Friday, February 25, 2011

Russian, Eurasian and Chinese news this week in light of Middle East unrest

The oils prices are soaring because of the spreading unrest in the Arab world. However, Putin denied that his country, the world's second-largest exporter of oil, was pleased with the developments. While claiming that the surging oil price is a serious threat to economic growth in the world, and Russia would be hurt if foreign demand were crushed by high prices, Putin, on the other hand, is actively taking advantage of the North African turmoils to gain greater stake in Russia's talks with EU. Putin said unrest in North Africa and the Middle East underlined the importance of Russia as a reliable supplier of energy to Europe. In particular, Putin pointed out that Nord Stream and South Stream could have ensured gas supply to Europe, had they been implemented by now.

The Mideast violence also has posed both economic and political challenges to China. Iran was China’s 3rd-largest oil supplier in 2010, supplying roughly 426,000 bpd according to CNPC. Libya, meanwhile, supplied 146,000 bpd of crude to China during January 2011. Serious production outages in one or both of the countries could considerably cut supplies to China. Moreover, Beijing is obviously very concerned with potential domestic unrest in Xinjiang province, where resides the Muslim Uyghur ethnic group. In light of recent revolutions in the Arab world, Chinese authorities have approved the execution of four Uyghurs convicted of 3 acts of terrorism and murder in 2010 in Xinjiang, and tightened control over Uyghur-language publications. State media characterized the cases as acts of anti-society and anti-human terrorism and unrelated to longstanding ethnic tensions between Uyghurs and Han Chinese in the region.

Meanwhile, China and Kazakhstan are boosting their strategic partnership. Upon Chinese president Hu Jintao's invitation, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid a three-day state visit to China from Feb 21st to Feb 23rd. The two heads of state witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation agreements on cross-border water resource protection, high speed railway construction, and joint projects on petroleum, oil and gas resources. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and top legislator Wu Bangguo also met respectively with Nazarbayev earlier on Tuesday. "The Chinese government is ready to enhance coordination with Kazakhstan to implement various agreements and consensus, to exert the principal role of enterprises, and promote greater achievements of bilateral cooperation," the premier said. Then on Feb.23rd, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) agreed in principle with KazMunaiGas [KMG.UL] to form an equally-owned joint venture to develop the Urikhtau gas field in Kazakhstan. The pipeline will be connected to the massive Central Asia-China gas trunk that starts from as far as Turkmenistan and enters China in its northwestern Xinjiang region.

Finally, Foreign Policy published a photo essay this week under the title "China International", which collected images documenting Beijing's worldwide influence in 24 countries, including one in Turkmenistan.

TURKMENISTAN: A gas treatment station in the small town of Farab, located in the middle of the Karakum Desert, is one component of a Chinese-financed plan to build a more-than-4,000-mile-long gas pipeline from Central Asia. China has invested an estimated $6 billion, though some suspect that, due to corruption, the actual sum of money flowing to Turkmen and Uzbek businessmen may be considerably higher.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Путин: рост цен на нефть может негативно отразиться на экономике РФ" (Putin: oil prices may negatively affect the Russian economy)

"Путин: «Южный поток» мог бы остановить рост цен на нефть из-за беспорядков в Ливии" (Putin: "South Stream" could halt the rise in oil prices due to unrest in Libya)

"Putin outwits EU's South Stream opponents"

"Libya Looming: Key strategic implications for China of unrest in the Arab World and Iran"

"Xinjiang 'Tense' Amid Arab Turmoil"

"新疆3起暴力恐怖案4名被告被核准死刑" (Execution of four Uyghurs convicted of 3 acts of terrorism in Xinjiang approved)

"哈萨克斯坦总统:中哈必须将互相协作提升到新高度" (President of Kazakhstan: China and Kazakhstan must collaborate with each other in a higher level)

"中石油将开发哈萨克斯坦乌里赫套气田" (CNPC, KazMunaiGas in deal to tap Urikhtau gas field)

This Week in the News

Major steps this week have been taken to introduce chaplains into the Ukrainian Army. President Yanukovich issued a statement on the spiritual well-being of soldiers and other military personnel allowing their participation in religious services and rituals, and access to chaplains. This builds on work done by the Council for Pastoral Care (part of the Ministry of Defense) in conjunction with representatives from the major religious groups in Ukraine. President Yanukovich expects a concrete proposal to sign off on by May. This announcement comes on the heels of a statement issued by religious leaders to Prime Minister Azarov to restore the work of Council for Pastoral Care, which only met twice in 2009 and did not meet at all in 2010. Introducing the chaplaincy to the army is a major win for religious organizations as this will at once increase the churches' influence in the government and legitimizes the collective lobbying power of the religious sector. This also works to increase cohesion between the religious groups involved as this was a joint effort, and not a unilateral approach.

In an interview with Радіо Свобода (Radio Liberty) this week, Crimean Chairman Vasil' Dzharty acknowledged that the land problem in Ukraine is in a terrible state, calling it a "Bacchanalia," admitting wide-spread corruption in the buying and selling of land by both governmental and private entities. He also stated that he wishes to work with the Mejlis and the Kurultay of the Crimean Tatars in trying to meet their needs. He also intoned that if they could not come to an understanding on this land issue, that he would have to enforce the laws in his capacity as head of the ARC. When probed by the interviewer, Dzharty stated that he is in full support of teaching Ukrainian in schools and laments the fact that the only Crimean newspaper in Ukrainian is published by a high school. A couple days later a story broke on the state radio station that tri-lingual education--Russian, Tatar, and Ukrainian--was being considered by the Crimean administration. Whether lip service or not, Ukrainian language-learning is a hot topic, with protests in the Donbas, for example, to not close the only Ukrainian-language school in Luhansk. Strengthening the importance of Ukrainian education is a major path to greater unity between the regions.

Ruslan Gereyev, a researcher at Makachkala’s Center for Islamic Research studying radical Islamic movements in the North Caucasus presented a thesis in a lengthy interview that these movements are a form of social protest when other paths are blocked. When people, young people especially, cannot find an outlet for their frustrations within the normal modes of society--i.e. appealing to government officials--Wahabbism is attractive because it provides an alternative value system. Gereyev also said that combating radicalism with economic incentives, laws, and force will not solve the problem: there must be a constructive dialog between the government and the religious sector. He commented on the "ridiculous" situation in Daghestan where, with a population that is 96.5% Muslim, there is no government agency assigned to religious affairs. His solution is that governments must take the initiative in reaching out to religious groups and work in tandem with them to resolve issues. This thesis is terribly applicable to the situation in Crimea where the Tatar Mejlis and Kurultay have been trying with relatively little success over the past 20 years to open a dialog with Crimean officials and have mostly been sidelined.

Articles referenced in this post:
Рада у справах душпастирської опіки при Міноборони продовжує роботу із запровадження в Україні військового капеланства (Council for pastoral care of the Ministry of Defense continues to work on introducing chaplains into the Ukrainian Army)
Президент Янукович доручив створити умови для реалізації військовослужбовцями права на свободу віросповідання (President Yanukovich orders the creation of conditions for the implementing freedom of religion for soldiers)
Конфесії закликають Уряд відновити роботу Комісії по забезпеченню реалізації прав релігійних організацій (Denominations urge the government to restore the Commission to ensure the rights of religious organizations)

Василь Джарти: земельна проблема в Криму – це вакханалія (Vasil' Dzharty: the land problem in Crimea is a "Bacchanalia")

Сoncept of trilingual education in schools developed in Crimea

Makachkala’s Center for Islamic Research: Radical Islam ‘a form of social protest’ when other channels are blocked

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Central Asian news in this week

By February 15th 2011, China’s imports of Central Asian natural gas via the China-Central Asia pipeline, operated by state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), have exceeded 5,824 billion cubic meters (bcm) since the line was launched in December 2009. On the other side, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has gained discounts in the delivery price of gas from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. According to Interfax, in 2011 Gazprom has began to negotiate with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan about lower prices. Overall, Gazprom bought 38.8 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and 37,3 billion in 2009. It is expected that in 2011 the export volume will keep growing up. In particular, Gazprom plans to buy 11 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan this year.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is preparing for a multi-day visit to China. Kazakh leader expects to expand cooperation with China and to obtain regular loans. In this regard, recently Astana significantly increased its attention to Beijing. Written in a Russian perspective, the article admits that in a situation where Russia can no longer maintain its previous absolute influence in Kazakhstan, China is strengthening its position. But the author also holds that Russia can not oppose China rashly, despite the fact that the existence of the vast Kazakh buffer zone between the two states is a matter of Russia's strategic security.

On the other hand, China's approachment to Tajikstan has aroused anxiety among tajiks. China’s rise to prominence as Tajikistan’s second largest foreign investor has been sudden; trade increased eightfold from 2007-10, according to official Tajik statistics. Two recent events have heightened resentment. On January 12, Tajikistan ratified an agreement with Beijing to demarcate their shared border, where Tajikistan ceded 1,142 square kilometers of remote, mountainous land, or roughly 1 percent of its territory. Days later, on January 18, Dushanbe announced plans to bring 1,500 Chinese farmers to Khatlon Province to begin cultivating rice on 2,000 hectares of land. Since the recent territory and farming deals, there has been an increase in the number of people who dislike Chinese policy in the region.

Under the new budget proposed by the Obama administration on February 14, the United States intends to cut funding for assistance programs in most countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Overall, the general aid budget for the eight countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia would decrease by about 4 percent, from $241 million to $232 million. Only Kazakhstan would see a significant increase in aid.

Articles referred to in this post:

"中石油中亚管道输气近60亿立方米" (CNPC China-Central Asia gas pipeline approaches 6 billion cubic meters)

"Газпром добился от Узбекистана и Казахстана скидок на газ" (Gazprom gained gas discounts from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan)

"Gazprom Expects Record 2011 Export Revenue of $72.4 Billion"

"Китайский дракон готов к поглощению Казахстана" (Chinese dragon is ready to capture Kazakhstan)

"Tajikistan: China’s Advance Causing Increasing Unease among Tajiks"

"Central Asia, Caucasus: Washington Seeks Cut in Foreign Assistance Budget"

Friday, February 18, 2011

This Week in the News

Perhaps the local celebration (with the help of Turkish television) of Mawlid an-Habi, the celebration of the Prophet Mohammad's birth, was especially auspicious this year on the peninsula: a major breakthrough in Tatar-Crimean negotiations occurred this week as the Crimean government has agreed to a plan that will grant land to the thousands of squatters, many of which are Crimean Tatars, although the administration was quick to point out that among this population are members of other displaced groups. In the news stories that I came across no details were given as to exactly how many hectares these squatters will be granted, so perhaps those details will be hashed out in the days to come. This story has garnered quite a bit of attention, I might add, as it was picked up by national and international news sources, both in online print and radio.

This week it was also announced that the Simferopol government will allocate land for a new, central mosque located at 22 Yaltynska Street. I followed up on the exact location, wanting to see how "central" this location actually was; the address is almost 11km from the center of the city (click here for the map). Regardless, this is also a major concession towards the Crimean Tatar population. These two events in conjunction might lead down a couple of different paths: perhaps there is a shifting sentiment towards the plight of the Tatars as more international eyes turn towards the situation, or perhaps the administration has legitimate fears of a major protest and are acting out of self-preservation.

In other news, a new poll has revealed that over the past decade the number of people who self-identify as religious has risen 13%, and following heated debate over the control of St Sophia's cathedral in Kyiv, there is now discussion as to the possible inclusion of the Khan's palace in Bakhchirasay as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Articles mentioned in this post:

Віруючих українців за десятиріччя побільшало на 13% – опитування (Believing Ukrainians over the past decade has risen 13% - survey)
Українські мусульмани відзначать Мавлід ан-Набі (Ukrainian Muslims celebrate Mawlid an-Habi)
Турецький телеканал вестиме пряму трансляцію святкування Мавлід із головної мечеті Сімферополя (Turkish TV station will provide the live broadcast of the Mawlid celebrations form the main mosque of Simferopol)
Khan's Palace in Crimea could be included on UNESCO list
Simferopol Authorities Allocate Land for Mosque
Crimea allocating land plots to repatriates for private construction

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Central Asian news in this week

Oil output growth in Russia and Kazakhstan—the two countries able to produce and move large volumes of oil to China by pipeline—has not been able to keep pace with expected Chinese oil demand growth. Since 2006, Russia’s stagnating oil production and continued robust growth in Chinese oil demand have created large deficits that strongly suggest China’s seaborne oil imports will continue rising.

Projected volume of oil that Kazakhstan intends to produce in the next decade constantly changes. Estimates of Kazakh experts and government officials point to 130-135 million tons. The 50 million tonnes increase in oil production is likely to be split between the Russia and China. The latter one acquired importance for Kazakhstan. Oil exports to China in 2010 totaled 10 million tons, and according to Kazakh experts, the amount could rise to 12 million tons in 2011. The capacity of the Kazakh-Chinese Atasu-Alashankou should be brought up to 20 million tons of oil per year, which is still significantly inferior to Kazakhstan's exports to the Russia. Chinese vector in the next decade will remain for Kazakhstan as one of the priorities. Nevertheless, Russia will remain the biggest energy partner of Kazakhstan. Russia is not the only competitor here for China: Tengizchevroil (TCO), the Chevron-led consortium developing the giant Tengiz oil field, increased crude oil output by 15% to 25.9 million tonnes last year, the company said in a statement on Thursday. TCO is also expected to submit an expansion plan for the project this year.

While it is imperative for China to expand and diversify its energy sources, Uzbekstan is promoting its energy development projects. On Monday, the Tashkent government announced it was seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign direct investment (FDI) to invest in its oil shale production sector. These investments look likely to keep Uzbekistan in the top tier of energy-producing nations in the Asian heartland for decades. However, the participation of new players has made the competition increasingly intensive. TOKYO – Uzbek President Islam Karimov and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan reached an accord for Japanese and Uzbek companies to cooperate in the exploration and development of Uzbek natural resources on February 10. In their accord, Karimov and Kan stressed co-operation in energy conservation, renewable energy, alternative energy, reconstruction of Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism in Central Asia. Japan also plans to lend Uzbekistan up to ¥18.067 billion (US $219m) to electrify the 325km Karshi-Termez Railway.

Meanwhile, Russian energy company Gazprom will resume exploration of oil and gas fields in the south of Kyrgyzstan after ethnic violence last summer forced the firm to shut down its operations in the country. Kyrgyz Minister of Natural Resources Zamirbek Esenamanov said Russia’s largest company will take up work at two oil and gas fields that were suspended when deadly ethnic violence tore through southern areas of the republic last June.

Finally, in security domain, the US is seeking to establish long-term military presence in Central Asia. But it is clear that there is more to the objectives of the United States and other NATO countries in Afghanistan and Central Asian states than purely military and counter-terrorist operations.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Twilight in the Tundra: Russian and Kazakh oil production cannot keep up with China’s rising demand"

"Казахстанская нефть -- В ближайшие годы экспорт углеводородов пойдет через Россию" (Kazakh oil - exports of hydrocarbons goes through Russia in the coming years)

"Tengizchevroil ups crude oil production by 15% in 2010"

"Oil shale will keep Uzbekistan among region's top energy producers"

"Узбекистан, Япония достигли соглашение в области энергетики" (Uzbekistan and Japan reach energy accord )

"Gazprom to resume Kyrgyz oil and gas exploration"

"Центрально-Азиатские штаты Америки--Новая военная стратегия США подразумевает доминирование Вашингтона на постсоветском пространстве" (Central Asian States of America--The new U.S. military strategy involves the domination of Washington in the post-Soviet space)

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Week in the News

The announcement that Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Galicia Lyubomyr Husar of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) would be retiring due to health issues dominated the Ukrainian news service. His Beatitude is one of the leading ecclesiastical voices in Ukraine and is the spiritual leader for one of Ukraine's traditional churches. At the press conference announcing his resignation, His Beatitude exhorted the Ukrainian government to resume discussion with the nation's minority religions. He mentioned that, despite many requests, no government officials had any "serious discussions" with the UGCC in all of 2010, which is a problem that many other religious minorities share. He also mentioned the complaints of favoritism towards the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) on the part of the government because President Viktor Yanukovich is numbered among its ranks. He did not make any accusations, however, only stating that he was glad the president was a religious man. Husar also touched on the problems and persecutions that other Ukrainian churches are facing, specifically mentioning the pressure put on priests of the UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate to switch to Moscow. The Cardinal also left a stinging rejoinder for the current administration, stating that in the realm of church-state relations, the Ukrainian authorities "are doing nothing but repeating (sic) the mistakes of centuries."

In what was His Beatitude's last official function as head of the UGCC, Husar sat at the annual roundtable held by the Razumkov Center* on the topic of church-state relations. This roundtable is attended by heads and representative of many of Ukraine's religious organizations, government officials, religious scholars, and some members of the public, and is a valuable resource for gauging the relationship between spiritual and secular leaders. At the roundtable, Husar stated that the state tries to control the church because it is afraid of the church because the church raises "mature, thinking, and responsible citizens which is not convenient for the state power." He also went on to state that both the government's use of the church in its support structure and the church imposing its will on government officials to control the people produce negative consequences. The group as a whole decided that the state and religious organizations should be cooperative, since both serve the same people, yet remain separate entities.

As a result of the roundtable, those in attendance signed a document putting forth the outcome of their discussion. This document includes statements as to the aforementioned separation of church and state, a rejection of attempts to turn religion into a political ideology, a call against official favoritism or having a state religion, an elimination of pressure from the government in regards to church internal affairs, and a restitution of church property currently in possession of the state. The Institute of Religious Freedom also provided a summary of major points from several speakers at the 3-day event.

* The Razumkov Center is a non-governmental think tank that carries out sociological surveys and researches public policy in a number of areas, including religion, security, state administration, and energy.

Articles referenced in this post:

In Ukraine, a 'Major' Exit
Patriarch Lubomyr: State Wants ot Control Church as it is Afraid of it
Lubomyr Husar: State and church in Ukraine should resume dialog
Звернення учасників постійно діючого Круглого столу «Релігія і влада в Україні: проблеми взаємовідносин» до Президента, Верховної Ради, Кабінету Міністрів України (Address of the Members of the Roundtable "Religion and Power in Ukraine: Problems of Relations" to the President, Supreme Rada, and Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine)
Парламентарі, представники Церков та експерти обговорили наявні проблеми у державно-церковних відносинах (Parliament Members, Religious Leaders and Experts Discuss the Current Problems in State-Church Relations)

Friday, February 4, 2011

This Week in the News

Disagreement between the Crimean Tatar population and the government of the Autonomous Republic are heating up and may come to a head soon. After last week's pronouncement from Prime Minister Dzharty to Mustafa Dzhemilev regarding the 'illegally seized land,' national attention has once again turned to the Tatar situation. The Kyiv Post reports that as the Tatars, returning from exile, found that their lands had been seized and given to Russian and Ukrainian resettlement populations. Unofficial bans on dealing with the Tatars prevented them from even buying back their land. This led to the Crimean Tatar population settling where they could, some in tents, some in shacks, some on what appeared to be open land. Of course, this caused friction 20 years ago, and because the issue was never resolved, the tension remains.

In the face of all of this, Dzharty claims that there has been no discrimination towards the Tatars, stating that because of some Tatars making a living out of selling seized land, it is time for them to get off the seized land. This, coupled with enormous land sales--into the thousands of hectares--by companies to rich investors and developers. Both sides are hoping to come to some sort of a consensus on the issue by the end of the month, when an official investigative report will be finished.

The following is a video form Al Jazeera explaining the situation:

I, however, do not see these problems going away soon. There is too much money to be had in selling the land for a profit, and for the businessmen and politicians selling the land, it is a lose-lose situation to provide land for the displaced Tatars. The only real solution is for a mandate to come from Kyiv with an effort to enforce any land reforms. Kyiv, however, is reluctant to do this also because of the Autonomous status of Crimea and the Russian majority on the peninsula. Enforcing land grants would be a mess, and would probably precipitate conflict, which could easily involve either Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which is already there, and UN/NATO peacekeeping forces, or both. I do not think that any side wishes this issue to devolve into violence.

In an interview marking the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the USSR, Dzhemilev, who this week was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless work on behalf of the Crimean Tatars, again decried the Crimean and Ukrainian governments for failing to assist the Tatar population. He stated that "nothing good" has happened on behalf of his people on the peninsula, noting the failed representation reform. The interview is linked below.

Following on the heels of Dzhemilev's trip to Turkey where he arranged an agreement for using Turkish money to build schools and houses in Crimea, many in international newsmedia are suggesting that the recent revolutions and protests in the greater Muslim world will bode well for Turkey, which could mean trouble for Crimea. Some economists predict that Turkey and Saudi Arabia will emerge this year as twin poles of the Muslim world, and that Turkey especially will profit from disrupted tourist dollars to the Mediterranean. Greater political influence and economic weight will change the power balance between Turkey and France--and thereby the EU. France, who has a vested but not disrupted presence in North Africa, was a vocal opponent of Turkey's rapprochement into the EU, but with a larger hand to play, Turkey may have a chance to reopen negotiations for getting into the Union. Should that happen--a long shot at this point, to be sure--Ukraine's chances of joining the EU take a real jump up, because in the geopolitical scene, Turkey and Ukraine have more similarities than differences in reference to their relation to the EU.

Articles referenced in this post:

Turkey and Ukraine -- different but similar

Mustafa Dzhemilev nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Tatars carry on decades-long struggle to reclaim Crimean land taken away

Crimean Tatar leader: “We don’t want that kind of republic.”
Безлад в Африці: Туреччина виграє, Україна програє?
Crimean Tatars fear for the future 

Selected Central Asian News This Week

Kazakhstan has prepared new tax claims against the Karachaganak Petroleum Operating Group (KPO), a consortium that includes Italy's ENI and Britain's BG Group, as well as U.S. major Chevron Corp and Russia's LUKOIL. According to Daulet Yergozhin, chairman of the Tax Committee, the claims -- relating to tax payments between 2006 and 2009 -- would be presented within two weeks to Italy's ENI and Britain's BG Group. Disputes with the companies that participating the extraction of Karachaganak started in 2009, when the state seeks a stake in the potentially lucrative project. Kazakhstan has grown more assertive over its abundant natural resources in recent years, pushing to revise agreements signed with foreign energy majors in the immediate post-Soviet years. State companies have increased their role in major energy projects.

Kazakhstan and Russia reached an agreement on deliveries of export duty-free Russian oil to Pavlodar Oil Chemistry Refinery (POCR) till January 1, 2014, said on Monday Sauat Mynbayev, the Minister of Oil and Gas of the Republic. The minister also pointed out that Russia's financial loss against this duty-free policy is more than 2 billion dollars annually, therefore the decision is obviously not on account of economic profits but should be evaluated in the context of the construction of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Earlier this month, Russia has announced that Belarus will receive about $4 billion of duty free oil from Russia in 2011, and duties on oil products exports to Kyrgyzstan will be removed as well. In other words, Russia is sacrificing the oil export duty charges in exchange for closer ties and greater leverage in these former Soviet states.

Uzbek delegation headed by deputy governor of Tashkent F. Ziyaev returned from a trip to Shanghai (China) which was undertaken in the framework of friendly relations. During the visit, the Uzbek delegates and the deputy mayor of Shanghai exchanged views on urban development, urban planning, infrastructure development and housing and municipal services. In addition, the Uzbek delegation visited the Federation of Industry and Commerce and the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce, where a meeting was held on the development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. The meeting ended with treaty of mutual cooperation between chambers of commerce of the two cities.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Казахстан до середины февраля выставит налоговые претензии КРО – глава Налогового комитета" (Kazakhstan prepares tax claims for KPO consortium by middle Febrary - chairman of the Tax Committee)

"Россия будет поставлять нефть на ПНХЗ без взимания ЭТП до 1 января 2014 года – Мынбаев" (Russia to remove duties on oil products exports to POCR till Jan. 1st 2014 - Mynbayev)

"Ташкент и Шанхай развивают дружеские связи" (Tashkent and Shanghai develop friendly relations)