Kazakhstan. In January, part of the country's parliament
was elected, and officially President Nursultan Nazarbayev's
ruling party received four-fifths of the vote. But the
election was judged undemocratic by the European Security
and Cooperation Organization OSCE.
In 2013, Kazakhstan ranked 160th (out of 179) on
Reporters Without Borders list of press freedom in the
world, and the country was said to have had the worst trend
in Central Asia. According to the Freedom House
organization, the regime in 2012 banned some 40 opposition
media, and that policy continued throughout the year. A
number of magazines were banned, confiscated or sentenced to
Countryaah, regime opponents were imprisoned and prosecuted in large
numbers. Notable was the power struggle between the regime
and the oligarch Muchtar Abljazov, who was in exile. He was
accused of cheating his former bank BTA on large sums but
claimed himself innocent and politically persecuted.
Abljazov was arrested in France.
Islamic groups were banned, and long prison sentences
were condemned for plans or calls for terrorist acts and for
the dissemination of forbidden teachings. In western
Kazakhstan, the military rebelled against what was described
as Islamic extremists and terrorists. A Christian preacher
was arrested and charged with malicious influence, and an
atheist blogger was placed in a psychiatric clinic and then
The chairman of the Opposition Party of Freedom, Bulat
Abilov, announced that he would cease his political
activities. He had been arrested earlier this year by
police, and one of his closest associates had been murdered
A lawyer who was forcibly placed at a psychiatric clinic
the year before was released in November. She herself
claimed that she was locked in for political reasons after
complaining to a regional governor. Human Rights Watch had
demanded her release.
Vadim Kuramshin, who fought for the rights of prisoners
in Kazakhstan, was awarded the Ludovic-Trarieux Human Rights
Prize, which is awarded in Paris. Kuramshin was sentenced in
2012 to twelve years in prison accused of extortion. The
award is awarded each year to a lawyer who defended human
rights, and the first prize winner was Nelson Mandela. The
regime decided during the year to increase the share of
renewable energy, especially wind and solar energy, and
construction of Central Asia's largest solar power plant was
underway. At the same time, it was said that building
nuclear power plants is also necessary to meet the rapidly
growing energy demand. Although Kazakhstan does not yet have
nuclear power, the country is the world's leading uranium
producer with over a third of world production.
Kazakhstan signed an agreement with China during the year
on its involvement in the large Kazakh oil field of
Kashagan. President Nazarbayev also met with the President
of the Russian Federation and signed agreements on bilateral
relations in the 21st century.
TeliaSonera's business in Kazakhstan was submitted at the
end of the year for the investigation of Swedish corruption
prosecutors. It involved the purchase of networks and
frequencies in 2012 for billions, where the Kazakh company
owner had ties to the country's power elite.