Article Archive for Year 2009
Sunday Times has reported on the new scandal, related to the chain of shady stories about Kazakhgate and subtle foreign activities of the Kazakh authorities. Once again the name of some Alexander Mirtchev is in the files – and once again it might be Rakhat Aliyev, who leaked the information to the media.
As one of the world’s most prominent investigative journalists, David Leppard, informs the readers, this time two serving MI6 officers appeared to be the weakest link in the United Kingdom (last time it was none other but Prince Andrew, who sold his luxury house to a musterious Kazakh buyer at the overestimated price). The agents have allegedly leaked confidential information to a Washington-based firm of private consultants, which had been once hired by Dariga Nazarbayeva, daughter of the Kazakh president and ex-wife of R.Aliyev.
The firm, called Global Options, was said to have been commissioned to research the issue of Kazakhgate within the United States law enforcement bodies and influence the investigation process. As the British journalists found out (or, rather, were told about by somebody), the Global Options’ report contained excerpts from the confidential MI6 files about privatization of the oilfields and a refinery by Hurricane Hydrocarbons, a Canadian oil company, and also about Akezhan Kazhegeldin, the former Kazakh prime minister. He was a bright critic of Nazarbayev after he fled the country and was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in jail under the alleged corruption charges.
“The leaked document has been circulating in Washington for several months. Lawyers with knowledge of the case accept that the authors of the report may have embellished details of their contacts with law enforcement officials on both sides of the Atlantic”, the British newspaper underscores.
However, a Whitehall security official said the report did not match MI6’s records. The Kazakh embassy in London also denied any involvement of the government in this case. All in all, it appears that the Sunday Times has been shown a copy of the report, prepared by Global Options, and told (by some “political opponents”) that Mirtchev allegedly is Nazarbayev’s trusted person and “cashier”. The only person who told that was Rakhat Aliyev and Erzhan Dosmukhamedov, the Aliyev’s crony and informal press-person. Thus, the whole story may turn out to be just another invention of Aliyev.
Translation of the Adam’s post from here.
On January 9 the Press Office of the Government informed that Karim Massimov, the Prime-Minister of Kazakhstan, started his private, yet official blog.
Last December the Prime –Minister visited Russian capital, where he gave the interview to Echo of Moscow radio station. There he was asked a series of uneasy questions, including the one about LiveJournal, the popular blogging platform, being blocked in Kazakhstan. Then Karim Massimov has said that he blogs himself, regularly spends his time in the internet and has no problems with accessing LiveJournal. He has promised to sort this problem out on his return to Kazakhstan. So far, LiveJournal is still blocked, though the Prime-Minister has started his private blog … on the Cabinet of Ministers’ web-site.
Adam-Kesher ironically says:
If it’s gone this way, then everyone, whose LJ – accounts are inaccessible in Kazakhstan, should receive an account on the governmental portal!
Meanwhile, the first visitors of the “Premiere-blog” are complaining about low speed of comments posting option:
I have “Saving the comment” notice hanging in Massimov’s blog already for 30 minutes… nashingyou complains [ru]. Adam assumes that all the time the comment is being moderated; and alim-atenbek is joking that it is not only the comment being checked, but also the identity of the commenter [ru].
While addressing to the visitors of his blog, Massimov noted that the main purpose of the project was “presentation of the high-quality, interesting and helpful information to the users in the user-friendly form”. Also, the Prime-Minister mentioned that “in future the blog would be filled with almost all information, which is necessary for the site visitors”. Frankly, it is not quite clear what is the reason for keeping the web-sties of the Government, ministries and agencies…
At the meantime, Askhat is wondering about two things [kaz]:
“Why the blog is in Russian only?”, and “When the access to LiveJournal will be open?”
Your friendly neighborhood editor is back! For those interested, I’ve posted photos and videos in my personal blog. Incidentally, Transition Online‘s November/December issue of Open Society Education News has an article about schooling refugee children in Johannesburg.
In neweurasia news, the site reboot is imminent. We are currently re-staffing. Our editorial positions have already been filled with one exception: Managing Editor for the Russian edition (see: the advert on the homebase for details). More importantly, we are need of writers. Expect an advertisement regarding this matter shortly.
In CyberChaikhana news, I’m going to hit the ground running with new chapters. I’m going to endeavor to keep up with once-a-week posting, but I want to make sure what I post is more often book-related than not. In my judgment, last year I digressed in this space a few too many times.
All-in-all, , expect a productive new year, O intrepid readers! As Stan Lee likes to say, “Excelsior!“
I made this pictures on 31th December, about 4 p.m. My friends and I decided to go to the Red Square. To be honest, we were really shocked. Why? Please, see more pictures under cut.
Read the full story »
It has been a month since Interfax Agency first reported that an 18-year-old student from Kazakhstan had been stabbed to death in south-west Moscow.
About 9:20 pm the passers-by found a wounded young man at Butlerov street. The ER doctors, who arrived to the scene, certified death of the young man. The reason – loss of blood after he got knife directly into his liver. The killed person was identified as Erlan Aitymov, the native of Astana (Kazakhstan), who was the first-year student of Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas.
Starting from 2007 LUKOIL covers education costs for the best high-school graduates from Astana at the Gubkin University of Oil and Gas. Erlan Aitymov among four of the 2008 grads and the best in Astana. He scored 119 out of 120 maximum possible points in the National Graduate Test and was awarded with the gold medal [sign of distinction given to the best performing gradiates], writes utkir-aka [ru].
Erlan’s friends and fellow students remember him as a positively-thinking and open guy, who was fond of graffiti and guitar. After death, his personal page in VKONTAKTE, the most popular web-based social network in Russia, was filled up fast with condolences. Several virtual pages full of the notes expressing anger and pain were written in good memory of Erlan and spread out in the cyber space interlacing in the comments made by absolutely different people united in one common grief loss.
Alim-atenbek is not satisfied with the official reaction to the crime [ru]:
I am struck by such inactive position of the Moscow officials – and the Russian government in general – concerning the skinheads problem and other radical nationalistic groupsings. How can Moscow be treated as the centre of culture after that?
Hundreds of Police officers line the perimeter of the Dushanbe airports arrival terminal, taming an anxious crowd.
The terminal door gently opens; the crowd rumbles and pushes forward only to be held back by the perimeter of policemen.
I wait for a glimpse of shimmering sunglasses and the elegant dress of a local pop star that is, judging by the rate of cigarettes being lit and extinguished by those standing beside me, only moments away from walking out of the baggage terminal door. But to my surprise it is merely an aircraft carrying passengers from their pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
An elderly woman with a cane in hand, covered by long white hijab, inches her way out of the door into the view of the crowd. Behind her follows what is presumably her husband, wearing a blue robe and a thick white beard.
No pop stars here.
Anxiously, they scan the faces of the crowd for a familiar face, perhaps a son or nephew there to pick them up. Tears build in the mans eyes. It is clear that the two are confused and dazed to be the focal point of so many.
Coming from an impoverished nation, where the sum of money required for a ticket to Saudi Arabia may be prohibitively expensive, the emotional return of these passengers can be understood. The feat of paying their way to Saudi Arabia surely took some families long financial planning and for others it simply put such a trip out of reach.
Watching the joy of each returning passenger I couldnt help but think of the thousands in despair for not completing the Hajj, a goal struck down by a lifetime of war, corruption and lack of opportunity.
Mohib Ahmad writes about a Haj Subsidy, where the Indian government provides monetary support for haj pilgrims.
Are any Tajiks backed by such support?
LiveJournal is still blocked in Kazakhstan – the national telecom operator started filtering it on October 7, although it never acknowledged this fact. Skullptor is sarcastic [ru]:
I think it’s a step in the right direction. Kazakhs should be barred from Internet on the whole – there are viruses, porn, violence and social networks. The nation’s health is above all.
When prime-minister Massimov was on a visit in Russia and took part in live interview on “Echo of Moscow” radio station, he was asked about the reasons of blockage. His reply was predictable – the head of the government said he was not aware of the problem. “I am a blogger myself and I access this service without any troubles”, he said [ru]. Finally, he promised to solve the issue asap upon return to Kazakhstan. Pycm posts a call on the prime-minister [ru]: “So, where’s the access to LJ? Haven’t you come back yet?”
Meanwhile, bloggers decided to appeal to Rakhat Aliyev. This person, former tycoon, former deputy chief of special services and ex-husbank of the presidential daughter, was sentenced in absentia in Kazakhstan for organized crime, abduction of people and preparation of a coup. He fled the country and now lives abroad, sporadically leaking wiretapped phone conversations of the higher officials. He also uses LiveJournal as a channel of broadcast. However, very few people in Kazakhstan sympathize to Aliyev – he has probably the worst reputation among public figures in Kazakhstan. The open letter was posted in Livejournal, which is accessed by the bloggers via proxy and anonimization websites [ru]:
On behalf of the Kazakhstani LiveJournal users, we ask you to delete your accounts on livejournal.com. We believe that this step will result in withdrawal of blockage of the service by the Kazakhstani providers. Such step of yours would demonstrate the understanding of the problems of Kazakhstani Internet users.
Dear users, if you support this initiative, please, leave “+1” in the comments section.
There was no response from Aliyev so far, but the topic has become one of the most popular posts, according to Yandex.Blogs monitoring service with more than 200 “signatures” under the letter. However, the initiative was also aroused some voices of protest – few people insisted that the blame should be put on the authorities, not on the blogger, even if it’s notorious Rakhat Aliyev. Adam-kesher says:
Some will say: “It’s censorship!” and will be, probably, right. Others will say: “What about social responsibility?” and that’s true too. I put my “+1” comment not because I am against freedom of expression, but because I don’t like when a criminal revels in the effect he makes, not thinking about others. And – yes – he is personally disgusting to me and I wish he was jailed. Meanwhile, I’d prefer him to post his “x-files” on his websites. For those who are interested, it is easier to use anonymizer to access these websites, than for the thousands of people log in to their accounts on LiveJournal.
Cross-posted on Global Voices.