Kazakhstani authorities say that Karim Masimov was orchestrating unrest in January 2022

Карим Масимов
Photo: Kursiv

According to Prosecutor General Berik Asylov, the former head of the National Security Committee (KNB) is the one who was behind the unrest. The official also noted that perpetrators had been preparing for the unrest long before it happened in January 2022. Now, Karim Masimov and his deputies are the key individuals involved in this criminal case.

When Asylov was asked by a journalist if Masimov is the key organizer of the January unrest, he gave a positive response.

However, while talking about Samat Abish, a nephew of Ex-President Nursultan Nazarbayev and a high-ranking KNB officer, Asylov wasn’t so confident. He said that Abish isn’t under arrest and his exact location is unknown.

On January 17, 2022, Abish was discharged from the KNB. Later, law enforcement officials said that he might be involved in the case.

The former head of the KNB was detained on January 6 last year. He is accused of treason. His three deputies – Anuar Sadykulov, Daulet Yergozhin and Marat Osipov have been detained as well. All three men are accused of violent upheaval and abuse of power. On November 18, 2022, the official trial for Masimov started in Astana.

Two days later, Nazarbayev tried to distance himself from Masimov. He confirmed that had worked with Masimov for many years but could never imagine what he was going to do. «Even Jesus Christ didn’t suspect Judas, who was behind him. We aren’t gods, so let’s wait for the verdict by the court,» Nazarbayev said.

In early January 2022, peaceful protests in Zhanaozen were supported by people in some other cities in Kazakhstan. People took to the streets in many of them, but in Almaty, protests turned into bloody clashes with the police and armed forces of the country. According to official data, 238 people died, including 19 law enforcement officers. In Almaty, protesters set both the city’s administration building and the president’s residence on fire. As a result, the authorities decided to demolish the latter building.

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