The situation in Kazakhstan is tense: after the bloody disturbances, the authorities have considerably increased their figures on the number of dead and injured. Most of the victims are civilians.
Authorities say a total of 225 people have been killed during the violent protests in Kazakhstan. “During the state of emergency, the bodies of 225 people were taken to morgues,” a representative of the prosecutor general’s office, Serik Shalabayev, told reporters on Saturday. According to it, 206 citizens and 19 police and military were among the victims. Meanwhile, former President Nursultan Nazarbayev has sacked two sons-in-law at the head of two major energy companies.
Some of the dead were “armed bandits involved in terrorist attacks”, Shalabayev said. “Unfortunately, civilians have also been victims of acts of terrorism.” Kazakh authorities had previously spoken of dozens of deaths. A post that spoke of at least 164 dead was later taken down by the Ministry of Information.
2,600 people in the clinics
According to a Health Ministry spokeswoman, more than 2,600 people have been treated in hospitals, 67 of whom remain in serious condition. Other reports say nearly 4,600 people were injured, more than double from Sunday a week ago.
Meanwhile, the sovereign wealth fund announced on Saturday that Nazarbayev’s son-in-law, Dimash Dosanov, had resigned as chairman of oil transport company KasTransOil. Kakirat Charipbayev, also son-in-law of the ex-president, resigned from the presidency of the gas company KasakGas, formerly KasTransGas. The fund did not provide any further background information.
According to the media, Charipbayev, 58, is the husband of the eldest daughter of the former head of state, Dariga Nazarbayeva. Dosanov, 40, is therefore married to Nazarbayev’s youngest daughter, Alija. The ex-president has another daughter, Dinara, whose husband is one of the richest men in Kazakhstan.
“Coup attempt” by organized “terrorist” forces
The firings indicate power struggles following violent protests that have left dozens dead, hundreds injured and thousands arrested. Massive protests in the resource-rich former Soviet republic in early January were sparked by rising gas prices. The protests then turned into anti-government demonstrations across the country.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had condemned the unrest as an “attempted coup” by organized “terrorist” forces. He also blamed several companies, including KazakGas, for the crisis.
Observers also suspected a power struggle at the top of the country. Tokayev succeeded Nazarbayev in 2019, who had ruled Kazakhstan authoritatively for three decades. The handover initially seemed successful.
Suspicion of “high treason”
In the wake of the Troubles, however, Tokayev had turned on his predecessor and former mentor with unusually sharp words. He accused Nazarbayev, who is said to still have great influence in the country, of favoring a wealthy elite.
Secret Service chief Karim Massimov, a close confidant of Nazarbayev, was also removed from his post and arrested on suspicion of “high treason”.