• KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 7 - 12 of 105

Top Kazakh Businessman Denies Allegations about Greek Island Fire

One of Kazakhstan’s wealthiest business executives has denied any wrongdoing in connection with a forest fire that was allegedly caused by fireworks on the Greek tourist island of Hydra. Daniyar Abulgazin, who has shares in multiple Kazakh energy and other companies, said he had rented the luxury boat named Persefoni I that has been linked by Greek prosecutors to the fire on June 21. However, he said he and his group left Greece as previously scheduled on June 22 after speaking with “representatives of the Greek authorities,” who made no claims against them in connection with the fire. Some of his guests had already left Greece on the morning of June 21, according to Abulgazin. “It came as a complete surprise to us to learn of the allegations that followed in the press upon our return, and I categorically deny any wrongdoing,” Abulgazin, who had returned to Kazakhstan, said in a statement that was released by DRD Partnership, a London-based communications firm. Greek prosecutors have charged the captain and 12 crewmembers of the boat with arson and eight Kazakh passengers who were on the vessel face charges of complicity in arson, according to Greek media reports. Several reports said Greek investigators found the remains of firecrackers on a Hydra beach and concluded that passengers from the Persefoni I were on the beach around the time of the fire, which burned an estimated 300 acres. The case has stirred anger in Greece, which is enduring high summer temperatures and a string of forest fires. Some commentators questioned how the Kazakh tourists were able to leave Greece before an investigation of the fire had barely begun. Some Greek media outlets said prosecutors were investigating the initial handling of the matter by Greek authorities. They have also mentioned Abulgazin and the names of some of the other Kazakh passengers on the boat in their reports, posting photos of them on broadcasts and websites. Abulgazin referred to “incorrect and misleading” media reports, expressed regret about the fire and promising to cooperate with the Greek investigation. “Neither I nor my guests performed any actions that could lead to a fire. We strictly followed the fire safety rules established on the yacht. Neither I nor my guests asked the crew of the yacht or other third parties to take any actions that could lead to a fire,” he said. Abulgazin has shares in Qazaq Oil, SinoOil and Gas Energy gas station networks as well as other operations and his worth is estimated at $380 million, according to Forbes Kazakhstan. His wife, Aidan Suleimenova, has interests in fashion companies and shopping centers in Kazakhstan. DRD Partnership, the firm that released Abulgazin’s statement about the fire, says it focuses on “building value for our clients and protecting their reputations at moments of challenge and change.”

Islamic State Khorasan Province as Part of the Struggle for Central Asia

Following the high-profile terrorist attack at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall in March and reports that eight Tajik immigrants were arrested in the U.S., the media spotlight has once again fallen on Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), also known as "Wilayat Khorasan", and the "Khorasan Project.” Many observers link ISKP to the countries of Central Asia, even though the terrorist organization, as it has been designated for a long time, has purely Afghanistani roots. In addition, there is a lot of talk about its geopolitical ambitions for “recreating” the state of “Khorasan.” Where this region’s boundaries lie is the subject of debate. The most expansive definitions include northeastern Iran, western and northern Afghanistan, eastern Turkmenistan, and parts of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It is important to understand, however, that clear boundaries have never existed, and neither has a state with that name. In modern times, the term “Khorasan” has only historical and cultural connotations, with no political meaning attached to it. ISKP has suffered a clear military defeat in the borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and faces significant opposition there. Still, weakening and even destroying the Taliban remains an important goal for the organization. It continues to fight in several regions of Afghamistan, which has prompted the Taliban to intensify their counter-terrorism efforts. [caption id="attachment_19644" align="alignnone" width="1920"] Sanaullah Ghafari, Emir of ISIS-K has a U$10 million bounty on his head; image: rewardsforjustice.net[/caption] The countries of Central Asia, having emerged out of the Soviet Union, are attractive for ISKP ideologists in the sense that they share a common historical and cultural past, while there are even linguistic similarities with Afghanistan (between the Persian languages). The Russian internet portal and analytical agency, TAdviser, points out that ISKP, through its online propaganda publication, announced the start of a new campaign against the countries of the post-Soviet space in April 2022. In June of that year, the ISKP publication, written in the Uzbek language, declared that the countries of Central and South Asia would be united under the flag of the “Islamic Caliphate.” TAdviser highlights that Turkmenistan has a special place in ISKP propaganda because according to the group a large part of what is now Turkmenistan was previously part of “Greater Khorasan,” while the foreign policy of the Turkmen authorities of actively cooperating with the Taliban is wholly at odds with the core goals of ISKP. The Lapis Lazuli corridor linking Afghanistan to Turkey, along with the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline (TAPI) which is being developed, are identified as priority targets for ISKP. But what in fact is ISKP? As previously noted by The Times of Central Asia, the answer to this question is known by only a very narrow circle. Indeed, no one can provide objective data on the qualitative and quantitative composition of ISKP. Nevertheless, the group is taking on real dimensions in the media. The threat to Central Asia from ISKP looks more virtual than real at this point. Any small group of terrorists can declare themselves part of ISKP, and, without any...

Journalist and Politician Ahmadshokh Komilzoda Detained in Tajikistan

Journalist and first deputy chairman of the Democratic Party of Tajikistan Ahmadshokh Komilzoda has been detained in Dushanbe. A source in Tajikistan's law enforcement agencies said on condition of anonymity that Komilzoda has been held in a pre-trial detention center since June 15. He declined to provide other details. Another source close to Tajikistan's Prosecutor General's Office confirmed Komilzoda's detention, adding that his computer and a second phone were seized on June 16. According to him, "Komilzoda's detention is related to the case of Saidjafar Usmonzod, a member of parliament and former chairman of the Democratic Party," who was detained on June 12 in Dushanbe on suspicion of attempting to seize power. The source also reported that "a criminal case has been opened against Ahmadshokh Komilzoda," but did not know under which article. Ahmadshokh Komilzoda was an active member of the Rastokhez movement and director of Tajikistan Television in the late 1990s. In 1993, he was held along with several other journalists, who spent time in detention. Komilzoda was also a spokesman for the National Reconciliation Commission, which was established after the signing of the peace agreement which ended the civil war. Until 2011, he was a correspondent for Voice of America in Tajikistan.

Kazakh Tourists Who Left Greece Face Charges in Island Fire

The Greek authorities have charged eight Kazakh citizens with complicity in arson after a forest fire that was allegedly caused by fireworks on the tourist island of Hydra, according to Greek media. Some of the tourists are believed to be wealthy, prominent figures in Kazakhstan and the case has stirred anger in Greece, which has experienced high temperatures and wildfires in recent weeks. The Kazakh tourists were on a luxury boat near Hydra around the time of the fire on the night of June 21, but are unlikely to appear in a Greek court soon because they left Greece by plane on the morning after the blaze. Media reports say a number of minors with the Kazakh group have not been charged. Greek outlet tovima.com said the charge was a misdemeanor. The captain and 12 crew-members of the vessel Persephone were charged with the felony of arson and authorities are investigating how the boat passengers from Kazakhstan were able to leave the country before they could be questioned. The charges against the Kazakh tourists came after investigators found the remains of firecrackers on a Hydra beach and concluded that the passengers were on the beach at the time. Initial reports said fireworks were fired from the boat but have since been discounted. Greek authorities have asked their Kazakh counterparts for help in the case, reported Kathimerini, a Greek newspaper. Another media outlet, Proto Thema, said “the only possibility” that the suspects could be brought to court is if they return voluntarily to Greece, though it also said they could theoretically be subject to arrest and transfer to Greece if they are found in another European country. Citing a “manifest obtained by journalists,” the OCCRP, an investigative reporting group, listed the names of some of the Kazakh passengers who were on the Persephone. The names are now circulating in Greek media, with some reports referring to them as “oligarchs.”

Kuandyk Bishimbayev Murder Sentence Appeal Rejected

On June 26 an appeal court in Kazakhstan's capital Astana upheld the 24-year prison sentence for murder handed down to the country's former minister of national economy, Kuandyk Bishimbayev. On 13 May Bishimbayev, a minister in the government of Kazakhstan's first president Nursultan Nazarbayev, was found guilty of killing his common-law wife, Saltanat Nukenova, at a restaurant in Astana late last year. The appeal court ruling states: "The judicial board decides that the verdict of the Specialized Interdistrict Court on criminal cases of Astana from May 13, 2024, in respect of Kuandyk Bishimbayev, made with the participation of jurors, should be left unchanged." The owner of the restaurant where Nukenova was murdered, Bakhytzhan Baizhanov, was found guilty of harboring a particularly serious crime. Baizhanov was sentenced to four years in prison in a medium security penal institution. His sentence has also been upheld. During the trial, as public outrage over Nukenova’s killing simmered in Kazakhstan, president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a new law in April in line with OECD standards which tightens the penalties for domestic violence and provides more help for survivors. The legislation became widely-dubbed, “Saltanat’s Law.” Bishimbayev's lawyer, Nazken Kusainova, has commented that Bishimbayev intends to make further appeals to the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan and the Human Rights Committee.

Kazakhstan’s Attempts to Address Disinformation and Media Freedom

On June 19, President Tokayev signed amendments to the law governing Kazakhstan's mass media. Meanwhile, public debate on foreign and domestic media that allegedly receive financing from abroad continues. While human rights activists focus on the principle of freedom of speech, political analysts are concerned about a string of disinformation campaigns attempting to destabilizing the country. The respective changes to legislative acts affect a wide range of issues. In particular, a new and broader concept of mass media has been introduced which includes internet resources. It is envisaged that a Unified Media Platform will be created to implement the state’s information policy, including grants for non-state media and accreditation of journalists to state bodies and organizations through a simplified accreditation procedure. In addition, the statute of limitations for claims brought against the media to refute information that does not correspond to facts and defames honor, dignity, and business reputation has been reduced to one year. Under the new law, Kazakhstan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the right to deny accreditation to foreign journalists "in case of a threat to the national security of the Republic of Kazakhstan." A few months ago, the Ministry did not issue accreditation to 36 correspondents from Azattyk. The publication subsequently filed a lawsuit, and in April, the media outlet and the Ministry reached a mediation agreement. While the new law focuses mainly on foreign funded domestic media, experts cite recent examples of pressures on Kazakhstan’s society and authorities through disinformation campaigns that mostly originated from abroad. For instance, a week ago in Kyiv, Ukrainian authorities claimed an assassination attempt was made on Kazakhstani national Aidos Sadykov, the creator of a YouTube channel called Bәse. Sadykov and his wife Natalya were placed on the wanted list in Kazakhstan in October 2023 for “inciting social, national, clan, racial, class, or religious discord.” Their inclusion on the list is linked to the January 2022 coup attempt and riots, as well as their ties to controversial fugitive billionaire Mukhtar Ablyazov, who currently has judgements against him in U.S. and UK courts exceeding $5 billion. Ablyazov faced murder charges in Kazakhstan following the death of the CEO of a local bank that he later took over and reportedly defrauded. According to government authorities, Sadykov repeated Ablyazov's calls for violence surrounding the January 2022 coup attempt as well as the Majilis elections in March 2023, where the channel openly called for organizing riots. Furthermore, on the one-year anniversary of the January 2022 events, his Bәse channel gave instructions to overthrow the government in Kazakhstan, following the example of events in Ukraine. The four-minute video includes information on how to create coordination committees for regime change. Natalya Sadykova has also worked for the Respublika newspaper, allegedly funded by Ablyazov. Aidos Sadykov had previously served two years in Kazakhstan for hooliganism and fled to Kyiv in 2014. The alleged perpetrators of the attack on Sadykov, Meiram Karataev and Altai Zhakanbaev, are Kazakhstani citizens. Shortly after the purported assassination attempt, Natalya Sadykova accused Kazakhstan’s...