Two Kazakhstanis made it to the international news last week, both in very unfortunate ways.
Firstly, Valeriy Tolmachev, an adviser to Kazakhstan's delegation at UNESCO, attacked a flight attendant with a knife onboard his Paris-to-Rome flight and demanded it fly to Libya. The hijacker was overpowered by the crew, arrested and jailed in Italy. Investigation revealed that the ill-starred newsmaker suffered from depression and mental disorder.
Nemtschin comments [ru]:
Kazakhstan is having a bad luck with its diplomats. One of them was not happy with the route chosen by a Berlin taxi driver, tried to beat him up and broke the German newsstands. On another occasion, the Kazakh Embassy in London becomes famous for being a top non-payer of illegal parking fees. Now the UNESCO official is hijacking the plane. In the meantime, their colleagues have to explain to everyone that they are not assholes…
Megakhuimak adds ironically [ru]:
The clearly lunatic hijacker Tolnachev was mentioned in the world media five or ten times more than our OSCE summit or Asian Winter Games. What did we waste so much money for?
Russian top blogger Dolboeb is not missing [ru] an opportunity to remember the most known character, associated with Kazakhstan on the West:
[Kazakhstan President] Nazarbayev has an outstanding gift to choose diplomats that are to represent their country in Europe. One of them caused the blockage of LiveJournal in Kazakhstan for two years [see this earlier post], another one tried to get an airplane to Lybia… Borat Sagdiev is a model behavior boy against this background.
The second story is far less entertaining – a Kazakhstani citizen became a victim in a dramatic and highly controversial situation. KZBlog, an expat blogger living in Kazakhstan, explains:
This is a terrible story and it’s doing bad things for the image of the US [United States] in Kazakhstan. A 26 year old, Kirill Denyakin, who was working in Portsmouth, VA was shot by police. Reportedly, he was drunk and banging on the door of an apartment complex where he had been staying with a friend. A neighbor called the 911 reporting a potential break-in. I don’t get it […] You can say that Denyakin was drunk and didn’t understand how things work with the police in the US. Yes, he did a dumb thing. But that’s not a capital offense. […] I hope this thing is fully investigated and the officer is punished sufficiently.
HamptonRoads reports on the press-conference given by the police chief about the incident in Portsmouth:
“The suspect disregards the verbal commands being issued by the officer. He immediately places his hands at the midsection of his body, in the waistband area, and then charges at the officer. The officer begins to retreat toward the sidewalk of Green Street while giving additional verbal commands. The suspect continues his advance on the officer, causing the officer to discharge his service weapon in an effort to stop the threat.”
Friends and co-workers of Denyakin said they were shocked that he was involved in the shooting. They described him as a good friend and a hard worker who didn't lose his temper.
In another article at HamptonRoads, columnist Roger Chesley alleges that:
Prosecutors won’t charge the Portsmouth police officer […], because on-duty cops in the region rarely face criminal counts when a suspect is gunned down.
Kirill's palms are shot through in several places – most likely, he tried to cover himself. His parents say that one of the bullets entered the body through a hip and got stuck in a throat. How come? Perhaps, they were shooting at the already lying body…
Shabaldina reacts [ru]:
This topic is very alarming to me. I can't speak about it cold-blooded. […] Apparently, it became known that there were 11, not 6 bullets discharged, and some of them entered the body from his back. Maybe I am speaking like a philistine, but I want to ask: Do you think those billions that our state spends for the image-making activities on the international arena make a change? Will they help the family of Kirill to win the case against the United States? […] Can you imagine the level of scandal that US diplomats would have made if, say, a Kazakh policeman shot and wounded an American citizen? Actually, our diplomats are generally doing a good job – they filed a pretty harsh note of protest, provided financial and legal support. Will they carry it through? I keep my fingers crossed.
The most recent news about the case is that the family of Denyakin is going to sue Portsmouth Police Department. The US State Department has already been notified that Kazakh Embassy is planning to claim financial compensation for Denyakin's death.
Kirill went to the United States under a Work & Travel program and decided to stay there to work at the Renaissance Hotel as a cook for two years.