Kazakhstan's former head of the National Security Committee, Karim Massimov, has been arrested on suspicion of treason following nationwide anti-government protests. According to CNN, the National Security Committee announced the detention of Massimov, along with other unnamed officials on suspicion of treason. Now, authorities in Kazakhstan appear to be back in control of the largest city of Almaty. But President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has said that "terrorist" attacks were still happening in some places.
Meanwhile, the detention of Massimov came in the backdrop of a phone call between Tokayev and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. According to reports, Putin and Tokayev discussed “restoring order” in Kazakhstan following days of violence and unrest. Tokayev told Putin that the situation in the Central Asian nation was “progressing on the way to stabilization” and expressed his “appreciation” for the deployment of a Russia-led military bloc to Kazakhstan in a bid to try and control violence on the streets.
Further, the Kazakhstan’s President blamed foreign-trained “terrorists” for the unrest without giving evidence. Previously, he had even stated that the attacks were carried out by specialists who manipulated public opinion through the dissemination of false information. Tokayev on Friday authorised the security forces to shoot the ones participating in the unrest.
Kazakhstan is presently experiencing its worst street protests since gaining independence from the Soviet Union at least three decades ago. Dozens of people have been killed in the unrest, which has brought global attention to citizens’ wider discontent with authoritarian rule. As per Sputnik, over 5,000 individuals have been detained in Kazakhstan as a result of the unrest, which included widespread looting, burning, the murder of law enforcement officials, and at least one confirmed police officer beheading.
The chaos in Kazakhstan began last week triggered by a massive increase in fuel prices with people flooding the streets in Zhanaozen and Aktau before spreading to the rest of the nation and turning into a violent riot. It was announced that the country will be in a state of emergency due to the deteriorating situation that will last until January 19. Over $200 million in damages have been estimated so far, as per Sputnik report.