Years as Head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations
In January 2007, through a presidential decision, Viktor Khrapunov was appointed Minister of Emergency Situations (in charge of managing natural and accidental disasters), a portfolio of lesser importance through which the former mayor of Almaty, who had already held much more prestigious ministerial positions, had little left to prove. Nevertheless, as usual, he took the task to heart and once again began to put his experience in crisis management at the service of his country.
Within six months, surrounded by Kazakh and international specialists (particularly from Russia, Belarus and Azerbaijan), Vikor Khrapunov devised a new national system for the prevention and management of crises and emergency situations. His project was approved by the government, but the president refused to grant it the status of national planning.
During his few months as head of the ministry, Viktor Khrapunov had to deal with several major crises: in the spring of 2007, he personally directed operations to control a series of rising water levels due to the thawing of the Syr-Daria River; in the summer (July 15, 2007) he managed the political consequences of the derailing of a Kazakh train carrying yellow phosphorus in Ukrainian territory, which caught fire, burning very slowly; still in the summer (September 6, 2007), he supervised the work to decontaminate a large area in the region of Karaganda following the failed launch of the rocket “Proton” carrying a Japanese satellite.
On October 29, 2007, Viktor Khrapunov handed in his letter of resignation to the President of the Republic. On November 1, 2007, after an interview with him, he was officially released from his ministerial duties.