Foreign media on Kazakhstan: future of nation’s art industry, EBRD’s largest municipal project in Central Asia, increased number of flights with South Korea

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From evolving Kazakhstan’s art scene and what its future holds, EBRD financing its largest project in Kazakhstan to date, installment of transboundry meters by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to more flights linking Kazakh and South Korean cities, Kazinform News Agency presents a weekly digest of foreign media coverage about Kazakhstan this week.

How do you convince a country to start collecting art?

Observer released an article on March 18 on evolving Kazakhstan’s art scene and what challenges it is facing in building a broader, more sustainable art market.

Katie Marie Davies, the author of the article, believes that given the strong nomadic traditions in which families ‘pack their belongings to move with the seasons’, Kazakhstan will have to create its art scene and the tradition of collecting art from scratch.

The author notes that Kazakhstan ‘does have a rich artistic culture’. “Many of the everyday items traditionally used by nomadic Kazakhs, such as carpets, jewelry, or yurts, would be painstakingly crafted and finely decorated”. According to her, the country’s south has links with the Silk Road and is also heavily influenced by China and the wider Islamic world.

Davies points out the role of Kazakhstani collectors in preserving the country’s modern art history through arranging clubs for budding collectors. “These events are both social and educational gatherings: art lovers can share their interests with others, while curators, gallerists, and artists can share their knowledge of the county’s contemporary culture,” reads the article.

EBRD finances largest municipal project in Kazakhstan to date

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced via its official website on March 18 its plans to help one of Kazakhstan’s cities tackle the existing problems with water treatment and environmental issues. The bank will extend a generous loan to an Aktobe-based company to build a new wastewater treatment plant and associated infrastructure in the city.

According to the article, the bank will lend Aktobe a KZT 47.4 billion loan, ‘which represents the EBRD’s largest municipal project in Central Asia to date’.

“The new treatment plant will replace the current facility, which was commissioned in 1984 and is now obsolete, and will process up to 100,000 m3 of contaminated water each day – enough to satisfy the needs of the 600,000 people living in Aktobe,” reads the piece.

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan agree to install transboundary water meters

The Diplomat published an article on March 20 about Kazakhstan and its neighbor Uzbekistan coming to an agreement to install meters to monitor water consumption and exchange data with each other.

Catherine Putz, the author of the article, revealed that the Kazakh and Uzbek sides are negotiating the places where the meters will be installed. The countries also seek assistance of international organizations in the project.

“The installation of meters will make it possible to monitor the volumes of water consumed by both countries online. Already in April, we plan to begin negotiations on the implementation of similar projects with our other neighbors,” Kazakhstan’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Nurzhan Nurzhigitov was quoted as saying in the article.

Kazakhstan holds military drills in Caspian Sea

Azerbaijan-based Azernews published an article on March 20 about the Kazakh Defense Ministry holding drills in the Caspian Sea involving the Navy, the Border Guard Service of the National Security Committee and military aviation.

“The maneuvers are aimed at improving coordination and practical management skills between the units of the Navy and the Border Guard Service, increasing the combat readiness of personnel. The exercises also involved the missile ships “Kazakhstan”, “Saryarka”, “Mangistau”, the minesweeper “Alatau”, the boats “Sergek”, “Kaysar”, ships of the border service and military aviation,” reads the article.

Korea, Kazakhstan expand flight routes to strengthen bilateral ties

South Korean Korea JoongAng Daily released an article on March 22 on why South Korea and Kazakhstan decided to increase the number of flights operated by Asiana Airlines and Air Astana.

The new agreement, according to the piece, is expected to add to the comfort of travelers and promote South Korean-Kazakh business ties.

“The two countries have also agreed to lift the ban on the number of destinations and the number of carriers in each other's country,” the article says.

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