© Reuters. PHOTOGRAPHY: Timur Kulibayev, President of the Kazakhstan National Chamber of Entrepreneurship “Atameken”, looks at the meeting of the Chamber in Almaty, Kazakhstan, February 9, 2016. REUTERS / Shamil Zhumatov / File Photo
NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) – Samat Abish, a nephew of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, was ousted as second commander in the National Security Committee on Monday, the president’s office said, and Nazarbayev’s last cousin was fired.
Timur Kulibayev, Nazarbayev’s billionaire son-in-law, also resigned as chairman of Central Asia’s main business lobby group on Monday.
Nazarbayev, 81, who was considered the most powerful politician in the oil-rich country even after resigning in 2019, has not appeared in public since the start of mass protests earlier this month that escalated into the bloodiest riots in Kazakhstan’s post-Soviet history.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who once renamed the capital of Kazakhstan on behalf of Nazarbayev, took over the role of President of the Security Council during the unrest, ending their de facto ruling tandem.
He also appointed a new No. 2 to the National Security Committee at the time, but did not immediately remove Abisha.
Last week, Tokayev said those who had amassed wealth during Nazarbayev’s three decades of rule must now share it with the public. Kazakhstan’s state fund on Saturday fired two of Nazarbayev’s sons-in-law from senior positions in state-owned oil and gas companies.
Kulibayev, who together with his wife owns Kazakhstan’s largest bank Halyk, did not explain why he left his job at Atameken, an influential business lobby group.
At least 225 people have been killed in riots this month that have engulfed half the country and forced Tokayev to turn to a Russian-led military bloc for help.
Authorities detained Karim Massimov, a former head of the National Security Committee, and two of his deputies, on charges of treason, and said the attack was an attempted coup.
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