Kazakhstan: Appeal for solidarity from Almaty, Kazakhstan

Leave people their homes!

The finance and housing crisis is hitting Central Asia hard. During recent years of relative growth, in an attempt to escape their horrific living conditions, many ordinary Kazakhstani’s saved up their hard earned wages and were enticed by banks to take out mortgages on the many newly built flats promised for the capital, Almaty. They have been lied to at every stage. Firstly, as soon as there was a whiff of crisis in the air, the building speculators stopped work on the building sites, leaving unfinished tower blocks throughout the city. Even a quick glance shows that they are inadequately built. In a seismic (prone to earthquakes) zone, 30-floor tower blocks have been built, with no proper earthquake protection. Now that many people are having their wages cut and are losing their jobs, they find it increasingly difficult to pay their mortgages. This is not surprising, as the banks offering the mortgages are asking impossible terms. One bank insists that even if a mortgage has been partly paid off, the interest on the full initial sum has to be paid every year. Now that the number unable to pay is growing, they are sending around “collectors” and threatening people with court action. The government has announced the setting up of a special fund to help with “stressed loans”, but the money is not going to help the loan-holders, but to the banks, most of which are linked to, or owned by government cronies.

Leave people their homes!

A movement named, “Leave people their homes”, which was set up with the assistance of Socialist Resistance (CWI in Kazakhstan) is leading a campaign to demand:

  • A stop to the pressure by the banks and collectors on ordinary people
  • Immediately put the rescue fund into action
  • That the government to take control of all problem mortgages and other ordinary loans
  • Negotiations between government and the movement on measures to resolve the crisis.

There are currently 14 members of the movement on hunger strike since 20 January. As representatives of over 600 people in the same position, they are receiving warm support for their action from ordinary people, who bring them money and water every day. But from the city authorities, they get lies, insults and threats of repression. Today, in a city with sub-zero temperatures, home heating was cut off. Delegations from Pavlodar, Chimkent, Astana are also promising to join the protest.

The movement is asking that messages of protest be sent to

With copies to

Please send letters of solidarity to

with copies to

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January 2009