Articles by Dmitry Lee

New media production company eager to take Kazakh market to new level

ASTANA – Tochka, a creative video production agency established in October, is trying innovative ideas and approaches in the business and launching several projects this year. In an exclusive interview with The Astana Times, CEO Galiya Tokareva, also known by her maiden name as Galiya Idoyatova from her years on television, discussed the new approaches…

MyBusiness: business without borders app to aid entrepreneurs doing business in Kazakhstan

ASTANA – The “MyBusiness: business without borders” app, developed and created by Chevron, the British Council and the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs, is a hoped-for way to protect the rights of entrepreneurs in the country. “The mobile application ‘MyBusiness: business without borders’ is a unique software product created for the business community of the…

Latest Astana Process Syria talks result in documents on confidence-building measures

ASTANA – The Dec. 22 8th rounds of Astana Process talks in the Kazakh capital to help de-escalate the conflict in Syria resulted in the adoption of a number of documents in the area of confidence building, as well as saw the reaffirmation of commitment of their participants to seek full elimination of terrorism and…

Barys loses to Dynamo Moscow 3:5 in rollercoaster game

ASTANA – In an away match on Dec. 21, Barys lost to Dynamo Moscow 3:5, but managed to at least shred the nerves of the home team in the rollercoaster game. Top scorer for both Barys and the league Nigel Dawes missed the game because of an injury. The match started with Dynamo’s Danil Tarasov…

Kazakh Prime Minister urges government officials to improve state services

ASTANA – State bodies should change their approach servicing the public, Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev said Dec. 20 during a weekly government meeting. “Eighty-five percent of state services are transferred to the State Corporation ‘Government for Citizens’ – we have already reached a high mark. But there is a lot of work on the…

Barys continue losing streak after close game against Metallurg on home ice

ASTANA – Astana’s Hockey Club (HC) Barys lost to Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3-4, Dec. 3, at the Barys Arena in a desperate attempt to break the cold streak that now extends to seven games. A sold out Barys arena hosted nearly 10,000 fans hoping to see Barys stop its losing streak and it seemed the evening…

Zhetysu project to promote Almaty area tourist attractions

ASTANA – The Almaty regional communications service has launched a project to create a dozen short promotional videos to showcase regional tourist attractions, such as Kolsai Lake, Singing Dune and Charyn Canyon located at the Zhetysu. Photographer Mikhrat Tolkunov and INSPIRE CREATIVE GROUP team are leading the project titled Amazing Zhetysu, Kazinform reported. The videos…

New Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway route to transport up to 8 million tonnes of cargo by 2020

ASTANA – The new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway is expected to transport up to eight million tonnes of cargo by 2020, said Kazakhstan Temir Zholy President Kanat Alpysbayev during a roundtable in Washington, DC, dedicated to continued development of the route. “Nearly 15,000 containers are to be transported from Turkey to Kazakhstan, Central Asia, China, the…

Satayev’s feature “Districts” snatches Asian Film Festival award

ASTANA – Critically-acclaimed director Akan Satayev, of Karagandy, known for his 2007 blockbuster “Racketeer,” has once again delivered a strong message. His 2016 feature “Districts” received the Best Cinematography Award (Panorama Section) at the Asian Film Festival, held Nov. 2-12 in Barcelona. The film revolves around the life of Arsen, an Almaty boy who had…

Kazakhstan to create conditions for bio products export

ASTANA – The Kazakh government focused on the importance of creating conditions to export bio products or organic food at the latest government meeting in the capital. Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev instructed his cabinet to improve export policies and develop mechanisms to support non-primary exports, according to the prime minister’s press service. First Vice Minister…

EXPO 2017 best pavilions awarded as exhibition closes, legacy lives on

ASTANA – EXPO 2017, Kazakhstan’s biggest and probably most ambitious event, ended Sept. 10. While the average was 22,840 guests daily, slightly more than 100,000 visited on the last day, according to officials. Its legacy and impact will last for years. Nearly 140 scientific inventions in the renewable energy field received exposure thanks to the…

Samruk Kazyna hosts int’l forum of sovereign wealth funds, inks multiple agreements

ASTANA – Multiple agreements were signed during the ninth International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF). The event, with the theme Exploring New Frontiers, was hosted by the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund Sept. 5-7 in the capital’s new St. Regis Hotel. Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev, who spoke during the introduction, noted the country’s…

EXPO 2017 manifesto lays out environmental calls to action

ASTANA – The Manifesto of Values and Principles, presented Sept. 5 during the EXPO 2017 Future Energy Forum (FEF) at the capital’s Congress Centre, addresses global environmental issues and calls for action. The manifesto is the concept combining project papers and proposals voiced during the exhibition, according to steering committee head Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. “The…

David Guetta’s EXPO 2017 concert stalls Astana, brings down house

ASTANA – EXPO 2017 has made this summer truly unforgettable for many capital residents, as it hosted multiple world-renowned singers and celebrities. The David Guetta concert on Aug. 29, however, blew the scale completely out of proportion. Traffic stalled along the streets bordering the expo from approximately 7 p.m. until late night. Thousands of residents…

Social Medical Insurance Fund will have sufficient budget to finance medical institutions, says fund chief

ASTANA – In a recent interview with KazPravda, Zabira Orazaliyeva, Social Medical Insurance Fund (SMIF) managing director for medical care users, gave an overall assessment of the fund’s first month of operation. “Taking into account the obligations of individual entrepreneurs working on a special tax regime on the basis of a patient, they need to…

Kazakhstan can be moral leader, key mediator in nuclear disarmament: head of CTBTO

ASTANA – Executive Secretary of the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) Preparatory Commission Dr. Lassina Zerbo believes Kazakhstan and Japan have a moral obligation to lead the world toward nuclear non-proliferation and ultimately nuclear weapons disarmament. “Japan as a country that has suffered from nuclear weapon use and Kazakhstan as the country…

ATOM Project joins Pugwash conference meetings in search of nuclear disarmament

ASTANA – As Kazakhstan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) launch the Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) bank in Ust-Kamenogorsk under the auspices of the Vienna-based organisation Aug. 29, its famous anti-nuclear weapons movement – The ATOM Project – has joined scholars and scientists of the world-renowned Pugwash movement. This year, Kazakhstan hosted the 62nd…

Reviving and reliving nomadic past at Huns ethno village near Almaty

The Huns ethno village is an ideal place for those willing to relive the nomadic past of ethnic Kazakhs. The village, about 35 kilometres from Almaty in the Talgar district, is also a great way to escape to the mountains for a breath of fresh air, horseback riding and adventure. Built from the outside as…

Qatar’s new energy horizons reflected at expo pavilion

ASTANA – The Qatari pavilion is hard to miss, for its glaring steel heads fidgeting in the wind attract the attention of many from afar. It is nearly impossible to pass without taking a picture. The nation of 2.8 million on the Arabian Peninsula is 235 times smaller than the size of Kazakhstan, yet it…

National Geographic features new documentary about Astana’s city structures

ASTANA – “Megastructures: Astana, City of the Future,” National Geographic’s new documentary about the capital’s architectural structures, premiered as part of EXPO 2017. The film includes interviews with expo head Akhmetzhan Yessimov as well as architects Gordon Gill and Norman Foster, who were involved in the city’s design. “We are a young country; our independence is…

Education ministry is prepared for coming academic year, reports minister

ASTANA – Minister of Education and Science of Kazakhstan Yerlan Sagadiyev presented a report Aug. 15 on preparations for the new 2017-2018 academic year and assured his ministry is prepared for the coming year. During the meeting of the government chaired by Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Sagadiyev explained that the main conceptual decisions…

Globalink Kazakhstan: from humble beginnings to infinite opportunities

ASTANA – Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the entire Central Asian region became uncharted territory. Many young, ambitious entrepreneurs faced the challenge of exhausted markets in the then-volatile area, while investors were particularly sceptical about starting new ventures. One man with his own vision, however, dared to found…

ATOM Project ambassador pleads to recognise nuclear threat, stand up against it

ASTANA – The people of Kazakhstan have multiple stories to share on the eve of the Aug. 29 International Day against Nuclear Tests, because this day is part of their fate, part of their national identity. Along the thorny path the country had taken there lie countless stories of 1.5 million lives which have been…

Chinese Kung Fu masters dazzle EXPO crowds

ASTANA – EXPO 2017 management has spoiled Kazakh crowds with multiple concerts with the likes of Limp Bizkit and David Guetta, shows such as Cirque du Soleil and numerous other performances during the international exhibition. Hence, the capital audience, which has the choice to attend any or every show, is particularly difficult to please. The…

Bayanaul – land of legend and nature

ASTANA – With its numerous lakes and mountains, Bayanaul has a reputation of mesmerizing and absolutely stunning scenery. The area is also famous, however, for many the legends surrounding it. What to do in Bayanaul Bayanaul National Park is located in the small village of the same name about 450 kilometres from Astana. It is…

Foreign mural artists make Almaty buildings bright and colourful

ASTANA – Five artists from the United Kingdom, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Ukraine are creating monumental and decorative art in Almaty as part of International Mural Fest, giving them the chance to splash their inner colours out. Britain’s Fanakapan, known for his works in large cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Berlin, London and…

Kyrgyz election – what it could portend for Central Asia

ASTANA – Perhaps one of the most anticipated and unpredictable intrigues of the year in Central Asia is the Oct. 15 election in the Kyrgyz Republic, a country of slightly more than six million people. Fifty-nine candidates have been registered – 11 from political parties and 48 self-nominated, according to the Kyrgyz central election commission.…

Ironman 70.3 triathlon race to be held in Astana in 2018

ASTANA – The Ironman 70.3 world race will be held in Astana next year, President of the Kazakh triathlon federation Karim Massimov told the media during the July 29-30 Astana Asia Cup Open 2017 event. “On behalf of the Kazakh Triathlon Federation, I would like to welcome all participants, and congratulate organisers and spectators on…

Air Astana’s international traffic increases 22 percent

ASTANA – Thanks to steady economic growth, Air Astana’s international passenger traffic posted significant improvement in the first half of the year. “The economy of Kazakhstan is showing a slight recovery after two difficult years and we expect that the recovery process will accelerate in the process of economic diversification,” company president Peter Foster told…

Astana, Singapore to cooperate in green construction technology

ASTANA – The Kazakh and Singaporean delegations signed agreements on joint cooperation in Astana as part of the Singaporean visit to the EXPO 2017 for the National Day of Singapore, the Astana akimat (city administration) reports. The Kazakh delegation was represented by Akim (Mayor) of Astana Asset Issekeshev and the guests were represented by Senior…

Italy’s EXPO 2017 pavilion showcases nation’s history, achievements

ASTANA – The nearly 900-square metre Italian pavilion is one of the largest at EXPO 2017. The average visit lasts about 20-30 minutes, which top Italian officials assure is enough time to study the country’s ancient history and many achievements. The expo in the Kazakh capital recently crossed the mid-point and keeps amassing dozens of…

Arnasai – eco-friendly weekend getaway for leisure and knowledge

ASTANA – The Arnasai Green Technology Centre, also known as the “Eco-friendly village,” promotes organic agriculture and spreads the culture of conserving and preserving natural resources. The summer season in the city is too short to spend at home on the weekends. If Borabai has been fully explored and one is looking for a short…

Almaty’s FC Kairat to undergo significant changes, says team’s chairman

ASTANA – In a recent interview on the FC (Football Club) Kairat website, supervisory board chairperson Kairat Boranbayev lambasted the recent unsatisfactory results of the team and pledged to introduce changes for improvement. “Speaking about the attitude of players in the club and the results achieved, we can say that it was a ‘one-sided game’…

Japan Day at EXPO 2017 gives visitors glimpse of Japanese culture, energy conservation efforts

ASTANA – The EXPO 2017 Japan pavilion gave expo visitors during the July 22 Japan Day a glimpse of Japanese culture. The event was titled “Become a Samurai of Green Energy” and featured traditional Wagakki music, demonstrated a colourful Osaka parade, dances of geishas and performances of samurais and Osaka’s promotion to host the expo…

Kazakh-Korean cooperation promotes investment climate, addresses foreign investors’ concerns

ASTANA – The Korean Association of Kazakhstan held a Kazakh-Korean Cooperation Forum July 20 to demonstrate the country’s real potential to foreign investors, help resolve essential issues in doing business in Kazakhstan and mark two important anniversaries, Konstantin Kim, editor-in-chief of the association’s Kore Ilbo newspaper, told The Astana Times. “As you know, this year…

UK eager to boost trade with Kazakhstan, says official

ASTANA – U.K. Department for International Trade Minister of State for Trade and Investment Greg Hands visited Astana July 18 to meet with government officials, attend EXPO 2017 and host the London Stock Exchange Group Capital Markets conference and technology partnership forum. The session, held at the British pavilion, was organised by the department and…

Lone Atyrau foster home closes, all children find new homes

ASTANA – The nearly 140 children without parents who have found shelter in the 240-bed Atyrau Sabyr Kazybayev foster home will soon be calling somewhere else “home.” The facility will be closing its doors Aug. 1. All the youngsters have found new situations, as more and more families are willing to adopt, according to local…

Identity of Kazakhstan’s 18 millionth citizen revealed

ASTANA – Baby girl Muslima Samatkyzy born May 11 to a family from Taldykorgan, in the Almaty region was recently identified as Kazakhstan’s 18 millionth citizen. “All the way, while we were going home, our heart was beating with excitement, we knew that in July there will be the 18 millionth inhabitant of the country,…

Serbians celebrate National Day as part of EXPO 2017, promote energy for all concept

ASTANA – Serbia marked its National Day June 28 with cultural events and films about the country, as well as an entertainment programme with stars such as Jela Cello and Jelena Tomašević. “The Serbian pavilion at EXPO 2017 in Astana is a project of national importance,” said Assistant Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Maja…

Int’l expert community addresses risks of chronic non-communicable diseases

ASTANA – The international conference “Modern Approaches in Managing Socially Significant Diseases. Diabetes Mellitus” addressed June 28 the prevalence and risk factors of chronic non-communicable diseases, in particular diabetes, reported the Kazakh Healthcare Ministry. Speakers unveiled current data on the worldwide prevalence of diabetes, shared their expertise in implementing diabetes programmes and provided an overview…

EU and Central Asia ministers of education agree to expand cooperation

ASTANA – The Astana Declaration was signed June 23 at the second meeting of European Union (EU) and Central Asia ministers of education at the capital’s Rixos President Hotel in Astana. The declaration intends to expand educational cooperation between the EU and Central Asian countries. Kazakhstan has made progress implementing the national system of qualifications…

Sanofi focuses on 5 key areas in Central Asia: diabetes, cardiovascular, consumer healthcare, vaccines and rare diseases

ASTANA – Sanofi, one of the world’s five largest pharmaceutical companies, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Kazakhstan this year. In an exclusive interview with The Astana Times, Central Asia General Manager Ranga Welaratne took a resolute stand for company’s highest-quality product. “I would rather lose my entire business than lose the value of my…

EBRD to continue supporting Kazakhstan in economic endeavours, says EBRD official

ASTANA – The Kazakh capital is readying to host the June 22 annual Foreign Investors’ Council (FIC), chaired by President Nursultan Nazarbayev and co-chaired by the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Sir Suma Chakrabarti. The city has enjoyed the spotlight in early to mid-June as it hosted the Shanghai Cooperation…

French connection: Kazakhstan’s modern history captured by French journalist

ASTANA – A book by French independent journalist Lise Barcellini highlighting Kazakhstan’s prominent figures and published by a private French publisher is intended to serve as a connection to the Francophone world and break some clichés. Barcellini moved to Kazakhstan two years ago with her husband from France, and had to quit her job for…

Monaco pavilion “Mirroring the Future” astonishes crowds at EXPO 2017

ASTANA – Monaco’s 3-million-euro pavilion “Mirroring the Future” leaves EXPO 2017 visitors in awe as it goes in sync with Principality establishments, marine world icons and its theme. “The central installation is composed of blades that oscillate like a wave,” according to pavilion guides. “This structure, never yet realised, reflects the projection of a film…

Astana EXPO 2017 kicks off with dazzling show, concert and fireworks

ASTANA – Visiting more than a hundred countries in one day is now possible thanks to world expositions such as the one happening this year in the Kazakh capital. The long-awaited EXPO 2017 kicked off June 10 with numerous pavilions open for public view. For the 25-year-old country, the exhibition has become the most important…

India, Pakistan expand SCO’s borders, anti-extremism convention tops agenda at Astana SCO summit

ASTANA – The Kazakh capital hosted the 17th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit June 8-9, with the accession of India and Pakistan and anti-extremism convention topping the agenda amid hopes of bolstering the organisation’s presence in Eurasia.   While the world had its collective eyes on the Kazakh capital as it held the summit and…

Astana’s new Nurly Zhol railway station is open for business

ASTANA – The new Nurly Zhol railway station had its first passengers June 1 and a visit from President Nursultan Nazarbayev, according to akorda.kz. In the run-up to EXPO 2017 in the capital, the whole city is undergoing a make-over – new buildings, hotels and services are being launched – all to accommodate guests during…

Kazakhstan exceeds expectations, says Dominican FM

ASTANA – In an exclusive interview with The Astana Times following his June 5-6 visit to Kazakhstan, Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas said he saw many opportunities for cooperation, particularly in human resources, education and business. “You have great universities here. But mainly our cooperation focuses on trade and commerce. We will also look…

Worst times gone for Kazakhstan, says PwC tax and legal leader for Eurasia

ASTANA – Long-time expat, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Tax & Legal Services leader for Eurasia Michael Ahern believes the worst times of economically tough 2015-2016 are over for Kazakhstan. “We will not return to the boom times of high oil prices, but the trend is up,” he told The Astana Times in an exclusive interview. “In 2015-2016,…

AIFC, NASDAQ ink technology agreement for AIFC Exchange

ASTANA – The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) and NASDAQ Inc. signed a technology agreement May 29 that will allow the AIFC Exchange to use the NASDAQ matching engine. “The matching engine will be implemented and go through several rigorous testing and acceptance stages before official deployment,” note NASDAQ officials on its website. “The NASDAQ…

Central Asian integration: more real than ever?

ASTANA – Numerous international leaders, experts, and environmentalists have been promoting Central Asian integration for decades. However, all such initiatives, one way or another, have not come to fruition. Until now. To many observers, the election of the new President in Uzbekistan last December and a diplomatic outreach he made to the neighbouring states in…

Thai embassy highlights diplomatic relations with evening of thrilling Muaythai boxing

ASTANA – The Royal Thai Embassy in Kazakhstan staged the Ambassador’s Cup, a friendly Muaythai boxing competition held at the Radisson Hotel May 25 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Thai-Kazakh relations. “When we were thinking about what could interest Kazakhs, we thought boxing was one of the areas where we could connect and this…

EXPO 2017 opening creates big expectations

ASTANA – A little less than two weeks are left before EXPO 2017 kicks off in the Kazakh capital and the whole country is anticipating the grand event. Photo credit: expoandwomen.com The exhibition area is almost ready, as the decorative works are being carried out – some parts of the exhibition look perfectly ready, while…

Astana Art Fest 2017, “Nomad Energy,” to Be Largest Yet

ASTANA – Astana’s traditional Art Fest, this year titled “Nomad Energy,” is to kick off June 17 on the Nur Zhol boulevard. According to its organisers, the 90-day event will be the biggest Art Fest yet. “At the moment, we are preparing for the grand opening and this year we received the most applicants ever…

EXPO caravan stops in Berlin as part of promotional tour through Europe

ASTANA – A mobile EXPO caravan, which started its tour through Europe Feb. 28 in Madrid, is now headed from Berlin to the Baltic States. The promotional roadshow is hoping to raise awareness about the upcoming specialised international exposition in the Kazakh capital. The opening ceremony in the German capital was attended by representatives of…

EXPO caravan stops in Berlin as part of promotional tour through Europe

ASTANA – A mobile EXPO caravan, which started its tour through Europe Feb. 28 in Madrid, is now headed from Berlin to the Baltic States. The promotional roadshow is hoping to raise awareness about the upcoming specialised international exposition in the Kazakh capital. The opening ceremony in the German capital was attended by representatives of…

Kazakh archers beat South Korean Olympic champions in first stage of 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup

ASTANA – Kazakh archers, heavy underdogs who have never been on the podium at the World Cup or World Archery Championships, beat an Olympic trio from South Korea May 21 to win its first-ever 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in Shanghai, reported worldarchery.org. Kazakh Denis Gankin (ranked 43rd before the stage final and climbed…

Four Kazakh singers to participate in Placido Domingo Operalia during EXPO 2017

ASTANA – The prestigious Operalia, the world opera competition founded by Plácido Domingo, will take place in the capital July 24-29 as part of EXPO 2017. A total of 40 contestants from 17 countries, including four from Kazakhstan, are scheduled to participate. This will be the 25th season of the prestigious event. The host country…

Authorities in Karaganda region using all available tools to battle corruption

ASTANA – Last year, Kazakhstan was ranked 131st of 176 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. This, among many other factors, prompted government officials to develop various tools to battle the low rating in the hope of promoting a transparent Kazakhstan open to foreign businesses. The country has been struggling with ongoing corruption issues…

Kazakhstan’s open investment policy, EXPO, attract foreign investors to do business

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s efforts to draw foreign investors have marked the country as the “foreign investors’ haven” in Central Asia. For U.K.-based Aggreko, a supplier of temporary power generation equipment and temperature control equipment, this was one of the main reasons to enter the local market. “Aggreko provides flexible mobile scalable power, industrial cooling and…

Astana launches tri-lingual electronic library at bus stop to spread reading culture

ASTANA – The first electronic library in the capital has been installed at the Khan Shatyr bus stop, said Akim (Mayor) Asset Issekeshev in a May 1 Facebook post. Books can be downloaded via the QR code in three languages: Kazakh, Russian and English. “We wish Astana residents would read more. Happy holidays!” he said…

Foreign experts address biodiversity needs at Almaty gathering

ASTANA – The current global financial needs for biodiversity management are $150-440 billion per year, while expenditures are estimated at $52 billion, said Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) senior technical advisor Dr. David Meyers addressing a crowd April 25 at the BIOFIN regional workshop in Almaty. “This significant finance gap underpins the need to find new…

EBRD updates Kazakh strategy to reflect green economy transition

ASTANA – The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is updating its Kazakhstan strategy to highlight Kazakhstan’s Green Economy Transition as an example for other countries. Energy, resource efficiency and climate change mitigation will remain EBRD’s focus for the next four years. “The priorities of EBRD in Kazakhstan for 2017-21 period reflect a significant…

Kazakh TV productions to be broadcast in Kyrgyzstan

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s leading producer of television miniseries, the National Tele-Radio Corporation Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan TV), has agreed to broadcast its work on the Kyrgyz tele-radio broadcasting corporation, the Kazakhstan TV press service said recently. The agreement was concluded during a presentation of a Kazakhstan TV-produced mini-series in Bishkek between Kazakhstan TV Chairperson Yerlan Karin and…

WorldSkills Kazakhstan regional contest winners determined in Taldykorgan

ASTANA – A regional practical stage of the two-day contest for professional skills was held recently at the Taldykorgan College of Service and Technology and the College of Industrial Industry and New Technologies. The contest included students in such specialties as welding, cooking, hairdressing, modeling and clothing design. “In the conditions of building an innovative…

Kazakhstan to increase lamb exports to China

ASTANA – Kazakh authorities are planning to increase the volume of lamb exported to China by the end of April, said Vice Minister of Agriculture Gulmira Issayeva at a recent government meeting. “Kazakhstan’s bid was shortlisted and the Main Directorate for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China (MDQSIQ) decided to combine two inspection stages…

PwC director explains new Kazakh work permit rules for foreign citizens

ASTANA – Last year, the Kazakh government issued more than 36,000 work permits for foreign nationals, according to the prime minister’s official website data. Around one-third, or slightly more than 12,500, were issued to specialists from China and 3,500 to Turkish nationals, while Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom and India were also among the top inquirers.…

Secret weapons of Uzbek businesswomen

ASTANA – Uzbekistan’s mostly male-dominated entrepreneurial arena is slowly being populated by women. According to the Uzbek statistics committee, the number of businesswomen in small and private entrepreneurships grew 1.6 times in the past decade – more than 40 percent are successful managers and directors of small businesses. The Astana Times wanted to learn what…

Kazakh farmers face challenges in production and exporting wheat, yet opportunities are vast

ASTANA – The demand for Kazakh wheat will fall in the near future, said Nurlan Dautkanov, an expert in the field of industrial wheat processing, mainly because importing countries are gradually moving away from grain dependence to ensure their food security. For Kazakhstan, a country that was considered the largest grain exporter even in the…

Prosecutor General’s Office proposes new ways to combat theft

ASTANA – Two million thefts were committed in Kazakhstan in a span of 25 years, of which about 1.5 million remain unsolved, said Kussain Igembayev, head of the Prosecutor General’s Office second department, during the March 27 meeting of the coordinating council on ensuring the rule of law, law and order and combating crime and…

Dimash Kudaibergen wins Best Asian Singer in China’s Top Music Awards

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s new singing star Dimash Kudaibergen continues buzzing in China. Recently, he won the top award in the China Top Music Awards in the category Best Asian Popular Singer for his outstanding performances in the television show “Singer 2017,” which will broadcast April 8 – 15 during the grand finale of the season.…

Astana raises a pint to pub culture

ASTANA – No matter what is happening in Kazakhstan – financial crisis, political uncertainty or Barys bowing out of the Continental Hockey League’s (KHL) playoffs, pubs in the capital are crowded and busy come Thursday, Friday and Saturday. “People will always be going to bars and pubs, because it’s become a culture to have a…

Festival of Disney films in Kazakh underway in Almaty

ASTANA – A festival of the best Disney films in the Kazakh language is taking place in Almaty until the end of March with the possibility of prolonging it until the mid-April, the Almaty city Akimat (city administration) reports. According to local media, the festival was organised for the Nauryz celebrations. The festival is open…

Being a woman and doing business in Central Asia

ASTANA – Being a businesswoman and a housewife at the same time is really arduous – in a society in which most household chores are still the province of women, a working mom must juggle cooking a meal for the kids, planning business meetings and keeping in mind what to put on the grocery list.…

EBRD set to refresh cooperation with Uzbekistan under its new leadership

ASTANA – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Uzbekistan are set to re-engage on a new level. During EBRD’s Mar. 15-17 visit to the Central Asian country, the sides intend to sign a memorandum of understanding. “We believe the time is right to re-engage with Uzbekistan,” EBRD Managing Director for Communications Jonathan…

Leroy Merlin to invest $31 million in first supermarket in Almaty

ASTANA – French giant in gardening, retailer Leroy Merlin is building the first of three supermarkets in the Almaty region and plans to invest $31 million in the outlet. “Today, the chain of supermarkets Leroy Merlin is actively developing in Russia, and we see the high potential in Kazakhstan also,” said Deputy Director General of…

Industry experts optimistic about introduction of autonomous vehicles in Kazakhstan

ASTANA – Iveco representative in Kazakhstan Lorenzo Bernardeli said he was optimistic about the future of autonomous vehicles in Kazakhstan during an international forum in Astana, according to the press services of Agromashholding and SaryarkaAvtoProm. Its partner in Kazakhstan will most likely be the AllurGroup assembly plant in Kostanai. “During the forum, the representative of…

Kango Jumping Park opens in Astana’s new Mega Silk Way Mall

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s largest and newest mall, Mega Silk Way, had a technical opening March 6, as some stores are already operational and others are still under construction but will be ready by the March 23 official opening day. Kango Jumping Park, however, opened its doors for the technical opening, offering a tonne of fun…

Fitch confirms Samruk-Energy’s BB+ rating

ASTANA – International agency Fitch Rating has evaluated Kazakhstan’s Samruk-Energy long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) in foreign currency at the BB+ level and its prioritised unsecured rating foreign currency as BB, reported local sources. The IDR has been rated as stable, Fitch said in a statement. “The confirmation of rating reflects the continued strong strategic…

What Central Asia can offer as tourist destination

ASTANA – Throughout the centuries, Europe has been reigning supreme as the world’s most visited tourist destination. As of 2015, France topped the list of the most popular vacation spots, followed by Spain (third), Italy (fifth), Turkey (sixth), Germany (seventh) and the U.K. (eighth), leaving the U.S. (second), Mexico (ninth) and Russia (10th) as the…

Day of Gratitude – a celebration of Kazakhstan’s multiethnic society

ASTANA – The Day of Gratitude was celebrated for the first time last year. President Nursultan Nazarbayev established the holiday for people of different ethnic groups living in Kazakhstan to rejoice and celebrate their co-existence as one whole nation. “Some 800,000 Germans, 102,000 Polish, 550,000 of ethnics groups from the Caucasus and about 100,000 Korean…

Kazakh DJ signs contract with Armin Van Buuren

ASTANA – While singer Dimash Kudaibergen is rocking stages in the East, Kazakh DJ Farleon, also known as Sultan Karimov, signed a contract with the world-famous Dutch record label Armada Music in the West. Kazakhstan’s mass media have been buzzing about Kudaibergen’s success in the Chinese television song contest Singer 2017, otherwise known as I…

Bank mergers: expert opinion and outlook for 2017

ASTANA – Since the fall, the country’s major banks have continued to announce their intentions to merge. The latest, regarding Tsesna Bank’s plan to buy out Bank CentreCredit shares, is a move that has spurred numerous controversies and discussions. Rumours of a possible merger between Qazkom and Halyk Bank broke off in November and KazInvestBank…

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

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…

Global Index Ranks KazISS Among Top Think Tanks in the World

ASTANA – The country’s top think tank, the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President (KazISS), was recently ranked among the world’s top think tanks, the institution’s press service reported Jan. 31. “KazISS’s first-ever rating in the Global Go To Think Tank Index, Defence and National Security Rating is higher than ever,” the headline…

OSCE to Help Train Kazakh Law Enforcement Staff Fight Crime

ASTANA – Head of the Department of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Economic and Environmental Activities Andrei Muntean recently pledged during his meeting with Rector of the Academy of Law Enforcement under the General Prosecutor’s Office Ulan Baizhanov to help the academy create a regional law enforcement hub. The Kazakh head…

Indian Ambassador Praises Kazakh President’s Modernisation Plans

ASTANA – Plans for the third stage of modernisation announced by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev Jan. 31 were praised by Indian Ambassador Harsh Kumar Jain in a recent interview with The Astana Times.   “I am impressed by the way President Nazarbayev has developed a vision for the country and that vision is being implemented…

Saudi Company Allocates More Than $90 Million to South Kazakhstan Poultry Farm

ASTANA – Saudi Arabian Al Ramez International Group will finance a poultry farm in the South Kazakhstan region with a production capacity of 30,000 tonnes of meat per year, company president Abdullah Zaid Al-Meleihi said during a Jan. 30 meeting with region akim (governor) Zhanseit Tuimebayev, reported the governor’s press service. The project will be…

Kazakh Singer Rises to Stardom in China in One Day

ASTANA – Kazakh singer Dimash Kudaibergenov beat his opponents Jan. 21 in the first stage of the popular Chinese show “Singer 2017” and instantly rose to fame in China. Kudaibergenov, 22, was invited by the organisers and is the youngest participant, tengrinews.kz reports. He performed the song “SOS d’un terrien en détresse” in French after which…

Japanese Envoy: Japanese Technology, Kazakh Natural Resources Are Ideal Match

ASTANA – Kazakhstan celebrated its 25th anniversary of independence last December and Jan. 26 the nation marked 25 years of diplomatic relations with Japan. In an exclusive interview with The Astana Times, Japanese Ambassador to Kazakhstan Ichiro Kawabata marked the date and congratulated Kazakhs on behalf of the Japanese mission. “Since the beginning of our…

National Railway Company to Begin Inspecting Luggage at 16 Stations

ASTANA – Inspection of passengers’ luggage will be performed at 16 railroad stations in the country, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) press service reports. “This procedure will enter into force from Feb. 1 this year to step up the measures of safety of passengers and provision of antiterrorist protection,” the official KTZ press release reads. The…

Shymbulak Temporarily Closes Several Ski Runs for Universiade Preparations

ASTANA – Almaty’s ski resort Shymbulak closed several ski runs Jan. 9 to prepare for Winter Universiade, which starts Jan. 29. According to the company’s official press service, the resort has shut down the following runs of cable railway Combi 1: Professor, Asiada, Truba, Pole Chudes, Olimpyskiy and Terrasa. The other runs and cable railways…

Master Craftsmen Showcase Kazakh Arts at Abu Dhabi Fair

ASTANA – Kazakh master craftsmen and women showcased their country’s traditional arts and crafts skills during the two-month Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival in Abu Dhabi. The trip was organised by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the United Arab Emirates and the Steppe Heritage foundation, headed by Damira Bekmukhamedova. “This is an annual fair where Kazakh…

US-Kazakh Relations to Grow Despite Many Changes in 2017, Says US Ambassador

ASTANA – The United States, one of the top foreign investors in Kazakhstan, is about to witness Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, as the 45th and probably one of its most controversial Presidents. Will policies under the new administration affect U.S.-Kazakh relations? The Astana Times interviewed the current U.S. Ambassador in Astana, George Krol,…

Appreciation for Every Crumb: A Famine Legacy

ASTANA – Kazakh culture has been shaped by events cruel and kind over the centuries. One of the saddest and most influential in recent history was the great famine of 1931–1933 caused by Stalin’s policies of collectivisation. According to some estimates, about 40 percent of the ethnic Kazakh population of that time lost their lives…

Kazakhstan’s Largest Tuberculosis Treatment Centre Opens in Astana

ASTANA – A new, state-of-the-art tuberculosis treatment centre opened Dec. 29 in Astana. The centre is the largest in the country and is designed for up to 500 patients, including a 12-bed intensive care unit. It will be serviced by more than 1,000 personnel. The treatment complex consists of four-to-six-story buildings in nine sections and…

Construction, Education, Energy Are Areas Attracting Foreigners to Kazakhstan

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s continued efforts to attract foreign investment have spurred an influx of foreign talent and professionals from various fields. Certain factors did influence the outflow in recent years, such as the devaluation of the national currency, but upcoming events like EXPO 2017, construction of the Abu Dhabi Plaza in the capital and holding…

ATOM Project Ambassador: Kazakhstan Can Call for Nuclear Weapon-Free Future for Mankind

ASTANA – Thinking of New Year’s resolutions, everyone sets goals to become better, faster, larger and one-year wiser. The ATOM Project’s Honorary Ambassador Karipbek Kuyukov is no exception. In a recent interview with The Astana Times, the renowned painter, activist and strong-willed man, whose character has been moulded by terrible life consequences, shared his thoughts…

Tea, Coffee Prices Increase by Almost 35 Percent, Other Food Prices Also Increase

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s Statistics Committee released a statement indicating that in general food prices in November rose by 9.1 percent compared with the same month last year. According to the statement, all basic foods have seen price hikes. Coffee, tea and cocoa have seen prices rise by 34.6 percent; cereals by 33.5 percent; bread by…