Kazakh Government Gives Land for Russian Test Grounds


Russia, obviously, applauds to Kazakhstan’s Minister of Finance Natalia Korzhova for her brilliant speech in the Parliament of Kazakhstan.

Relationships between Russia and Kazakhstan are probably the friendliest on the post-Soviet space. Commodity turnover grows each year, joint economic projects are realized. Probably because of deep trust to the eternal neighbor, Kazakhstan had given 11 million hectares of the land in 1997 only for 3 billion tenge.

Now Ms. Korzhova asks to adopt the law allowing Russia to pay 23 million USD annually for rent of these military test grounds. Only 8 out of 59 MPs were against adoption of this law. If the Senate adopts it, Saryshagan, Embinsky test ground, 929th and 4th test grounds and the military polygons will be leased for 25-30 years.

Kazakh scientist Mukash Burkitbayev, who studies consequences of radiation in Semipalatinsk, received the NATO award this year. He says that local residents often ask him when hazardous substance in the wells will disappear. The Kazakh youth strongly condemns actions of MPs, and call to conduct a rally, believing that the polygons will destroy the Kazakh genofund.

The “Zhas Kazakh” [Young Kazakh] newspaper has published opinion of several deputies on this issue. Amangeldy Aitaly, an MP, considers that the Ministry of Defense doesn’t think of a low social level of the population. The land of test grounds could be used for agricultural purposes, but it’s not. Thus, it negatively influences our economy.

The first Kazakh cosmonaut, MP Tohtar Aubakirov does not agree with Ms. Korzhova’s opinion too. He says: “If we today give away these lands, we will never return them. These are the best and nutritious lands. We speak about rent of the land, but nobody raise a question on health of the population living there. Who will pay them benefits and provide medical treatment?”

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