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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ALMATY1457
2006-04-21 04:16:00
CONFIDENTIAL
US Office Almaty
Cable title:  

KAZAKHSTAN: A/S BOUCHER DISCUSSES DEMOCRATIZATION

Tags:   KZ  PGOV  PREL 
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PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHTA #1457/01 1110416
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 210416Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY ALMATY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5023
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1854
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 6959
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU 0669
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1256
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 7520
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 1698
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1218
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 7486
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 2199
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ALMATY 001457 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EB/ESC; SCA/PO (MANN); SCA/CEN (MUDGE)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/19/2015
TAGS: KZ PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: A/S BOUCHER DISCUSSES DEMOCRATIZATION
COMMISSION WITH POLITICAL OPPOSITION

Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN ORDWAY FOR REASONS 1.4(B) and (D)



1. (C) Summary: A/S Boucher discussed ways to improve
Kazakhstan's "Democratization Commission" with opposition
political leaders April 8 in Almaty. The political leaders
lobbied for an OSCE role -- perhaps in helping set the DC
agenda -- and for increased opposition representation. The
politicians also argued a Western satellite news network is
needed in the region to counter Russia's current,
anti-democratic news monopoly. The opposition leaders spoke
forcefully about the February murder of opposition leader
Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly, which they characterized as one in a
string of recent "political murders." The intra-elite
struggle for power which the murder had exposed, they
claimed, was indicative of the inherent instability of
Nazarbayev's "authoritarian" power structure. For his part,
A/S Boucher explained that, while the U.S. maintained a broad
relationship with Kazakhstan, based on many interests, the
USG intended to make sure that progess in democracy did not
"lag behind" other areas of development. End Summary.



2. (SBU) Meeting Participants: SCA A/S Richard Boucher,
Senior Advisor Caitlin Hayden, Ambassador Ordway, USAID
Democracy Officer Sean Roberts, Energy Officer Jim Loveland
(Notetaker), Tolegen Zhukeyev (For a Just Kazakhstan),
Galymzhan Zhakiyanov (For a Just Kazakhstan), Bulat Abilov
(For a Just Kazakhstan and True Ak Zhol), and Alikhan
Baymenov (Ak Zhol).

Analyzing the Sarsenbaiuly Murder


--------------------------





3. (C) Side-stepping A/S Boucher's opening question about
what the U.S. could do to encourage further democratization,
the opposition leaders spoke harshly and emotionally about
the February murder of opposition leader Altynbek
Sarsenbaiuly. Abilov began by stating that Sarsenbaiuly's
murder was the result of Nazarbayev's "absolute authority,"
though other factors had contributed: underdevelopment,
Kazakhstan's energy resources, and "maybe even your country
turning a blind eye." Known for highly-emotional statements,
Abilov argued that Sarsenbaiuly's murder had exposed a
weakness that should trouble the U.S. If Nazarbayev dies
without a system in place for the legitimate transfer of
power, he argued, "a lot of people will die." Nazarbayev's
family and the oligarchs will fight for power, he continued,
regional conflicts will ensue, and "everything will go to
hell." Zhakayev expressed the idea in different words: the
authoritarian system is getting stronger, he said, and if
Nazarbayev gets weaker, "we'll have a disaster."



4. (C) In his turn, Zhakiyanov described recent events as a
"three-month campaign of political murder." Since recently
ending his 3.5-year term in prison, he said he had received

confirmation that orders had been passed to prison
administrators to kill him as well. Turning to A/S Boucher's
original question, he placed responsibility on the opposition
to educate society about the fact that Kazakhstan's
shortcomings -- corruption, low living standards, divisions,
and a nontransparent economy -- were related to a lack of
democracy.

Improving the Democracy Commission


--------------------------





5. (C) Tolegen Zhukeyev raised the issue of the Democracy
Commission (DC), explaining that, in declining to participate
thus far, the opposition was holding out for a genuine
"dialogue," not a "one-sided monologue." As currently
constituted, he said, the opposition is outrepresented on the
Commission by "thirty to three," giving those loyal to
Nazarbayev the opportunity to stage a "one-sided dialogue"
and then vote whatever result they wished. One solution, he
said, would be to establish an intermediary -- possibly the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) --
between the opposition and Nazarbayev.



6. (C) A/S Boucher asked if a reformed Democratization
Commission -- one which included greater opposition

ALMATY 00001457 002 OF 003


representation and a role for the OSCE, perhaps as rule-maker
and agenda-setter -- would be better than another
formulation, such as a direct dialogue between the opposition
and Nazarbayev. The opposition leaders expressed immediate
interest: a Commission with ten opposition representatives
and OSCE involvement in agenda-setting, Zhukeyev said, would
be "a good approach."



7. (C) Baimenov, who attended the first Commission meeting
and publicly stated he found it wanting, agreed that
involving the OSCE was a good idea. However, he added, if
the President wants a "national dialogue," that dialogue
could not be limited solely to the Democratization Commission
-- access to the media was important, too. Even the
Commission itself was not given adequate media coverage, he
noted, suggesting that the sessions should be broadcast
"live," or a television channel should be devoted to
producing a regular "national dialogue" show. Finally, he
said, the Democratization Commission should hold meetings at
various locations outside the capital, as had originally been
conceived.

Setting Up a Satellite News Network


--------------------------





8. (SBU) Speaking of ways to promote democracy in Kazakhstan,
Abilov pointed to the region's need for a Western satellite
television network -- like "EuroNews," he said, but in
Russian. Baimenov agreed: Russia has a monopoly on CIS
information, he said, and, as a consequence, "we perceive
the world as Russia is perceiving it." Abilov noted the harm
caused Kazakhstan's democratic movement by the fact that
events in Ukraine, Krygystan, and Georgia were all seen
through the official Russian lens. "You turn on the TV," he
said, "and all you things you see about those countries are
their problems."

Giving Policy Advice


--------------------------





9. (C) The political leaders were outspoken in their critique
of U.S. policy. "We don't understand your Kazakhstan policy,"
Abilov stated. The opposition had expected Secretary Rice to
deliver a "clear message" to the ruling authorities when she
visited in October 2005, he said, "but we never heard it."
Baymenov recommended that the U.S. take advantage of a "clear
opportunity" to impose conditions on Kazakhstan's bid to
chair the OSCE. In general, he added, the U.S. should not
offer Kazakhstan non-conditional support based solely on
Kazakhstan's cooperation in the "War on Terror."



10. (C) A/S Boucher reminded the men that, during her October
visit, Secretary Rice had clearly stated that, "without
democracy, there is no stability." As for the rest of the
political leaders' message, A/S Boucher said, "I agree with
almost everything you say." However, he said, it was
important to understand that the U.S. could have a broad
relationship with Kazakhstan, while at the same time
encouraging democratic change. The U.S. would not, however,
get to the point of withholding everything else in order to
get progress in democracy. A/S Boucher concluded by
remarking that he appreciated his interlocutors' message that
progress in any area -- be it the economy, the growth of
institutions, or stability -- was tied to democracy. "Our
goal," he said, "is to make sure that democracy does not lag
behind."



11. (C) After the meeting, Abilov complained to A/S Boucher
about the opposition's "lack of contact" with the FBI
regarding the Sarsenbaiuly murder investigation. We have
things to say, he argued, and the fact that the FBI doesn't
talk to us discredits the FBI. Ambassador Ordway explained
to Abilov that the FBI was participating in the Kazakhstani
government's investigation, not leading it. The time will
come, he said, when the FBI will express its opinions and
conclusions. If you have information relevant to the
investigation, he offered, "we might be able to arrange a
one-way conversation."


ALMATY 00001457 003 OF 003




12. (U) A/S Boucher has cleared this cable.
ORDWAY