Year: 2020

“Reliance on local resources”. How the Narxoz University manages to graduate Ministers and Harvard Master’s degree students

Narxoz is one of the oldest universities of Kazakhstan. It was founded back in 1963 as the institute of economics, currently Narxoz implements over 50 programmes of a wide range at all levels of education: Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s. For these years, over 150,000 people graduated from Narxoz, many of them hold executive positions in government entities.

Narxoz in the prestigious Times Higher Educationrating list

Only two Kazakhstani higher education institutions managed to be included in the University Impact Rankings, which from last year has been published by British magazine Times Higher Education (THE). Forthefirsttimeintheworld, THE proposed to appraise higher education institutions by the level of their influence on the sustainable development of the society and their contribution to achievement of goals in the sustainable development sectors set by the UN.

AhistoricallystrongbaseallowstheUniversitytopreparetheexclusivecadreforbusiness,economy, managementandlaw. Beingprofessionalsintheirfields, nowNarxozgraduatesholdthehighestpositionsinthestateandcorporatesectorsoftheeconomy – fromtheMinisterofFinance to leaders of theForbes list in Kazakhstan.

On 18 May, thePresident’sdecreeappointedYerulanZhamaubayev, NarxozUniversitygraduate, to the position oftheMinisterofFinanceoftheRepublicofKazakhstan. HebecamethesecondMinister – graduateofNarxozwithinthe current Government – after BakhytSultanov, the Minister of Trade and Integration, who has a diploma in economics. AnotherNarxozgraduate – AlibekNurbekov–became Master’s degree student at Harvard. He got the prestigious Edward A. Mason programme scholarship and is studying Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School. And these are just very few stories of success out of hundreds.

New strategy-2025as adaptation to the online reality

Education at the Narxoz University is guided by international standards and practices, says Professor Stanislav Buyansky, Acting Rector, PhD in Law. The reality is that it was these standards that underwent changes in the context of the pandemic and quarantine – education went online, affecting the strategy of Narxoz too.

“Today, many unexpected external factors, such as, for example, the coronavirus pandemic, can impede the implementation of short and medium-term tasks. In a situation when many universities in Kazakhstan and Central Asia are forced to weaken their positions by reducing staff and closing branches, the Narxoz University can not only profile itself as a university with a high level of crisis management, but also show active development, opening of new academic programmes regardless of the circumstances. We strive to position the University as an educational institution that can guarantee a successful career after graduation, even against the backdrop of an economic crisis,” says Buyansky.

Narxoz has adopted a new strategy: by 2025 theUniversity, usinginnovative approaches to education, plans to become the centre of attraction for talented youth, the leader in training specialists with managerial competences in economics, business, law and social science in Central Asia. And financial sustainability, high profitability, growth of the university’s position in national and international ratings, growth of the number of applicants up to 1,500 people annually and leadership in the scientific field remain the determinant reference points for development.

“A wide offer of higher education in the market stimulates competition and struggle for each student. Within the framework of this concept, it was decided to focus on the development of three areas of the educational process: firstly, the modernisation of the most competitive and recognised national programmes; secondly, the active promotion of corporate programmes and skills enhancement programmes for government bodies and business entities; thirdly, the development of double diploma programmes with foreign partner universities,” says the Acting Rector.

The University includes four schools by the areas of education, eight research centres, research and educational departments, five representative offices in the regions of Kazakhstan, as well as the college of economics.

Suchprofessionsas “Finance”, “Jurisprudence”, “AccountingandAudit”, “InformationSystems”, “CateringTrade”, “Economics”, “Marketing” and “Management” areincluded in the rating of the best educational programmes in the view of the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs.

“More than money”. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation donated automated Covid-19 laboratories to Almaty and Nur-Sultan

Unique modular laboratory facilities were launched in Nur-Sultan and Almaty to carry out the fast and high-precision PCR screening of people for coronavirus. The unique laboratory, characterised by mobility, a high level of biosafety and automation of the testing process, was given free of charge to the Ministry of Health by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.

Philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov is convinced that the social responsibility of business should be exercised at any time. Control of Covid-19 in Kazakhstan did not become an exception too, and he wholeheartedly took part in it. The businessman purchased two laboratory facilities for 4 million dollars fromBGI, the Chinese world leader in the field of medical research, production of equipment and consumables for laboratory analyses.

PCRscreeninglaboratoryinAlmaty / Photo by Almaz Toleke

The laboratory is fully equipped for the entire PCR-analysis cycle. Intotal, thefacility consists of 42 items of high-tech equipment and sets of tools for sampling, storage and labelling of biological material, conduction of the trial by the method of polymerase chain reaction. The trial process is fully automated which allows to carry out the test quickly, with high precision and involvement of less specialists.

The laboratory capacity is 1,000 analyses a day, with a potential of increasing it up to 5,000, the test results being ready in 3 hours.  BulatUtemuratov’sFoundationequippedeachlaboratorywithsetsofrequiredagentsfor 30,000 tests for the immediate launch.

“To cope with the infection and to stop it”

Laboratories purchased by BulatUtemuratov allowed for the increase in capacity and potential of the infectious diseases service and the increase in the speed of carrying out trials.

“Laboratories employs killed virologists from branches of the National Centre of Expertise, trained by the BGI company specialists who came from the People’s Republic of China,” said Minister of Health YelzhanBirtanov at the opening of the laboratory in the capital.

Laboratories conduct free screening for unemployed, low-income and multi-child families, people with disabilities, patients older than 50 years, and volunteers and patrollers.

The laboratory system provides a high level of biological safety that meets the WHO requirements, which is not always possible to achieve even in hospitals. As recommended by the manufacturer, the facility is installed indoors for increased stability and safety. The “Kazakhstan”Sports Centre was chosen as the laboratory installation sitein Nur-Sultan, and one of the pavilions of the Atakent Exhibition Centre was chosenin Almaty. If necessary, the laboratory can change its location in one week.

PCRscreeninglaboratoryinAlmaty/ Photo by Almaz Toleke

“One of the main tasksisto maximize the identification of Covid-19 patients, because, as practice has shown, there are those who have the infection without symptoms.While only one laboratory operated in the city at the beginning of the quarantine, today there are six of them, and in the near future we will open additional ones. The laboratory facility for PCR screening, which was given to us by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, will allow us to further increase the number of tests: patients identified at an early stage will receive timely medical care, and the number of potential contacts will be reduced. I express my gratitude for this support”, said Altai Kulginov, Akim of Nur-Sultan.

BGI-manufactured laboratory facilities are currently supplied to many countries of Asia and Europe. Thecomprehensivesolutionis aimed to satisfy the urgent world demand in creation of an infrastructure for the mass coronavirus screening. For the first time, the new development was presented two months ago in Shenzhen (PRC), where BGI is headquartered.

“Mobile facilities will work for free for vulnerable categories of citizens who cannot afford to take the coronavirus test in commercial laboratories. This will help expand the screening coverage, detect the incidence in the early stages, reduce the risk of complications and limit the spread of the virus. Thus, by joint efforts of the state, business and society, we will cope with the infection and will stop it,” said Marat Aitmagambetov, Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.

Earlier Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, thefirstoneinKazakhstan, brought to the country 94,000 express tests for 200 million tenge and gave them to the Ministry of Health. Apart from the support rendered to the governmental coronavirus screening programme, Bulat Utemuratov transferred 1 million dollars to the “Birgemyz” Pubic Foundation set up at the initiative of the First President – Yelbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev – to counterfeit coronavirus and to support the socially vulnerable groups of population.

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation was set up in 2014. The Foundation’s mission is to help Kazakhstan to become a better place for the life of people today and in the future through support of the development of health, education and culture.

Botanical Garden of Almaty: How the park reconstruction of 15 million dollars looks like

A large-scale reconstruction takes place in the Central Botanical Garden of Almaty for the first time in the recent half-century. The Foundation set up by businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov allocated 15 million dollars to renovate the green resources and to create a recreation area comfortable for the city inhabitants. New entrance pavilions, ponds with artesian water, fountains and even an amphitheater were built here.

Works started in May 2019 and were completed as soon as mid-June 2020. And on 12 May Bulat Utemuratov showed the Botanical Garden after its reconstruction to the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev. This is the story of how that was and what was done within the scope of this large-scale work.

“This is our gift to Almaty, the garden will remain in the state ownership”

Exactly such key message was laid down in the reconstruction project which was launched in 2018 by Utemuratov’s Foundation at the request of the Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction. The main target is careful restoration of the Botanical Garden while preserving the integrity and unique features of its territory, modernisation of the infrastructure and multiplication of the green resources. “If a target is not put down on paper – that means it does not exist”, say engineers. That is why the best managers of the Verny Capital Group of Companies were invited to implement the project, and preparatory works with drawings and discussions in public hearings took a long stretch of time.

Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev visited the Central Botanical Garden within his working trip to Almaty. The President of Kazakhstan highly valued the private charity initiative implemented with direct participation of the public and the expert community.

“I think that the Akimat (city administration), jointly with Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, have done a big and, most significantly,  important work in this field. I call upon all inhabitants of Almaty to take care of this territory, to treat it like their own homes, and I believe that the Botanical Garden, like in previous days, will be one of the most favourite places to visit for them. So I wish you every success”, said Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev.

The President was shown the Botanical Garden after its reconstruction /Photo by Almaz Toleke

Founder of the charity foundation Bulat Utemuratov expressed his gratitude to the Head of State for his attention and high appraisal.

“We had the most responsible approach to the implementation of this project so that not only to preserve the green resources of the garden, but to multiply them enriching with new collections. Careful restoration and use of advanced technologies is the two major principles which we were guided by. We have put our souls and hearts in this project, we have done everything possible so that the renewed Botanical Garden would be liked by the Almaty inhabitants. This is our gift to the city, presented free of charge – the garden should remain in the state ownership and continue its scientific activity”, said Bulat Utemuratov.

The three pillars: special status, openness and transparency

The concept and the master plan of reconstruction were presented to the community at the public hearings in summer 2018.  Taking into account the special status of the Botanical Garden and the high public interest to the reconstruction project, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation from the very beginning provided its full openness and transparency. With the consideration of recommendations and wishes, a schematic design of the reconstruction was presented the same autumn. For the entire period of implementation, four press tours involving mass media, public and ecological activists were held. And then followed the start of construction works, supervision by the public control group and large-scale construction.

And now about the work done in figures. Three new entrance pavilions with an electronic ticketing system were built in the garden over the year. 174.3 thousand plants were planted, of which more than 1300 trees, 40 thousand bushes, 130 thousand cereals and perennials, 3 thousand roses. The water supply system was restored and drip irrigation and auto irrigation systems were created – now the green resources receive 2,760 additional cubic metres of water per day. The areas of public zones of the Botanical Garden were ennobled and expanded to 27.7 hectares, 50 thousand square metres of roads and paths were repaired, along which lighting systems (1,500 lamps) and video surveillance systems (130 cameras) were installed, garden furniture (250 benches) was renovated. In the northern parterre, the road surface was replaced with natural stone, a “dry” fountain and a reservoir with aquatic plants were created. The southern parterre was created at the site of the wasteland, with three ponds, a pergola, a field of wild grasses and alleys of maple, linden, birch and pine. A mobile application with the garden map and a description of the green resources has been developed.

A special attention was paid to accessibility of all zones of the Botanical Garden for low-mobility groups: user-friendly ramps for wheel-chairs were built, tactile paths were laid down.

By the way, ponds in the Botanical Garden were abandoned for over 30 years. As a part of reconstruction, the reservoirs were restored and three new ponds with artesian water were built. Currently the reconstruction of the Almaty Botanical Garden is about to be completed. At present, works are continuing on construction of paths in the Southern parterre and of the car access road to the Southern entrance pavilion via the adjacent territory, as well as on planting vegetation and installation of garden furniture.

“This is a charity project where we adhered to three main principles. First – considerate attitude to the garden plants, preservation and enrichment of the flora in close consultation with dendrologists and scientists of the Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction. Second – use of the best world experience and advanced expertise in design, architecture and planning of the infrastructure of the specially protected natural areas, use of eco-friendly, high quality materials for creation of comfortable and safe public space. Third – transparency and accountability, including public hearings and regular dialogue with active inhabitants of the city and ecological organisations on the plans of reconstruction works, inter alia via social networks”, told Marat Aitmagambetov, Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.

Now the Botanical Garden looks like a modern, comfortable and eco-friendly public space. Visitors can enter the garden from Timiryazeva Street, from the Atakent Exhibition Centre, and from Al-Farabi Avenue.

The right choice of “Sary-Arka”. How the proper strategy changed the airport of Karaganda

The international airport of Karaganda has been the largest in Kazakhstan as long as since the Soviet Union days. Its geographical location and weather conditions in the region set it apart and attracted airlines to perform passenger and cargo flights. The Karaganda airport could always make a boast of extremely busy schedule of flights.

This situation has sharply changed during the complicated period of the economic crisis of the 2000-s. Not only the number of international flights reduced, but also so did the internal flights, service rates and airfare shot upwards, and the passenger traffic decreased. These circumstances made it unbelievably difficult to keep the airport of 30,000 square metres running. The runway also needed injections; it became more difficult to provide for the continuous round-the-clock operations and the staff of over 600 employees.

Movement of the capital from Almaty to Astana (now Nur-Sultan) also did not play well for the Karaganda airport. A close proximity to the capital considerably reduced perspectives for growth of passenger traffic volumes. The design capacity of the airport allowing for it to service up to 2.5 million passengers a year, dropped down to the level of 150,000 passengers.

In the end of 2005, the Verny Capital group of companies has bought out the entire package of shares of Airport “Sary-Arka” JSC. Businessman Bulat Utemuratov attracted over 4 billion tenge of investments to implement a new development strategy – creation of a central multimodal hub in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The set task clearly fit into the transport strategy too – thus the new round in the development of the Karaganda international airport began.

Deputy Director for Operations Irtay Salimbekov, who has been working at the airport for over 40 years, tells that the year of 2008 ended with completion of a wide-scale reconstruction of the air terminal complex, which allowed for considerable modernizing of the technical capacities. Within a short period, capital renovation and reconstruction of the airfield was conducted, a large class A cargo terminal was built for temporary storage and processing of any types of cargoes, the current fuel and lubricants complex was expanded and additional special machinery was bought.

The airport turned its focus at cargo operations. Attraction of cargo air companies and regular servicing of airplanes performing transit air transportations via the air space of the RoK with technical landing at the Karaganda airport gave an impetus to the airport development.

Flower path via “Sary-Arka”

Construction of the temporary cargo storage warehouse (cargo terminal) of 3,500 square metres, smooth and quality processing, favourable delivery price, – all these together were the positive moment for attraction of foreign airlines, and in 2016, in cooperation with the largest freight carrier of Russia – the AirBridgeCargo air company, a programme on transportation of flowers from Amsterdam, with further delivery thereof to cities of Russia and Kazakhstan, was opened.

“Before Covid-19, the Karaganda airport used to be a key hub for many traders working with flowers in Kazakhstan and Russia. The speed of logistics servicing and availability of modern warehouses allowed for servicing and dispatch of cargoes arriving to the airport within 3-5 hours, to compare with far more long terms in other airports. At present, the airport develops the direction of technical stops – this means a stop for refueling for cargo flights going from Europe to China and backwards. We service up to five flights daily”, told they in the Verny Capital group of companies that owns the air harbour.

It’s for the fourth year now that the cargo aircraft Boing-747 carries up to 200 tons of flowers twice a week, and the cargo undergoes a full range of the required servicing in the  Karaganda airport territory – from aircraft unloading, ungrouping at the warehouse and up to customs clearance and loading of goods for further transportation.

It is also worth noting separately the timing of all these necessary procedures: they are performed in record-breaking time, which is extremely important when dealing with such sensitive and perishable goods as flowers, and this quality is especially appreciated by customers and the airline.

In addition to flowers, it is planned to export domestic meat products via “Sary-Arka”, there is already an arrangement with local enterprises. The central geographical location of Karaganda, favourable conditions and tariffs and availability of all the necessary technical facilities at the airport speak for themselves to customers.

Ruslan Gabbasov, Airport Managing Director:

“The runway is equipped and allows us to receive any types of aircraft, from the smallest helicopters to the biggest aircraft in the world – Ukrainian Mriya. Currently we are actively negotiating exports of silver; the airport’s scope allows for this. At present, the Karaganda airport, thanks to the long-term system approach which was always a feature of the Verny Capital shareholder, businessman Bulat Utemuratov, is the only large flower hub in Kazakhstan.”

FlyArystan found its harbour

Arrival of the first Kazakhstani low-cost airline FlyArystan inspired with new hopes and outlined perspectives for development of passenger flights in the Karaganda airport too. A tender for stationing of the airline base was announced among 18 airports of big and small towns of Kazakhstan, and this spring the outcome was voiced. The next (after the capital and Almaty) base for the air company representation and deployment of their planes became the “Sary-Arka” airport.  

“From the moment of opening of the first FlyArystan flight, the passenger flow just for three months has increased by 49% to compare with the similar period of the previous year”, says Alexander Malikov, Airport Economy and Finance Director.

“A large-scale expansion of the airline flight destination network, and there is a plan of introducing as many as eight new destinations, including not only cities of Kazakhstan but also other destinations – Moscow, Minsk, Almaty, Kyzylorda, Zhezkazgan, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Novosibirsk, and in summer time – Antalya, Sharm El Sheikh, will give more opportunities to travel at affordable prices and thus will make positive changes not only in the development of the Karaganda airport, but of the entire oblast, will lead to active development of hotel, restaurant, retail and entertainment and other services”, they are convinced in the airport.

“In the current emergency situation around the world related to the announcement of the Covid-2019 coronavirus pandemic, the focus on the development of the Karaganda airport in the cargo transportation field was of invaluable assistance”, explains Sarsenbek Kushkinov, Chairman of the Board of “Sary-Arka” Airport JSC. “The geographic location of the airport complex and modern capabilities make it as convenient as possible for technical stops of cargo flights connecting Europe and Asia. Many airlines appreciated the advantage of such a route, the readiness of the airport to promptly and efficiently facilitate their work. All possible conditions were created for organizing flights, which over the past few weeks allowed servicing a fairly large number of airplanes with humanitarian aid and other cargoes in demand.”

The long-term strategic course of development, commitment to which is proved by all the recent positive changes in the Karaganda airport’s fortune, allows to hope that it managed to escape the fate of many regional airports; and the vector set by Bulat Utemuratov will only favour further growth and inevitable success of not only the airport but of the entire country.

Start on the good. How the unique Burabike Fest project managed to collect 1 billion tenge for hospitals

For seven years Burabike Fest has collected 1 billion tenge. The charity project allowed for 25 hospitals in remote areas of the country getting the long-waited medical equipment.  Only in 2019, 4,000 people took part in the Burabike charity festival.

These figures have behind them a big job and big hearts of the organisers and participants of the annual charity festival which has been held since 2013 in the Schuchinsk-Borovoe resourt area jointly with the Rixos Borovoe Hotel. The purpose of this project is important and useful – collection of money for purchase of the vitally important equipment for oblast, district and rural medical institutions.

Last year, thanks to participants and sponsors of Burabike Fest 2019, the amount of charity proceeds reached the record 300.2 million tenge. The idea to arrange such a festival, gathering together all friends and caring Kazakhstanis was initiated by businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov. He himself takes parts in the bike ride and auction ever year, creating the desire to help and share in the entrepreneurship society.

“In 2019 we put up a tent village, organised a concert, programmes for children. This included sports and family recreation with the musical accompaniment. People enjoy the festival very much, and most importantly – the raised money are used for charity purposes”, told Bulat Utemuratov to journalists during the festival held in Borovoe.

Bulat Utemuratov / Photo by

Charity has to be organised thoroughly, otherwise its super idea – to help and to support those who needs this – will be lost. In the case of Burabike Fest, everything runs like clockwork: every year, at the agreed time, business community representatives, famed sportsmen, journalists and artists gather in Borovoe to have the bike ride and to take part in the auction afterwards.

Lots are put up for charity trading. In 2019, for example, one could see flutes from the collection of Batyrkhan Shukenov, an autographed racket of Rafael Nadal, a bicycle of the Astana team racer Davide Ballerini and a jacket of Dimash Kudaibergen. All these people are friends of Bulat Utemuratov. With the proceeds from the auction, vital medical equipment is bought and distributed to needy hospitals throughout the country. The idea is fully supported by the head of the National Scientific Cardiac Surgery Centre, the renowned cardiac surgeon Yuri Pya.

In 2019 he took part in the music and sports festival. This is the second bike ride done by Yuri Vladimirovich at Burabike Fest. The festival, in his opinion, changes the society to the better.

Yuri Pya / Photo by

“This proves that people are ready not only to have a healthy lifestyle but to do the good. We arranged various events in our centre too. After that we have got an invitation from Bulat Zhamitovich to take part in the events held by his Foundation. It’s great that such things are developed here too”, said the renowned cardio surgeon.

Eight medical institutions throughout the country received equipment which helps to increase the quality of services provided to patients, thanks to the results of the VII Sports and Music Festival Burabike Fest 2019. These include the district hospital in the Shelek village, Almaty Oblast. On 28 January 2020 Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation gave an artificial lung ventilator apparatus to this small district hospital.

“An artificial lung ventilation apparatus costing 14 million tenge was given to the newly renovated intensive care department of the district hospital in the Shelek village designed for 180 beds and servicing 50,000 people in the Yenbekshikazakh district of the Almaty Oblast. We hope it will serve well, and we wish the doctors not to have to use it often and all patients to recover soon”, said Marat Aitmagambetov, Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.

In previous years equipment from Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation was received in the Almaty Oblast by the Taldykorgan perinatal centre, district hospitals in Panfilovo (Talgar district) and Alakol (Alakol district).

On 10 February Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation transferred new medical equipment for the total amount of 58 million tenge to the Zhangaly district hospital in the West Kazakhstan Oblast. The equipment includes a modern fully equipped Mercedes-Benz Sprinter mobile intensive care unit priced at 44 million tenge, and an artificial lung ventilation (ALV) apparatus totaling 14 million tenge. By the way, the Zhangaly district consists of eight rural areas where about 25,000 people live. And all these people are serviced by one central district hospital designed for just 45 beds.

“The hospital urgently needed a new mobile intensive care unit in order to quickly transport patients from five medical outpatient clinics and three feldsher’s stations as well as to deliver critically ill people to hospitals in the oblast centre of Uralsk. The hospital’s need for an ALV apparatus was no less acute. Instead, the doctors were forced to use an outdated anesthesia and breathing apparatus, which did not allow to regulate the oxygen supply, because of which a patient might receive mechanical injuries of the respiratory tract”, said the staff of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.  

“They borrowed a Gazelle vehicle to save a mother and a child”

Thanks to the charity proceeds raised at Bulat Utemuratov’s initiative, assistance was rendered to the Yesil district hospital in the Akmola Oblast. It received medical equipment for 73 million tenge.

A territory of 8,000 square kilometres, one town and 17 rural districts, 25 thousand people and no single mobile intensive care unit, 20-year old medical equipment which is obsolete both physically and morally. These were realities of work of the staff in the Yesil district hospital, Akmola Oblast, up to the beginning of 2020.

“Imagine a situation: you have a woman in childbirth with a severe case of the third category, you must take such women to the maternity hospital in Kokshetau, 350 km far, and even further – to Nur Sultan, 415 km far. It is urgent, because it is the question of the life of the fetus and mommy! And you have no special vehicles, what should you transport them in? We got out by borrowing a Gazelle vehicle from an ambulance station or mobile intensive care units from colleagues in neighboring districts. And each time the whole team was under stress. Now we have our new, modern mobile intensive care unit, and there will be no more rush job situations connected with the search for special vehicles”, says Dastan Asanuly, head physician of the Yesil hospital.

The hospital received a set of medical equipment at the beginning of the year, including the flagship mobile intensive care unit of the Mercedes-Benz brand with a full set to save and protect a person’s life, a modern anesthesia and breathing apparatus for the surgery department and an incubator for intensive care of newborns in the intensive care unit.

“Our old anesthesia and breathing apparatus, which is over 20 years old, as far back as of the Soviet design, was at death’s door, it is impossible to find spare parts for it anymore. Now we have the newest apparatus of European make, complete with a system for monitoring the depth of anesthesia and sedation with all accessories. We have a new Japanese incubator for the intensive care unit with adjustable supply of oxygen and humidity, thanks to it we will nurse back to health many premature and serious case newborns!” shared his joy the head doctor.

Hundreds of lives of adults and babies are behind each of such purchase, donation, gift, charity that will help to save them. The newest equipment fitted in compliance with all standards was received by: Zhangaly, Yesil, Kyzylzhar central district hospitals, Akmola Oblast Multi-Profile Hospital, Taldykorgan Town Hospital, Kyzylorda Perinatal Centre “Ana men bala”, district hospital in the Shelek village and the Research and Scientific Institute of Orthopedics and Traumatology in the city of Nur-Sultan.

In 2020 Burabike Fest will be held on 29 and 30 August. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation receives applications from potential beneficiaries for purchase of medical equipment. Registration of participants of the event will be open from 15 March on the website.      

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation was set up in the beginning of 2014. The Foundation’s mission is to help Kazakhstan to become a better place for the life of people today and in the future through the support of development of healthcare, education and culture. The idea to create the foundation belongs to its founder Bulat Utemuratov, who, a while back, has allocated 12.5 million dollars for the “Autism. One world for all” fund programme.

How Kazakhstani business and private initiatives help to cope with Covid-2019

11 March 2020 became a distressing date for the entire planet: the World Health Organization announced coronavirus a pandemic. As for the beginning of April, Covid-19 was registered in over 180 countries of the world, including Kazakhstan.

Countermeasures for any calamity, as in the case of coronavirus, need help on the part of the society and business, and private initiatives are most valuable at such times. The Verny Capital group of companies, where a well-known philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov is a shareholder, did not stay on the sidelines: they allocated 1 million dollars to fight the pandemic.  

Major shareholder of the Verny Capital group of companies, businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov:

“There is no single person in the world today who would not be affected by the threat of coronavirus infection spread and by the measures taken by Governments aiming to stop the global pandemic. This is a very uneasy time and we have to survive it together, helping and supporting. I have taken a decision to transfer 1 million dollars to the Republican Relief Fund for Kazakhstanis. I also reconfirm the commitment of the group of companies to the principles of socially responsible business under any circumstances”, emphasized Bulat Utemuratov.

Verny Capital led by Bulat Utemuratov shows its commitment through the support of a range of steps taken by the President and the Government of Kazakhstan to stabilise the economic and social situation in the country in the global pandemic conditions.

While doctors are helping Kazakhstanis to come through the illness and scientists are trying to create the Covid-2019 vaccine, the country needs tests for the dangerous infection. And here too Bulat Utemuratov decided to make his contribution to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Rapid tests for 200 million tenge from Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation

In addition to the global amount of 1 million dollars, Bulat Utemuratov allocated 200 million tenge more for measures to control Covid-19 in Nur-Sultan and Almaty. These are the two cities where the biggest number of the infected was registered. This money was used to timely buy and deliver rapid test sets to detect the presence of antibodies to the virus in a human organism.

Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Kazakhstan Aizhan Yesmagambetova:

“It is planned to make an average of 500 to 1,000 tests a day. My resolution provides for the categories of people who will be subject to rapid testing. These are emergency medical officers not admitted to a hospital with the ARVI symptoms, people who were potentially contacted, and entrants through the road and railway checkpoints, state body employees who are directly engaged in the events related to liquidation of the coronavirus infection in our country”, said Aizhan Yesmagambetova.

This is how tests bought on the money of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation look like

Rapid tests of capillary blood work in the following way: they will reveal presence of antibodies to Covid-19 coronavirus within 10 minutes. Tests produced in the PRC comply with the provisions of the European Parliament Directive, and on top of that they have passed through the compulsory validation in the Central Reference Laboratory in Almaty.

This is important – to not allow the use of low quality tests in the course of screening the population, as it has happened in some European countries. In total the Foundation bought 94,000 IgG/IgM rapid tests. These tests were certified, and after that Healthcare Departments of Nur-Sultan and Almaty organised ten mobile groups per each city to carry out rapid analyses. Tests were divided evenly between the two cities.

“The most important step to control the coronavirus spread is an early detection of the infected for the sake of their health and the health of people around. This is illustrated by the experience of countries which have already overcome the peak of the epidemic. The timely taken measures will allow to limit infection niduses, to reduce the quantity of the diseased and to minimise the number of lethal cases”, stressed Marat Aitmagambetov, Director of Bulat Utemuratov Foundation.

The businessmen is also well known for paying timely attention to urgent social issues and providing operative assistance in solving them.

In total, Bulat Utemuratov spent 6 billion tenge for public charity in 2019, not to mention personal initiatives which he prefers not speak to the press about. Utemuratov’s Foundation is the only one in Kazakhstan that opens autism centres in regions. In 2019 the charity company of the reputed philanthropist expanded its activities and built houses for multi-child families in Kyzylorda and for the affected in Arys.

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation has been in action for the sixth year now, its mission is to help Kazakhstan to turn into the better place for the life of people today and in the future. The priority is development and sponsorship of projects in healthcare, education, culture and sports.

“Aid Card”. How thousands of Kazakhstani families get assistance in the hour of need

In 2018, a charity project with an inspiring name “Aid Card” was launched in Kazakhstan. It was founded by businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov. Charity assistance rendered by Mr Utemuratov is wide ranging, it touches upon many spheres of life of Kazakhstanis and always comes in time – when people do need support here and now. “Aid Cards” are issued to families that found themselves in trouble because of high waters and floods.

The algorithm of this work is clear and coordinated as this is required in emergency situations: Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation allocates money to support those affected by natural and man-made disasters, the Red Crescent Society identifies the needy and arranges the transfer of Fortebank cards with money in the account to them.

Bulat Utemuratov has the first-hand knowledge of what it is about. It is not the first year that he has been helping entire villages and regions. Last year, the foundation of his name, together with the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan and ForteBank, provided financial assistance to flood-affected families of the Shet district, Pidzhim village, North-Kazakhstan Oblast and Akmola Oblast. “Aid Cards” were issued to affected families whose homes were completely or partially destroyed. The recipients included single pensioners, people with disabilities, single mothers and multi-child low-income families.

The scale of the implemented project is supported by figures: in 2018, assistance was received by 863 families in the East Kazakhstan Oblast for a total amount of almost 82 million tenge, in 2019, cash assistance was provided to 764 families in the amount of almost 114 million tenge. All this money was received by flood victims in the Karaganda, Akmola, North Kazakhstan and Almaty Oblasts, as well as by residents of the Arys town who lost their homes and property as a result of explosions in an ammunition depot.

Arys. Life is continuing

In 2019, the Foundation rendered assistance to those affected by man-made disaster in the Arys town – the town and its inhabitants suffered severely as a result of ammunition explosions. The victims were also issued with “Aid Cards” on which funds were transferred at a rate of 30,000 tenge per family member.

People affected by explosions in the Arys town

They do manage to restore the town as a whole gradually, but alongside with this there are private stories from lives of real people who lost their homes and sources of income. Bulat Utemuratov, understanding the situation, decided that the direct financial support to victims had a whole range of advantages compared with humanitarian aid or in-kind assistance. And this is why:

  • Speed. Unlike in-kind aid, money is very mobile. It can be quickly transferred to anywhere in the country.
  • Optimisation of expenses. Distribution of cash aid is done faster than that of humanitarian aid. Very often expenses for transportation of a humanitarian cargo turn out to be higher than its total cost. 
  • Flexibility. Money givesits recipients flexibility in using the aid. Needs of the affected might be different, and money – universal means of exchange – can satisfy actually any of those.
  • Positive influence on the local economy. Humanitarian aid can negatively impact the local trade as it covers the demand in goods for a while. Cash injections, vice versa, influence the local market positively, stimulating retail.

The total amount of cash aid from Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation comprised 60 million tenge for 2,000 people just at the first stage. This decision was taken after the joint monitoring held at points in the city of Shymkent and after the assessment of needs of the victims.

These funds helped people to overcome the first and the hardest days of the crisis and to cover their primary needs – to buy hygienic items, medicines and clothes.

More than just money

The “Aid Card” project was continued in 2020. The total sum allocated by the businessman for these purposes will depend on the scale of calamities and the number of victims. The assurances of this were given by the Director of this charity organisation, Marat Aitmagambetov, speaking at a briefing in Nur-Sultan. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation increased the amount of assistance: now every person gets 50,000 tenge, thus a family of four gets 200,000 tenge at once.

And now, in this mid-April the Red Crescent Society response team distributed cards with money in the account to 61 families affected by spring floods in the Karamyrza village of the Kostanay Oblast. Waking up after a long, hard winter, snow began to melt in regions, and, consequently, to drown the farmsteads and entire villages. Residents of remote auls (villages) say: stocks are running out, livestock is dying, high water has come to our homes. In such cases, real money will help the population, making it possible to immediately buy food products in a nearby shop, pay for services and secure themselves in case of an emergency. 197 people received aid for a total sum of 9,850,000 tenge. With the money received, people were able to purchase essential goods and partially restore their property.

“Unfortunately, traditional spring floods repeat this year and, despite the state of emergency, we and our partners continue working and implementing the “Aid Card” project in favour of beneficiaries. We hope that we will lighten the burden of flood consequences for our compatriots,” noted the Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, Marat Aitmagambetov.

The floods continued advancing on the northern regions of the country, and after the Kostanay Oblast came to the North Kazakhstan one. In Petropavlovsk, aid was provided to 800 people from 244 families for the amount of 39,550,000 tenge.

“This year the work of our joint response team is heavily complicated by the state of emergency and the quarantine related to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, we managed to be in the location of floods and to give the helping hand to our compatriots. We hope that we did lighten their burden of flood consequences,” said the Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, Marat Aitmagambetov.

Photo by press service of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation

Sport of bright individualists. What is done in Kazakhstan to popularize court tennis?

In 2007 the charge of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation was taken by businessman Bulat Utemuratov. For 13 years, modern tennis centres were built in every oblast centre, and the programme for development of children’s tennis was launched. For the period from 2007 through 2019, the number of courts in the country has increased from 62 to 297. According to unofficial information, it was reputation of Bulat Utemuratov, selective negotiations with sportsmen and creation of specific conditions that allowed to invite legionnaires out of strong Russian tennis players under the banner of the Kazakhstani national team. Probably, without high class professionals Kazakhstan would be unlikely to play regularly in quarter-finals of the Davis Cup and in the women’s Fed Cup World Group.

“It is the team that wins, it is the trainer that loses”.

Such words were said to journalists by the captain of the Kazakhstani national tennis team, Yury Shchukin. Later he confessed: Davis Cup was on the line, the cup matches held on 6-7 March in Nur-Sultan against the Netherlands became for Yury the first ones in his capacity as the captain of the national team.

“Captain means responsibility. As they say: It is the team that wins, it is the trainer that loses. During the game you are next to the player at the bench, you tune his tactics, you work with trainers. By the way, we always invite youngsters to training camps, even when we play away – guys from the reserve are with us. They train with the principal team, they need to feel the game speed at a different level, all nuances of the mature tennis. When we play at home, we pull in even more guys from the reserve so that to involve and view everyone who might be useful for the first team”, said Shchukin.  

Captain of the national tennis team of Kazakhstan Yury Shchukin / Photo by

As the result, the Kazakhstani team got through to the final part of the Davis Cup-2020, having taken on the Netherlands team with a 3:1 score and thus scooping out the ticket to Madrid (the final part of the David Cup will take place on 23-29 November 2020 in Spain).

The players he trains are with a potential and he watches them closely.  “Lomakin, Tashbolatov, Sagadat, Yevseyev, Khabibullin – these are our nearest reserve. We work with them in training camps and keep the track of their performance further in tournaments”, added Shchukin.

“This year we aim for at least the semifinal of the Davis Cup, we have played so many times in quarterfinals and now are a little bit stuck at this stage. If we manage to reach the semifinal, then the final will be very close too. I am sure that our team is capable of this. Sportive luck is important too”, said the trainer noting that last year our national team took a principled victory over the Portuguese team with a 3:1 score, which allowed  Kazakhstan to get through to the final round of the Davis Cup.

The men’s team of Kazakhstan holds the 12th line in the Davis Cup rating and is the five-time winner of the tournament’s quarterfinal (in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2018).

“We want to make it to Budapest”

One more achievement of the Tennis Federation is support of Kazakhstani female tennis players. The women’s national team showed a decent playing during qualification at the Fed Cup-2020.

The playing day in the battle between Kazakhstan and Belgium in the Fed Cup qualifying round started with the duel between Yuliya Putintseva and Elise Mertens. The day before both sportswomen won one point each for their teams. After defeat in the first set with a 1:6 score, Putintseva did manage to even up scores in the beginning of the second one, to take the game in the tie-break, but it was still an overwhelming task to resist the attack of the 19th racket of the world. The result of that meet was 1:6, 6(1):7 in favour of the Belgian. This time the Kazakhstani could not repeat her unbelievable comeback when, playing with Bonaventure and being just a step away from the defeat, she recouped twice on her rival’s serve and won.   

Then Zarina Diyas came out to the court, who in compliance with the drawing procedure had to play with the 115th racket of the world Ysaline Bonaventure but the captain of the Belgian team, Johan van Herck made a replacement and put forward for this matchup with our compatriot Kirsten Flipkens who held the 34th position in the world rating. Before that, the sportswomen met just once. In 2014 Zarina Diyas downed Flipkens in the first round of the WTA tournament in France with 2:2, 6:7(3), 6:3 scores. Their current second meeting ended with the Belgian’s victory – 6:1, 6:4.

Zarina Diyas / Photo by Andrey Udartsev

Thus, the score in the qualifying match between Belgium and Kazakhstan was 3:1. The rivalling team got through to the final stage and will try once again to win the champion title now in Budapest this April. Kazakhstanis showed a good level of playing, taking into account that the court home team were former champions of the Fed Cup (2001), two-time finalists (1969, 2006) and nine-time semifinalists of the tournament (1970, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1988, 1997, 2003, 2011). 

“We have nothing to lose – we visit. But the Belgians need to reconfirm their status, their fans are expecting them to win. Therefore I and all girls have to show our best tennis, so that to stand up decently to them, to win and to take Kazakhstan to the final part of the tournament. We want to make it to Budapest”, said Yuliya Putintseva before the match with the Belgians.

And in the meantime the International Tennis Federation has postponed the Fed Cup-2020 final and play-off games for an indefinite period. This was done because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“New dates of the Fed Cup final and play-off games will be announced as we go along. We will continue the cooperation with all tennis federations to minimise the consequences of Covid-19 spread. In the meanwhile the ITF Consultative Group for Covid -19 issues will continue to monitor the situation and further decisions will be based on official information and expert recommendations”, reads the message from the International Tennis Federation.

In the new season the Tennis Federation intends, as a minimum, to beat up the historical result of previous years and to make it into the David Cup semifinal. A victory in the grand tournament is one of the main goals for the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation and the national team is on track to this.

Zarina Zhakupova

«Hello, Salem!». How world star visits help to promote court tennis in Kazakhstan.

13 years ago, one event happened in Kazakhstan that generated lots of buzz among parents of little children. “That’s it, we’ll send Yarik to court tennis and will bring him up as the sports star”, such talks could be heard in kitchens all over the place, just the name of a child changed. We’ll tell you how it all started.

Very few people heard of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation which either has been functioning, or just has been nominally launched, from 1991. Everything changed in 2007, when the organization was headed by businessman Bulat Utemuratov. The result was modern tennis courts built in each oblast centre of Kazakhstan, a programme of development of children’s tennis launched. For the period from 2007 to 2019, the number of courts in the country has grown from 62 to 297, i.e. it has become five times more in 10 years. The Tennis Federation has no less ambitious plans for 2020 too: construction of tennis centres in five cities and towns: Almaty, Turkestan, Karaganda, Lisakovsk and Rudny in the Kostanay Oblast. Parents can set their minds at rest: all centres will be equipped with inside and outside courts. But first things first.

«Hola! Zdravo! Welcome to Kazakhstan!»

24 October 2019, Nur-Sultan. In spite of the late hour (11.45pm), the capital’s airport is noisy and crowded: journalists and a delegation are meeting two greatest sportsmen at once – Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in Nur-Sultan / Photo by

Next evening Nadal and Djokovic held a charity match for 12 thousand spectators in the Barys Arena Palace. All proceeds from the sales of tickets were put in the development of children’s tennis in Kazakhstan.

“Experts call this match unique not only for Kazakhstan but for the CIS countries too, as tennis players of such a level – the first and second rackets of the world – have never yet met on the courts of post-soviet countries before”.

The outstanding sportsmen took part in several events arranged by the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation. Before the match Djokovic and Nadal had a master class for the winners and awardees of the Kazakhstan championship for players under 10 years. Besides, they participated in the opening of the new tennis centre in the Zheruiyk Park where they were invited to as the guests of honour.

The winners of Roland-Garros, US Open and Wimbledon have a huge number of fans in Kazakhstan, and not only the capital inhabitants were noticed among the spectators that evening. This once again proved that Kazakhstan has got a large tennis community.

“Having witnessed the duel of legends, children wanted to become such greatest players themselves and, of course, they rushed to join the tennis section, and it was the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation deserving credit for this. It happened before too.  On 25 September 2014 an exhibition match of Rafael Nadal against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6:7, 6:3, 6:4) took place in the capital. And now, the effect of that battle was just astonishing. As per open data, a huge number of kids got a craving for engaging themselves in tennis, as such tremendous events always charge emotionally so much as if it were a Kazakhstani who sensationally won the Grand Slam tournament, the world championship or the Olympic Games”, said sports observer Timur Baiketayev.

“Hello, salem”, Novak Djokovic greeted the press before the duel. And joked: “I am not as handsome as Nicholas Cage. But am ready to try your national costume on myself today”.

“You speak Russian, and I know this language a little bit. It is my first time in Kazakhstan, in this beautiful city. Thanks to Nadal that he will play against me again”, said Djokovic. “It is important for our sports that such person as Bulat Utemuratov renders support to tennis”.

The winner of the charity match was Rafael Nadal. As per the regulations, the meeting was held in two sets. Nadal was stronger in the first one (6:3), and Djokovic played better in the second one (6:3). As a result, the winner was revealed in the tie-break which was completed with an 11:9 score in favour of the Spaniard.  

That is, everyone can play tennis, can’t they?

Currently the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation provides full financial support for about 50 leading young tennis players all over Kazakhstan: the Federation covers costs, funds processes, starting from provision of equipment (balls, court nets), court rentals, engagement of trainers, teachers, English language classes, catering and even trips abroad for competitions.

Parents to note: every big oblast centre now has its own professional trainers who are ready to reveal and train new Jokovics and Sharapovs. As the Tennis Federation is convinced that the brightest sports diamonds are hidden off the beaten track. There is an infrastructure established for this, strong trainer teams gathered and an opportunity to regularly participate in tournaments not only in Kazakhstan, but on the international arena provided.

Winners of the RoK Tennis Championship among children under 10 years old / Photo by

In 2019 the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation organised and successfully held over 40 international tournaments of ATF, ITF and ATP ChallengerTour series, having received a high evaluation of the tournament organisation from the International and Asian Tennis Federations. There were also over 100 tournaments of the Republican scale and 120 “Tennis under 10” tournaments held, including the culminating championship of Kazakhstan in contemplation of the most memorable match of the year –the clash of the titans Nadal and Djokovic.

Zarina Zhakupova.

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