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US calls Kazakh parliamentary polls undemocratic

The US has agreed with OSCE monitors, calling the Kazakh parliamentary polls of January 15 'undemocratic'.Assistant press secretary of the US State Department Mark Toner said that they have hope for a multi-party parliament. Cooperation with the Kazakh parliament will continue. Kazakh attempts to improve the political climate and carry out fair elections are welcome, he notes.

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Andrei Ryabov: «Armed conflict may lead to irreparable consequences for Russia's South Caucasus policies”

Andrei Ryabov, expert from Moscow Karnega Research Center, told VK about the main threats that might undermine Russian influence on the South Caucasus, as well as about Moscow’s choice of opportunities to maintain peace in the region and about the role of the US in creation of the ‘regulated chaos’ atmosphere. He also touched upon the issue of OSCE Minsk Group efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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Chechnya: investments 2011

 In 2011 the Chechen authorities managed to decide on allocation of funds for realization of investment projects under state guarantee

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Yevkurov: SEZ opens new opportunities for Ingushetia

The head of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, considers the accession of the republic to the North Caucasus cluster and the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will open new opportunities for the systemic development of the republic.Yevkurov said signing of the document on establishing the SEZ on the territories of the Sunzhen and Dzhejrakh districts of Ingushetia within the North Caucasus tourist cluster will open wide opportunities for the republic, for development of the economy and the settlement of many problems, including establishment of new workplaces. He added: “We are working on implementation of the program at the moment.”

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Leonid Gusev: Kazakhstan society is changing

Early parliamentary elections took place in Kazakhstan yesterday. They provoked many comments from experts. The intrigue about which party will be next after the presidential party Nur Otan was thrilling. Preliminary data indicates that three parties will enter the new Kazakh parliament: Nur Otan, Ak Zhol and the Communist People's Party.

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 According to preliminary data of the CEC, the president’s Nur Otan Party got 80.74% of vote, Ak Zhol – 7.46%, Communist Party – 7.2%. Data gained from exit polls meets voting results, the three parties will probably enter the parliament. Ak Orda (Kazakh president’s residence) gets the perfect results for the campaign of 2012, Editor-in-Chief of Vestnik Kavkaza Alexey Vlasov says.Vestnik Kavkaza said earlier that the Center for Social and Political Studies “Strategia” carried out exit polls. President of “Strategia” Gulmira Ileulova said that Nur Otan had gotten 81.3%, Ak Zhol – 7.2%, the Communist Party – 7.1%.Having 80% of the population supporting Nur Otan shows a vote of confidence in President Nazarbayev’s policy, Alexey Vlasov believes. Nursultan Nazarbayev had efficient management. Communists had a surprisingly effective campaign, although they lacked the financing Ak Zhol had, Vlasov says.He notes that radical opposition of the Social Democratic Party demonstrated that a party of many leaders is not a leading party. A similar phenomenon can be seen among Azerbaijani opposition.

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71.98 percent of the voters or 6.6 million people have cast their ballots as of 6:00 pm at Sunday's election in Kazakhstan, deputy head of Central Election Commission Vladimir Foos said

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Hard Frosts

Director of the Meteorological Office of Russia Roman Wilfand on atypical weather

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Early parliamentary polls begin in Kazakhstan

About 9,000 polling stations opened in Kazakhstan on Sunday for early parliamentary elections that will end the ruling party's monopolistic control of the legislature.After securing a victory of 88 percent during the 2007 election, President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Nur Otan held 98 seats out of 107, with the rest occupied by independent lawmakers. None of its political rivals cleared the 7% threshold. The elections had been originally scheduled for August 2012, but Nazarbayev ruled last November to dissolve the legislature and hold snap polls. The decision came following a request from a group of 53 lawmakers and is designed to bring at least one more party besides Nur Otan into the lower house, the Mazhilis,

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S&P downgrades European credit ratings

Bond rating agency Standard & Poor's has downgraded the credit ratings of nine euro zone countries, stripping France and Austria of their top ranking, a move that may complicate the currency union’s efforts to endure a worsening debt crisis

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Recent agreements on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which will deliver Russian gas via Turkey, and the Trans-Anatolian pipeline that will provide European consumers with Azerbaijani gas caused serious concerns about conflict unfolding on the energy market. However Ilkham Shaban, the head of the Baku Oil Research Center, says there is nothing to worry about.

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