Kazakhstan. The corruption in the power elite continued
to reap political sacrifices. In January, the government's
third finance minister was appointed in less than a year. A
corruption legacy being investigated reached both the
Ministry of the Economy and the President's administration.
A constitutional reform was drafted to reduce the
presidential power so that the next head of state must share
the power of parliament and the judiciary. Parliament
subsequently approved the proposed amendments.
Countryaah.com, Kazakhstan hosted talks between warring parties in Syria
in January. The Russian Federation supporting the Syrian
regime and Turkey supporting opposition groups participated,
as did the UN special envoy for Syria.
A well-known journalist, Bigeldy Gabdulin, was sentenced
to five years of conditional detention on charges of
extortion against politicians by publishing or threatening
to publish material that damaged their rumors.
In February, the editor of the independent newspaper
Sayasi Qalam was arrested for money laundering. The magazine
is known for its critical articles on the regime. According
to the lawyer, the arrested Zhanbolat Mamai had been beaten
in prison by other prisoners. Later, he was sentenced to a
form of conditional release, which was unique to trials
where journalists or political activists were prosecuted on
A new law against extremism and terrorism required that
all cell phones be registered in a state database. The
unregistered would be blocked.
According to Amnesty International, Kazakhstan uses
increasingly aggressive methods to silence dissenting voices
on the Internet and social media. New legislation makes it
possible to shut down or hinder access to specific web
pages. The regime also uses the courts to access people who
exercise their right to freedom of speech and freedom of
assembly, according to Amnesty.
In February, Deputy Prime Minister Imangali Tasmagambetov
left his post and was appointed ambassador to Moscow.
Assessors saw it as a way for President Nursultan Nazarbayev
to remove a possible successor to the presidential post.
The president withdrew his proposal in March from the
year before everyone in Kazakhstan could own land. The
proposal had triggered widespread protests against the sale
In May, a member of Jehovah's Witnesses was sentenced to
five years in prison for hate crimes. He was charged with
revoking religious and ethnic hatred.
Two union leaders were sentenced to two and two and a
half years in prison, for example, for embezzlement,
disobedience to authorities and instigating illegal strikes.
Hundreds of oil workers had gone on a hunger strike in
protest of the closure of a trade union. Amnesty condemned
what was called the destruction of the independent trade
union movement in Kazakhstan.
The fugitive businessman and dissident Muchtar Abljazov
was sentenced in June in his absence to 20 years in prison
accused of organizing a criminal league, for abuse of power
and embezzlement. He was previously Minister of Energy and
Trade in Kazakhstan and claims that the prosecution is
In June, Kazakhstan and China signed economic agreements
worth nearly SEK 65 billion in trade and cooperation on
energy, mining, industry, agriculture and infrastructure.
In July, President Nazarbayev signed a law requiring at
least five years of experience in official records for
registration as presidential candidate. The constitution
already requires that a presidential candidate must speak
Kazakh fluently, be born in the country, have lived there
for at least 15 years and be at least 40 years old.
The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) inaugurated its first nuclear fuel stockpile in
Kazakhstan in August. The low-enriched uranium should be
available globally to the nuclear power industry so that no
new nations will need to enrich nuclear fuel and increase
the risk of uranium dissipation.
Former opposition leader Olesya Khalabuzar was sentenced
in August to two years of conditional detention accused of
President Nazarbayev declared during the year that an
alphabet with Latin letters should be prepared for the
Kazakh language. From 2025, all official documents, as well
as publications and books, will be published in Latin
letters, according to Nazarbayev. The Kazakh language has
been written in Cyrillic letters for close to 80 years,
since the beginning of the Soviet era.