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Vladimir Kozlov: “Thank you all, both those I know and those I don’t know...”

In a telephone conversation, I mentioned my intention to write a thank you letter to members of the European Parliament, the Polish Sejm and all those who are in one way or another supporting my family in this situation. Below is the body of the letter:


Dear Members of Parliament! First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to you and all those who assist me in my fate from outside Kazakhstan, giving moral support to me and my family! Thank you very much! To my regret, I have no reason to express similar gratitude to any members of the Mazhilis or Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan - there is nothing to be grateful for and no one to give my thanks to. There is nobody, not because I don't know any members of our parliament - I do know some people. There is no one to thank because there is no one to thank, i.e. no one from amongst Kazakh MPs has even expressed a desire to personally examine what happened in Zhanaozen on 16 December, 2011. This is not surprising. One of those who, as it appears, was involved in those events, ex-MP Ryskaliyev, not so long ago was among those who, now silent, quietly watched people who were blamed for the transgressions committed by him. His brother (former akim of Atyrau Province) and members of his gang were arrested, tried and sent to penal colonies.


I am immensely grateful to my close associates and friends, residing in Kazakhstan, who have strongly supported me and my family. They are not officials, not MPs, they are just people who have civic position and civic courage: the Patriots of Kazakhstan. With their support, they demonstrate to the authorities of Kazakhstan that the country has not become immersed in a 'lethargic' dream of melancholy and hopelessness, they take on serious risks when they peacefully oppose the authoritarian regime: they are really fine fellows!


At the same time, the Kazakh authorities, repeatedly declaring their intention 'to become one of the best countries in the world', are sternly guided by the state's security policy, do not pay attention to the increasing number of reasons for the rise social tension, the ongoing stratification of society and degradation of its moral condition. The government of Kazakhstan, being authoritarian in nature, is not capable of self-purification; not able to critically evaluate the results of its operations; not inclined to launch a dialogue and reform itself. Institutional, peaceful opposition, as well as manifestations of civil protest, are labelled by police propaganda as 'extremism', after which, law enforcement and judicial systems proceed to  ban public associations and the media outlets, to isolate in penal colonies citizens who dare to dissent; who dare to publicly express their opposition. In some cases, hatred of dissent becomes so uncontrollable that it leads to the direct execution of citizens. And so, Zamanbek Nurkadilov and Altynbek Sersenbayev were executed. The regime's attempts to evade responsibility are indecorous and unprincipled; both in the case of Nurkadilov, where the official version was suicide (despite the fact that Nurkadilov sustained two shots in the chest and one in the head), and in the case of Sarsenbayev, in which as many as two versions appeared, and therefore, two court proceedings were held. Both the first and second versions claim that the masterminds behind Sarsenbayev's execution were high government officials, who had the opportunity to use state power's resources, and were able exploit special units, directly subordinate to the President, in the role of punisher-executioners. All this raises a huge amount of doubt as to the veracity of both versions and leads to a belief that the truth will become known later, when the authorities cease to be interested in its concealment.


By isolating dissidents in penal colonies, the regime is striving to create 'isolation within isolation': it builds all sorts of obstacles to prevent us from claiming our rights, which we are entitled to under the provisions of the current legislation. So, in my case, I was, in violation of the law, first transferred to a penal colony, which is located 2,000 kilometres away from the place where my family live, and then, also in violation of the law,  I had my request to be transferred to a penal colony in close proximity to my place of residence refused. Moreover, the new draft of Criminal Executive Code has been introduced. It is contrary to the RK's declarations about humanity and commitment to international human rights standards in the sphere of conditions of detention of prisoners, as it creates the possibility of placing convicts in colonies situated far from their place of residence. Thus, instead of following the path of finding opportunities to comply with its international obligations in this area and eliminating violations of national legislation, the regime legitimises this violation, thus exacerbating the situation.


I am aware of the fact that Europe and Kazakhstan intend to sign an agreement on cooperation, and I welcome this intention. The regime will not last forever, while friendship, economic cooperation, especially with the EU, from which there's a lot to be learned, can only be supported. At the same time, I would like to see the EU, as it enters into a closer partnership with the current authorities of Kazakhstan approach this positive process in a more careful and demanding way. In particular, concerning its partner's obligations in the field of human rights and freedoms, which constitute integral values of all EU countries. "Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are" - the old truth, confirmed throughout centuries, states. Let the EU have friends that it will not have to be ashamed of.


Again and again, I thank all of you, my friends, both those who I know and those who I don't know! Please allow me to refer to you this way. Your participation, is a participation of friendship, your concern, is the concern of a friend, your support, is the support of a friend. In closing, I say to you: "Good bye, see you soon!"


     Sincerely yours, Vladimir Kozlov.

     Correctional Facility, Republican State Enterprise US -164/3, North Kazakhstan Province,

     Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan

     15 February, 2014

tags: Kozlov letter

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