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Embattled Kazakh Opposition Party Rejects 'Extremist' Charge

Opposition party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK), which an Almaty court ordered liquidated on 6 January, announced in a statement at a 10 January news conference in Almaty that "attempts to present DVK as an extremist organization that allegedly violates the constitution and laws of Kazakhstan are without merit," "Navigator" reported.

Petr Svoik, a member of the DVK political council, told journalists, "DVK will continue its activities. How and in what form is just a technical issue, which could be solved easily and in different ways," Interfax-Kazakhstan reported. In a reference to events that swept the communist regime from power in Czechoslovakia in 1989, Asylbek Kozhakhmetov, chairman of the party's political council, warned, "A 'velvet revolution' is inevitable in Kazakhstan if the authorities do not seek normal ways of dialogue with the opposition."

DVK also received support from a seemingly unlikely source, when Kazbek Kazkenov, deputy chairman of the pro-presidential Otan party, told reporters in Almaty on 10 January, "I express sympathy with DVK," "Kazakhstan Today" reported. Kazkenov noted the possibility of appeal through the courts, as well as an appeal to President Nursultan Nazarbaev, whom Kazkenov described as "the guarantor of the constitution." DVK has already stated its intention to appeal the court decision.

(RFE/RL 11.i.05)

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