Zhanaozen — the oil river

  • 26.12.2011
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Zhanaozen, or simply Uzen, is a city of 100,000 inhabitants in Western Kazakhstan, Mangistau Province. It translates as “A New River” but it  has no rivers. The name refers to its rich oil fields and it was for the purpose of their explotation that the city was established 40 years ago.

The city's central square has been occupied by ‘OzenMunayGaz’ oil company workers for the last seven months. The workers were taking industrial action against their employers in an attempt to force    the application of the sectorial and regional coefficient during the calculation of their salaries.

On Independence Day, (16th December 2011) , the city authorities decided to organise a festival; they pitched yurts among the strikers and they forced teenagers from schools and colleges to come "to a parade." A car sent by the local administration, loaded with food for the celebration events, drove into the crowd of strikers and onlookers. To drown out the noise, the akim ordered the turning on of loud music. At this point the young people climbed onto the stage and began to throw the loudspeakers from the stage. The building of ‘OzenMunayGaz’ was subject to an arson attack. The police left the square and returned after half an hour, opened fire on the crowd of the city inhabitants who gathered around the burning office building. Youths began to initiate acts of vandalism leaving devastation in their wake. They set fire to the akimat, a hotel, the house of the head of ‘OzenMunayGaz’, and some three dozen shops, two banks and in addition several ATMs were compromised and money was stolen.

The Prosecutor's Office confirmed; "the death of 11 persons as a result of the riots" and "more than 70 people injured." Now the hospital and the morgue in Zhanaozen are subject to more security than the Municipal Department of the Interior. People who were taking the bodies from the square to the morgue say that on 17th December at 9 a.m. there were were 64 bodies in the morgue and the adjoining room, including the bodies of two children. This evidence corroborates the statement made by a surgeon-resuscitator,  who stated that he was unable to save the lives of 23 people. The next morning, the number of wounded in the Zhanaozen hospital reached 400, some of the wounded people were immediately taken to Aktau. The authorities did not release the bodies to their families and the visiting of wounded persons in hospital was prohibited. In the city there are several thousand riot policemen deployed from neighboring areas; a state of emergency has been declared.

The Municipal Department of the Interior

Near the Municipal Department of the Interior two armored personnel carriers are parked, riot policemen lazily brandish their automatic weapons. In close proximity, a silent crowd of approx. 80 women, not wishing to disperse, has gathered. Suddenly the crowd is moving forward: lists of detainees’ names are being placed on the entrance control booth. On one side are those who “were controled and will be released" - 356 names, on the other side - those " for whom it’s better not to wait, these are administrative or criminal cases" - 449 surnames. Rumour has it that today they are going to release 28 people, and women are shifting from foot to foot in the cold, the clicking of their heels is audible. Yesterday, they stood there., until they were finally dispersed by the police at 2a.m. They are not just standing there for the sake of it, but in order to ensure that they will be present to accompany their men should they be released- a man who is leaves this building alone is more likely to be apprehended again, and those, who are apprehended for a second time, are not released.

The lists comprise the dates of apprehension: 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th December and the year of the detainees’ birth. Most common in the list appear to be the birth years:  — 1989 and1990.

Suddenly, the crowd is beginning to push towards the fence, the riot policemen are yelling, they are raising their weapons. Two men emerge fromthe Department of the Interior: a Kazakh and a Russian. The Kazakh’s face is crushed, his hand is pressed firmly  against his ribs, he is walking slowly. He quietly confirms to the crowd, yes, they were beaten, and badly, and he is immediately taken away by his wife. The Russian - Artyom, 21 years old –stays to chat. He was arrested today along with a friend as they were walking home. "Today they didn’t beat us severely, only when we were in the truck, and in the department they hit us mainly in the stomach, so that there wouldn’t be any bruises, - he says. – “Today they are battering those whom they apprehended on 16th and 17th. With me was a man with a bullet in his leg. Can you imagine? he just went out to smoke on the porch, in his longjohns, he didn’t even have his shoes on. A riot policeman came up to him, he said; Give me your documents! give me this, give me that. The man handed over his ID card and his employee ID. He waited some time, then he tried to pull the ID back.  That is, according to the policeman, he applied force. Then the policeman shot a him in the leg. He is sitting there now, in his longjohns, with a hole in his leg."

... Bazarbai is lying on the carpet in the living room. He is talking to me and at the same time he is unsuccessfully trying to sit up. His face is injured so badly it appears like  jelly, his eye is bunged up, it looks  like his nose is broken, he has terrible bruises on his back and he has a groin injury. My wife is quietly stating that they did not call the doctor – phones are still not working and Bazarbai is afraid to leave the apartment - those who are detained for a second time, are not released. Bazarbai is a tractor driver, he lives in the village of Kyzyl-sai near Zhanaozen, but on 16th December his daughter gave birth, and after work he went to town.

His surname is Kenzhebaev, he was born on 16th February, 1961. I mention his name because two days ago, two days after we had a conversation, he died. As it turned out, his intestine was torn as a result of battery.

The distance between his children's house, where Bazarbay stopped in Zhanaozen and the hospital is 500 metres. Bazarbay left home at 5 p.m., he was apprehended after he had walked 200 metres,. "They asked me what I was doing on the street, I said that I was going visit my daughter in the hospital. They took me to the bus. On the bus they immediately began to kick me and strike me with batons. Beside me on the bus were about 30 detainees. When we arrived at the Municipal Department of the Interior, a group of riot police met us there, they beat us, too. We were told to undress completely and to leave our clothes in the corridor. Our money and mobile phones were taken by the local policemen. We were put in the detention centre - 23 people in the cell of 3 meters by 4 meters. More than half were taken by ambulance - their hands were broken, they were severely beaten, I am not sure if they survived. When we went into the room, we were ordered to lie down on the floor with our faces down. Some 30 riot policemen came in and once again they began to beat us - in the head, in the back, all over our bodies. They were walking on us.  Young men were ordered to lie face down, and then the policemen would step on their heads in order to crush their faces. Then they started to take people away for questioning. They carried out the questioning on the third floor, before we went there; they allowed us to put our shorts on. On both sides of the stairs, riot policemen stood, they were aligned on the stairway. Only then did I realise how many of them came to us. And then again -  we were walking past the two ranks,  and they were beating us, trying to hit us in the groin. The investigator asked: “Who are you? Where do you come from?”. I reiterate the same statement: I am from a village, I came to visit my daughter, she has just given birth to a daughter. He says: “No, you stole a TV set from the "Sulpan" (a shop - EK), tell me where you put it, otherwise they are going to beat you. And my whole body is bleeding. I say, “I'm not a thief, I am an honest man, my daughter has just had a baby”. They sent me back down and they continued to beat me further – Come on! Confess! Confess! But they didn’t  take me to the investigator again. There were no places to sleep in the cell, I just sat with my back against the wall - others begged the policemen to allow me to sit, they said: “He is an old man, he feels ill”. The rest of them had to kneel with their hands raised, then they were made to get down on their haunches and to put their 'hands behind their head". They were taking people one by one for interrogation and as they were coming back, they were beaten. They forbade us to talk. By the morning, five guys from my cell confessed, because they could no longer bear it. We stood strong.

Many already had their arms and legs broken. Riot policemen were asking: “What happened to you? How did you break your leg?” Did someone beat you?” We had to say: “No, I walked around the city and fell, and I broke my leg”. Otherwise, they would beat us again. We learned to give the ‘correct’ answers.

Sometimes we could hear women screaming. Apparently, they were kept in a separate cell.

At 2 a.m. on the 17th we were taken to a garage (behind the building of the Municipal Department of the Interior are several vacant dilapidated buildings, which locals call "a garage"). They are approximately 15 metres by 20 metres, all packed with people, there were some 150 people there. Most of them were dressed but with no shoes on, many were without shirts. There are no windows there and no floor – just sand on which they poured water to make it damp.Water was poured on young people too. In the garage people had to hunker down with their hands behind their head.

I spent three hours in the garage. Then the policemen came, they mentioned the name of my village and asked: “Who is from there?” I said I was. I was taken back to the building of the Department of the Interior, they ordered me to get dressed. Later I found out that it was my relative from my daughter's husband’s side - he is a policeman – he got me out, he knew how to make a deal. I was told to dress quickly, but I couldn’t find my clothes, and I took someone else's shirt, sweater and jacket. They released me. I thought that I couldn’t get back home, I was walking slowly. I was stopped by a patrol again. I said I was from the police. I was covered in blood, and so they believed me.

For two days I was spitting blood, now I have stopped.  But the blood has been flowing until now. "

Bazarbai’s wife says that at 11 p.m., when their father hadn’t returned  home, his son and his second daughter went out to look for him. On the street they saw a crowd of teens running and policemen chasing after them. They began to run, too. The daughter was caught and thrown into a truck with other detainees. "But she was lucky, she was hardly beaten at all - says her mother. – It is because she is just 21 years old and she is very small. There was one riot policeman who was covering her with his shield all the time, he said to his colleagues: she is just a girl, don’t hit her". She was released at 4 a.m. "She came and said: “Mom, I saw everything there, and our father is not going to come back from there alive”. We cried until morning."

The city

We are spending the night in Marzhan’s shop – it is the second consecutive night that she is protecting it from  potential destruction. It is a basement shop in a residential house with windows high on the wall, close to the ceiling. The day is breaking.

 - “Come here”, says Marzhan, standing on a chair by the window. – “Just do it very quietly”.

Behind the window we can see two groups of riot policemen, five men in each group. Some stop the passing cars, they rummage through the boots. Others stop passers-by. Right now they have just stopped two guys, they checked their documents. One of them begins to explain something, they poke him and he falls to his knees - and the policeman  strikes him to the head with his baton, with a  powerful extension of his hand. Two other guys pick him up by his arms and drag him around the corner of the house. His friend is follows him, prodded by yet another policeman – he does not resist, he does not try to escape.

We are walking across the square. The riot police are cordoning off the square, the square is empty. Burnt passenger cars have not yet been removed , the city administration bulding is still on fire. We are stepping over some documents, parts of broken equipment and a burnt monitor. On a concrete block at the entrance to the square someone has written an inscription in in large Kazakh letters: "Who is going to accept responsibility for the deaths of the young people?"

Nearby, at the foot of the tablet and on the bench we can see clotted blood. In the distance lies a fallen burnt Christmas tree. Next to it, policemen are burning the yurt – they are trying to keep warm. Marzhan groans: "Pogrom-makers do not touch the yurts! They are sacred, you can’t burn them!" Two riot policemen are coming in our direction and we turn into an alley.

The riot police - with shields, guns, masks with slits for the eyes and mouth move in groups of 20 , in the shape of a  square. The streets became extinct. Rare passers-by: mostly women with children - ask one another where bread can be bought. Bakeries are closed.

We are also stopped by the patrol and Marzhan makes up a story about a Russian friend who is afraid to sit at home alone.

 “Isn’t she a journalist?” - the policeman has some doubts. – “I think I saw her yesterday. Get in the bus, both of you.”

“Fine, we’ll get in, we are innocent, why should we be afraid of you?” says Marzhan.

But it turns out that today they are only taking men into the bus. They let us go. We quickly leave the square and head towards the yards.

A shop; The door is closed, they let in only three people at a time. At the door there is a queue of 5 people and we can hear screaming. Riot policemen apprehend a married couple who went out of the house to buy food. "We have children! - The woman yells. - They are locked in the apartment! They policemen keep dragging them. On the way to the bus they apprehend another man who who was looking out of the front door of his house.

Another yard; At the entrance door there is a queue too: they sell bread through a window in a highly secured door. From an adjacent shop a frightened woman and a man carry out clothes, haphazardly stuffed in to a bag. They aren’t looters: they are shop owners, they are leaving for Aktau.

We stop by the queue and we exchange the news. Mobile phone coverage is still disabled, and in the third disctrict there is no electricity, so these conversations in queues are the only way for the Zhanaozen people to learn what is happening in their city, which of their relatives and friends have been detained, wounded or killed. But now they are discussing the news from the official mass-media.

“They say that oil workers were paid for standing on the square. I'm a teacher, and I know that oil workers’ children did not come to school in September. Families could not afford to buy clothes, school supplies or texbooks for their children”.

“A child, 11 years old, always asks to turn the TV off when Bazarbaev is on TV. And we have never discussed politics in the family.”

“Had a pogrom been organised, the guys would have taken over the Municipal Department of the Interior and they would have got weapons, and they would not have been shot like sheep” – an old woman says angrily. – “They would have defended themselves and their families. And on that side there would be dead people, too.  It would only be we who cry.”

The women quietly report that in Zhanaozen a list of persons to be executed has already been prepared. The head of the city education authority, Katir Burambaev for sending the lines of children to the square on Independence Day – straight into the line of fire; traffic cops: Malik and Askhar, and the deputy head of the Municipal Department of the Interior, Abdurasul Uteshev. –All surviving witnesses have confirmed with utmost certainty that the 2 traffic policemen  were firing shots. "These four persons are going to die” - the women say.

... The most amazing thing is that on 17th December, the day after demonstrators and bystanders had been shot, the Zhanaozen people came to the square again five thousand strong - more than on the 16th. They came with sheets, on which they painted an inscription "Peace to the world." People, who on the previous day, were cowering from bullets, honestly expected the arrival of a government commission who would begin  negotiations. The commission, headed by the Minister of Interior actually came, but they did not come to the square. The Zhanaozen inhabitants had stood there all day and at dusk the riot police dispersed them with tear gas.

... On the way home, Marzhan with wailing and screaming manages to achieve the release of  two detainees: her neighbours. Having heard the crying, two unknown women came running, and with cryies of joy and relief, they led away "their brothers". "An Adai will live!" - Marzhan yells to the surprised riot policemen. The riot policemen grasp their automatic weapons, and I literally drag Marzhan away from them.

The Adai people have a proverb which doesn’t translate into Russian: “When you fear, you will become a hero”.  It means that it is not embarrassing to be afraid, but more important to fight this fear in due course.

 Zhanaozen

... On TV they are showing how students of the Ust-Kamenogorsk University condemn progrom-makers who attacked civilians in Zhanaozen. A sleek-looking student, with his glaring glasses on, monotonously encourages young people "not to destroy our republic."

Then the announcers ask the experts about the reasons behind the events in Zhanaozen. In their answers, experts are pointing to different factors; one is talking about the hand of the West in it, the other about Wahhabism.

The Municipal Department of the Interior (at night)

The commandant of the city, who is responsible for emergency action, is no other but the Head of the Regional Police Kabylov Amanzhol Zhaygalievich. In camouflaged clothing, every three minutes, he signs documents. he is talking over two mobile phones at the same time. He treats me to a cigarette, he wonders who allowed me to visit these ‘Adai people’, before leaving the room.

The Head of the Department of the Interior, Kozhaev Mukhtar Zhalbaevich thoughtfully reads to me the chronology of events from a sheet of paper. From the document that he is holding in his hand which states  that there were holiday celebrations underway on the square, and the strikers in numbers of 300-400 came to the young people’s parade in order to disrupt it.

Kozhaev says that the decision "to equip the forces with combat weapons and return to the square" was made by the authorities of the Province. He says that oil workers threatened to set fire to the inspector of the Municipal Department of the Interior who deals with juvenile offenders - he was on duty on the square at that time. He says that later oil workers started to attack civilians and set buildings on fire and that in these buildings civilians were also present. He says that people were dashing out of the burning akimat, and the head of the city education authority: Burambaev, who was in absentia sentenced to death by the city inhabitants, broke both her legs whilst jumping from the second floor. About 10 policemen were severely beaten, the deputy head of the Municipal Department of the Interior is still in a coma. Mukhtar Zhalbaevich asserts that they fired warning shots, "but I have not forced shots at all."

 - And since the reinforcements did not arrive, we, the group of 100 officers, armed with service weapons, on foot, moved towards the square. And there were more than 3000  people there. Young people joined the crowd, but it should be noted that the riots were started by dismissed workers, it was them, and among them were women and elderly people. Shots were fired into the air – and there was no reaction. We started to shoot. Despite this, the crowd attacked several times, but they were repulsed. Then came the reinforcements. And on 17th December in the afternoon we successfully took full  control of the city.

All those who were detained on 16th-17th, were arrested for looting. Out there, behind the gates, their relatives are awaiting them. Now an investigation is ongoing which will determine the extent of their collaboration  with theinciters of the riots. According to our laws, it is an extremely serious crime. And relatives do not want to come to terms with this. We take them all from the streets and bring them here. "Who are you?" - "And what do you want?" – that’s enough, we bring the guy here, we start to check him. We take his fingerprints, we establish who he is. Today we caught some men with cold weapons, with trench knives and other knives. In the basements of apartment buildings and on roofs we confiscated incendiary mixtures, prepared for use against policemen who maintain  order.

-“Now we have 50-60 detainees, 160 people are in a detention center; they are suspected of committing crimes and minor offences”, says Kabylov, who has just returned. The lists which comprise 800 people, and which has been displayed at the entrance control point of the department this morning, he calls "the old ones".

According to Kozhaev, 78 people were injured and there were 11 fatalities.

“There are no accidentally wounded persons there” - says Kozhaev. “All civilians escaped from there, leaving only those who burned and looted. Can you imagine, they burn everything, they beat all the passers-by, and what do you think, who, in your opinion, can be on the square at that moment?”

Kozhaev does not believe in the ‘hand of the West’.

“Prior to these events, there were rumours that were going to be mass riots, these rumours were operatively checked, but we couldn’t confirm them. And nothing indicates that the events which occurred on 16th December were organised in advance. These people simply kicked off”.

The akimat

A young smiling Akim, Orak Sarbopeev after his miraculous rescue from a burning building of the akimat also works in the Municipal Department of the Interior. He was given a cabinet there. Orak has been a head of the city since 20th December, 2009. Without knowing it, he immediately contradicts the statement made by the police: not 11 but 13 people were killed, and strikers did not take part in the acts of destruction. "But it is all the strikers’ fault. The strikers are to blame for the whole situation which occurred on 16th."

”I worked in ‘OzenMunayGaz" from 1994 to 2008, I started work as an operator and in the last years I was the head of oil and gas management unit” begins the akim. – I have worked with these strikers for 15 years, day and night we would crawl in the ducts, we would dig up the pipes from the ground, we would weld them. And I cannot speak negatively  of them. But their demands are not justified. In fact their salaries increased…

I am not in any way on the side of the employer. I just  like to call a spade a spade. People are different. They all have their own truth, but the truth is one. This is what we must not forget. The authorities of the city and of the province highly respect oil workers.

You see, there is a problem - in Kazakhstan legislation there is no limit on salaries. Of course I am pleased when oil companies raise the salaries of their workers. But the oil workers are not the whole city. There are state employees, there are public services and there are military personnel. And the discrepancy is increasing. At some point, it will grow so much that people will be discontent. And I, as the Akim, would not like this limit to be raised. Because there are also people who live on the lowest salaries, and prices will rise.

Independence Day, do you understand? I just wanted to raise people’s spirits across the country. We spent a lot of money on the preparations. We wanted to show something new. Yurts have never been pitched in winter - I asked to pitch them and they did. I wanted people to be in good spirits, after all they have been standing there for seven months. I have come out to these people since 15th, saying: let's have a good celebration. You are distressed, but it's not just your holiday. I wanted people to celebrate the New Year’s Eve in good spirits, I wanted them to feel that they do have a holiday.

We gathered young people, we said: “Let's take a walk around the city”. We wanted them to feel their involvement in their fatherland – that it’s not just this small town, we wanted them to feel it in their hearts. Children are taught to sing the national anthem in kindergardens. Were you aware of this?

Well, a negative attitude could be seen on the square. I thought they would make some noise and then calm down. I said: “Let's at least turn on the music .”

The children were frightened, they ran away. The strikers caused this situation, but they were not involved in the riots. Young people began to show aggression towards police officers. And I went to the akimat.

Until the end I was hoping that the guys would calm down, but riots began. The police started firing warning shots (windows of the office, in which the akim was sitting, do not look onto the square - EK). Two deputy heads, a councillor, assistants jumped out of the window. Some managed to escape through the back entrance. I went to automatic riflemen only after the building was already aflame

And we did not disconnect the mobile phone coverage. We have had a poor coverage before too. If someone touches the mast with his shoulder and we lose connection. Antennas are mounted on this mast, it is 40 years old now. At the Department of Communications and Information they are trying to resolve this problem but they need experts, and their equipment is obsolete.

Frankly, I still didn’t go to the hospital or to the morgue. It's not so easy to admit to such a huge number of people. Even now, we keep calling transport workers, entrepreneurs and even notaries and we ask them to turn up to work tomorrow, we call market places. We ensure safety  and life goes on. We don’t have any weddings in the city for some reason right now (but generally everything has been done to encourage normalility).

I think that now all these people understand that they are wrong. We will show them their place. Someone, of course, will be punished, not all of them understand words alone. And we will start a new life – we will become friends, we will make peace, we will find jobs for these guys. We will just prevent the people from coming to the square. We will simply not allow it. We will say: “Guys, you can’t come to this place”.

The labour union

“What would happen in Zhanaozen, all parties have known for a month - says Kinzhegali Suyeuov. - And throughout this month there was no one who could play the role of a arbitrator. No one wanted to. That is the scariest thing.

Kinzhegali is the head of the Province Independent Labour Union. His organisation was acting as an arbitrator during the first labour dispute between workers and the management of ‘OzenMunayGaz’ back in 2008. The Previous PILU’s chairman, Mukhtar Umbetov successfully conducted the negotiations and managed to reach an agreement whereby salaries were increased. 10 days before the final meeting, on 28th December, two unidentified masked men were waiting for him at the entrance and they methodically broke Mukhtar’s bones of the face - both cheeks, both eye sockets, he also sustained a fractured skull. Now the organisation is headed by Kinzhegali.

It is very dangerous to be a labour union activist in the oil-producing Mangistau Province. They are beaten, heroin is planted on their person and they are incarcerated for quite considerable periods of time. Let’s take this labour union lawyer of ‘Karazhanbasmunai’, Natalia Sokolova in August this year - she was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment under the article ‘Incitement of social hatred’.

(One cannot say that law enforcement agencies do not understand the situation – what is going on in Mangistau, cannot be described in any other words than ‘social hatred’. Literally every second Zhanaozen inhabitant explained to me, in detail, that recently, President Nazarbayev’s younger brother, Bolat Nazarbaev, who is now 65 years old, was married to a 20-year-old singer, an Uzen girl, Zebari. They told me how Sabantui was organised in Aktau, what kind of cars the newlyweds were given by the oil companies of the region and how the happy bridegroom gave 10 thousand dollars to all who made a ‘salem’ to them (a ritual bow - EK). In the city where water is supplied only at certain hours and where in order to purchase an iron one needs to take a loan  (it is impossible to collect money), this story is very common.

4 months before the "revolt" in Zhanaozen two murders took place. On 2nd August at the premises of the “MunayFilterService”enterprise which renders services to oil workers, a labour union activist, Zhaksylyk Turbaev was found murdered. The murder happened right in the workshop, after the meeting, during which Turbaev initiated the re-election of a chairman of the company’s labour union, who, according to the workers, carried out the policy of the employer. The police doen’t have any suspects so far. Furthermore on 24th August, the body of a missing 18-year-old; Zhansaule Karabalaeva - a daughter of the chairman of the ‘OzenMunayGaz” labour union; Kudaibergen Karabalaev – was found dead. The girl had been raped and stabbed to death.

And it was since August that the young, uneducated  Zhanaozen people who aren’t directly related to the oil industry, began to say that a peaceful protests on the square  is humiliating, and that the lost dignity of the Adai people can only be regained through ‘a riot’.

Labour union activists say that before the year 2005, a tripartite commission scheme was effectively used in all labour disputes. Now it has been abolished and workers simply have no other peaceful and effective means by which to assert their rights.

”By the way, do you know who was the first to speak about the coefficients?”, smiles Kinzhegali. – You are not going to believe it. The ‘Munaishy Korgany’ labour union, which was established in 2008 by the deputy akim of the Province, Amangeldy Aytkumov. They came to the Karazhanbas deposit and they explained in detail how the sectorial and regional multipliers work, they explained that oil workers are underpaid, that daily oil production must be controlled, because judging by the volume, some part of it is distributed illegally. Workers acclaimed them their representatives. And in 2010, ‘Karazhanbasmunai’ (as in ‘OzenMunayGaz’, an affiliated company of ‘KazMunayGas’ - EK) allocated 250 million tenge to the fund of the akim of the provinceand I regard this as a bribe. Immediately, all fighting ceased. But the workers were not satisfied. Riots in Zhanaozen followed those in Karazhanbas.

The oil sector and the government threatened each other with the people’s wrath and they just didn’t estimate the extent of their power  in these games - says Kinzhegali. - And now it's too late, the Adai people do not know how to calm down. There have been too many deaths, and it is no longer an issue of salaries.

P.S. In support of the Zhanaozen workers, oil workers stopped oil and gas production in Karazhanbas, Kalamkas, Zhetybai and  in New Buzachi. The people of Shetpe village dismantled rails and stopped five trains. The police opened fire, one person is officially dead. A group of lawyers who left Aktau to provide assistance to the detainees in Zhanaozen, were not admitted in the city.

Original publication: Novaya Gazeta 

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