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Nazarbaev's Postelection Poster Police

Hands off!
Hands off!
Faced with a 95-percent margin of victory in a hastily organized election that was never in doubt, authorities in Kazakhstan are doing the only logical thing: They're rooting out the rogues.

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports that a 53-year-old man in the northern Kazakh city of Pavlodar has been charged with hooliganism after police said he set fire to a campaign billboard for entrenched President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

The Pavlodar city police department said the incident took place the same day that Kazakhs went to the polls in the early presidential election that returned Nazarbaev to power.

Andrei Kravchenko, a representative of the prosecutor-general, told journalists in Astana that a total of 77 campaign billboards were torched or otherwise destroyed in the run-up to the vote or election day -- a vast majority of them (72) Nazarbaev's.

Kravchenko added that 13 criminal cases have been launched in connection with the damaged billboards.

-- RFE/RL Central Newsroom

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