Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 139

. A first-instance court in Almaty yesterday sentenced Nikolai Gunkin, ataman of the self-styled Semirechye Cossack Host, to three months in a corrective labor institution for instigating unlawful rallies and demonstrations by Russian Cossacks in Kazakhstan. The sentence is appealable; the law provides for a maximum penalty of six months in prison for this offense. The court reprimanded defense counsel Nina Sidorova, leader of the Kazakhstan branch of the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) and a member of the Russian Duma’s Council of Compatriots, for insulting the court. Kazakhstan’s Internal Affairs minister Kairbek Suleimenov, whose ministry arrested Gunkin, told a news conference yesterday that law enforcement authorities evenhandedly also oppose the activities of Kazakh nationalist or pan-Turkic groups. (20)

Gunkin’s arrest almost one month ago triggered a storm of protests in Russia, first from nationalist circles and then from the government. The Semirechye Cossacks, a fringe group among Kazakhstan’s Russian population, were legally registered as a cultural society, but the registration was withdrawn when the group reorganized itself as a Cossack troop, claiming the right to carry arms and promoting the annexation of northern Kazakhstan to Russia. Gunkin attempted to run in Kazakhstan’s upcoming legislative elections in an apparent attempt to gain immunity from prosecution. The legal proceedings against him seem certain to fuel continued protests in Russia.

1. Itar-Tass, Reuter, November 22

2. Interfax, November 21

3. Itar-Tass, Interfax, November 21

4. Reuter and Interfax, November 21

5. Itar-Tass, Interfax, Russian TV, November 19 through 21; Nezavisimoe voennnoe obozrenie, No.3, November 1995

6. BNS, November 18 through 20

7. Interfax, November 19 and 20; Krasnaya zvezda, November 15

8. Segodnya, November 18

9. Interfax, November 21

10. Handelsblatt, November 21

11. October 22 press release

12. Belarusian Radio, October 19

13. Flux, November 20

14. Interfax, November 20

15. Interfax and Western agencies, November 20 and 21

16. Interfax, November 16

17. Interfax, November 21

18. Petroleum Information Agency, November 21

19. Rossiiskaya gazeta, November 14

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