Political process

The Kazakh Opposition in Exile is protesting against Switzerland granting political asylum to the former Mayor of Almaty Viktor Khrapunov and his family. Journalistic circles have publicised the fact that the former Mayor of Almaty, Akim of the East Kazakhstan Province and Kazakh Minister for Emergencies Viktor Khrapunov and the members of his family have applied to Switzerland for political asylum as members of the opposition and campaigners for human rights.

The spread of religious extremism threatens stability in mainly Muslim Kazakhstan, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Thursday, urging parliament to adopt tougher laws on migration and religious activity. Oil-producing Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest and most successful economy, has only recently witnessed outbursts of militant Islam experienced by other former Soviet states in the vast region bordering Afghanistan.

(SRI) - Russia’s Interior Ministry has completed a preliminary investigation of several Russian businessmen accused of being involved in a $730-million fraud scheme surrounding land deals of Kazakhstan’s [1] BTA Bank in Moscow, RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

livejournalALMATY (Reuters) - A court in Kazakhstan ruled on Friday to block access to 13 foreign Internet sites, including the popular blogging service LiveJournal, saying they were propagating terrorism and inciting religious hatred.

natalia sokolovaAQTAU, Kazakhstan -- A leader of the striking oil workers in western Kazakhstan has been sentenced to a one-year suspended jail term, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

aset isekeshev(SRI) - Aset Isekeshev, one of Kazakhstan's most influential politicians, serves as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies.

natalia sokolovaALMATY (Reuters) - The U.S.-based human rights body Freedom House has demanded the immediate release from prison of a Kazakh labor lawyer, saying trumped-up accusations were used to punish her for supporting striking oil workers.

Discussions of the military aspect of Kazakhstan's "multi-vector diplomacy" usually conclude that, whatever happens with oil and gas and other trade, the country's armed forces are likely to remain oriented toward Russia. That's because language limitations mean Kazakh officers who train abroad are most likely to do so in Russia, and of course because the military's legacy equipment and doctrine is Russian.

The jailing in Kazakhstan of an opposition leader on charges of holding an unsanctioned rally is stoking fresh concerns over the fairness of the judicial system in the country currently chairing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

ALMATY (Reuters) - A U.S. media group has criticized Kazakhstan for effectively banning an opposition newspaper, saying the move violated the core values of Europe's main democracy watchdog, chaired by Kazakhstan this year.