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Vladimir Ivanovich Kozlov

Vladimir Ivanovich Kozlov, born in 1960. A journalist, a politician.

Reference: He received a degree in “Energy supply of industrial entreprises”.

Professional experience

In 1991 he established a private cable television channel named “AKTiVi”. Following the merger of two television stations, he became the chief editor of the private broadcasting television company “Aktau-Lada” in which he worked until 1998.

In the years 1998 -2001, he was an assistant for the issues of Public Relations to the President of the Mangyshlak nuclear power complex (MAEK).

In January 2001 he was invited by the leaders of the NGO “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan” in Almaty to organise press service and PR-activities of this social association.

2003 – Member of the Political Council of NGO “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan”.

2004 – Member of the Political Council of the Bureau of People’s Party “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan”.

2005 – Member of the Presidium of the Political Council of the People’s Party “Alga!” (DCK), a member of the Presidium of the Political Council of the social association “Democratic Forces Block “For Fair Kazakhstan”.

2007 – Chairman of the Coordination Committee of the People’s Party “Alga!”



In 2012, Vladimir Kozlov was nominated for the Freedom Award. Before his apprehension, Vladimir Kozlov refused to accept the award to the benefit of Aizhangul Amirova. In this connection, the Steering Committee made a decision to give a separate award to Valdimir Kozlov.


Political activity and political persecution

01.07.2011. Vladimir Kozlov made a statement on the events in Zhanaozen in which he pointed out that the local authority, the leadership of the “Ozenmunaygaz” and law-enforcement agencies of Mangistau deliberately provoke striking and starving workers to revolt.

21.08.2011. Meeting of Vladimir Kozlov with the striking oil workers of Zhanaozen.

26.10.2011. Vladimir Kozlov, Ayzhangul Amirova, Serik Sapargali, Igor Vinyavskiy, Bolat Atabeyev, Zhanbolat Mamai and other public figures have issued a statement “about crime and untrammelled provocations in the Mangistau Province and irresponsibility of the agencies of the Ministry of Interior” in connection with the attacks on the strike activist Estay Karashaev and the crew of the “Stan-TV” video portal.

16.12.2011. In the office in the city of Almaty, the People’s Party “Alga!” held a press conference on the events in Zhanaozen (shooting at the striking oil workers on the 16th of December, 2011).

17-19.01. 2012. Vladimir Kozlov took part in the conference Zhanaozen: from the labour dispute to the tragedy. What will happen after the parliamentary elections?, held in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

23.01.2012. Vladimir Kozlov was apprehended on suspicion of committing a crime. Charges were brought against Kozlov that with a group of persons “he committed intentional acts aimed at inciting social discord, by distributing literature and other media that promote social discord, which caused grave consequences.” The investigation body accuses Kozlov that in September 2011, he sent to Zhanaozen leaflets with M.K. Ablyazov’s appeal entitled “Partizans of the sacred Mangistau!”, “Awake, Kazakh people, become free!” for distribution among participants of the illegal action and  other people in the region.

23.01.2012. Searches were conducted in the offices of the ‘Vzglyad’ newspaper and the ‘Alga!’ party.

24.01.2012. The German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, Markus Lenning, made ​​a statement about the arrests of opposition members in Kazakhstan: “I am concerned about reports that a journalist and a number of opposition leaders were arrested in Kazakhstan. As a member of the OSCE, Kazakhstan has pledged to respect democratic principles such as freedom of press and freedom of expression. And the Government has the duty to fulfill this obligation”.

25.01.2012. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemned the apprehensions of opposition activists.

26.01. 2012 In Almalinsky court of the city of Almaty, in closed session, a decision was ruled on the arrest of Igor Vinyavskiy, Vladimir Kozlov and Serik Sapargali who were apprehended on Monday, the 23rd of January, 2012 by the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan workers after the searches were conducted in the offices of the newspaper and the party, as well as in these persons’ apartments.

30.01.2012. At a press conference in Almaty, the establishment of the Social Protection Committee was announced. During the meeting, a text expressing readiness to bail out Vladimir Kozlov, the leader of the ‘Alga’ party, was read out.

31.01. 2012. Vladimir Kozlov’s wife Alia Turusbekova made a statement in which she accused the government of Kazakhstan of making attempts to isolate Vladimir Kozlov.

01.01.2012. Matteo Mecacci, the chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly urged Kazakhstan to honor its commitments to the OSCE regarding the respect for freedoms and to “release political prisoners, such as Igor Vinyavskiy and Vladimir Kozlov”.

03.02. 2012. The appeal filed by Vladimir Kozlov (the leader of the unregistered opposition party ‘Alga’) and an opposition politician Serik Sapargali was dismissed by the Appellate Court of the Almaty City Court. Vladimir Kozlov and Serik Sapargali’s criminal cases are conducted by investigators of the Department of National Security Committee for the Mangistau Province.

06.02.2012. The “Alga!” party office in Petropavlovsk was seized.

06.02.2012. In Kostanay, security forces workers dressed in civilian clothes raided the office, and, referring to the decision of Toyzhan Marat, the prosecutor of Zhanaozen, announced the seizure of the premises belonging to Vladimir Kozlov, the leader of the “Alga!” party.

07.02.2012. In Berlin, under the patronage of MP, Viola von Krum and Andrew Junco, in the Bundestag media center a press conference was held, which was timed to coincide with President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s visit to Berlin. Among the topics discussed at the press conference there was also the discussion about the arrest of Vladimir Kozlov. On the same day a rally was held in solidarity with the victims of the Zhanaozen tragedy and political prisoners in Kazakhstan. The event was organized by the “Open Dialog” Foundation (Poland), the German left-wing trade unions and the deputy of Bundestag from the left-wing party, Andrew Junco.

07.02.2012. The Ukrainian journalistic movement “Stop Censorship!” issued a statement in which it strongly condemned the oppression that the Kazakh authorities have subjected independent journalists to.

07.02.2012. The workers of the NSC raided the “Alga!” party office in the town of Kyzylorda, presenting a warrant for the seizure of the office. The NSC workers, namely: Daniyar Egeshbaev and Adil Saylybaev came to give explanations and to draw up the minutes from the seizure of the “Alga!” party office. Four activists of the party were handed orders to report for questioning to the NSC.

07.02.2012. Three NSC workers burst into the Kokshetau office of the “Alga!” party and announced the seizure of the apartment.

13.02.2012. Alia Turusbekova, the wife of Vladimir Kozlov, the arrested leader of the unregistered opposition party ‘Alga’, demanded to respect her husband’s civil rights. In the statement, distributed at a press conference in Almaty, it is stated that the Vladimir Kozlov’s rights have been violated since the day of detention: food and things for him are not accepted, Turusbekov, his defense councel, is not allowed to see him, they block up visits, Vladimir Kozlov is deprived of the posibbility to fully communicate with his lawyer.

01.03.2012. Vladimir Kozlov underwent surgical treatment in the Almaty Central Military Hospital (Kazakhstan).

19.03.2012. The Almalinskiy District court in Almaty hastily extended the arrest of Vladimir Kozlov, the leader of the unregistered opposition party ‘Alga’ and Serik Sapargali, an activist of the party. No statements about his condition were issued due to the fact that his wife, Alia Turusbekova, was repeatedly denied visiting rights. The main reason why the investigation authority refused Mrs. Turusbekova access to her husband was because she is a “witness”, and therefore she cannot act as Kozlov’s public defender.

29.03.2012. In Almaty city court Vladimir Kozlov’s appeal was examined. The defendant asked the court to allow him to attend the trial, but the appeal did not even reach the judge. The Court decided to extend the period of authorized arrest of the accused Vladimir Ivanovich Kozlov up to 3 months, i.e. until 23.04.2012.

04.04.2012. Alia Turusbekova, after the 16th refusal in a row to see her husband, Vladimir Kozlov, organized a one-person picket in front of detention centre of the Department of National Security Committee with the request to let her see her husband. According to the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan, those arrested are entitled to two visits a month with relatives. The law enforcement agencies motivated the refusal by the fact that the provision related to suspects’ meeting with their relatives is a right and not an obligation of the preliminary investigation body.

16.04.2012. The Almaty district court extended the arrest of Vladimir Kozlov and Serik Sapargali for another month – until 23.05.2012.

11.05.2012. The Almaty district court again extended the arrest of Vladimir Kozlov and Serik Sapargali – until 23.06.2012. The court based its decision on the need to conduct a series of examinations and the inability to complete them in four months of the preliminary investigation.

24.05.2012. Escorting of Vladimir Kozlov and Serik Sapargali to the detention centre in Aktau is completed. It is the city of Aktau where the trial for inciting social discord in Zhanaozen in 2011 should be held.

17.06.2012. Escorting the theater director, Bolat Atabaev and the leader of the youth movement “Rukh pen Til”, Zhanbolat Mamay, who also are defendants in the case of inciting social discord in Zhanaozen in 2011, to Aktau, started. Earlier, Bolat Atabaev reported to the “Open Dialog” Foundation that most likely he, along with Zhanbolat Mamay, Vladimir Kozlov and Serik Sapargali will be judged in the same trial, as the investigation bodies have repeatedly stated that the suspects acted as a criminal group.

07.06.2012. Alia Turusbekova was able to meet with Vladimir Kozlov for the first time after he was transported to the detention centre in Aktau. Vladimir Kozlov told his wife during the visit that the investigators made him an offer of “cooperation”, up until the liberation, if he testifies against Mukhtar Ablyazov. According to the words of Alia Turusbekova: “Vladimir Kozlov will never give such evidence… “. Similar proposals from law enforcement agencies were reported before the arrest by Bolat Atabaev and Zhanbolat Mamay. In their case, they were offered to testify against Vladimir Kozlov in exchange for gaining the status of a witness.

22.06.2012. An activist of the opposition movement “Halyk Maidany”, Ayzhangul Amirova, was released from prison, where she stayed from January 6, 2012. A. Amirova was also held on charges of inciting social discord. Despite all the positive aspects of Ayzhangul Amirova’s release from custody, there is reason to believe that the release of this opposition activist is due to changing her status of the defendant to the status of a witness. This, in turn, means that she will testify against other opposition leaders accused of inciting social discord – V. Kozlov, S. Sapargali, B. Atabaev and Zhanbolat Mamay.

26.06.2012. New criminal cases under Art. 170 section 2 (calling for the violent overthrow or change of the constitutional order or the forcible violation of the unity of the Republic of Kazakhstan conducted through the media) and Art. 235 section 2 (the establishment and management of an organised group with a view to committing one or more crimes, as well as participation in it) were initiated against the leader of the unregistered party “Alga!” Vladimir Kozlov. Prior to this, he was charged solely under Art. 164 (incitement of social hatred). According to the “Respublika” newspaper, simultaneously two criminal cases were initiated under Art. 235. In the first one, the activists of the protest movement of the oil workers in Zhanaozen were accused. The defendants in the second case are: Mukhtar Ablyazov, Muratbek Ketebaev and Vladimir Kozlov.

08.08.2012. In Mangistau regional court in Aktau a sentence in the case of opposition leaders has been handed down. Vladimir Kozlov was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months  imprisonment with confiscation of property. Akzhanat Aminov and Serik Sapargali were sentenced to 5 and 4 years’ probation, respectively and were released from the courtroom. The court held that the actions of Kozlov, Sapargali and Aminov led to riots in Zhanaozen and the village of Shepte on 16-17 December 2011.Vladimir Kozlov and Akzhanat Aminov were considered by the court to be members of an “organised criminal group” (OCG) and charged under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan:

– Inciting social hatred, resulting in grave consequences (Article 164, paragraph 3);

– Calls for the overthrow of the constitutional order, committed with the use of the media or by an organised group (Article 170, paragraph 2);

– The creation and management of a criminal organisation with the aim of committing one or more offences (Article 235, paragraph 1).

Serik Sapargali, activist “Popular Front – Halyk Maidana,” was found guilty under Article 170, paragraph 2 – calling for the violent overthrow of the constitutional order, committed with the use of the media.

19.11.2012. The sentence of the leader of the unregistered opposition party ‘Alga!’ was upheld by the Appellate Court. The judge did not permit Kozlov to take part in the consideration of his appeal. Counsels Aleksey Plugov and Venera Sarsembina requested the court acquit Vladimir Kozlov in connection with the absence of criminal elements in his actions. The counsels pointed to the fact that the court failed to ensure contentiousness and equal rights of the parties: Vladimir Kozlov was convicted under the new edition of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan (the CC of the RK), which makes the penalty more severe; the presumption of innocence was violated; the court ignored motions of the defense; the testimonies of witnesses were biased; evidence against Vladimir Kozlov was falsified; the court illegally confiscated part of Vladimir Kozlov’s property.

16.12.2012. By the decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Kazakhstan, the opposition politician has been convoyed to the penal colony outside the area of his residence, namely to Petropavlovsk, North Kazakhstan Province. This decision violates Art. 68 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, under which a convicted person shall serve his/her sentence in a colony within the area of his/her last residence prior to his/her arrest (in the case of Vladimir Kozlov:  Almaty).

13.03.2013. The court of cassation refused to grant the appeal in the case of Vladimir Kozlov. Tadeusz Wozniak, a member of the Polish parliament, who was present at the hearing, has given the following comment on the developments in court: «I consider today’s trial a mere formality. The process was carried out very quickly, the judges deliberated for only 5 minutes … However, I still hope that justice will prevail in Kazakhstan. For our part, we will continue to defend the rights of political prisoners in Kazakhstan».

06.06.2013. The wife of a sentenced opposition politician Vladimir Kozlov, Aliya Turusbekova, reported that a provocation had been organised in the colony against her husband, which may adversely affect any decision regarding his eligibility for parole in the future. As stated by Aliya Turusbekova, «A prisoner from Zhanaozen attacked Volodya, accusing him of being responsible for the deaths of Zhanaozen citizens on 16 December 2011. They got into a fight, as a result of which Volodya has been reprimanded».

01.07.2013. Preliminary consideration of Vladimir Kozlov’s supervisory complaint, which had been scheduled for the 1 July, 2013, didn’t take place. For the second time, the Supreme Court adjourned proceedings. Independent observers have expressed their outrage with the fact that the judges keep changing the date of the preliminary examination of the case, claiming that they are not prepared to hold the meeting.

16.07.2013. The 52-year-old opposition politician is still not being treated in prison – this news was reported by his wife, Aliya Turusbekova. Vladimir Kozlov’s current health problems could lead to a stroke, but the administration of the colony remains idle.

05.06.2013. There was a preliminary examination of the supervisory application of the case of Vladimir Kozlov. Chairman of the Board of judges Moriak Shegenov said: “We have made the decision to refuse the excitation of supervisory review procedure, there is no basis for the review of judicial acts”. Thus, the latter Kazakhstan judicial instance has refused to reconsider the verdict to  opposition politician Vladimir Kozlov.


International reaction:

Human Rights Watch UK: Raise Rights During Kazakhstan Visit (letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron) (27.06.2013)

On May 22, 2013 the Supreme Court upheld their convictions. On October 8, 2012 an opposition group leader Vladimir Kozlov was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, in a politically motivated trial marred by due process violations and based on vague and overly broad criminal charges of “inciting social discord”.

Amnesty International Amnesty International Report 2013 (23.05.2013)

Vladimir Kozlov had gone to Zhanaozen in January as part of an independent public monitoring group to investigate the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in police custody and then had briefed the European Parliament on his findings. He was a prisoner of conscience.

Adwokatura Polska. Report on monitoring mission in Kazakhstan performed by the Polish Bar Council (14.05.2013)

The colony of Vladimir Kozlov is located in close proximity to Petropavlovsk, despite the fact that his registered place of residence is  in the city of Almaty, situated at the other end of the country. Polish delegacy didn’t manage to have a meeting with Vladimir Kozlov in the colony because no permission had been given. Ms. Turusbekova informed delegacy that her husband had begun to suffer serious health problems, and he had not been provided with adequate medical care.

U.S. Department of State 2012 Human Rights Reports: Kazakhstan (19.04.2013)

The charge of inciting social discord was based on a strained interpretation of the law that established the government as a social group “analogous to a race, tribe, religion, or class.” Most NGOs and international observers characterized the charges as politically motivated. 

European Parliament resolution on 18 April 2013 on Kazakhstan

Reiterates its concern over the detentions of opposition leaders, journalists and lawyers on the basis of trials which fall short of international standards, and reaffirms its call for the release of all persons convicted on the basis of vague criminal charges which could be considered to be politically motivated, including among others Vladimir Kozlov, Vadim Kurashim and Roza Tuletaeva.

Freedom House – Kozlov Case File (Final Monitoring Report on the Trial of Vladimir Kozlov, Akzhanat Aminov, and Serik Sapargali) (12.12.2012)

As can be seen, the court’s verdict is riddled with inconsistencies, logical leaps, and simple errors. There were multiple mistakes relating to procedure, chain of custody, and integrity of evidence that in a rule-oflaw system would have invalidated the proceedings as a whole.

Human Rights Watch – “Kazakhstan: Opposition Leader Jailed, 09.10.2012

The seven and a half year prison sentence handed to opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov strikes a blow to freedom of expression and pluralism of political voices in Kazakhstan, Human Rights Watch said today… Kozlov is paying a heavy price for publicly criticizing the Kazakh government.

Statement by the spokesperson of High Representative Catherine Ashton on the trial of Vladimir Kozlov (09.10.2012)

The EU Delegation in Astana has been monitoring the trial, in co-operation with other international actors. While welcoming the opportunity to freely observe the trial, the EU noted several shortcomings in the judicial process. Namely, the trial processes did not provide clear insight into the investigation of the events, prove the guilt or direct involvement of Mr. Kozlov in the violence in Zhanaozen. Therefore, Mr. Kozlov’s sentence seems disproportionate and, given his political activities, seems to carry political overtones.