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Kazakh lawmaker and amateur opera singer Darigha Nazarbaeva
Darigha Nazarbaeva, the Kazakh president's daughter, is in hot water for calling disabled children "freaks."

Nazarbaeva's proposal to discourage teenage pregnancies by organizing school visits to orphanages for children with disabilities has sparked an angry backlash online, where a video of her remarks is making the rounds.

She was speaking at a meeting of the parliamentary committee for social and cultural development on December 10, as the world marked International Human Rights Day.

"I think that from time to time children should be taken for excursions to orphanages, to institutions for disabled children, so that they see the results of an unreasoned, premature sex life," she told her fellow parliamentarians. "Show them these children, these disabled freaks, let them look at them."

WATCH: Darigha Nazarbaeva Describes Disabled Children As 'Freaks' (In Russian)

Nazarbaeva has a long track record of eyebrow-raising outbursts, including a December 9 statement that the raft of educational reforms in Kazakhstan made her "sick."

But her comment on orphans with disabilities has caused particular dismay.

"Daughters and sons of authoritarian leaders and their entourage are freaks -- vile, immoral filth," was one YouTube viewer's response.

Kazakh journalist Sapa Mekebaev suggested, tongue in cheek, that Nazarbaev's official duties, by preventing him from taking an active part in his daughter's upbringing, may be responsible for her insensitivity.

"But when children reach 50 years of age, they should understand that it's wrong to let their fathers down," he wrote on his Facebook page.

One Internet user criticized Nazarbaeva for offering to organize "freak shows" at the expense of disabled children and stressed that disabilities have nothing to do with the mother's age.

Another user advised Nazarbaeva to take lawmakers on an excursion to the site where a rocket crashed near the Kazakh city of Baikonur on July 2, releasing a cloud of highly toxic orange fumes.

"That's where the mutation of innocent people comes from," he wrote.

There have also been suggestions that the president's daughter might have been drunk when she made the remarks.

Some, however, stood up for Nazarbaeva, saying she had probably not meant to be offensive and suggested that her comments had been misunderstood.

Nazarbaeva herself has remained tight-lipped on the issue since the controversy broke out.

-- Dina Baidildaeva and Claire Bigg
The "Euromaidan" protest movement in Ukraine appears to have gained momentum after government-backed riot police failed to clear Kyiv's Independence Square before sunrise on December 11.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has offered to negotiate an exit from the country's current crisis, but opposition leaders say they will refuse any overtures until he accepts all of their demands.

But what comes next? Watch our Google+ Hangout with experts and journalists from Ukraine. (Scroll down for the list of participants.)


Maryana Drach is director of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service. An international affairs specialist who joined the service in 1996, Drach also hosts the daily radio program "Liberty Today," which summarizes and analyzes key developments in Ukraine and on the international scene.

Natalia Churikova has been a journalist with RFE/RL since 1995. In 2005, she launched "European Liberty" (later "Europe Connect"), in which an online audience puts questions to residents of western Europe.

Natalya Sedletska has worked as a TV journalist based in Kyiv and is known for her investigative reporting into the public-procurement process in Ukraine. She is currently completing a Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship with RFE/RL.

Yevhen Hlibovytsky is founder of pro.mova, a communications consultancy dedicated to values research and focused on modernization issues in the former Soviet Union. A former journalist who in 2002 helped found the TV station "5 kanal," Hlibovytsky lectures at Kyiv-Mohyla Business School and Lviv Business School of Ukrainian Catholic University.

Brian Whitmore (moderator) is the Europe Desk Editor for RFE/RL's Central Newsroom and author of "The Power Vertical" blog.

We invite you to post questions in advance and follow updates for live links to the Google+ Hangout on Twitter and Facebook.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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