Vladimir Kozlov, born 10 August, 1960, Aktobe. From 1990 to 1996, he was associated with the Kazakh media as an editor of the 'AKTiVi' TV channel; later, one of the founders of the first private television channel named 'Aktau-Lada'.
He has been involved in politics since 2001, when he teamed up with the opposition party 'Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan'.
In 1996-1998, he worked in the advertising and PR sector, he then assumed the position of communications specialist at the Mangyshlak Nuclear Power Plant. He has been involved in politics since 2001, when he teamed up with the opposition party 'Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan'.
In 2003, he was elected a member of the Political Council of the party, and subsequently, a member of the Presidium of the Political Council. In 2004, having witnessed the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, he established a cooperation with Western politicians and non-governmental organisations, which have significantly influenced his further political activity. He was a co-founder of the 'Alga!' party.
Since 2007, Vladimir Kozlov has been the leader of the largest opposition party in Kazakhstan "Alga" ('Forward!'). 'Alga!' was established in 2005 after the party 'Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan' was declared illegal. Since then, authorities have persistently denied its right to register, despite the fact that it met the legal requirements. Currently 'Alga!' is the most widely supported opposition force in the country. Under Kozlov's leadership, the party has strengthened its position by expanding its structures across the entire country. 'Alga!' covered all administrative areas in Kazakhstan and until January 2012, it had over 61 thousand active members. 'Alga!' along with the cooperating Civil Society Movement 'Khalyk Maidany' ('People's Front') has mobilised different social groups in order to resist the repressive policy of the authorities concentrated around Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has governed the country for the last 28 years.
'Alga!' along with the cooperating Civil Society Movement 'Khalyk Maidany' ('People's Front') has mobilised different social groups in order to resist the repressive policy of the authorities concentrated around Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has governed the country for the last 28 years.
These organisations have provided legal assistance to thousands of residents of Kazakhstan, helping them to overcome the problems of everyday life through the enforcement of the obligations and benefits by public administration for the people, representing the citizens in labour disputes, organising social and financial support, assisting in negotiations with banks in case of problems with the repayment of mortgage loans, as well as publicising cases of corruption and social injustice.
Vladimir Kozlov made a decision to increase his political participation during his visit to Ukraine in 2004. To him, the Orange Revolution became an example of peaceful social mobilisation in defence of democratic values and the right to political self-determination.
Being aware of the historical processes that led to the collapse of communism and which integrated Eastern and Western Europe, Vladimir Kozlov took action to promote cooperation among nations, formerly remaining within the territory and the area of influence of the Soviet Union. Remaining confident in the durability of the spirit of solidarity, he carried the message that freedom, democracy and human rights as universal values should exist everywhere, reminding people that the end of the totalitarian communist system is just the beginning of the road to freedom for many of the former republics, in particular those of Central Asia.
In the period between 2006 and 2012, Kozlov repeatedly paid visits to parliaments of European countries, including the Polish Senate, as well as to the European Parliament. Everywhere he went, he went as an apostle of change focused on the development of civil society in Kazakhstan and the enhancement of civic, social and cultural cooperation with European organisations and institutions. In 2009, Vladimir Kozlov carried out a campaign in European countries against granting Kazakhstan the presidency in the OSCE. In his view, oppression of the opposition and abuses of human rights in Kazakhstan put into question not only the legitimacy of the country to chair the OSCE, but also undermined the sense of existence of the whole organisation.
In the period between 2006 and 2012, Kozlov repeatedly paid visits to parliaments of European countries, including the Polish Senate, as well as to the European Parliament.
The year 2011 became a turning point for the opposition, civil society and for Vladimir Kozlov personally. In spring, Kozlov, as a candidate of the democratic opposition circles, was not allowed to participate in the early presidential election held on the 3rd of April, 2011, in which President Nazarbayev received 95.5% of votes. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights recognised the election as not meeting democratic standards.
When, in mid-2011, a strike broke out in Zhanaozen, 'Alga!' under Kozlov's leadership, was the first to begin supplying drinking water and tents to the striking workers. He personally organised seminars for the strikers in order to maintain the peaceful nature of the protests, including avoidance of security service provocations.
After the tragic suppression of the strike, Kozlov turned for help to the international community During meetings with Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission on the 17th-19th of January, 2012, he called for the initiation of a dialogue, as well as the conduct of an international investigation into the events in Zhanaozen in December 2011, and also warned against the use of violence or military force as a means of resolving the situation in the country.
Vladimir Kozlov was arrested by the staff of the National Security Committee on the 23rd of January 2012, immediately after his return to his homeland. Then, on the 16th of August, 2012, he went on trial in the Mangistau Regional Court in the city of Aktau, in which he was accused under the following articles of the Criminal Code of the Respublic of Kazakhstan:
- Article 164, point 3 ('inciting social hatred'),
- Article 170, point 2 ('calling to the overthrow of the constitutional order of the state'),
- Article 235, point 1 ('creating and managing an organised criminal group with a view to committing one or more crimes, as well as participation in such a group' ).
Vladimr Kozlov declared that the allegations had been fabricated. On the 8th of October, 2012 a verdict was handed down, under which Kozlov was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months' imprisonment with confiscation of property.