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Kazakhstan Arrests Ex-Intelligence Chief on Suspicion of Treason

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Kazakhstan’s highly effective intelligence company mentioned on Saturday that it had arrested Karim Masimov, who solely days earlier than was the company’s chief, on suspicion of treason.

Mr. Masimov has been considered a key ally of the previous long-serving president, and the announcement gave the impression to be one other signal of the infighting among the many nation’s political elite that seems to have contributed to this previous week’s violence.

The intelligence company, a successor to the Soviet K.G.B., said in a statement that Mr. Masimov was arrested on Thursday, a day after the Kazakh president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, dismissed him from his submit, changing him with the top of his personal safety element. The company additionally supplied no particulars of what the federal government was basing its accusations of treason on.

A number of different officers have been additionally arrested, the assertion mentioned, however it didn’t determine them or give any additional particulars.

Kazakhstan, the world’s largest landlocked nation, was plunged into disaster this previous week after protests over a gasoline worth hike in a distant western oil city all of the sudden unfold 1000’s of miles east, to Almaty, its greatest and most affluent metropolis.

Because the protests grew, Almaty was changed into one thing like a struggle zone. Dozens of protesters and a few safety officers have been reported to have been killed, and movies confirmed blackened, burned-out authorities buildings and the shells of incinerated vehicles. The Kazakh authorities mentioned that greater than 4,000 folks had been detained.

At a crucial level throughout the upheaval, Mr. Tokayev formally requested that the Collective Safety Treaty Group, a Russia-led army alliance, intervene. Russia, together with different nations that belong to the group, despatched as much as 2,500 troops to assist the Kazakh authorities quell the unrest.

In a cellphone name with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Saturday, Mr. Tokayev expressed his “particular gratitude” to Russia for its assist, a Kremlin statement said.

It’s tough to evaluate precisely what is occurring inside Kazakhstan, which has been largely sealed off from the skin world. Its primary airports are closed or commandeered by Russian troops, whereas web companies and cellphone strains are largely down.

The announcement of Mr. Masimov’s arrest comes amid continued indicators of the infighting among the many nation’s political elite that’s believed to have contributed to the chaos.

Mr. Tokayev moved this week to nearly sideline Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had retained extensive powers as the top of the nation’s safety council, an umbrella group for nationwide safety coordination, and was given the honorary title of “folks’s hero.”

On the top of the tumult on Wednesday, Mr. Tokayev — whom Mr. Nazarbayev had handpicked as his successor when he stepped down in 2019 — introduced that he had changed Mr. Nazarbayev as the top of that company, leaving the previous president with none formal levers of energy.

After the transfer by Mr. Tokayev, rumors swirled that Mr. Nazarbayev had fled the nation. However Mr. Nazarbayev’s spokesman dismissed them on Saturday, saying that the previous chief was within the capital, Nur-Sultan, and that he was urging Kazakhs to discover a option to help the president.

Mr. Nazarbayev “calls on everybody to rally across the president of Kazakhstan to beat present challenges and make sure the integrity of the nation,” his spokesman, Aidos Ukibay, wrote on Twitter.

The announcement on Saturday, that Mr. Masimov, lengthy a Nazarbayev loyalist, was now being accused of treason added to the appreciable intrigue across the infighting among the many nation’s elite and the way it was taking part in into the unrest.

Mr. Masimov, who at one time served as Mr. Nazarbayev’s chief of employees and as Kazakhstan’s prime minister, twice, has been considered “a mastodon of Kazakh politics,” mentioned Daniil Kislov, a Russian knowledgeable on Central Asia who runs Fergana, a information web site targeted on the area.

Mr. Masimov has remained near a few of Mr. Nazarbayev’s influential members of the family, Mr. Kislov mentioned.

“He has been one of the vital influential folks,” he mentioned, “the final word energy dealer.”

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