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Kazakhstan’s former intelligence chief arrested on suspicion of treason

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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 useless 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 gas costs, triggered an influence battle between Tokayev and his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, the nation’s long-serving first post-Soviet president.

The protests had been largely peaceable however immediately turned violent on Wednesday when armed males attacked safety forces and stormed authorities buildings within the industrial capital Almaty. On Friday, Tokayev claimed 20,000 “bandits” had been concerned within the assault.

Massimov, a former prime minister, was an in depth 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 without warning, and asking Russia for help 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,” stated Simon Glancy, founding father of Kazakhstan-based Strategic Options danger and compliance consulting agency.

“Massimov is a really strategic and cautious operator. In my opinion, he has most likely been arrange and blackmailed as half of the present inner energy battle,” he stated.

KNB, stated it opened an investigation into acts of treason on January 6, and detained Massimov and different individuals “on suspicion of committing this crime”, in response to Interfax.

Glancy stated preliminary secrecy round Massimov’s arrest “solely underlines we’re very removed from realizing the complete image”.

Tokayev, a protégé of Nazarbayev, had been thought to be 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 saved Tokayev’s below surveillance. That modified on Wednesday when Tokayev took management of the safety council.

The KNB stated Massimov’s deputy Samat Abish, who’s Nazarbayev’s nephew, remained in his place.

Nazarbayev and his shut family members 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.