Arrest of former Kazakhstan spy chief uncovers internal power struggles
Until recently head of the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan (KNB) and former Prime Minister, Karim Masímov, was arrested Thursday on charges of “high treason.” He reached the peak of his career during the mandate of the previous head of state, Nursultan Nazarbayev, considered the ‘patriarch’ of the Nation, but now questioned by protesters for stepping into power while keeping their influence in the shadows.
Masimov’s arrest could end up uncovering the dissensions existing within the regime in an apparent struggle for power and even a possible plot against the current president of the country, Kasim-Zhomart Tokáyev. Masimov was dismissed as head of the KNB along with the rest of the members of the
Government last Wednesday as the first measure to try to appease the anger of the protesters who were protesting the rise in the prices of liquefied gas. The next day, he was arrested and now, if proven guilty, he faces a minimum of 15 years in jail and may even be imprisoned. life imprisonment.
An adviser to Nazarbayev, Ermujamet Ertisbayev, quoted by various Russian agencies, said this Saturday that the current crisis in the country “has to do directly with the betrayal of some officials and those responsible for the forces of order (…) without this disloyalty in the Within the highest spheres of power, and especially in the forces of order, the revolt would not have progressed ». According to Ertisbayev, “just 40 minutes before the attack on the Almatí airport, the order was given to completely withdraw the security cordon.”
Tokáyev withdrew Nazarbayev this week from the post of president of the Security Council, one of the estates from where he handled politics, in addition to his party. The president has also just removed Azamat Abdimomúnov as deputy secretary of the Security Council, which, together with Masimov’s arrest, is a serious blow to the country’s former leader.
Rumors about the whereabouts of Nazarbayev
In recent days, it was rumored that Nazarbayev, who was in charge of the country for almost 30 years, had fled the country. Russia was one of the destinations that were being considered. However, his spokesman, Aidos Ukibái, has announced that he has not left the country. As he has told the Russian agency Interfax, he is in Nursultán, the capital, and “is in permanent and direct contact with President Tokáyev.”
Ukibai also said that “Nazarbayev has held several telephone conversations with friendly heads of state of Kazakhstan and calls on everyone to unite around the president to overcome current challenges and guarantee the territorial integrity of our country.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Interior of the republic offered this Saturday new figures on the balance of the disorders: 40 dead and almost 4,500 detainees since the beginning of the protests last Sunday, the 2nd. Among those arrested there are 11 instigators of the disturbances and almost half of the dead are agents of the security forces. An 11-year-old girl died as a result of a stealth bullet that struck her head. According to the UN, some 1,000 people were injured during the week of protests.
The armed clashes in Almatí moved this Saturday to the outskirts, to the road that leads to the city of Bishkek, the capital of the neighboring republic of Kyrgyzstan. Although somewhat less numerous, demonstrations they continued to be produced in different parts of the country. The authorities believe that the situation is tending to normalize. For tomorrow Monday has been decreed day of mourning throughout Kazakhstan for the deaths of the last days.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, spoke this Saturday by videoconference with Tokáyev to, according to the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, propose the celebration of a telematic summit of the countries that are part of the Organization of the Collective Security Treaty (ODKB), Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. That is, those who have sent troops to Kazakhstan to suppress the protests. The date of the meeting is not set yet, but it will discuss the possible measures to be taken to accelerate the end of the crisis. Tokáyev considers that what happened is the work of foreign “instigators” and calls “terrorists” those who disobey the Police and refuse to give up their attitude.