According to the Government of Canada website, bi-lateral relations between Canada and Kazakhstan are “strong and deepening” 1 and Kazakhstan is our largest commercial partner in Central Asia. In 2008, Kazakhstan appointed its first resident ambassador to Canada. Canada exports machinery, including agricultural equipment, mining and oil industry equipment, as well as other products. Canadian exports to Kazakhstan in 2010 totalled $140,728,110. Canadian imports from Kazakhstan in 2010 totalled $2,284,617,422.

Unfortunately, Kazakhstan is a country where Christians have seen harassment. Two pastors have been prosecuted for praying. This happened to pastors Vissa Kim and Werzhan Ushanov. Ushanov was charged on June 5, 2011, with having caused damage to one's health. The fine for his offence was between 100 and 200 times the minimum wage, or 200 hours of community service or a sentence of two years in jail. The alleged severe damage to someone's health was simply the pastor's praying for an ill person at his church. The ill man's wife asserted that her husband was hypnotized at the church. However, all he did was receive prayer from the pastor. This is not the first time that pastors have been harassed in Kazakhstan over praying for the sick. In some cases, authorities have required pastors to obtain a special license (granted from the ministry of health) to pray for the sick. When the police raided Ushanov's home, they confiscated two laptops, 150 DVDs, a hard drive and twenty Christian books. The secret police also seized 85 church member's cards which contained personal information. The pastor was told that if he didn't want any more trouble he must change his profession.  Pastor Vissa Kim, mentioned above, was also fined for harming a woman's health after he prayed for her. His fine was equivalent to a hundred times the minimum monthly wage.

Such flagrant abuses of authority on the part of Kazakhstan officials are not acceptable to Canadians. Write your member of parliament and ask for Canada to use diplomatic pressure to secure religious freedom in Kazakhstan.


Shawn Stevens


1.  http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/kazakhstan/bilateral_relations_bilaterales/index.aspx?lang=eng&menu_id=8&menu=L&view=d 

By quoting this document I am not claiming that the Canadian Government endorses this article



“Kazakhstan : Pastors Fined for Praying.” http://www.persecution.com