Vladimir Kozlov, one of the most prominent figures of the Kazakh opposition, wrote a letter to President Nursultan Nazarbayev in response to information about a generous subsidy from state budgets for regions which, in December 2011, saw an oil workers' strike. For the postulations which he proclaimed in Zhanaozen, Kozlov was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison. After more than three years, the authorities have now put them into effect and hence, the leader of the Alga! party has labelled his sentence 'unfair captivity'.
Having read the March issue of Forbes magazine which describes the investments made by the state in Mangistau and Zhanaozen, Kozlov decided to write a letter to President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is now standing for re-election. As Kozlov himself emphasized a number of times, however, the Kazakh presidential bid goes against all the principles of democratic elections.
In his letter, Kozlov presents his story. In January 2012, a Court sentenced him to a prison term for 'inciting social hatred' during the strike of oil workers in Zhanaozen. As the oppositionist asserts, the authorities then sentenced him for the postulations he had put forward. He demanded, amongst other things, better conditions for those extracting "black gold", financial support for the region and the creation of new jobs. He also called for increased funds for welfare purposes.
"Three years have passed. I have the March edition of Forbes magazine in front of me; on page 95, it reads: "During these three years, here (in Zhanaozen - VK), they have completely replaced the water supply system and laid gas pipelines to supply homes in the city, they have built 800 new apartments... Across the city, they have constructed alleys and planted flowerbeds... Zhanaozen looks like an ordinary industrial city, which has suddenly received a generous budget injection..." - Kozlov wrote in his letter, citing a fragment from the article in Forbes. As the oppositionist claims, he is glad to see the positive changes in the region and he notes, at the same time, that the changes the authorities boast of are a fulfilment of the postulations of the activists who protested in December, 2011. Hence, he calls his 3 years in prison 'unjust captivity'. He goes on to say that injustice will continue until the authorities demonstrate contrition and admit having made errors. He ends his letter by saying: "I am proud that I was right three years ago and have no need to redeem myself".