Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 158

Both Kazakhstani Prime Minister Nurlan Balgimbaev and National Bank Chairman Kadyrjan Damitov have asserted both that the Russian crisis will not have a negative impact on the Kazakhstani economy and that the tenge will not be devalued. The tenge will continue to be pegged to the annual inflation rate–projected to be about 9.5 percent. The prime minister said Kazakhstan’s gold reserves stand at US$20 billion, that only 7 percent of trade turnover between Russia and Kazakhstan is conducted in rubles and that not more than 11 percent of government securities are financed by foreign capital. Kazakhstan’s economy is, Balgimbaev concluded, “twice as stable” as that of its northern neighbor. (Russian agencies, August 18, 19, 20, 24; Delovaya nedelya [Almaty], August 21 and 28)

On the political front, President Nazarbaev has strongly endorsed Viktor Chernomyrdin’s nomination as Russian premier. Declaring his confidence in the former prime minister’s ability to stabilize the Russian economy, Nazarbaev said Chernomyrdin’s dismissal back in March had been a mistake. Nazarbaev may be hoping that the reappointment of his long-time friend will smooth President Boris Yeltsin’s September visit to Kazakhstan and put relations between the two countries back on a firmer footing. The two presidents are scheduled to discuss important bilateral issues including the Caspian Sea and Baikonur; last week, Prime Minister Nurlan Balgimbaev complained that Russia has not yet paid Kazakhstan any rent for the cosmodrome. Consequently, Balgimbaev said, the Kazakhstani parliament will vote this fall on whether to annul the leasing agreement. (Russian agencies, August 24)–SC

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