Are There Officials Against Toughening Law on Domestic Violence in Kazakhstan?


Kazakhstanis have been actively signing a petition demanding tougher penalties for domestic violence and trying to bring to the authorities’ attention that some officials’ actions and words contribute to its normalization. Indeed, among the opinion leaders there are those who indirectly protect abusers. An correspondent has looked into the matter .

After deaths caused by domestic violence, Kazakhstanis consistently ask for tougher penalties. But will the Criminal Code be able to save the lives of women and children? While mixed opinions are heard from high tribunes, abusers may feel support and justification for their actions.


An example is the statement of Majilis deputy, Marat Bashimov. At a session of the Committee on Legislation, he publicly condemned women who call the police, trying to protect themselves.

Well, you get divorced then! What, are you going to put a man in jail? Or bring him to criminal responsibility and live with him together? That's what I don't understand, the deputy said.

A backlash immediately followed in the media and social networks. Kazakhstani Adiya Turuspekova responded to Bashimov on Facebook:

If you are for violence, you have no place in the corps (reference to being a deputy - Ed.). Resign. Your position is clear.

She tagged the deputy's account in her comment, asking if she understood everything correctly, and wether this is genuinely his opinion.

screenshot from facebook post

She did not receive an answer, however. On his page, the deputy published this:

Screenshot from facebook post

In a video, Bashimov notes a sharp jump in crimes related to domestic violence after the decriminalization of the article and the introducing administrative responsibility.

Every year, according to him, more than 100,000 facts of physical violence are registered in the country. "Under pressure from the police, relatives, and courts, 50% of these cases end in reconciliation."
Screenshot from the video of the program “According to the law”

He stressed that the number of crimes is growing, whereas sanctions are decreasing. And that even for animal cruelty, fines reach 367,000 tenge. Only light administrative liability is provided for domestic violence: a fine of up to 30,000 tenge and arrest for up to 10 days.

Screenshot from the video of the program "According to the law”

At the same time, the Majilis deputy supports "the need to introduce criminal liability and excluding the termination of cases due to the parties’ reconciliation without sufficient grounds.

His statement about divorce seems out of place after seeing such arguments.

In September, he also spoke on the issue of domestic violence at a meeting of the Committee on Legislation, saying that this issue is being considered too one-sided:

Not only men, experts say, but also women often provoke violence itself. In this regard, the experience of Germany and other countries is very important, which is effective and used by many states. The institution of provocations exists in international human law, but in our legislation it is one-sided, only in defense of women.

Another Majilis deputy from the AMANAT party, Amantay Zharkynbek, has stated that Kazakhstani women should be held accountable for "provocations" in cases of domestic violence, i.e. 15-day arrests should apply not only to men but also women.

We must understand that our country occupies a large territory. We have very different mentalities in the south and north, east and west. But young people from these regions have families with each other. They speak different languages, have different positions. There will be quarrels until they become a family. If we lock up a husband every time the dishes "break", most will not be able to become a family again and will not be reunited,  Zharkynbek said on September 27 in the Majilis.

Later, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Igor Lepekh, speaking in the Senate, stressed:

Fining victims of violence — the first part is clearly incompatible with the second. I think hardly anyone will go for it and support it. 

Deputy Karakat Abden’s previous statements that Kazakh women should improve the country's demographic situation and take care of the nation are also noteworthy.

Photo from instagram: @abdenkarakat

This opinion alone cannot be called support for family violence, but such pressure is also a form of abuse. And it does not benefit a healthy society. Such rhetoric is quite capable of generating violence within families, where a child’s birth, life, and caretaking become a woman’s obligation dictated by the state.

The deputy seems to have had a recent change of heart. In her deputy request at the plenary session of the Majilis, she expressed dissatisfaction with the small proportion of women's presence in state structures:

Statistics show that in the regions of the country, the total share of female department heads subordinate to akimats is only 17.8%. Even in the capital, where strong personnel are concentrated, there are absolutely no women among the deputy akims and akims of districts. Of the 21 departments under the jurisdiction of the Akimat, only one is led by a woman. We must meet the requirements of the modern world.

The politician had previously proposed to introduce a tax for Kazakh women marrying foreigners. She stated this during her 2022 presidential campaign run. There are assumptions that Karakat is simply following trends. Many are keen to see how she intends to follow though with her current views.

What About Officials?

Even officials and their loved ones come under the microscope.

Corruption in the justice system, the possibility of escaping responsibility, and the hushing up of a problem are factors that should not be forgotten. The result - rising criminal statistics. The logic is "if they can, then I can."

It often happens that a victim keeps quiet and endures. No one seems to be interested in someone else's family squabbles. "Learned helplessness" is also reinforced by the lack of protection from the state.

Against the background of ex-Minister Bishimbayev's detention, journalists have voiced the opinion that there are abusers among officials who prevent the toughening of legislation on family violence. However, the chairman of the Senate, Maulen Ashimbayev, did not agree:

If you have facts that there are abusers among officials, that someone did this kind of unpleasant things, you should talk about it openly. I can say that there are no people in the public administration system who commit abuse at home and then at work they prevent the toughening of legislation on family and domestic violence.

Whether these statements are true is a guessing game, but it is unlikely that such officials and their relatives would welcome the toughening of legislation. And such claims regarding their existent are not invented, unfortunately.


Recently, the son of Deputy Daulet Turlykhanov assaulted his wife. On September 6, a video appeared on social networks showing Akezhan Turlykhanov assaulting the young woman.This is not the first case of assault committed by Turlykhanov's children. His son, Nurasyl Bolat, assaulted a family of lawyers — Oleg Chernov and his wife Anna.

Oksana Taipova reached out to law enforcement agencies back in 2012 and wrote an appeal to the then-Interior Minister, Kalmukhanbet Kasymov. The woman claimed that Daniyar Turlykhanov physically assaulted her daughter at least twice: in July 2011 and June 2012:


10 years later, in July 2022, Daniyar Turlykhanov assaulted a man on the street, and in April 2023 he did the same to a woman. Both cases were regarded as administrative offenses, but the deputy’s eldest son was not held accountable for his actions. The parties reconciled, and the victims withdrew their statements.

As mentioned above, this year, the deputy's middle son, Akezhan Turlykhanov, physically assaulted a young woman named Eva. She wrote about this on her Instagram page. In her stories, she posted a video from surveillance cameras.

The young man's father said that he learned about the incident from the news. On the sidelines of the Majilis, the deputy did not confirm that his son was in the video, but he did not deny it either.

What kind of parent would want a child to be bad, or a child to be unwell? They'll figure it out themselves. I have just heard this news from you. It's unpleasant for me, Turlykhanov said.

A few hours later, he commented on the situation in more detail on his personal Instagram page.

Turlykhanov Sr. called the young woman "the initiator of such incidents," and the incident itself was "another information attack" against his family.

The deputy nevertheless admitted that his son Akezhan was in the video:

As you know, this is not the first time such cases concern my family. The repetition of this, of course, gives reason to think. I raised my children according to the testament of  fathers, in the traditions of our people. I also have my own questions about this video. I don't understand why such girls come to the house where my son lives at 4 in the morning and become the initiators of such incidents. And all this is coincidentally recorded on CCTV cameras, and the parts that some people need immediately appear and spread in the media. All this raises doubts not only for me, but also for other people too. I believe that this is all another information attack aimed at my family over the past years.

Blatant Facts

In 2021, activist and lawmaker Anatoly Kim was suspended from participating in the working group on the draft law "On the protection of children's rights". He opposed the introduction of the term "bullying" into legislation and the adoption of the bill "On Countering domestic violence".

Kim in social networks and in media interviews instilled the opinion that with the adoption of the law, children from the family will be withdrawn at the slightest provocation and given to same-sex couples. His rhetoric was picked up by a huge number of users, real battles broke out in social networks, as a result, the bill was sent for revision,the encyclopedia of activists of Kazakhstan writes.

Aidar Seralin is the former husband of activist Aliya Isenova, Anatoly Kim’s wife. Back in February 2021, he claimed that Aliya's current husband, Anatoly Kim, had abused their children. He mentioned that Kim practices locking children in the pantry and physical punishment, in connection with which Seralin filed a statement with the police.

On March 6, Aidar announced on his Instagram page that after his appeal to the Majilis, Anatoly Kim was suspended from participating in the working group of the draft law "On Amendments and Additions to some legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the protection of children's rights."

A child's voice is audible in the published video. He says that Kim is nobody to him: "And he beats me, someone else's child.”

Another Majilis deputy confirmed this, now the Commissioner for Children's Rights, Dinara Zakiyeva. She said that the decision was made after they learned that a criminal case was opened against Anatoly Kim under article 140 of the Criminal Code on the fact of abuse of minor children.

Yes, a letter was sent to Anatoly Kim informing him that currently his participation in the working group on the draft law "On Amendments and additions to some legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the protection of the rights of the child" seems impossible until the completion of the proceedings initiated against him, Zakiyeva said.

In February 2021, another activist, lawyer Madiyar Alzhapparov was suspended from participating in the working group on the draft law "On Amendments and Additions to some legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the protection of children's rights" due to a criminal record, i.e. the sexual assault of two girls. One was a minor. Alzhapparov, like Kim, openly opposed the bill "On countering domestic violence."

I was excluded from the expert group so that I could not say that this law is against the Kazakh society. They don't know that by trying to silence one lawyer, they may run into the anger of the people. The word "bullying" contains many meanings. If you want a bright future, don't be indifferent. The working group is not operating properly, moving one-sidedly, in one direction. What is the purpose of the adoption of this legislation? Who is behind them? Why are there so many offenses? What is the purpose of adopting an anti-people law? If they want to condemn me on the road to the truth, let them condemn me, I will go to the end, Alzhapparov commented on what was happening in February 2021 (The quote’s writing style has been preserved — editor's note).

Such instances lead one to believe that being sure that there are no abusers among the opponents of stricter laws on violence is not so simple.

Original Author: Yuri Nizhnigorodsky

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original piece in Russian for accuracy.

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