Oil company managers have warned workers not to demonstrate on the fourth anniversary of the Zhanaozen massacre, Kazakh opposition news sites reported last week.
A fresh wave of unrest is brewing in the oil field after the announcement of redundancies, caused by the falling oil price and company cutbacks. A Kazakh-Chinese drilling company laid off 200 people in August.
Activists jailed after the 2011 strikes – which ended with police killing at least 16, and wounding 60, when they opened fire on protestors on 16 December 2011 – are under special scrutiny. “The security services have
been active, and have carried out ‘preventive discussions’ with activists, especially those who have been released from prison”, Respublika newspaper reported.
“They have promised [the activists] that they will again be put behind bars, especially if they try to influence trade union elections, as happened on 21 November in Zhanaozen.”
Akzhanat Aminov, one of the activists who was jailed and conditionally released, has been given an additional one year suspended sentence. That was a response to his election in June this year as chairman of the trade union committee of Ozenmunaigaz, the largest state-owned oil production company, the socialismkz.info site reported.
Roza Tuletaeva, a prominent trade union activist who was jailed at the Zhanaozen trial, said last month in a telephone interview with Radio Azattyq that she is back at work in the well drilling division of Ozenmunaigaz. She expressed concern for the condition of Maksat Dosmagambetov, her fellow activist who is seriously ill following torture in detention. Roza added that she remains in touch with the 12 other workers jailed at the Zhanaozen trial.
While the Zhanaozen prisoners have now been released, the politician Vladimir Kozlov of the democratic movement Alga was last week denied conditional release terms. He was jailed in a general crackdown following the oil workers’ strikes, of which he was a prominent supporter. GL, 13 December 2015.
■ Main article: Who ordered the killings and tortures?