In Kazakhstan, President announces departure of Russian soldiers and appoints new Prime Minister

He appealed to Moscow on Thursday as his country was in chaos and sacked his government in a futile attempt at appeasement. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced Tuesday, January 11, that troops deployed by Russia would withdraw from this week. As part of a return to normalcy, he also appointed a new prime minister as this vast Central Asian country was rocked last week by violence never seen since its independence in 1991. It has made dozens. dead and hundreds injured, prompted the deployment of a regional military force led by Russia and led to the arrest of thousands of people.

Riots qualify as aggression “Terrorist” by the authorities, who have not, however, provided concrete evidence to this effect. They erupted in the context of protests against rising fuel prices, against a backdrop of declining living standards and endemic corruption in this former Soviet republic.

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“The main mission of peacekeeping forces (…) ended successfully, said Tokayev. The gradual withdrawal of the unified contingent from the[Organisation du traité de sécurité collective, OTSC] will start in two days. This process will not take more than ten days. “ These soldiers, mainly Russian, were deployed in an unprecedented way within the framework of this military alliance of former Soviet republics, placed under the aegis of Moscow. According to the Kazakh president, this force consists of 2,030 soldiers.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Choïgou, for his part, said on Tuesday that the departure would take place once the situation “Fully stabilized” and “On decision” Kazakh authorities. On Monday, his counterpart, Vladimir Putin, confirmed that the troops were there “For a limited period”.

The Kazakh power has, moreover, carried out mass arrests in this authoritarian country without tolerated political opposition. On Tuesday, the interior ministry said nearly 10,000 people had been arrested. No precise human toll of the troubles has been provided. The most serious violence took place in the economic capital, Almaty, where many public buildings were ransacked and businesses looted as rioters and security forces clashed in armed clashes.

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Frontal attack on the “father of the nation”

As a sign of a return to normalcy, Kazakh deputies have confirmed the appointment of a new prime minister, Alikhan Smailov, after the government resigned last week. Mr. Smailov, 49, former finance minister, was also an aide to ex-President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who ruled Kazakhstan for three decades until 2019. During the unrest, protesters chanted their anger against the 81-year-old former leader.

President Tokayev, for his part, launched a frontal attack on his political father on Tuesday, accusing him of having favored the emergence of a « caste » having monopolized the wealth of this country overflowing with hydrocarbons, an unprecedented criticism of the man who is considered the “father of the nation” and benefit from the cult of personality.

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“Because of the first president, the Elbasy [« père de la nation »], a caste of very profitable companies, very rich people, has arisen in the country. I think the time has come to pay tribute to the people of Kazakhstan ”, said the man who has spent his entire political career in the shadow of Mr. Nazarbayev, while daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren and others close to the former head of state control very important positions and economic interests .

One of Mr. Nazarbayev’s allies, Karim Massimov, was arrested on Saturday for high treason after being sacked from the head of the secret service. If social tensions and power struggles are real, Mr. Tokayev nevertheless considers that the riots were a “Coup attempt” by “Terrorists” foreigners. He received the support, in this capacity, from Mr. Poutine.

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The World with AFP

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In Kazakhstan, President announces departure of Russian soldiers and appoints new Prime Minister

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