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Kazakhstan: after the riots, the president attacks his predecessor


Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has also appointed a new ministerial cabinet, as this vast Central Asian country was rocked last week by violence never seen since its independence in 1991. It has left dozens of dead and hundreds injured, and led to the arrest of some 10,000 people.

Mr. Tokayev accused his mentor and predecessor, Nursultan Nazarbayev, of having favored the emergence of a rich caste dominating this state overflowing with hydrocarbons, an unprecedented criticism of the one who holds the honorary title of Head of the Nation and until now enjoyed a cult of personality.

During the unrest, protesters chanted their anger at the 81-year-old former leader. Since then, rumors about Mr. Nazarbayev’s flight abroad have multiplied, but the Kazakh authorities have not given any information on his whereabouts.

If the riots qualify as assaults terrorist foreign by the authorities, the violence broke out after demonstrations against the rise in fuel prices, against a backdrop of deteriorating living standards and endemic corruption in this former Soviet republic.

UN human rights experts denounced misuse of the term on Tuesday terrorists by the Kazakh authorities, also condemning the use of lethal force against the rioters.

France, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU), called for respect fully sovereignty of Kazakhstan and the launch of a dialogue to allow a de-escalation in the crisis.

Hunt for the rich clan of Nazarbayev

Launching a frontal attack on his mentor, Mr. Tokayev accused him of being responsible for the emergence in the country of a caste of very profitable companies, very rich people. I think the time has come to pay tribute to the people, he said.

Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, Tokayev’s predecessor.

Photo: Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov

He therefore wants the elites who in the dark have huge funds, as well as large companies, supply a fund that will benefit the population.

The first sign in this direction, Mr Tokayev announced on Tuesday that he planned to end a much-criticized private monopoly on waste recycling, linked to Mr Nazarbayev’s youngest daughter, Alia, 41.

Another daughter, Dinara and her husband Timur Kulibayev, who are among the richest people in Kazakhstan, control the big Halyk bank and have significant clout in the key oil sector.

The eldest daughter Dariga’s political career, notably in parliament, has been marked by a series of controversial statements, with information also giving her important commercial interests.

One of Mr. Nazarbayev’s allies, Karim Massimov, was arrested on Saturday for high treason after being sacked from the head of the secret service.

Withdrawal of foreign troops

The riots had led Tokayev to call in to the rescue some 2,000 men from a Russian-led military force. According to him, their mission being accomplished, their withdrawal can begin this week.


Mainly Russian troops have been deployed to Kazakhstan to aid the Tokayev regime.

Photo: AP

The gradual withdrawal of the unified contingent from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will begin in two days. This process will not take more than ten days, said Tokayev.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the departure would take place once the situation totally stabilized and on decision Kazakh authorities.

The contingent commander of theOrganization of the collective security treaty, Andrei Serdyukov, indicated that a plan was being drawn up to hand over to the Kazakh forces the custody of the sites protected by his forces. According to him, the rapid deployment of this contingent made it possible to stabilize the situation in the country.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that the troops of theOrganization of the collective security treaty were therelimited “,” text “:” for a limited period “}} ‘>for a limited period.

In Almaty, many residents welcomed this contingent with relief. I welcome cooperation with Russia45-year-old professor Roza Mataïeva told AFP. I think there is no threat to our sovereignty.

The most serious violence took place in this city, the economic capital, where many public buildings were ransacked and businesses looted, while rioters and Kazakh forces clashed in armed clashes.

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