Kazakhstan. According to CountryAAH, Astana is the capital city of Kazakhstan. Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov and the entire government resigned in January. Karim Masimov was appointed as new Prime Minister. Chinese and was expected to have significance for the growing trade with China.
At the beginning of the year, 21 health workers were brought to trial in the city of Tjimkent in the south accused of having spread the virus through blood transfusion through negligence. Over 120 children had been infected and ten children had died. The defendants were found guilty.
Parliament voted in May for a constitutional amendment that allows the president to stand for re-election indefinitely. Then a power struggle within the Nazarbayev family broke out in front of an open curtain. President Nursultan Nazarbayev dismissed his son-in-law Rakhat Alijev from the ambassador’s post in Austria and ordered a criminal investigation into the suspicion that Alijev was behind the kidnapping of two leading bankers. In addition, a television station and newspaper belonging to Aliyev and the president’s daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva were closed. Aliyev accused the president of trying to silence him because he planned to run for office. Aliyev applied for asylum in Austria but was tried in K. in his absence.
In June, President Nazarbayev disbanded the parliament and announced new elections until August so that a new parliament could confirm the constitutional changes. The president’s daughter demanded divorce from Rakhat Aliyev in an attempt to maintain his political influence. She was nevertheless removed from the party leadership in the presidential power party Nur Otan (the Fatherland) and was not placed in an elective place before the parliamentary elections.
The president’s party received 88 percent of the vote and took all 98 seats that were at stake in the parliamentary elections (nine seats are elected). Thus, there was only one party in Parliament’s second chamber. According to the OSCE, 40 percent of the polling stations observers lacked transparency in the voting count. The largest opposition party, the National Social Democratic Party, considered that the election was dominated by cheating and criticized the OSCE for not rejecting the election result but instead saying that K. is moving in a democratic direction after all.
During the year, 29 men and one woman were brought to trial in Karaganda in central K. for radical Islamism. In the closed trial, they were accused of ethnic and religious hatred and of being part of the banned Islamic organization Hezb ut-Tahir. Many of the defendants claimed innocence and said that literature found in their homes had been placed there.
In October, a couple of government-critical websites were blocked, causing Internet users to condemn K. for abuse of freedom of expression.
In December, President Nazarbayev in Moscow signed an agreement to build a gas pipeline from K. via Turkmenistan to Russia. The agreement was seen as a hardship for the EU and the US, hoping for a lead through the Caspian Sea and Turkey to the west.