Ex defense minister of Kazakhstan faces a criminal charge

Published (modified )
He is accused of non-feasance during riots that took hold across the country in January

The former defense minister of Kazakhstan Marat Bektanov was detained in Nur-Sultan. He has since been taken into custody.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the official is accused of non-feasance during the January unrest.

The criminal investigation into mass disorder and terrorism in the territory of Kazakhstan has established that the former defense minister Bektanov has failed to take actions he was supposed to take.


On February 19, the Office of the Prosecutor General initiated the pre-trial investigation under Article 452 of the country’s Criminal Code (inaction of authorities). This article of the Criminal Code carries a punishment of up to ten years of imprisonment with confiscation of property and a lifetime ban for taking any official positions in the country.

On January 19, Bektanov was replaced with Ruslan Zhaksylykov as the defense minister. President Tokayev has officially accused Bektanov of failing to use military force when it was needed. That is why Kazakhstan authorities were forced to ask for help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

General Lieutenant Murat Bektanov was born in 1965; in 1988 he graduated from Higher All-Troops Command College in Kyiv. Over 1998-2000 he was studying in the military training academy of Kazakhstan’s army. In 2007 he graduated from the military academy in Russia.

From 2016 to 2019 Bektanov served as chief commander of land troops of the Republic of Kazakhstan; over 2019-2021 he was the first deputy of the minister of defense. On August 31, 2021, he had been appointed as a new minister of defense.  

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