Breaking News
Close
Investing Pro 0
NEW! Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+ Try 7 Days Free

Russian troops to quit Kazakhstan, says president, taking aim at the elite

GlobalJan 11, 2022 21:21
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. An interior view shows an electronics store that was looted during mass protests triggered by fuel price increase in Almaty, Kazakhstan January 9, 2022. REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev 2/2

By Tamara Vaal

NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) -Russian-led forces will begin withdrawing from Kazakhstan in two days' time after stabilising the Central Asian nation following serious unrest, the president said on Tuesday, in a speech that took aim at wealthy associates of his predecessor.

In a video call with parliament after putting down what he has called an attempted coup, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev appointed a new government headed by career public servant Alikhan Smailov.

In what looked like his latest attempt to distance himself from his predecessor, Tokayev said that public discontent over income inequality was justified and that he wanted associates of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the former president, to share their wealth.

Many Central Asia analysts believe intra-clan infighting among the elite may have played a major role in what was the deadliest violence in the former Soviet republic's 30 years of independence from Moscow.

As protesters torched buildings in the biggest city Almaty last week, Tokayev said former leader Nazarbayev was leaving his post as head of the powerful Security Council - where he had continued to pull the strings despite handing over the presidency in 2019.

Nazarbayev, 81, who ran the country for almost three decades and backed Tokayev as his successor, has not made a public appearance since.

Thanks to Nazarbayev, "a group of very profitable companies emerged in the country as well as a group of people wealthy even by international standards," Tokayev told parliament.

"I think it is time they pay their dues to the people of Kazakhstan and help them on a systemic and regular basis."

He gave no names, but the list of Kazakhstan's richest people includes several members of Nazarbayev's extended family, including his daughter Dinara with her husband, and a father-in-law of the former president's late grandson.

Tokayev said the financial system was dominated by large business groups "based on the principle 'everything for friends, and laws for everyone else'".

He spoke of initiatives to narrow the wealth gap, raise taxes on the mining sector, and eliminate irregularities in state procurement and areas where associates of Nazarbayev have business interests.

Tokayev also rounded on security officials, accusing them of abandoning their posts and letting protesters capture weapons and sensitive documents.

He has blamed the violence on foreign-trained Islamist radicals and "terrorists".

He said on Tuesday that the National Security Committee, the Kazakh successor to the Soviet KGB, had not only missed the looming threat, but had failed to act properly during the unrest. In some cities its officials had abandoned buildings and left behind firearms and classified documents, he said.

The fact that Russian-led forces that Tokayev called in to help stabilise the situation were first deployed to the capital, Nur-Sultan, prompted speculation at the time that their mission was to protect the government and Tokayev himself at a time when he could not fully trust his own security forces.

Tokayev sacked Karim Masimov, then head of the National Security Committee (NSC), on Jan. 5. Masimov was then detained on suspicion of treason.

'QUIET TERROR'

Tokayev, 68, last week asked the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) to send in troops at the peak of what he later said was an attempted coup d'etat whose unnamed instigators had plunged half of the oil-rich nation's territory into violence.

A day earlier, he said that the CSTO mission, whose legitimacy and duration were questioned by Washington, prompting an angry response from Moscow, numbered 2,030 troops and 250 pieces of military hardware.

On Tuesday he said the CSTO's main mission had been successfully completed. It would start a phased withdrawal in two days and pull out altogether within 10.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Washington welcomed the announcement that the forces have completed their mission and called on them to "uphold their commitment to promptly depart Kazakhstan, as the government has requested."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed victory in defending Kazakhstan from what he described as a foreign-backed terrorist uprising.

Kazakh authorities say order has been largely restored in the nation of 19 million and that almost 10,000 people have been detained over the unrest, with a hunt for others ongoing.

"Right now in the country there is a quiet terror. Everyone is frightened," said Botagoz Issayeva, a Kazakh rights activist in Sweden who is in contact with civil society groups inside the country.

She said among those arrested were about 50 activists taken from their homes and not heard of since.

"We don't even know where they've been taken and what state they're in," said Issayeva, who represents a civil society coalition that has lobbied the European Parliament and U.S. Congress to crack down on corruption in Kazakhstan.

She said the reported death toll of 164 appeared too low, especially since Tokayev announced last week he had given shoot-to-kill orders against what he called bandits and terrorists.

The authorities say that initially peaceful protests against car fuel price increases were hijacked by groups aiming to overthrow the government.

The Organisation of Turkic States and Hungary on Tuesday condemned "violence and vandalism" in Kazakhstan, voicing support for Kazakh government operations against "terrorists, radicals, extremists and criminals".

Russian troops to quit Kazakhstan, says president, taking aim at the elite
 

Related Articles

Protesters clash with police ahead of Davos meeting
Protesters clash with police ahead of Davos meeting By Reuters - May 21, 2022

ZURICH (Reuters) - Dozens of anti-capitalist protesters clashed with police in Zurich on Friday ahead of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting in the Alpine resort of...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Our Apps
DOWNLOAD APPApp store
Investing.com
© 2007-2022 Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.
Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
  • Sign up for FREE and get:
  • Real-Time Alerts
  • Advanced Portfolio Features
  • Personalized Charts
  • Fully-Synced App
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email