Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 134

The presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan, Boris Yeltsin and Nursultan Nazarbayev, papered over disputed issues at a meeting yesterday. Nazarbayev, on a stopover on his way to Paris, became the first foreign leader to visit Yeltsin in the hospital–strictly as a courtesy, he insisted. Yeltsin, who "spoke clearly and was in a good mood" according to his press office, said that he and Nazarbayev were "friends" and that Russia wants the same kind of relations with Kazakhstan as it has with Belarus. But Nazarbayev had on the previous day vehemently rejected Russian criticism of Kazakhstan’s policy toward its Russian population and demands that Kazakhstan resume full retransmission of Russian TV and radio in the republic. He told a meeting of public figures in Almaty November 13 that if Russian media do not correct their biased coverage of Kazakhstan, he will urge the public "not to believe a single word of the Russian media. Why would Kazakhstan need such media ?" "Russian politicians are prepared to use every means, however dirty, to achieve success…They even discredit the neighboring countries, interfering in their internal affairs, for the sake of being elected," Nazarbayev said. He urged "all citizens of Kazakhstan to wait patiently until parliamentary and presidential elections have been held in Russia." On the same day senior Justice and Internal Affairs ministry officials of Kazakhstan, most of them ethnic Russians including the Justice Minister, held concurrent news press conference in Almaty and Moscow to rebut charges that Kazakhstan mistreats its Russian population. (19)

The latest round of such charges has been sparked by the October 28 arrest in Kazakhstan of Nikolai Gunkin, ataman of the self-styled Semirechie Cossack Host, on charges of inciting interethnic tension and organizing unlawful rallies and demonstrations. The Host, whose members insist on the right to carry arms, is a small group which promotes irredentism among the Russian population in northern Kazakhstan–a region which many in Moscow believe should belong to Russia. Russia’s Foreign and Nationalities Ministries, the Duma’s CIS Affairs Committee, various public organizations, and politicians have raised a storm of protests over the case and made it into a test of Kazakhstan’s treatment of its Russian population as a whole. The Host in fact lacks any mass support among Kazakhstan’s Russians.

1. Reuter, November 15

2. Reuter, November 15

3. Reuter, November 15

4. Segodnya, Interfax, November 10

5. UPI, November 15

6. BNS, November 14

7. Reuter, November 14

8. Financial Information Agency, Segodnya, November 10

9. Interfax, November 14

10. Financial Information Agency, November 10

11. Interfax-Ukraine, November 13

12. Nezavisimaya gazeta, November 11

13. Basapress and Flux, November 11 through 14

14. BNS, November 14

15. Interfax, November 14

16. Itar-Tass and Interfax, November 12 and 13

17. Interfax, November 13 and 14

18. Noyan Tapan and Aragil, November 14

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