Kazakhstan’s border guards have had a troubled few months: first, a bizarre mass slaughter at a remote outpost (blamed on a rogue conscript), then the death of the border commander in a plane crash. Now, the Border Service has been hit by fresh controversy after two officers committed suicide in the space of a week.
The latest to kill himself was Captain Murat Kadralinov, deputy commander of the Shonzhy border outpost, 250 kilometers east of Almaty near the border with China, Tengri News reported. Kadralinov committed suicide on February 4 due to a “family dispute,” the report quoted the Border Service press service as saying.
A local newspaper in northern Kazakhstan, Kostanayskiye Novosti, reported that the 28-year-old captain was from the northern Kostanay area and said he was living with his pregnant wife and two children at the Shonzhy border post in southeastern Kazakhstan.
Kadralinov’s suicide came five days after a more senior officer, the head of the Border Academy, shot himself in the head in his office. The National Security Committee, the domestic intelligence agency which is in charge of the Border Service, said it was investigating the death of Major-General Talgat Yesetov on January 31 in what appeared to be suicide.
The Border Service has been dogged by controversy since the massacre of 15 people last May at another unit in southeastern Kazakhstan, Arkankergen, also near the long border with China. Conscript Vladislav Chelakh is serving a life sentence for that crime, to which he initially confessed, saying he was provoked by hazing. He later retracted his confession and the case has proved controversial in Kazakhstan, where some observers have cast doubt on Chelakh’s guilt.
That crime sparked the resignation of Border Service Director Major-General Nurzhan Myrzaliyev. He was replaced by Turganbek Stambekov, who was among 27 people killed in a military plane crash on December 25.