On May 20, Kairbek Suleimenov, Kazakhstan’s Interior Minister, has pledged to step up the fight against organized crime and police corruption. (Kazakh TV Xabar [Astana], May 20; Panorama [Almaty], May 22) In the first press conference held by the Ministry for several months, Suleimenov said he wanted to draw attention to recent successes in what, he acknowledged, has otherwise been a rather poor record in capturing criminals.
Most notably, the Ministry announced that it had finally determined the perpetrators of the republic’s most infamous contract killing. Milgram, a construction entrepreneur who built the first diplomatic compounds and numerous palatial houses for Kazakhstan’s new rich, was shot dead in broad daylight in Almaty’s central square in 1993. Suleimenov announced that he personally had interrogated and was now holding an unidentified individual from Russia and two of Milgram’s former employees. The three are awaiting trial in October. The arrests come a week after the detention of Kostya’s Brigade, described by the official government newspaper Kazakhstanskaya pravda as “the most brazen criminal group in the Jambyl region.” (Kazakhstanskaya pravda [Almaty], May 11) Suleimenov admitted that the Brigade had, along with other Jambyl gangs, carried out killings, torture and robberies with the tacit approval, if not the open cooperation, of local law-enforcement authorities.
The establishment’s ties to organized crime, Suleimenov added, are a major reason why it has been so hard to prosecute gangland overlords. He outlined other obstacles confronting his Ministry. Ninety percent of gangsters have no criminal record, he said, making them hard to track down. Investigators are often unable to infiltrate tightly-knit kin-based bandit groups. Moreover, the authorities are hard-pressed to keep track of the movements of Kazakhstan’s growing number of refugees and illegal immigrants. Suleimenov said he understood the public’s disillusion with the law-enforcement agencies. A first practical step to restore public confidence would, he said, be to close all roadside police stations. A common ploy is for station officers to extort money from motorists by threatening to confiscate their driving licenses on trumped-up charges.–SC
The Monitor is a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. It is researched and written under the direction of senior analysts Jonas Bernstein, Vladimir Socor, Stephen Foye, and analysts Ilya Malyakin, Oleg Varfolomeyev and Ilias Bogatyrev. If you have any questions regarding the content of the Monitor, please contact the foundation. If you would like information on subscribing to the Monitor, or have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax at 301-562-8021, or by postal mail at The Jamestown Foundation, 4516 43rd Street NW, Washington DC 20016. Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of the Monitor is strictly prohibited by law. Copyright (c) 1983-2002 The Jamestown Foundation Site Maintenance by Johnny Flash Productions