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Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Kazakh Officer Takes Heat Over Gangland Jargon In New Year’s Message

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ASTANA — An internal investigation has been launched over a controversial video in which a police officer proudly calls Kazakhstan’s police forces a “gang” in a New Year’s greeting.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said on January 2 that the officer and his supervisors may be disciplined, and possibly dismissed, based on the results of the probe.

The video went viral on social networks and prompted an outcry online, drawing attention because the officer uses criminal jargon in reference to the police and hints at corrupt ties within law enforcement.

He wishes for “prosperity to Kazakhstan, so that our bratva” — a term that means criminal gang, band, or brotherhood — “and our successors in the seventh generation can continue using our connections.”

He then says he supports a statement by Antibiotik, a fictional criminal in a 1990s Russian television show, stating: “Let our friendship be selfless…. Our deeds have been unconditional, because we are a bratva — to put it simply, we are a band.”

“Let Kazakhstan and our families flourish,” he says. “Hurrah, comrades!”

Dozens of men in police uniform on the video greet the statement by chanting “Hurrah!”

Kazakh Interior Ministry spokesman Almas Sadubaev told reporters that the officer speaking in the video is the deputy chief in charge of first-year cadets at the Police Academy in the central city of Qaraghandy.

“The video was shot on December 31, 2018,” Sadubaev said. “Depending on the results of the internal investigation, the man and his supervisors will face severe disciplinary repercussions, up to being dismissed from their posts.”

Corruption within law-enforcement structures and police brutality have been a focus of rights activists for decades in Kazakhstan, where authoritarian President Nursultan Nazarbaev has held power since before the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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