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Kazakh Officer Fired Over Gangland Jargon In New Year's Message


The video prompted outcry online (file photo).
The video prompted outcry online (file photo).

ASTANA -- A Kazakh police officer who proudly called the Central Asian nation's police forces a "gang" in a New Year's greeting has been sacked.

A Kazakh Interior Ministry spokesman, Almas Sadubaev, said on Facebook on January 3 that the officer, identified as A.R. Tastaibekov, had been fired and his supervisors officially reprimanded.

Sadubaev said Tastaibekov, the deputy chief in charge of first-year cadets at the Police Academy in the central city of Qaraghandy, was fired for "committing an action that discredits state services."

In a video that went viral on social networks, the officer used 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!"

"The video was shot on December 31, 2018," Sadubaev told reporters earlier.

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.

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