Kazakhstan 2001

See Kazakhstan Timelines for: 1990-2000 , 2001, 2002, 2003 , 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007.

2001 January.  Ted Turner founds the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), co-chaired by Turner and former Senator Sam Nunn. 

2001 January 25.  Michael Dobbs story in Washington Post. 


Michael Dobbs, "Investment in Freedom Is Flush With Peril; From Kazakhstan,A Cautionary Tale," Washington Post, January 25, 2001; Page A01.

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — When the Franklin Printing Co. was founded here with $3 million of American taxpayer money in 1995, U.S. officials pledged it would help promote freedom of the press in Kazakhstan, an oil-rich Central Asian country that the State Department was hailing as "an emerging democracy."

Fast forward five years, to the summer of 2000. A corruption scandal has erupted at the highest levels of the Kazakh government, linking the country's authoritarian president to multimillion-dollar deposits by international oil companies in Swiss bank accounts. The scandal is covered widely in the press in the United States and Europe, but it is barely mentioned in Kazakhstan's leading newspapers, including those printed by the U.S.-funded publishing house.
The printing company — named for Benjamin Franklin — is now owned by a firm linked to the president's daughter. Its co-founder, a Russian businessman who also ran Kazakhstan's most successful independent newspaper, says he felt obliged to leave town after receiving what he describes as "an offer I could not refuse" from a senior member of the regime. . .

At the same time as millions of dollars of American aid money were spent to preach democracy in Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev and his principal political opponent, former prime minister Kazhegeldin, spent millions in the United States trying to influence American public opinion and policymaking.  The money went for high-priced Washington lawyers, public relations firms and lobbyists; some of it was channeled through Liechtenstein-based foundations and offshore companies in the Caribbean, U.S. federal records show.  The spending peaked in 1999 during the run-up to presidential and parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan. Prominent recipients of Kazakh government largess during this period included the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld ($1 million), the Carmen Group public relations company ($700,000), and Mark A. Siegel & Associates, a Washington-based political consulting firm, ($470,000), according to records filed with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. . .

At the same time the National Democratic Institute was working with grass-roots activists, attempting to challenge the authoritarian power structure, one of its board members, Mark Siegel, was working for Nazarbayev as a paid political consultant.

Justice department records show that Siegel, a former Democratic National Committee executive director, was paid $3,000 a day for public relations activities on behalf of the Kazakh government and for providing advice on "democratization." As an NDI director, Siegel is responsible for overseeing its operations in Asia. . .

In the middle of the 1999 election campaign, Roger Clinton, brother of the U.S. president, made two trips to Kazakhstan to give concerts hosted by the ruling party and had a cordial meeting with Nazarbayev. The Kazakh official media hailed the younger Clinton as a "goodwill ambassador" from the United States.

Carmen Group's filings to the Justice Department show that the firm paid for an October  1999 trip to Kazakhstan by U.S. Rep. Jack Metcalf (R-Wash.). The filings say that Metcalf, now retired, subsequently delivered on the House floor an assessment of the state of Kazakh democracy based on talking points provided by the PR firm. A few months later, Metcalf's top aide, Christopher Strow, who had accompanied him to Kazakhstan, got a job with the Carmen Group. A May 4, 1999, letter from the Carmen Group to the Kazakh foreign minister, obtained by The Washington Post, promised to generate favorable press coverage for Kazakhstan in the U.S. media by organizing all-expenses-paid "orientation tours" for Western journalists. According to Justice Department filings, journalists who accepted such invitations included syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer and the editor-in-chief of the conservative American Spectator, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. 

2001 June 18.  Legislation to allow import of low-level radioactive waste.


In a speech to the Kazakhstani parliament on 18 June 2001, Kazatomprom President Mukhtar Dzhakishev proposed an amendment to current Kazakhstani environmental legislation that would allow the import of low-level radioactive waste. The waste would be stored in abandoned uranium mines in Mangystau Oblast in western Kazakhstan and on the territory of the Semipalatinsk test site.[1,2] According to Dzhakishev, Kazakhstan needs approximately $1.1 billion to address environmental concerns related to radiation in the country. Importing radioactive waste may bring in $30-40 billion over a 25-30 year period.[1] On 29 June 2001 the parliament postponed hearings of the proposed bill until the Fall 2001 session and the authors withdrew it from consideration.[3] According to Dzhakishev the bill will be reintroduced in Fall 2001.[4] Dzhakishev also released a feasibility study concerning the construction of a nuclear waste reprocessing plant in Aktau, at an estimated cost of $150-200 million.[5] At a press conference on 16 August 2001, Kazakhstani scientists voiced their support for the idea of storing foreign spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste in Kazakhstan. Opinion polls conducted in August showed increased public support for the measure in comparison to previous polls, with one third of the country's citizens unopposed to the import of nuclear waste from abroad and 10% undecided.[6] On 28 August 2001, Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that he "does not rule out" the possibility of burying low- and medium-level radioactive waste in Kazakhstan, and that he supports Kazatomprom's initiative.[2] As of 13 September 2001, the Kazakhstani parliament was still considering the issue.[7]

Sources: [1] "Kazakhstanu dlya ozdorovleniya radioekologicheskoy situatsii trebuyetsya okolo milliarda dollarov," Interfax-Novosti, 18 June 2001. [2] "Nazarbayev dopuskayet vozmozhnost zakhoroneniya radioaktivnykh otkhodov," Interfax-Novosti, 28 August 2001. [3] "Vopros o zakhoronenii yadernykh otkhodov drugikh stran snyat s povestki dnya parlamenta Kazakhstana," Vremya Po, No. 564, 4 July 2001; in Integrum Techno, http://www.integrum.ru. [4] "Kazakhstan ne nameren khranit vysokoaktivnyye radiatsionnyye otkhody," Interfax-Novosti, 25 July 2001. [5] "V Kazakhstane razrabotano TEO proyekta stroitelstva kombinata po pererabotke radioaktivnykh otkhodov," Interfax-Novosti, 25 July 2001. [6] Sergey Samokhvalov, "'Nedelimyy' Atom," Trud, 1 September 2001, p. 7; in WPS Materials Control and Accounting. [7] Natalya Absalyamova, "Bezopasnost prevyshe reglamenta," Kazakhstanskaya pravda, 13 September 2001; in Universal Database of Russian Newspapers, http://www.eastview.com.

2001 Jun 21.  Ratifatiion of ABM Treaty with US.


On 21 June 2001 the Kazakhstani Senate unanimously ratified the Memorandum of Understanding Relating to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems of 26 May 1972.[1,2] This Memorandum establishes successors to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty), which was originally concluded between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Memorandum was signed in New York on 26 September 1997 by the US Secretary of State and Foreign Ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. After ratification by the Kazakhstani Senate, the Memorandum was sent for signature to Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev.[1] Once all the other signatories ratify the 1997 Memorandum, Kazakhstan will become a party to the ABM Treaty and will then be able to legalize military installations that were a part of the Soviet ABM system located in Kazakhstan, including the Saryshagan test site and Balkhash radar station.[2] Kazakhstan will also have the right to formally participate in negotiations on the future of the ABM Treaty.[3] Earlier, on 21 May 2001, Nazarbayev criticized US national missile defense plans in an interview with the New York Times.[4]

Sources: [1] "Senat Kazakhstana odobril prisoyedineniye respubliki k memorandumu po PRO," Interfax-Novosti, 21 June 2001. [2] "Kazakhstan prisoyedinilsya k sovetsko-amerikanskomu dogovoru po PRO," Caspian News Agency, 25 June 2001. [3] "Kazakhstan nameren na ravnykh uchastvovat v debatakh po PRO," Reuters; in UNIAN, No. 024 (164), 11-17 June 2001. [4] "Prezident Kazakhstana vystupil protiv razvertyvaniya Vashingtonom sistemy PRO," Interfax-Novosti, 21 May 2001.

2001 July 9.  The New Yorker article on Mobile in Kazakhstan and Russian.

Seymour M.HERSH, The price of oil: What was Mobil up in Kazahstan and Russia?, The New Yorker, July 9, 2001.   Among other things, the story discussed activities of James Giffen and Friedhelm Eronat and complicated transactions involving Mobile, and Kazakhstan and Iranian oil swaps, and corruption in Russia and Kazakhstan.  Here are a few quotes:

An American lawyer who has practiced in the booming oil economy of Kazakhstan for the past five years explained that corruption had spread throughout the society: "Every act is something you have to pay for, and every job is bought and sold." He provided some going prices—three thousand dollars to become a policeman and the same amount to join the state customs service. It would cost hundreds of thousands, he added, to become a supreme-court justice.

2001 July 27.  Reid H. Weingarten, an attorney for the Washington, DC, law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, meets with NY federal prosecutors, on behalf of the government of Kazakhstan, "seeking an effective guarantee that Nazarbayev would not be indicted," in an investigation centering on bribes paid to Nazarbayev and others by James H. Giffen.

2001 July 30.  Former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson writes op ed "Crazy for Kazakhstan," in the Washington Times.

"In the center of this conflict and instability Kazakhstan has begun to prosper by working to build a modern economy, developing its vast natural resources and providing a base of stability in a very uncertain part of the world. With the discovery of the massive Kashagan oil field in the Kazak portion of the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan is poised to become a major supplier of petroleum to the Western World and a competitor to Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It is critical that we continue to facilitate western companies' investment in Kazakhstan and the establishment of secure, east-west pipeline routes for Kazak oil."

2001 August 2.  Represent Ron Paul places the Richardson guest editorial in the Congressional Record (page E1508), and adds:

Mr. Speaker, I agree with Mr. Richardson that this key Central Asian country is of great importance to U.S. interests. Kazakhstan in many ways should be seen as our natural ally in the region. The time has come for the U.S. to pay closer attention to this country and be more engaged with it. For this reason I cosponsored the legislation (H.R. 1318) that would grant permanent trade relations to Kazakhstan.

2001.  August.   Arrest of a citizen of Kazakhstan with 20 grams of osmium-187 in Novosibirsk.

2001 September 10.  Halliburton receives $5 billion contract on WMD in states of the former Soviet Union.


September 10, 2001 HALLIBURTON UNIT PICKED TO PARTICIPATE IN PROGRAM TO REDUCE THREAT OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION   DALLAS, Texas – A Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) Government Operations team has been selected by the Department of Defense's (DOD) Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to participate in the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. KBR is the engineering and construction segment of Halliburton (NYSE: HAL). The CTR program was established by DOD to respond to the threat of proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and related expertise and knowledge from the states of the Former Soviet Union.

The KBR team is one of five contracting teams chosen to provide support for the CTR program under a five-year initial contract, with one five-year option based on performance for an estimated $5 billion. The objectives of the contract include the acceleration of strategic and tactical arms reduction; enhancing the safety, security and control of WMD; assisting the United States and other governments in eliminating WMD, their delivery systems, supporting subsystems, and associated infrastructure; and preventing proliferation.

KBR recently completed a four-year contract for the DTRA in Kazakhstan where Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles were dismantled and the land returned to the government for agricultural use.

2001 September 25.  Swiss send evidence to USDOJ on Giffen bribes to Nazarbayev.

Elizabeth Olson, "Switzerland: U.S. Gets Kazakh-Case Evidence," NYT, September 25, 2001.  [Swiss] Justice authorities said they had sent evidence to American investigators concerning some of the 13 bank accounts blocked on suspicion of corrupt activities by United States oil companies in Kazakhstan. Folco Galli, a Justice Department spokesman, confirmed that information had been sent last week about possible transfers to Swiss accounts of money belonging to Kazakh officials. Swiss court documents indicate the investigation centers on payments to the Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and other senior officials from an American identified as ''G.''

2001 December 9.  Visit of Colin Powell to Kazakhstan.


I thanked the President for all the support that we have been provided — political, diplomatic, and military in the form of overflight clearances and the offering for our use of Kazakhstan bases. . . Based on the discussions we have had this morning and also the discussions I had with the American Chamber of Commerce earlier this morning, I come away even more persuaded of the critical importance that Kazakhstan will play in satisfying the energy needs of West in future years. The two pipeline projects that are in completion and underway seem to me to indicate that there will be stability with respect to supply of fuel and stability with respect to these two projects going forward.

2001 December 14.  Ratification of CTBT.

http://www.nti.org/e_research/profiles/Kazakhstan/4279_4280.html.  On 14 December 2001 Interfax reported that Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev had signed a law ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).[2] To effectively implement the Treaty, the government of Kazakhstan and the preparatory commission for the CTBT organization on 18 November 1997 signed an agreement to create a system of seismic stations in Kazakhstan to monitor nuclear activities in the region. Construction of the main station in Makanchi and auxiliary stations in Aktobe, Borovo, and Kurchatov is almost complete. About $6 million has been spent on Kazakhstani facilities and an additional $1.6 million is earmarked for the Semipalatinsk test site and operating expenses for the seismic monitoring stations.[1,2]

Sources: [1] Khabar News Weekly Review online edition, http://www.khabar.kz, 9 December 2001. [2] "Kazakhstan prisoyedinilsya k Dogovoru o vseobemlyushchem zapreshchenii yadernykh ispytaniy," Interfax, 14 December 2001. 

2001 November 23.  Nazarbayev fires reform advocates 

Birgit Brauer, "Asia: Kazakhstan: President Fires Reform Advocates," NYT,
November 23, 2001

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has dismissed six government officials including the deputy prime minister, the deputy defense minister and the labor minister, who had joined a group calling for democratic political reforms. The dismissals were demanded by Prime Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev, who had threatened to resign. The prime minister's ultimatum followed an announcement by the officials of their creation of a political movement called Democratic Choice aimed at decentralizing power. Mr. Tokayev called them unprofessional and said the movement's call for reform was a ruse masking the true aim of some of its founders to enrich themselves. Birgit Brauer (NYT) 

2001 December 18-21.  President Nursultan Nazarbayev visit to United States.

Mr. Nazarbayev began his visit in Houston, Texas where he met with President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary James A. Baker III, who in 1991 had laid the foundations for the partnership between the two nations. Mr. Nazarbayev presented former President Bush with one of the highest Kazakhstan's awards, the Order of Dostyk of the 1st degree, in recognition of his contribution to the development of an independent Kazakhstan. While in Houston, President Nazarbayev spoke at the Baker Institute at Rice University (www.bakerinstitute.org) on geopolitical challenges facing Kazakhstan. He also met with executives of the largest American companies working in Kazakhstan, whose investment over the years totaled 5 billion dollars, making the U.S. the biggest single foreign investor in the republic.

President Nazarbayev then traveled to New York City in order to pay respect to the victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, among whom was a Kazakhstan citizen. At Ground Zero he laid a wreath and signed the Memorial Wall saying that Kazakhstan "feels sincere sympathy for the American people" and pledging commitment to "spare no effort in building a safer and better world for all". In New York, the President also met with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for talks on Kazakhstan's role in post-conflict settlement in Afghanistan.

The official part of President Nazarbayev's visit took place in Washington, DC, where he met President George W. Bush, members of Congress and key Cabinet officials. During his meeting with Co-Chairs of the Congressional Silk Road Caucus, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), who was presented with the Order of Dostyk, and Representative Joseph Pitts (R-PA(16)), as well as other prominent members of this group, President Nazarbayev thanked them for their continued support for strengthening the bilateral cooperation. He was particularly grateful for their sponsoring of legislation to graduate Kazakhstan from an outdated Jackson-Vanik amendment and grant it permanent normal trade relations. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) presented the President with a copy of the Senate Resolution # 194 congratulating the people of Kazakhstan on the 10th anniversary of independence (see below).

On December 21 Vice President Cheney hosted President Nazarbayev in his residence for lunch with key Administration members, including secretaries of the State, Commerce, and Treasury.  During the talks at the White House later that day that lasted less than one hour, Presidents Nazarbayev and Bush discussed a number of wide-ranging issues on the bilateral agenda. In their Joint Statement, they pledged to advance "a shared vision of a peaceful, prosperous and sovereign Kazakhstan in the 21st century that is increasingly integrated into the global economy and the community of democratic nations". Kazakhstan and the U.S. further agreed to "advance cooperation on counterterrorism and non-proliferation, democratic political and free-market economic reform, and market-based investment and development of energy resources".

See Kazakhstan Timelines for: 1990-2000 , 2001, 2002, 2003 , 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007