Saturday, January 08, 2022
Nazarbayev also opposed
“Leader of the Nation” Supports the President of Kazakhstan
Demonstrations against high energy prices turn into rebellion against the regime in Kazakhstan. The anger is not only against the incumbent president, but also against his predecessor – whom many have always considered to be the really strong man in the country.
Kazakhstan’s influential ex-long-term ruler, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has not left his homeland despite the unrest, according to a spokesman, and is calling for the support of incumbent President Kasim-Shomart Tokayev. Nazarbayev called on all citizens to stand behind the head of state, Kassym-Shomart Tokayev, “to meet the current challenges and ensure the integrity of the country,” his spokesman Edos Ukibai said on Twitter.
“The leaders of the nation are in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan,” wrote Ukibaz. Earlier, rumors had swirled that 81-year-old Nazarbayev had left Kazakhstan after his successor, President Tokayev, ousted him as head of the influential Security Council. Nazarbayev is in direct contact with Tokayev, wrote Ukibaz. The former president, who resigned in 2019, is considered the de facto strongman in the authoritarian-led former Soviet republic.
After days of violent protests, the situation in Kazakhstan has recently escalated: the head of state Tokayev ordered security forces to shoot protesters on Friday and denied talks with them. “I ordered fatal shots without warning,” Tokayev said in a televised address on Friday. The order to shoot caused international panic. Tokayev said Almaty, the country’s largest city and economic center, has been attacked by “20,000 bandits”. The “terrorists” had a clear plan and were “ready to fight”. The president called Western calls to hold talks with the protesters “absurd”.
Secret Service chief dismissed and arrested
The Central Asian country has been witnessing unprecedented clashes between protesters and security forces for several days. The protest, which was initially directed against rising gas prices, spread across the country into mass protests for the government. Protesters’ anger is also against the authoritarian former President Nazarbayev, who is still considered highly influential.
In his televised address, Tokayev thanked his colleague, Russian President Vladimir Putin, “in particular” for his help. A group of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) under the Russian leadership is currently supporting the Kazakh security forces.
The Kazakh Domestic Intelligence Service announced that its former boss, Karim Masimov, had been arrested on suspicion of high treason. Tokayev removed Massimov’s post on Thursday in the wake of the protests. The president accused the security organs of not being previously aware of the allegedly externally controlled “terrorists” who are now involved in the riots.
In Almaty in the southeast, where the situation is particularly dramatic and confusing, US consulate general staff who are not urgently needed have been allowed to leave the country voluntarily, as announced by the US State Department Was.
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