global sports events. The exhibition will help attract large investment into our country. Kazakhstan will also receive new technologies and innovations which will have a direct effect on the development of the “green economy”, the President said. The President has commissioned a comprehensive “Energy of the Future” development plan for 2013-2017, which will ensure the country is prepared to host the “Future Energy” themed EXPO 2017. The “Future Energy” theme was a natural choice for Kazakhstan, reflecting its commitment to developing a green economy and promoting international cooperation on sustainable energy. Kazakhstan’s global “Green Bridge” initiative, endorsed by the Rio+20 conference last June, aims to bring together governments, international organizations and private business to find transnational solutions for sustainable growth.

“An exhibition on the scale of EXPO 2017 will build international awareness of the energy and environmental challenges that we need to face 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 wave power.” Kazakhstan’s Minister of Environment Protection, Nurlan Kapparov

The green economy is also among the priority areas of Kazakhstan’s National Agency for Technological Development (NATD), which allocated KZT 3.5 billion (USD 23 million) in 2012 for innovation support. The NATD offers support in two primary forms: business incubation facilities in eight techno-parks across Kazakhstan; and grant funding for up to 57% of start-up costs across nine industry sectors. State funding is also available for the patenting and commercialization stages of innovative projects. Other areas of focus of the NATD include online start-ups, which are at a relatively early stage of development in Kazakhstan, but could become a productive sector of the economy with the help of readily available investment. A dedicated EXPO 2017 Assistance Fund is already up and running in Kazakhstan, with the dual remit to support research into future energy and to train professionals from developing countries in Nazarbayev University in the development and introduction of renewable energies. In his address to the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) in November (when the decision to award EXPO 2017 was announced), Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov said that €62 million has already been allocated to the EXPO 2017 Assistance Fund. Recently-enacted legislation supporting renewable energy sources has facilitated the construction of solar panel production plants and wind energy facilities covering most of the territory of Kazakhstan, Mr Kelimbetov said. Hosting EXPO 2017 will provide Astana with the opportunity to showcase the latest global developments in alternative and renewable energy and to become a permanent hub for the development of alternative energy solutions across Central Asia.


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Mikko Kinnunen, Finland’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan

Finnish Ambassador Looks to Future In a recent interview with the Almaty online newspaper “Liter” published on December 14, Finland’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Mikko Kinnunen, spoke of the similiarities between his country and Kazakhstan and outlined his hopes for the further development of trade and cultural relations between the two. Ambassador Kinnunen said that Finland and Kazakhstan are both relatively young countries in a European context - it is just 95 years since Finland declared independence and this year marked the 21st anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence. Coincidentally, both celebrate their Independence Day in December, Finland on the 6th and Kazakhstan on the 16th. Both countries have placed knowledge at the forefront of their national strategies and they also share a similar climate and so are equipped to deal with snowbound winters. The Ambassador highlighted the potential for cooperation which arises from the common ground between the two countries. The emphasis placed by President Nazarbayev on education and training has created opportunities for Finnish educators, such as a recent agreement for Finnish experts in technology transfer to train teachers in professional technical colleges in Kazakhstan. The Customs Union between Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus has created an opportunity for Finland to export winter “Hakka” tyres, produced in its St Petersburg plant, directly to Kazakhstan. Four years ago, a project to build a Hakka tyre factory in Astana was shelved as the global economic crisis took hold, but the abolition of duties between Customs Union members has opened the Kazakhstan market to Finland by another route. Ambassador Kinnunen emphasized the growth in trade and cooperation which has already occurred in recent years. Trade grew rapidly between 2000-2008, increasing by double digits most years to reach €850m in 2008. Volumes fell significantly in the wake of the global economic crisis, but have since recovered and the full-year estimate for 2012 is €500m. Finnish technology is now successfully deployed across Kazakhstan’s mining sector, notably at the “Altyn Tau” gold plant in Kokshetau. Nokia is the most popular mobile phone brand in Kazakhstan, where the leading telecommunications operator is Kcell - originally a Finnish company, now in joint Finnish-Swedish ownership. The construction industry was singled out by the Ambassador as an area where demand for housing in Kazakhstan may create new opportunities for Finnish companies. While there are some differences to be resolved around issues of price and quality, the “Honka” log home builder is just one example of a Finnish company producing high-quality products ideally suited to Kazakhstan’s needs. Ambassador Kinnunen welcomed the recent introduction by Finnair of direct flights between Astana and Lapland and encouraged Kazakhs to discover Finland both for holiday and business travel. Interaction between the two countries has deepened since the visit of President Nazarbayev to Helsinki in 2009, particularly in the areas of high tech and education. In October 2012 Finland’s Minister of EU Affairs and International Trade, Alexander Stubb, led a delegation of business people from 55 Finnish companies across 13 economic sectors in a visit to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan established an Embassy to Finland in Helsinki earlier this year and Ambassador Kinnunen expects next year to move to a new residence for the Finnish Ambassador on Astana’s left bank, a joint Kazakh-Finnish project which is nearing completion. Finland’s President, Sauli Niinistö, who took office in February 2012, is scheduled to make his first official visit to Kazakhstan in April 2013. ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 284 / 9

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Also in The News… • Kazakhstan will sign trade and manufacturing deals with foreign investors worth over USD 300 million, according to Kaznex Invest’s Regional Director for Europe, Markhabbat Balgabay. These include an investment deal with Serbian company “Elekrometall” and a number of Polish and Russian companies, most notably “Magnat” which specializes in hotel construction. (Tengrinews) • Serikbay Bisekeyev from Kazakhstan has won the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” prize in Russia. Serikbay, who lives in St Petersburg, set up a business that offers its services to companies in the Forbes list. He started off selling mobile phones, then he went on to supply control room equipment for large industrial enterprises such as “Lukoil”, “Novatek”, “Rosneft”, “Gazprom” and “Sibir”. In 2005 he decided to create his own brand of control equipment which became competitive not only in Russia but the world over. Recently he set up two joint enterprises in Frankfurt and Delhi. He believes that Kazakhstan is capable of creating high-technology products and dominating the global market. (Kazinform) • GDP per capita for 2012 will exceed USD 12,000. According to Alikhan Smailov, the head of the Statistics Agency, Kazakhstan’s GDP for January-November 2012 rose by 5%. Capital investments for January-November 2012 were 3.1 times greater than for the previous year. Industrial production output was 0.4% greater than for January-November 2011. The official medium term inflation forecast is 6-8%. (Tengrinews) • Kazakhstan’s Statistics Agency has gathered data on consumer activity. 32% of respondents said that they had noted an improvement in the country’s economic situation over the past year, while 13% said that they had noted deterioration. The “economic climate index” increased by 1% from the previous month (to 19%). The “willingness to buy index” decreased by 1% from the previous month. 33% of respondents in November 2012 remarked on an improvement in their financial situation and 14% said that their financial situation had worsened. (Nur) • Statistics show that there has been a 1% decrease in the number of people living below the subsistence level in Kazakhstan. In rural areas the number of people living below the subsistence level is 3.4 times higher than in towns and cities. The highest percentage of people in this group comes from the regions of South Kazakhstan, Zhambyl and West Kazakhstan. The lowest percentage comes from the regions of Almaty, Astana, Karagandy and Aktyubinskaya. (Nur) • On December 15 the first Lianyungang - Almaty container train service was launched in China’s Gansu Province. Freight traffic flow between China and Kazakhstan will be facilitated through the newly opened railroad border entry point Altynkol (Kazakhstan) - Horgos (China). (Kazinform) • The inhabitants of Central Kazakhstan will all be able to receive cheap, high quality medicines thanks to the opening of a new specialized logistics centre for storing them. KZT 1.37 billion was spent on this project, which is part of the “Business Road Map2020”. The center has an automated management system which will guarantee a consistent high quality of medical products from manufacture to delivery. 42 new workplaces have been created as a result. (Liter)


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• Kazakhstan’s youth has joined forces to put into practice President Nazarbayev’s ideas, which he expressed in the state-of-thenation address on December 14. Inspired by the President’s words, representatives of the “Nur Otan” Party youth group “Zhas Otan” held a Skype conference with regional executive secretaries and groups. They agreed that next year would be dedicated to working with young people living in rural areas; helping them resolve employment problems, cultivating family values and encouraging the use of the Kazakh language. (Liter) • Former Chairman of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Hikmet Çetin, has compared President Nazarbayev to Atatürk at the international conference “Strategy Kazakhstan-2050”. He called President Nazarbayev the pride of the Turkish world and said that Kazakhstan’s economic and social development could be an example for every country. “He always has his own vision, his strategy. A new strategy is further proof of the far-sightedness and wisdom of your leader”, said Çetin. (Tengrinews) • December marks the 20th anniversary of the US Cooperative Threat Reduction program established as a result of an initiative by Senator Sam Nunn and Senator Richard Lugar to secure and eliminate weapons and materials of mass destruction on the territory of the former Soviet Union. As part of this program, newly independent Kazakhstan was able to safely rid itself of the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world and its infrastructure. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Department) • There are plans to hold around 30 space launches from Baikonur in 2013. In addition to the usual “Soyuz-TMA” and “Progress-M” spacecraft launches, Russian land remote sensing satellites (two “Resurs-P” satellites), meteorological “Meteor-M” and scientific “Bion-M” as well as two commercial satellites will be launched. The number of “Soyuz” rocket launches will increase to 15 and the “Proton-M” rocket will be used frequently. (Tengrinews) • World-class classical musicians often come to visit Almaty not only as tourists but also to perform in large concerts and to lead master classes. Recently a concert featuring Austrian pianist Manfred Wagner-Artzt and Kazakhstan’s State Academic Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Chin-Chao Lin from China, was held in the Kazakh State Zhambyl Philharmonic Hall. (Liter) • Kazakhstan’s men’s ice skating team won the team sprint in the fifth stage of the speedskating World Cup in Harbin, China. Aleksandr Glushchenko, Viktor Glushchenko and Denis Kuzin won with a time of one minute 23.48 seconds. Germany, Russia, Canada and China were among the top five. In the women’s category, China won the team sprint. (Tengrinews)

ASTANA CALLING is a weekly online publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Please send your requests and questions to


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A weekly online publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.