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2006-03-24 09:24:00
US Office Almaty
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DE RUEHTA #1042/01 0830924
P 240924Z MAR 06
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ALMATY 001042 




E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2016


B. 05 ALMATY 4532

C. ALMATY 1018

Classified By: DCM Mark Asquino, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

1. (C) Summary: In a March 17 meeting with the DCM,
Galymzhan Zhakiyanov alleged that Kazakhstani authorities had
purposely infected him with hepatitis during his
imprisonment. He also claimed that the former head of the
penitentiary system had been fired because he refused to
carry out an order from former KNB chief Dutbayev to have
Zhakiyanov killed. Zhakiyanov expressed ambivalence about
the newly-created Democratization Commission, noting that in
the wake of the Sarsenbaiuly murder what was most needed was
a private meeting between Nazarbayev and the opposition. In
a later meeting with POEC chief, he shared his views on the
likely evolution of the opposition movement, urged U.S.
support for independent satellite television, and spoke of
plans to visit Washington in the near future. Zhakiyanov's
comments on the Sarsenbaiuly investigation are reported Ref

A. End summary.


Health Issues


3. (C) Zhakiyanov, who suffered from tuberculosis during his
incarceration, told DCM that he had just returned from Moscow
and Kiev where he had been diagnosed with hepatitis in late
February and had undergone treatment. Zhakiyanov claimed
that the hepatitis was not from natural causes, but rather
had been induced during his imprisonment. He later told POEC
chief in strict confidence that he only saw a doctor because
Security Council chairman Bulat Utemuratov had urged him to
do so immediately on several occasions after his release.
Zhakiyanov had no inkling that anything was wrong, but thanks
to the tip from Utemuratov discovered the hepatitis and began
treatment early enough to avoid serious health consequences.

4. (C) Zhakiyanov said that while in Moscow he had met with
the former director of Kazakhstan's penitentiaries, Petr
Posmakov, at the latter's request. Posmakov said that
recently-resigned KNB head Nurtay Dutbayev had ordered
Zhakiyanov's murder during his imprisonment. Plots had
included paying convicted drug addicts to kill Zhakiyanov and
then alleging he had been part of a drug deal gone wrong.
Zhakiyanov said the former penitentiary director was fired
for foiling the plots. He had left Kazakhstan and was now
engaged in prison work in Russia. Posmakov was not ready to
confirm the charges publicly or in court at the moment, as
his own situation was tenuous. (He had entered Russia
illegally and obtained a Russian passport there. His Russian
counterpart in the penitentiary system had set him up with a

5. (C) Note: In a one-on-one with the Ambassador following a
December 28 meeting (Ref B), Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly alleged

that Kazakhstani authorities had infected Zhakiyanov with an
unspecified illness that would only become apparent after his
release. Sarsenbaiuly claimed that "a very high official"
had shared the information with him a month before. He
speculated that the delay in Zhakiyanov's release was related
to this and a need for the impending illness to develop
further before his actual release. Post did not have the
opportunity to verify Sarsenbaiuly's claims with Zhakiyanov
before the February murders. End note.


Democratization Commission


6. (C) Zhakiyanov then turned to opposition participation in
the GOK Democratization Commission, whose first meeting he
said was scheduled for March 24. Views on participation
within the opposition were mixed, according to Zhakiyanov.
Some thought Nazarbayev was staging the meeting as a photo op
to show he was engaged in "dialogue" with the opposition. If
that were all it was going to be, many argued, then why
participate? Zhakiyanov said that he had mixed feelings
about participation. While he though dialogue was important,
he questioned whether this was the right forum. He was
concerned that someone like Communist party head Abdildin
could use the meeting as an opportunity to denounce
Nazarbayev publicly. Zhakiyanov questioned whether
Nazarbayev would risk media coverage of this happening. He
commented that in the wake of Sarsenbaiuly's murder, a
private meeting between the opposition and Nazarbayev would
be better. He thought that the U.S. or another third party
could best broker such a meeting. In any event, dialogue

ALMATY 00001042 002 OF 003

would be very hard to achieve until the opposition's
suspicions were dispelled regarding Nazarbayev's possible
involvement in Sarsenbaiuly's murder.

7. (C) In a March 20 conversation with POEC chief, Zhakiyanov
said that there was still not consensus within the FJK
leadership about participation in the Commission. FJK
chairman Zharmakhan Tuyakbay was leaning toward attending,
but others did not agree. If Tuyakbay went, he would do so
in his personal capacity rather than as a representative of
FJK. (Note: On March 23, Tuyakbay told the Ambassador that
he had decided not to attend, for the reasons cited to us by
Zhakiyanov. End note.) Zhakiyanov also informed POEC chief
that the leadership structure of FJK had changed after the
elections; although Tuyakbay remained the chairman, decisions
were now taken by consensus.


The Political Landscape


8. (C) Zhakiyanov commented to POEC chief several times that
it was a "new phase in Kazakhstan's political life" following
Sarsenbaiuly's murder and the resulting public power
struggles among the elite. He said that he was in no hurry
to join the leadership of For a Just Kazakhstan or to found
his own party, although he claimed that Tuyakbay had proposed
that he do both soon after his release. While clearly
implying that he intended to take over the leadership of the
opposition eventually, Zhakiyanov stressed that he needed
time to get the lay of the land and did not want to send a
negative public signal by forcing the issue.

9. (C) According to Zhakiyanov, his relations with Tuyakbay
are quite cordial, even though their political views differ
considerably. Tuyakbay had even ordered FJK to take down the
large banner with his photo at the movement's headquarters
building on the day of Zhakiyanov's first post-release press
conference as a gesture to him, Zhakiyanov said. He
predicted that in the long run the opposition would organize
itself along the lines described by Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly in
an interview published posthumously by Epokha: FJK would
continue to exist as a consultative movement linking a
social-democratic party led by Tuyakbay and Abdildin, and a
more centrist party led by the younger oppositionists like
Zhakiyanov and Zhandosov. The parties would form a voting
bloc during elections. Zhakiyanov said that the vision
outlined by Sarsenbaiuly had been carefully coordinated with
other opposition leaders.

10. (C) When asked about his personal security, Zhakiyanov
readily admitted to having serious concerns. (He is now
accompanied at all times by a bodyguard.) He believes that
Rakhat Aliyev had arranged Sarsenbaiuly's murder in revenge
for the latter's role in Nazarbayev's 2001 decision to exile
Aliyev to Vienna. Zhakiyanov said that Aliyev sees
Zhakiyanov and Mukhtar Ablyazov as also being responsible for
his exile, and could therefore act against them at any time.

11. (SBU) Reacting to the March 20 news that True Ak Zhol had
been registered as a political party after many months of
legal battles, Zhakiyanov said it was clearly a political
gesture from the authorities in the wake of the murder.


Independent Television


12. (C) Zhakiyanov commented on March 20 that the
opposition's primary concern was to create independent
satellite television in Kazakhstan, in order to be able to
reach the public and increase awareness of the benefits of
democratic government. He said that Ablyazov had obtained a
satellite channel on the Hot Bird satellite but was not using
it for fear of the GOK's reaction. In addition, Hot Bird
provided relatively poor coverage of Kazakhstan.

13. (C) The only other satellite broadcasting to the region
that they knew of was Yamal, according to Zhakiyanov. It was
financed by GazProm and therefore subject to censorship by
the Russian government, however. Zhakiyanov asked about the
status of the Central Asian Democracy Act and whether any of
the $180 million in new funding was designated for television
broadcasting. POEC chief explained that the legislation was
still in draft form. Zhakiyanov suggested that the USG could
have a significant impact on the development of democracy in
Central Asia if it were to fund a satellite that could be
used by independent media outlets, somewhat analogous to the
Freedom House printing press in Bishkek.

ALMATY 00001042 003 OF 003


Upcoming Plans


14. (SBU) Zhakiyanov told POEC chief that he was taking his
younger son Yelezhan to Texas the following week to see his
elder son Berik, currently studying petroleum engineering at
UT Austin. Zhakiyanov explained that while he had many
demands on his time, he had throughout his detention promised
Yelezhan that as soon as he was released they would go see
Berik in America. His first priority was to keep his promise
to his son.

15. (SBU) Zhakiyanov added that he was planning to visit
Washington in the coming months with a delegation from the
opposition in order to meet with interested contacts on the
Hill, at State, and at think tanks. He also hoped to meet
with experts on television broadcasting to discuss technical
requirements, costs, and whether any other existing private
satellites covered Central Asia. Zhakiyanov asked for advice
on the best dates to plan such a visit. POEC chief advised
him to choose a time that did not coincide with the
congressional recess periods.

16. (SBU) The European Parliament has invited Zhakiyanov and
other opposition members to a hearing on Kazakhstan to be
held April 25 in Strasbourg. Zhakiyanov says he plans to
attend, along with his wife Karlygash, Oraz Zhandosov, Bulat
Abilov, Tulen Tokhtasynov, and Zauresh Battalova. He is
looking forward to the opportunity for the opposition to
establish a broad dialogue with the European Parliament and
European governments, as with the USG.

17. (C) Comment: Zhakiyanov realizes that he enjoys more
public support than any of the other opposition leaders (Ref
C), but clearly wants to avoid further splitting the
opposition by pushing too hard or too fast for a leadership
position. It remains to be seen if other opposition leaders
are ready to allow him anything more than an equal voice in a
consensus-based decision making structure. End comment.