Kazakhstan’s former intelligence chief has been arrested on suspicion of treason, as the federal government seeks to revive order following violent protests which have left authorities buildings destroyed and dozens lifeless within the former Soviet nation.
The January 6 detention of Karim Massimov was introduced on Saturday by KNB, the Nationwide Safety Committee that he had headed till Wednesday when he was fired by the president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
The transfer means that road protests, which started over rising gasoline costs, triggered an influence wrestle between Tokayev and his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, the nation’s long-serving first post-Soviet president.
The protests had been largely peaceable however abruptly turned violent on Wednesday when armed males attacked safety forces and stormed authorities buildings within the business capital Almaty. On Friday, Tokayev claimed 20,000 “bandits” had been concerned within the assault.
Massimov, a former prime minister, was a detailed ally of Nazarbayev, who stepped down in 2019 however had retained management of the highly effective Kazakh safety council till Wednesday, when Tokayev ousted him and assumed the position himself.
Tokayev then imposed a state of emergency, instructing safety forces to shoot and kill with out warning, and asking Russia for assist restoring order.
“It’s clear Tokayev realised Massimov was a severe risk to his authority insofar as sections of the KNB wouldn’t take directions from Tokayev however solely Nazarbayev and Massimov. That clearly couldn’t proceed,” mentioned Simon Glancy, founding father of Kazakhstan-based Strategic Options threat and compliance consulting agency.
“Massimov is a really strategic and cautious operator. For my part, he has most likely been arrange and blackmailed as half of the present inside energy wrestle,” he mentioned.
KNB, mentioned it opened an investigation into acts of treason on January 6, and detained Massimov and different folks “on suspicion of committing this crime”, in response to Interfax.
Glancy mentioned preliminary secrecy round Massimov’s arrest “solely underlines we’re very removed from realizing the complete image”.
Tokayev, a protégé of Nazarbayev, had been considered an interim determine, whereas the previous president retained management of the safety equipment and a task as “father of the nation”.
Massimov in impact managed the nation and was rumoured to have stored Tokayev beneath surveillance. That modified on Wednesday when Tokayev took management of the safety council.
The KNB mentioned Massimov’s deputy Samat Abish, who’s Nazarbayev’s nephew, remained in his place.
Nazarbayev and his shut family haven’t been seen in public since late-December and had been rumoured to have fled the nation. On Saturday, his press secretary Aidos Ukibay said on that the previous president was in Kazakhstan and involved with Tokayev.