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Kazakhstan, former security chief arrested. Nazarbayev: “Support the president”

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The former head of the Kazakh security services, Karim Masimov, was arrested for high treason. This was reported in a press release. Loyal to the former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, Masimov was relieved two days ago from his post, which he had held since 2016, by the president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The Kazakh online newspaper Orda.kz yesterday he reported the news of the arrest of Same Abish, number two of the Kazakh security services (KNB) and nephew of Nazarbayev. The website later denied the news, claiming the source was incorrect.

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The Kazakh authorities are therefore suggesting that behind the violent riots triggered in recent days by the rise in fuel prices there was a direction linked to the highest levels of the secret services. Yesterday a former adviser to Nazarbayev, Yermukhamet Yertysbayev, appeared on television and said that 40 minutes before the assault on Almaty airport, security forces were told to remove the cordon and move away. According to Yertysbayev, the conspirators also favored the occupation of the National Security command in Almaty.

The note from the KNB explains that on January 6 the internal secret services had opened an investigation for high treason on Masimov. On the same day, explains the KNB, Masimov was arrested following the accusation and “placed in a temporary detention center, together with other subjects”.

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Masimov, of Uyghur ethnicity, had served as prime minister from January 2007 to September 2012 and from April 2014 to September 2016, when Nazarbayev moved him to head of intelligence. The move was interpreted as a demotion linked to the president’s irritation at the self-promotion campaign that Masimov had undertaken on social networks.

Nazarbayev’s former adviser also said that the rioters knew where to find weapons and had been “ideologically prepared”. Yertysbayev also accused the KNB of hiding information on training camps for militiamen set up in the mountainous regions of the country. All charges for which Masimov will now be called to answer.

Nazarbayev’s appeal

The former Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is actually in the capital Nur-Sultan and “asks everyone to gather around the president of Kazakhstan to overcome current challenges and ensure the integrity of the country”. This was announced on Twitter by Nazarbayev’s spokesman, Aidos Ukibay, thus denying the media that in recent days had claimed that the former president had left the country.

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Arrest him

A total of 4,404 people have been arrested for participating in the riots, triggered by the sharp rise in the price of fuel, which shocked Kazakhstan this week. Among them also “citizens of a neighboring state”. This was reported by the Nur-Sultan Ministry of the Interior. The riots have not yet completely subsided in Almaty, the largest city in the country and the epicenter of the riots, where, according to the authorities, “a counter-terrorism operation is still underway”.

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Blinken’s Doubts

“We are very concerned” about developments in Kazakhstan and “have doubts” about the nature of the request for assistance from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said the US secretary of state. Antony Blink. “It seems to me that the Kazakh authorities had the capacity to deal appropriately with the protests and it is not clear why they requested outside assistance,” he added: “A lesson from recent history I think is that once the Russians are at your home , it is very difficult to convince them to leave “. “We hope that the Kazakh government itself will be able to solve the country’s internal problems, which are mostly economic”, said the secretary of state.


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