THE ASTANA TIMES

Subscribe to THE ASTANA TIMES feed
Updated: 2 hours 30 min ago

Kazakh Armed Forces sergeants receive vocational training

Fri, 2017-02-17 01:42

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – More than 40 sergeants from Kazakhstan’s Armed Forces are attending month-long vocational training at the Defence Ministry’s cadet corps, the press service of the ministry reports.

These 40 sergeants are among 500 expected to receive training. During the training, the sergeants must elevate their skill level, become more efficient and supplement military and practical know-how throughout positions they are holding.

This year, the sergeant training includes a new advanced programme covering topics, such as the history of creating and developing the sergeant corps, leadership, consulting and training procedures, explained Temirbek Khalykov, a master sergeant of Armed Forces, head of Department on working with non-commissioned officers of the Armed Forces’ general staff, according to the ministry’s press service.

“A programme of instruction is designed for a multifaceted development of the sergeant corps. Amidst professionalising the army, this is one of the priority directions of further development of the country’s Armed Forces as a whole,” the statement says.

The coursework is a form of professional training for military personnel. Seven levels from basic level to courses for sergeants of troops, squadrons, divisions, staff headquarters, depot complexes and regimentals are specified for non-commissioned officers in the Armed Forces.

The training is held at training depots and military bases of the Cadet Corps of the country’s defence ministry.

Field firing training is meant to improve field craft and cohesion of subdivisions under simulated battlefield conditions, according to the press service.

Under instructions from Kazakh Minister of Defence Col. Gen. Saken Zhasuzakov teams to control and observe the progress of the training were sent off to all area commands.

The best methodologists of military troops for conducting field firing created an environment catered to shooting with all kinds of weapons both at land and air targets, separate targets as individual defence, port firing of fighting vehicles and armoured trucks, firing in the dark using night vision sight and grenade throwing.

When the field fire training is held, most of the focus goes to correcting tactics, proficient weapon use in combat, firing direction and strict compliance with security procedures.

The post Kazakh Armed Forces sergeants receive vocational training appeared first on The Astana Times.

Third IMAX Theatre Opens in Kazakhstan

Thu, 2017-02-16 04:00

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s third IMAX theatre has opened in Astana’s Sary-Arka Shopping Centre as part of the Kinopark cinema chain.

Photo credit: forbes.kz

The new theatre is IMAX’s third collaboration with Kinopark, and it won’t be the last, senior vice-president of IMAX business development in the region John Schreiner said in a press release from the Kinopark 8 IMAX of Sary-Arka Shopping Centre.

“The region has good potential with relation to film distribution as a whole and therefore with a good platform at hand we are ready to review projects in Kazakhstan’s other cities too,” he said.

Up to 30 films are released into Kazakhstan’s IMAX venues each year. At present, IMAX’s share of fees amounts to more than 15 percent from Kinopark’s general box office. The company expects that the flow of visitors to Sary-Arka will increase up to 25 percent when the IMAX screen opens.

“We see a big future for this format. I am sure that the brand new movie hall will create additional serious traffic for the shopping centre, as happened with Keruen shopping centre, where the flow of visitors increased by a quarter,” said Zhanna Nalayeva, head of projects for the Kinopark chain. The increased foot traffic will help not only the food court, but the mall’s shops, she said.

Photo credit: forbes.kz

Opening IMAX venues in the country’s regions and building a laser hall with a screen more than 18 metres tall are some of the plans the Kinopark Company and IMAX Corporation are creating together.

IMAX Corporation specialises in motion-picture technologies and large-format motion-picture presentations. Collaborating with museums and education institutions is an essential part of the corporation’s activity.

More than 450 million people have been entertained in IMAX theatres since 1970, according to imax.com. As of September 2016, there were more than 1,100 IMAX theatres in more than 70 countries, with 92 of them in educational institutions around the world.

Kinopark is a leading cinema chain with eight movie theatres in Kazakhstan’s four cities. The overall number of theatre halls amounts to 54 while auditorium seats are 8,136 in total, the press release stated.

Kinopark uses IMAX, Dolby Atmos technology in its cinemas.

The post Third IMAX Theatre Opens in Kazakhstan appeared first on The Astana Times.

EXPO 2017 construction site impresses US experts

Thu, 2017-02-16 03:55

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – A U.S. State Department official praised the progress of EXPO 2017 preparations after a recent visit to the expo site, according to the Astana EXPO 2017 national company.

Photo credit: inform.kz

“We looked at the international exhibition pavilions and I saw a huge amount of work carried out by the organisers. I am very impressed. At the same time, we are witnessing a great interest among the international community towards EXPO 2017. Therefore, we will make every effort to worthily represent our country, one of the technological leaders in the world, at EXPO 2017,” Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs of the U.S. Department of State William Todd said, according to a company press release.

Todd arrived in Astana to discuss preparations for the event with Chair of Astana EXPO 2017 Akhmetzhan Yessimov. Over the past year, management of the company held 150 formal events, including 36 meetings with foreign delegations headed by high officials. At present, 115 countries and 18 international organisations have confirmed their participation in the exhibition dedicated to Future Energy. Thus, according to the number of participating countries, EXPO 2017 has become one of the most successful in the history of exhibitions.

The international specialised exhibition will take place June 10 to Sept. 10 in the capital of Kazakhstan and is expected to receive than five million visits.

To date, 19 countries and one international organisation have started working on their pavilions at the EXPO site.

“We have transferred 20 international pavilions to EXPO 2017 participants, including 19 countries, such as Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Hungary, South Korea, Malaysia, Monaco, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Turkey, the UAE, and Vietnam, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO),” Astana EXPO 2017 company said.

The post EXPO 2017 construction site impresses US experts appeared first on The Astana Times.

Nurly Zhol programme created 100,000 jobs in 2016

Thu, 2017-02-16 03:44

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – More than 100,000 jobs were created as part of the Nurly Zhol programme in 2016, said Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov at a Feb. 14 governmental meeting. The programme is designed to spur economic growth, particularly in the construction in transport, housing and social sectors.

“At the end of the year, 469.6 billion tenge (US$1.46 billion) or 99 percent were disbursed on target transfers. The incomplete budgeting was caused due to savings on public procurement,” said Suleimenov.

Last year, 151.3 billion tenge (US$471 million) was allocated for the road sector development with full disbursement of funds. The construction and road works were completed on 611 kilometres of roads. As a result, the Astana – Temirtau, Almaty – Kapshagai and Astana – Petropavlovsk roads were opened. This year, the work in this direction will be continued,” the minister said.

Engineering and communication infrastructure were provided for housing projects in all regions of the country and 2,208 kilometres of engineering networks were constructed. The supply of infrastructure to the business projects as part of the Business Road Map programme 2020 is also underway.

“The development of infrastructure in the field of education is of special attention. The total elimination of emergency schools and three-shift learning will be provided by 2018. Currently, 52 objects including 35 schools and 17 kindergartens were opened,” he said.

In 2016, 739 billion tenge (US$2.3 billion) was allocated for the implementation of the Nurly Zhol programme. As a result, it has had a positive impact on economic growth and GDP growth amounted to 1 percent.

In 2017, 387 billion tenge (US$1.2 billion) was allocated for the initiative to ensure economic growth with an expected contribution to GDP growth of 0.5 percent.

 

The post Nurly Zhol programme created 100,000 jobs in 2016 appeared first on The Astana Times.

Local designer participates in prestigious UK emerging designer exhibition

Thu, 2017-02-16 03:34

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Kazakh designer Ruslan Kim will show his ready-to-wear collection at the International Fashion Showcase exhibition (IFS) initiated by British Fashion Council and British Council as part of the London Fashion Week Feb. 17-21.

IFS is a series of fashion-installations that demonstrate the works by beginning and ambitious designers from 26 countries and present their vision of the national modern culture.

Founder of the Ruslan PANAMA brand, Kim graduated from Instituto Marangoni Fashion School in London. He had internships at Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Damir Doma and collaborated with British Vogue.

After the release of his first collection at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Almaty 2014, Kim was recognised as one of the most promising designers in the country.

“I presented this collection at the Vogue Fashion Night Out Almaty 2015. The collection is inspired by women of Paris. I wish that our young girls and women also master this minimalist style with charm and light frivolity,” Kim told The Astana Times.

Ruslan Kim

The collection represents modern, streamlined shapes with a crucial wearability, designed to make a new generation of successful, cosmopolitan women look confident and on trend across the globe.

The collection is currently presented only at Sprezzatura boutique in Paris with prices ranging from 35,000 (US$108) to 200,000 tenge (US$619).

Kim said that many local designers also face challenges in terms of production and the size range.

“I buy fabric abroad. We don’t have a cheap price range because tailoring services and fabrics are expensive. I don’t want to make clothing for a cheap price as this affects quality,” he said.

Kim was selected by the IFS jury among other candidates nominated by Kazakh experts and leading magazines in the field of fashion. The participation of the designer was supported by the embassy of Kazakhstan in London.

Designer Assel Nusipkozhanova presented her brand Assel at the exhibition in 2016.

This year, the exhibition, titled Local/Global, will be at the IFS Somerset House Museum with a focus on the interconnection of local and global phenomena in the world of fashion. Fashion is influenced by the environment, including nature, climate and cultural memory, social and historical changes that affect the forms of expression, performance techniques and materials. The characteristics of each country are a source of different ways to design and to produce outfits and the individual aesthetics of each culture is one of the dialects of the global fashion language.

The event is an important part of the London Fashion Week and promotes the role of fashion in contemporary culture.

The post Local designer participates in prestigious UK emerging designer exhibition appeared first on The Astana Times.

Kazakh stuntmen to star in new Russian historical film

Thu, 2017-02-16 03:16

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Members of Kazakhstan’s famous Nomad Stunts will star in the Russian historical film “Tobol.” The acrobats recently visited the city of Tobolsk to see the set and scenery.

Photo credit: Nomad Stunts

The movie will narrate the events that occurred under the rule of Peter the Great, according to producer Oleg Urushev. Filming will start in March with a brawl scene involving 300 people.

The plot is based on the conflict between Tobolsk governor Matvei Gagarin and Dzhungar khan Tsewang Rabtan, said stunt group founder and leader Zhaidarbek Kunguzhinov. The khan maintained vigorous diplomatic and trade relations with Russia, which, however, were complicated by the conflict of 1714-1715. The stuntmen will play Dzhungar characters.

“Both Kazakh and Russian stuntmen will work together on the film. Our team is responsible for the equestrian stunts, fight and fencing scenes. Additionally, the Nomad Stunts will act as stand-ins for Russian actors. We will fall from heights, burn in fire and fly away from blasts. In general, there will be much work to do. Just like we did for the films ‘Viking’ and ‘Kolovrat,’ our Kazakh group will be completely responsible for the battle scenes, including the pyrotechnics, explosions and rigging,” Kunguzhinov told the Kazakhstanskaya Pravda newspaper.

The team is currently preparing for the shoot, developing new stunts and fighting scenes. For increased efficiency on set, the group films every new stunt and sends the footage to the directors for their opinion and approval.

“This greatly simplifies the process of shooting a stunt on the set, and, in addition, it increases the performance quality,” said Kunguzhinov.

Zhaidarbek Kunguzhinov on the set. Photo credit: Nomad Stunts

“Tobol” will be directed by Igor Zaitsev, known for his work in films such as “Kanikuly Strogo Rezhima”(“High Security Vacation”) and TV series “Velikaya” (“The Great”), “Yesenin,” and “Chkalov.” He will visit Almaty in the end of February to meet the Nomad Stunts.

“We will discuss every stunt in detail, to understand what we should work on more. Developing a stunt is work from scratch, because we cannot repeat the same tricks. It is important to undertake the preparations correctly and have a clear goal. For example, for Sergey Bodrov’s film ‘Mongol,’ a horse rider had to simultaneously take out two swords from behind his back. No one had done this before. The director really liked the piece and it matched the entire movie scene. Since the release of the film, the stunt has become somewhat a classic,” Kunguzhinov said.

The stunt group is also preparing special protection for the acrobats and warm bedding for the horses so they do not fall on the hard, icy ground during the harsh Siberian winter.

“Filming will take place in extreme cold and mostly at night when the temperature drops even lower. In general, the project will be challenging and thus very interesting. We will try to do our job perfectly,” said Kunguzhinov.

Founded in 2003, Nomad Stunts is known worldwide. The Kazakh team has starred in the American drama web television series “Marco Polo,” Kazakh epics “Nomad” and “Myn Bala” (“Thousand Young Warriors”), American 3D fantasy action film “47 Ronin” and Russian dark fantasy action film “Day Watch” directed by Timur Bekmambetov.

The post Kazakh stuntmen to star in new Russian historical film appeared first on The Astana Times.

15 countries to present cuisines at EXPO 2017

Wed, 2017-02-15 02:43

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Fifteen countries are getting ready to present their national cuisine at EXPO 2017 with more than 10,000 square metres of the exhibition area to be allotted for commercial catering facilities.

Daulet Yerkimbayev, director of the Astana EXPO 2017 commercialisation department announced interim results on competition among catering renters, according to the company’s press service.

Photo credit: foodnews-press.ru

“The organisation of restaurant service on such large-scale events is a key and necessary aspect. It is important that services meet the expectations of different customer groups, starting with the top officials and delegates of member countries, ending with the residents and guests of the capital. To date, approximately 15 countries, including Italy, Germany and Poland are planning to organise the catering facilities offering their national cuisine,” Yerkimbayev pointed out.

According to report, 40 catering facilities will occupy at least 10,000 square metres of the exhibition area.

“Restaurants, bars and coffee shops will welcome EXPO 2017 guests on the ground floor in the commercial pavilion. The first floor will feature fast-food outlets similar to shopping malls. Catering facilities will offer services available to all social strata of the population and income levels,” said the report.

“We have announced the competition at the end of 2016. Business sector is largely involved in the process. On a competitive basis, we have determined 71 percent of renters. In rigorous selection of renters, we paid particular attention to the quality of service, experience in the market and pricing policy. Companies and business sector are welcome to the participation in the contest and further cooperation. This is a great chance for our domestic producers to demonstrate their capabilities,” Yerkimbayev reiterated.

According to the national company, 115 countries and 18 international organisations have officially confirmed their participation in the international specialised exhibition dedicated to the theme of Future Energy. EXPO 2017 will last from June 10 to Sept. 10.

The post 15 countries to present cuisines at EXPO 2017 appeared first on The Astana Times.

Suicide games raising concerns in Kazakhstan

Wed, 2017-02-15 02:39

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – A rash of suicide games on social media has recently caused panic among parents and raised alarm throughout the nation.

Authorities have blocked access to content posted by so-called death groups on social networks such as VKontakte. Experts are also calling on Kazakh citizens to check their children’s phones to protect them from games such as Siniy kit (“a blue whale”), Tikhiy dom (“a quiet house”), More kitov (“a sea/a bunch of whales”) and Razbudi menya v 4:20 (“wake me up 4.20 am”).

“From the beginning of the year, 63 cases of children’s involvement in online death communities have been recorded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and 15 children were wounded in different ways…” said Minister Kalmukhanbet Kassymov during the Feb. 13 Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) governmental hour,  reported Vlast.kz.

He added 44 criminal cases were filed last year after 16 children died due to death groups.

The alleged death groups supposedly led Galina Sibiryakova, a 19-year-old from Karaganda, to commit suicide. She was found deceased Feb. 7 by her parents. The family claimed the teenager used her phone to stay in constant contact with someone on Skype, reported 31.kz.

In another instance, a seventh grader from Temirtau jumped from a five-storey building Jan. 29 to allegedly save his parents. The incident presumably had a similar origin.

According to general data, the suicide wave began in 2015 in Russia, where local media reported about secret communities for teens that invited them to participate in a dangerous game. In each case, the players must complete 50 tasks, beginning with cutting a vein and using a blade to draw an image of a blue whale on their hand. Suicide is the last mandatory task and if not completed, the game creators threaten to “deal” with the player’s family.

Photo credit: vk.com

One social media user shared the results after he courageously took part in a game.

“I became curious about how this works and why people commit suicide after 50 days. My friend and me created two fake accounts on VKontakte and were both reached by a person for each one of us. Different people were giving tasks every day. The first one was to ‘scribble’ a blue whale on our hand,” which the user said they did with the help of Photoshop, reported Tengrinews.kz.

“We had to choose either ‘to hang ourselves’ or ‘to jump’ on the 50th day. Death is the end of the game. I then replied that I was scared and received a link. The ‘404 not found’ message appeared after I followed the link. After 10 minutes he wrote ‘If you don’t end your life, I will kill your loved ones’ to me, wrote my address and apartment number and I realised how they do it,” he continued in his message.

He called upon others to spread the post in the hope of preventing possible tragedies. He is confident while many might have refused the final offer, the gamers know where the child lives once the link has been followed.

“Here is my example: ‘If you do not kill yourself we will help you to do it. You entered the game, there is no way back. You live in an apartment on this certain street. We are keeping an eye on you. Either it is you or your entire family. If you love – take action’. No one has even a slightest suspicion that the sick person lives in a completely different town,” he added, according to the news agency.

About 300 “a sea of whales” communities and 450 “quiet house” groups have been discovered on VKontakte, noted Today.kz. In a specialised monitoring, the East Kazakhstan region prosecutor’s office revealed a group named Tipichniy semsk (“Typical semsk”) on VKontakte whose content might have promoted suicide.

The post Suicide games raising concerns in Kazakhstan appeared first on The Astana Times.

Information society expansion puts growing pressure on nations, says Kazakh expert

Wed, 2017-02-15 02:33

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Information density has increased tenfold over the past two years, Astana International Finance Centre Managing Director Sayasat Nurbek told a recent forum in Astana focusing on Modernisation 3.0: A New Stage of Economic and Political Development of Kazakhstan.

Nurbek spoke about the main challenges facing society and said his vision is congruent with American sociologist Alvin Toffler’s opinion.

Sayasat Nurbek

“Toffler predicted the problems that we face today, including transition from one formation to another, the transition to an information society in the 1980s. The traditional model of the state is under pressure, both internal and external. The external pressure caused by large global trends is strengthening the role of technology and information. The internal pressure is caused by a change in values. Society starts to shift to the post-modern and individual values. As a result, a request for an inclusive society and the inclusion of large social groups in the political decision-making process and others appear,” he said.

The return of populism is also inevitable, said Nurbek. An information society begins to put pressure on the political systems as a whole. This causes insecurity in a great number of people. Then comes the request for simple and clear truth and some political forces and individuals start to use it.

The expert highlighted the negative impact caused by the introduction of different kind of technological know-how on the market.

“New technologies go forward and most of the world’s population simply stops to absorb them because they do not have time for. New terms, such as ‘Digital Aborigines’ and ‘Destructive Technologies’ have appeared. Jack Ma precisely differentiated the technological revolution with a cycle of about 50 years. The technologies are established in the first 20 years and the next 30 years these technologies are applied throughout the society,” he said.

“Automated processes gradually lead that person to becoming unnecessary in market. For example, German brand Adidas brought shoemaking production back to Germany. The reason for the relocation of the company was the introduction of complete robotics and automated processes. They will not create a single new job in the country,” he said.

The post Information society expansion puts growing pressure on nations, says Kazakh expert appeared first on The Astana Times.

Kaznex Invest reveals top four sectors for international investors

Wed, 2017-02-15 02:28

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Kaznex Invest national export and investment agency and leading global strategic management consulting firm McKinsey & Company have determined the four most attractive sectors for foreign investors in short and medium terms, said Kaznex Invest Chairperson Borisbiy Zhangurazov on his Facebook page Feb. 10. The areas are food manufacturing, the chemical industry, machinery and retail trade.

Photo credit: utmagazine.ru

“Over the past few years, Kazakhstan’s economy has been growing at a record pace leaving behind the countries of Central Asia, Russia and the European Union, slightly lagging behind only China,” noted the Kaznex Invest report.

According to the release, more than 20 million hectares were devoted to agricultural crops in 2015. Approximately 50 varieties of crops grow in Kazakhstan.

The same year, Kazakh consumption of agricultural and food products totalled in excess of $35 billion. On average, consumption grew at an annual rate of more than 5 percent (2010-2015) with imports remaining high.

The main food products consumed by Kazakhstan’s population are dairy products, flour and cereals, meat products, fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, fats and oils. Analysts note only 25 percent of agricultural products grown in Kazakhstan undergo further processing; the majority of processed foods are imported.

The nation’s location between some of the largest importers of agricultural and food products, like Russia and China, makes the country more attractive for investors. Foreign direct investments in the agriculture and food industry have grown significantly, totalling more than $1.3 billion during the past five years.

The chemical industry was also reported to be attractive for foreign investors due to a rich resource base and proximity to large growth markets, particularly China, Russia, Turkey and Iran.

“Access to low-cost feedstock with a high content of ethane (10 percent) and high demand for petrochemical products in neighbouring countries make investments in this segment attractive. In addition, Kazakhstan is one of the key sources of hydrocarbons to the world economy, ranking 16th in the world by production volume in 2015,” outlined the report.

The Kazakh mining sector is a demand driver for bulk and specialty chemical production, said analysts. According to expert projections, given the positive global outlook for the mining industry, the demand for industrial chemicals will increase. Meanwhile, the growth dynamics of foreign direct investments in chemicals indicates the sector’s increased attractiveness for foreign investments.

Kaznex Invest and McKinsey analysts believe machinery to be another promising Kazakh sector. In 2015, market size amounted to $14.7 billion, although the sharp decline in 2014 and 2015 was largely due to the devaluation of the national currency.

“There is a considerable potential for import substitution in the machinery market, where import share has remained consistently high (80-85 percent) in the last five years,” noted the release.

Specific machinery products, such as agricultural tractors, have also shown significant growth in line with the entire Kazakh machinery market. In 2015, the share of foreign direct investments in the nation’s machinery sector against total machinery sector production amounted to 10 percent, note analysts. In recent years, more than 30 international investors from the USA, France, China, South Korea and other countries have invested more than $1.5 billion in Kazakh machinery sector projects.

The fourth most important sector of Kazakhstan’s economy is trade. Its share in the country’s GVA (Gross Value Added) is growing steadily, accounting for 18 percent in 2015.

“The young and employed population of Kazakhstan creates a buoyant demand for modern trade formats in all product categories,” said the release.

Kazakhstan’s trade sector consistently attracts foreign direct investments. During the last five years, international investors have invested more than $12 billion in the area.

Kaznex Invest is Kazakhstan’s investment promotion agency and unified coordination centre for developing special economic zones. It supports foreign companies and private investors interested in setting up business in Kazakhstan and serves the existing foreign investors helping them to expand and develop their business.

The post Kaznex Invest reveals top four sectors for international investors appeared first on The Astana Times.

President says small business burdened by too many regulations, directs large-scale review

Wed, 2017-02-15 02:15

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – President Nursultan Nazarbayev recently instructed the government together with the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs and the General Prosecutor’s Office to conduct a large-scale revision of the number of supervisory functions regulating small business. He gave the organisations one month to present their findings.

The directive follows a report indicating that in the first nine months of 2016 there was a decrease in the percentage of goods and services from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“The number of SMEs has decreased 7 percent, while the number of employees decreased 3 percent. The mountain in labour gave birth to a mouse. How are they supposed to grow with constant increasing regulatory burden on business? Over the past ten years, the number of annually adopted legal acts has increased more than fourfold. Who creates them? Six thousand different acts that govern business and the general population were adopted last year. In general, 61 departments with controlling and monitoring functions are operating in the country; 45 central, 16 in the regions,” the President said.

He also questioned why more burdens haven’t already been lifted on small business as a result of previous government efforts.

“The government reported that the scheduled inspections are cancelled and that it had implemented the new risk management system, the state body is using electronic format. We have reduced the number of civil servants. Why are officials still sitting in the same places, where are the reduced numbers? What a wonderful self-reproduction! The inspectors are being reduced yet the number of officials isn’t reducing. What a miracle!” Nazarbayev said.

The president used dental clinics as an example of a small business and said too many regulations govern the development of such enterprises.

“There are private dental clinics with their own patients. But why aren’t there other developments in different directions such as traumatology, gynaecology? (Because) it is impossible to open a private clinic. Why? It’s in our hands. Who is doing this? Where is the ‘fifth column’ sitting? Inside the government? We say one thing, then make a decision, eventually we do everything in a completely different way. According to Atameken, business people are faced with more than 28,000 requirements,” Nazarbayev said.

The post President says small business burdened by too many regulations, directs large-scale review appeared first on The Astana Times.

Accounts committee not content with People’s IPO programme implementation

Wed, 2017-02-15 02:12

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – The Accounts Committee for control over execution of the national budget audited the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund and identified a number of violations related to the budget programme’s target indicators. The findings were reported by accounts committee member Aigul Mukhametkarim at a meeting in Astana early in February.

The so-called People’s Initial Public Offering (IPO), with lead times between 2011 and 2015, was approved by government resolution in 2011. The main purpose was to help the fund’s subsidiaries and affiliated companies go public. The programme was to offer Kazakh citizens the opportunity to purchase shares of leading domestic firms, which in return can be a positive situation for the country’s securities market.

“In the fourth quarter of 2014, due to lack of preparation for placement of stocks on the market the target indicators of the programme were changed and the implementation duration was prolonged until 2022. The entire programme has become unprofitable; no central executive authority has checked the effectiveness of its implementation. As a result, the target indicators set in the framework of the People’s IPO programme have not been fully achieved,” said Mukhametkarim.

Consulting service expenses related to placing shares on the stock market and the awareness-raising campaign in 2011-2015 amounted to 2.2 billion tenge (US$6.8 million). Mukhametkarim noted the results of consulting services cannot be used in implementing the next phase of activities scheduled for 2018 as they will no longer be relevant.

The main purpose of the programme, giving access to common citizens to owning shares of the republic’s largest companies, has not yet been fully achieved. Most of the shareholders are eager to sell stocks rather than buy new shares. Since the shares were initially placed on the securities market, the number of private shareholders in KazTransOil and KEGOC has decreased.

Samruk Kazyna acting managing director of finance and operations Yernar Zhanadil does not agree with the audit committee’s assessment.

“The effectiveness of the companies going public cannot be assessed in strict terms of planning. This process is very sensitive to even the slightest fluctuations in the market and expectations of the investors towards regulatory requirements. Therefore, the government resolution highlighted the list of candidate companies going public and terms of placement of shares on the stock market are indicative,” he said.

The results of the audit will be submitted to the government and head of state in May.

The post Accounts committee not content with People’s IPO programme implementation appeared first on The Astana Times.

Security forces arrest 15 suspected extremists in Almaty operations

Wed, 2017-02-15 02:04

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – The Kazakh National Security Committee (NSC) in cooperation with Almaty police shut down two suspected radical groups and arrested 15 suspected religious extremists in special operations conducted Jan. 13-24 in Almaty city and the Almaty region, the NSC announced in a press release in mid-February.

Photo credit: vlast.kz

Nine of those arrested are suspected members of terrorist organisations. Six are persons suspected of individual terrorist activities. Charges included promotion of terrorism, preparation for participation in terrorist activities, incitement to religious hatred and illegal possession of weapons.

The National Security Committee and police also confiscated five grenades, extremist literature from terrorist organisations and literature in electronic format.

The National Security Committee reports it is continuing efforts to thwart extremist activity and that its January operations helped increase security for Universiade 2017.

Sergei Shveikin, deputy chief of the Anti-Terrorist Centre of the Kazakh National Security Committee said Jan. 31 that in 2016, the Kazakhstan National Security Committee prevented numerous violent extremist acts, according to Interfax-Kazakhstan.

“In the last year, we faced a difficult situation in Kazakhstan. It revealed a problem of so-called single-Jihad. In 2016, in Kazakhstan 12 violent extremist acts were prevented at the early stage of preparation and 182 persons convicted,” he said.

Shveikin said three people were convicted for financing terrorism, emphasising that they were members of international terrorist organisations.

“We have arrested and handed over five foreign extremists to other partner states. Also, the Kazakh National Security Committee contributed to the arrest of 14 members of international terrorist organisations,” he added.

Eight people were killed in terrorist attacks on a military unit and two weapons shops in Aktobe on June 5, 2016. Twenty-nine men were convicted in connection with the attack. Seven were sentenced to life in prison and two received 25 and 22 years of imprisonment, among lesser sentences.

 

The post Security forces arrest 15 suspected extremists in Almaty operations appeared first on The Astana Times.

Constitutional reforms should recognise important role of political parties

Tue, 2017-02-14 03:22

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

One of the giants of political science, Maurice Duverger, once observed that knowing political parties was more important than knowing a constitution to understand politics.

This observation was, to some extent, due to the fact that most of the Western European constitutions that Duverger had in mind paid little to no attention to political parties. The Italian Constitution, in 1948, was the first Western European Constitution to recognise the role that political parties play in a political system. Article 49 of the Italian Constitution established that “All citizens have the right to freely associate in parties to contribute to the democratic processes through which determine national policy.”

In 1949, Article 21 of the German Basic Law also recognised the importance of political parties for the proper functioning of a political system. But in addition to recognising parties’ role, as the Italian Constitution had already done, it established more precise provisions with regard to the parties’ internal functioning and organisation, to their relationship with other parties, to their commitment to democracy and national integrity, and to the transparency of their finance.

While Article 49 of the Italian Constitution and Article 21 of the German Basic Law were very innovative and, in some respects, revolutionary when they were introduced, most democratic constitutions now understand that properly functioning systems need political parties and that political parties’ role in democratic life needs to be secured by proper constitutional dispositions.

For example, Article 5 of the Constitution of Benin disposes that parties contribute to the expression of suffrage and that they must respect the principles of national sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity and the secular nature of the state.

Similar provisions can be found in Article 13 of the Constitution of Burkina Faso, in Articles 75, 76, 77 and 78 of the Constitution of Burundi, in Article 3 of the Constitution of Cameroon, in Articles 13 and 21 of the Constitution of the Central African Republic, in Article 57 of the Constitution of Cape Verde, in Article 4 of the Constitution of Chad, Article 6 of the Constitution of Comoros, in Articles 51, 52, 53, 54 and 55 of the Constitution of the Republic of Congo, Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Article 6 of the Constitution of Djibouti, Article 9.1 of the Constitution of Equatorial Guinea, Articles 1.13 and 6 of the Constitution of Gabon, Articles 25.1 and 60.2.b of the Constitution of the Gambia, Articles 55 and 6 of the Constitution of Ghana and so on.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, recently announced that after serving the country so well for 21 years, the Constitution needs to be revised to serve Kazakhstan well for many years to come. Two of the most commonly discussed changes concern the delegation of power to local authorities and a strengthening of the Parliament. These measures are important because decentralisation and a stronger Parliament can improve the representativeness, responsiveness and accountability of the Kazakh political system – thus improving the quality of Kazakh democracy and securing its long-term sustainability.

Yet, constitutional reformers also need to include some dispositions to provide political parties with proper constitutional recognition. These dispositions need to acknowledge the simple fact that political parties are already important in Kazakhstan. The political life of Kazakhstan is already influenced and shaped, to a considerable extent, by the presence of political parties. Hence, the constitutional revisions need to codify into a formal document, the Constitution, what is already an established practice and in order to do so the Constitution will have to go beyond the existing dispositions concerning political parties.

The 1995 Constitution speaks of political parties only in three articles. Article 5.4 mandates that foreign parties cannot operate in Kazakhstan and that Kazakh parties cannot receive financial support from foreign sources. Article 23.2 specifies that members of the military, of national security and the judiciary cannot join political parties, while article 44.3 establishes that the President appoint a Prime Minister after a consultation with political parties.

Important as these dispositions may be, they fail to acknowledge the real contribution of political parties to the political life of Kazakhstan. Political parties in Kazakhstan participate in the political life of the country, they contribute to the dissemination of political information, they contribute to the political education of the population, they are instrumental in the formation and in the expression of the political will, and they also participate in the orientation of the state. Political parties in Kazakhstan already perform these tasks and constitutional amendments need to be designed and introduced to acknowledge their important contribution.

With these kinds of changes and amendments, the new Constitution will better reflect the political life of the country and will be better equipped to serve Kazakhstan well into the future.

 

The author is Associate Professor and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs at Nazarbayev University

The post Constitutional reforms should recognise important role of political parties appeared first on The Astana Times.

‘Technovation Challenge’ seeks to build new generation of women leaders

Tue, 2017-02-14 03:18

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Technovation Challenge is bringing together young girls from across the country to learn to solve real-world problems through technology.

Founded in San Francisco, the annual international competition for girls aged 10-18 was introduced in Kazakhstan in 2016. Shortly after attending the 2015 TechWomen programme, Diana Tsoi launched Technovation Challenge in her home country and became the programme’s representative in Almaty. This year, Gulshnar Salpykova, a TechWoman herself, joined the initiative and helped expand the programme.

“Our mission is to inspire and teach young girls to address real life challenges through technology, namely through development of mobile applications. We want to encourage them to pursue their ambitions in entrepreneurship and programming,” Salpykova told The Astana Times.

The programme offers girls the opportunity to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders. The teams, supported by mentors, build mobile apps and develop business plans to launch them.

“The participants will identify a problem in their community and then be challenged to solve it. Not only will they come up with interesting ideas, but they will actually implement them, learn to pitch them and be able to commercialise their projects in the future,” she added.

The programme representatives and mentors are adult professional women, industry leaders and entrepreneurs who have volunteered their weekends to help a new generation of female leaders.

“The most rewarding part is seeing how the young girls get excited about what they are doing. Not only do they learn new skills, but they also build confidence that they can be part of a solution that affects and benefits many. Seeing young girls empowered, their horizons broadened, their aspirations getting bolder is motivating both for me and the mentors,” said Salpykova.

This year, the organisers are targeting girls from public schools, especially those from underrepresented communities.

“We are dedicated to lifting up those young girls who do not always have access to information, encouragement and leadership tools,” she said.

Eighty teams of three-five girls from every part of the country have entered the competition. The teams are currently working on creating solutions in education, healthcare, reducing poverty and promoting equality and peace.

The teams will compete in junior and senior categories, with 13 teams representing the capital in the semifinals in April. A local panel of judges will choose the two leading teams who will later enter an international online contest. In June, 12 teams (six in each category) among hundreds from 78 participating countries will receive a sponsorship to enter the finals in San Francisco.

Even though the programme was only introduced recently, the Kazakh tech-savvy girls have already demonstrated good results. Last year, a Kazakh team ComPote 2016 won the opportunity to visit the Silicon Valley with the mobile app Aktivnyi Almatinets (Proactive Almaty Resident). The app allows the local government to gather the most up-to-date, real-time information on infrastructure and urban planning challenges that need addressing by engaging the users to give feedback and building a strong sense of community among city residents.

The post ‘Technovation Challenge’ seeks to build new generation of women leaders appeared first on The Astana Times.

Forum addresses national gender equality achievements and challenges

Tue, 2017-02-14 00:59

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Empowerment of Women in the Corporate Sector, an international forum held Feb.10 in the capital, highlighted the involvement of women in Kazakh business.

Gulshara Abdykalikova

Of the more than 570,000 enterprises in the nation, 44 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are run by women. The businesses provide 31 percent of all jobs in the SME sector and in the past three years, 32 percent of loan recipients have been women, said Secretary of State Gulshara Abdykalikova.

Members of the National Commission for Women, Family and Demographic Policy and Parliament, heads of state bodies and  national companies, foreign ambassadors, representatives of international and non-governmental organisations, as well as Kazakh and foreign experts attended the forum.

In his Jan. 31 address to the nation “Third modernisation of Kazakhstan: global competitiveness,” President Nursultan Nazarbayev noted the country has entered a new era of development, said Abdykalikova. In response, there is a need to improve and expand the business environment.

“Much depends on SMEs headed by women. Participation of women leaders in social processes have a positive impact on the quality of administrative procedures and increase competitiveness. Women should also take part in the creation of innovative start-ups as one of the drivers of the knowledge-based economy,” she added.

Women-owned business is supported through national programmes and agreements between the government and international development institutions including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank and UN Women.

“A model of gender relations has a significant effect on the stability of the family according to the international practice. The higher level of gender equality leads to greater responsibility, parity and fulfilment of domestic, economic, moral and educational functions by family members,” said Abdykalikova.

More than four million families currently reside in Kazakhstan and the nation has conducted systematic work on creating the necessary conditions to strengthen them. The family and gender policy up to 2030 was adopted by a presidential decree.

“The proportion of women totals 27 percent in the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament), whereas it stood at 10 percent in 2006. According to the World Economic Forum, Kazakhstan took 48th place among 144 countries on women in Parliament in 2016,” said the Secretary of State.

There is also a growing tendency of women’s involvement in industrial production, the oil, gas and energy sector and innovation and infrastructure development, especially in top management. The share of female employment in the oil and gas industry accounts for 18 percent, the nuclear industry, 22 percent, and the electricity industry, 27 percent. Approximately 340,000, or 30 percent, of the nearly one million people working in heavy industry are women.

EBRD has supported the way the Kazakh government provides equal rights and opportunities for both men and women in the economy and in society at large. According to EBRD’s Chief Counsellor for Social Issues Michaela Bergman, the private sector is a great catalyst for promoting economic growth.

Michaela Bergman

“We work with our clients to see how we can increase the number of women in the workforce and then also to increase the number of women in decision-making roles. We worked with the Almaty Bus Company, where we found there were no women because of a regulation that prevents women from being bus drivers. We worked with the client and the government to see how we can get a desperate dispensation from that regulation. In Kazakhstan, there are 255 types of jobs that women cannot do because of legislation and some of these legacy laws probably need to be reviewed,” Bergman told The Astana Times.

Extensive research shows that diversity in decision-making and risk are good for a company, because differing views result in an approach that is not as uncertain.

“Women provide a different point of view, different approach. Women are a good way of increasing the diversity in decision-making roles and therefore it will be good for businesses to have more women in decision-making roles. We are trying to promote women in non-traditional areas of work, for example in oil or mining and in other areas because they are poorly represented everywhere in the world. We think that working in Kazakhstan, which has a huge sector on this area, will be a very good role for the rest of the world,” she said.

EBRD Director in Kazakhstan Janet Heckman said the bank welcomes the Kazakh 2030 concept on gender and family.

Janet Heckman

“It is a very contemporary document and first of its kind in the private sector potential to intensify efforts to promote gender equality. Women entrepreneurs are well represented by EBRD’s projects. Our flagship project is the Women in Business programme in Kazakhstan, which supports women entrepreneurs through both access to finance and advisory services. This is EBRD’s first and largest Women in Business programme in Central Asia, with $50 million already dedicated and channelled through the partner banks. The government of Kazakhstan and EBRD have a lot in common in the part of history of promoting gender equality and we will continue doing so, because we strongly believe in the potential to improve women’s economic opportunities wherever we invest,” Heckman said at the forum.

Issues on protecting the rights and interests of women entrepreneurs, experience in promoting women in non-traditional sectors, gender aspects in the corporate and private sectors and gender-sensitive planning were also discussed as part of the roundtable meeting.

 

The post Forum addresses national gender equality achievements and challenges appeared first on The Astana Times.

Kazakhstan ‘strongly condemns’ North Korean ballistic missile launch

Mon, 2017-02-13 01:18

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Kazakhstan “strongly condemns” the ballistic missile launch conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Feb. 12 as “a blatant violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolution, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Astana said in a statement on the same day.

“Being, together with Japan, the co-chairman of the 9th Conference on Article XIV of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), as well as the chairman of the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, Kazakhstan believes that extremely irresponsible actions of the DPRK have a negative impact on the nuclear disarmament process and pose a threat to both regional and global security, undermine the efforts of the vast majority of countries in the world in ensuring a nuclear weapon-free future,” the ministry said.

“Kazakhstan is firmly convinced that the key to global security is a nuclear weapon-free world, and stands for complete prohibition of nuclear testing all over the world,” the ministry said. It further called on the DPRK to return immediately to the negotiating table in the six-party format with the participation of China, Russia, the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan, and to abandon completely its nuclear weapons aspirations.

In 1991, at the break-up of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan inherited part of the former Soviet nuclear weapons arsenal, at that time the world’s fourth largest. It then renounced that arsenal and shut down the former Soviet nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk where, from 1949 to 1991, more than 450 nuclear tests were conducted resulting in contamination of large areas of land and harmful consequences for health of more than 1.5 million people.

Since independence, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has made campaigning for a global nuclear disarmament a key staple of the country’s foreign policy. In addition to creating, together with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (CANWFZ), Kazakhstan has also launched an international awareness campaign, The ATOM (Abolish Testing. Our Mission) Project whose online petition for the early entry into force of CTBT has already been signed by more than 300,000 people in more than100 countries around the world.

The post Kazakhstan ‘strongly condemns’ North Korean ballistic missile launch appeared first on The Astana Times.

New online store seeks to change Kazakh attitudes towards e-commerce

Sat, 2017-02-11 07:02

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ALMATY – Two young Kazakh entrepreneurs have launched a home appliances and electronics store called Talapai.kz, which they hope will improve the quality of Kazakhstan’s e-commerce industry.

Diyar Doskhozhayev

“Our main mission is rather grand; it is to develop the intellectual capital of our country. We were concerned that there were very few successful online stores that were entirely designed and implemented in Kazakhstan. All the known e-commerce businesses were created in other CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries. We wanted to change that. That’s the kind of wrong mentality and thinking that has gotten us into this business,” Diyar Doskhozhayev, co-founder and CEO, told The Astana Times.

The online store, founded by Doskhozhayev, 29, and his partner Rauan Karabay, 34, offers household appliances, HVAC equipment, laptops, computers, tablets, smart phones, audio and video equipment directly from well-known manufacturers. The company has direct agreements with the manufacturers who provide guarantees on the products. The young team also continuously scrutinizes its range of products and pricing by analyzing the latest trends in the electronics market and looking at competitors’ offers.

Staff of Talapai Customer Service Center

They have also established the infrastructure to deliver to all parts of the country, including warehouses in Almaty, Astana, Aktobe, Karaganda and Shymkent. Talapai customers can purchase online, pay cash on delivery or purchase items on loan and instalment payments. And the company offers a customer service centre offering information on every item in the catalogue.

“Our customer is used to seeing, touching and testing the product before buying. On top of that, most of our people have negative associations with online sales. They have had the bad experience of dealing with low quality and the unreliability of online purchases. To change these attitudes, we have introduced the concept of an ‘online market’,” said Doskhozhayev. “Our customer is our main priority. We want to provide the customers the most accommodating, informed and secure shopping experience possible.”

The two entrepreneurs had the idea of an online business in 2012. They both worked for Samsung and had a good understanding of the market. Then the idea seemed a pipe dream. A few years later, the two friends met again and decided it was about time they turned the idea into a real project. So they not only established the company in Kazakhstan, but are now trying to build on the country’s rich history and culture.

“Talapai is а Kazakh word, which can be interpreted as a buzz, stir, boom. In the old times, the Kazakh khans used to give away their belongings to the common people. This would make lots of buzz with crowds of people trying to take home just about anything they managed to grab. There is also a traditional Kazakh bone shooting game called Khan Talapai, which is lots of fun. We find the word suitable to our mission. We’re trying to create a good buzz,” Doskhozhayev explained.

The post New online store seeks to change Kazakh attitudes towards e-commerce appeared first on The Astana Times.

The importance of dialogue on Syria, however difficult

Sat, 2017-02-11 06:54

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

Ending conflicts is always difficult, pain-staking work. Shattered trust has to be slowly restored before any progress can be made. Space must be allowed for grievances to be aired and overcome. Small building blocks have to be put in place on which the larger platform for peace can be securely laid. Guarantors to ensure the agreement reached will not be breached are often required.

The more savage the conflict and the more parties involved, of course, the greater the challenge. So there should be no surprise that progress towards a deal to end the fighting in Syria has been so hard. It is not just the ferocity of the civil war and its impact on millions of people which make any resolution so difficult. There are also many different groups with different objectives involved in the fighting – who, in turn, are receiving moral and physical support from outside the country’s borders.

Syria’s nightmare is made much worse because of the involvement in the civil war of extreme terrorist groups. The danger their ambitions cause regionally and globally have added to the urgency to finding a new future for Syria that will allow everyone to work together to counter this threat.

Finding a lasting solution to such a devastating, long-running and complex conflict is going to take time, patience and a huge amount of effort. It will need negotiations to take place at different levels to help overcome both practical difficulties as well as to shape a wider framework for the country’s future.

It is against this difficult background that the progress being made in continuing talks in Astana on Syria should be judged. Just the fact that the initial talks last month were the first involving the Syrian Government and armed opposition was an encouraging sign. We saw, too, tangible results with Russia, Iran and Turkey – with the support of the United Nations – agreeing mechanisms to monitor, maintain and strengthen the desperately-needed ceasefire.

Over the last few days, we have seen high-level teams from the three guarantor countries meet in Astana to try to find solutions to the inevitable flash-points and problems that have emerged. They have also worked to find how humanitarian relief can more quickly and securely reach the millions who need it. The involvement of Jordan, which has provided a safe haven for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and is a major voice for moderation and peace in the region, is another important move in the right direction.

The hope is that this progress and the follow-up meeting in Astana of the so called joint operational group scheduled for Feb. 15-16 will create the conditions for the launch of the next round of the full Geneva peace talks. These must be held under the auspices of the UN and must involve a wider range of countries.

There is, of course, a long way to go. No one should be under any illusions of just how difficult it will be to reach a lasting, comprehensive agreement. There are many, many obstacles to be overcome before we see a stable and peaceful future for Syria in which all its people can share – a future which requires the threat from violent extremism to be extinguished. But thanks to what has come to be termed as the Astana process, hope is increasing that this might be possible.

This progress has earned praise for Kazakhstan from commentators. The Times of London went so far as to say that Astana has now “taken an unlikely new role at the centre of a new world order.”  But this role is not a surprise to Kazakhstan’s international partners. It is the product of our country’s long-standing commitment to dialogue and peace and the good relations we have forged across the international community.

This has already seen Kazakhstan’s mediation help reduce the intensity of the conflict in Ukraine as well as defuse tensions between Russia and Turkey – an essential precondition for finding a peaceful future for Syria. It was a powerful reason, too, for the country’s historic election to the UN Security Council. It is why, despite the challenges ahead and the inevitable setbacks, Kazakhstan will need to continue striving for peace and working to heal divisions in Syria and throughout the world. It is a role that has never been more valuable.

The post The importance of dialogue on Syria, however difficult appeared first on The Astana Times.

Astana Opera well received during two-day St. Petersburg tour

Sat, 2017-02-11 06:49

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Astana Opera recently held a well-received two-day tour in Mariinsky-2, the second stage of Mariinsky theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where Kazakh artists performed Notre Dame de Paris ballet.

Photo credit: inform.kz

The Saint Petersburg audience rewarded the Kazakh artists with full houses with all tickets for the performances sold out, according to the press service of Astana Opera. The tour was held under the umbrella of the upcoming EXPO 2017 exhibition.

“I have really good impressions from this play. I am glad that the Astana Opera theatre visited us, watching this amazing play in an amazing performance is a great pleasure. The troupe is in a very good shape, great dancing, and they are emotional,” Olga Moiseyeva, an honoured Russian artist and a ballet teacher, shared, inform.kz reported.

Notre Dame de Paris is a ballet by French choreographer Roland Petit and is based on Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Moiseyeva worked a lot during the period when Petit conducted staging this play himself at Mariinsky Theatre.

Photo credit: inform.kz

“I have something to compare with. … We had a very interesting but a concise play; there were many mass scenes here that weren’t at Mariinsky. Performers of Quasimodo and Esmeralda as well as the young artists won a great success from the Petersburg’s audience. Performers of Phoebus and Frollo were also great. … Ballet music is very complex but the orchestra and conductor were amazing, this also means a lot,” she added.

Symphonic Orchestra of Mariinsky Theatre worked together with the Production’s Conductor Arman Urazgaliyev. It is a masterpiece of French choreography that remains relevant to this day, which is evidenced by the audience for this production.

“Irreproachable and delicate taste, inexhaustible imagination and thirst for innovation from creators – avant-garde composer Maurice Jarre, a recognised ballet classic of the 20th century Roland Petit, one of the greatest fashion couturiers of all times Yves Saint Laurent and renowned theatre designer Rene Allio were a basis for creation of this miracle – a true ‘gem’ of neoclassicism,” the theatre’s press office wrote.

Bakhtiyar Adamzhan who is a Grand Prix winner and laureate in numerous international competitions performed as Quasimodo. Aigerim Beketayeva played Esmeralda on the first day of the tour. Laureates of international competitions Olzhas Tarlanov played Phoebus and Gaziz Ryskulov performed Frollo’s part.

During the second day, Kazakhstan’s Honoured Art Worker Rustem Seitbekov played Quasimodo while Kazakhstan’s Honoured Art Worker Madina Basbayeva was Esmeralda. Laureate of international competitions Arman Urazov played Phoebus, while Frollo was performed by Serik Nakyspekov.

The post Astana Opera well received during two-day St. Petersburg tour appeared first on The Astana Times.