Kazakh president steps up purge of security agency after mass unrest

The violence has spurred speculation of a rift in the ruling elite, with Tokayev fighting to consolidate his authority after firing key officials and removing Nazarbayev from a powerful role as head of the Security Council.The president's website announced the sackings of Marat Osipov and Daulet Ergozhin as deputy heads of the National Security Committee. It gave no explanation in a terse statement late on Sunday. Their arrested former boss, Massimov, a two-time prime minister, was seen as close to Nazarbayev. Authorities have not disclosed any details of the allegations against him. He and his lawyer could not be reached for comment. In a statement meant to quash talk of a rift, Nazarbayev's spokesman said Nazarbayev had been in the capital Nur-Sultan throughout the crisis and chose himself to give up his security council post to Tokayev to help ease the crisis. "(He) and the head of state have always been 'on the same side of the barricades' ... In these difficult days they have demonstrated the monolithic nature of state power for all of us," the statement said, calling for people to rally around Tokayev. Former Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin told Reuters that Tokayev needed to dispel doubts about who was really in charge. "I think a lot of people in social networks, critics, continue to say he's a nominee of Nazarbayev, that Nazarbayev is standing behind his back and manipulating him," he said. "Now he has complete formal executive power, the question is how he will deploy it. He needs to take command." Tokayev is likely to name new government members when he addresses parliament on Tuesday, his spokesman said. He awarded prizes for bravery to 16 police and army officers killed in the violence. IMAGE SETBACK "The situation has been stabilised in all regions of the country," the presidential office said, adding law enforcement agencies had seized back control of administrative buildings. "The counter-terrorist operation ... will be continued until the complete elimination of the terrorists," Deputy Defence Minister Sultan Gamaletdinov said. The violence has dealt a blow to Kazakhstan's image as a tightly controlled and stable country, which it has used to attract hundreds of billions of dollars of Western investment in its oil and minerals industries.

Kazakh president steps up purge of security agency after mass unrest

The violence has spurred speculation of a rift in the ruling elite, with Tokayev fighting to consolidate his authority after firing key officials and removing Nazarbayev from a powerful role as head of the Security Council.

The president's website announced the sackings of Marat Osipov and Daulet Ergozhin as deputy heads of the National Security Committee. It gave no explanation in a terse statement late on Sunday.

Their arrested former boss, Massimov, a two-time prime minister, was seen as close to Nazarbayev. Authorities have not disclosed any details of the allegations against him. He and his lawyer could not be reached for comment.

In a statement meant to quash talk of a rift, Nazarbayev's spokesman said Nazarbayev had been in the capital Nur-Sultan throughout the crisis and chose himself to give up his security council post to Tokayev to help ease the crisis.

"(He) and the head of state have always been 'on the same side of the barricades' ... In these difficult days they have demonstrated the monolithic nature of state power for all of us," the statement said, calling for people to rally around Tokayev.

Former Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin told Reuters that Tokayev needed to dispel doubts about who was really in charge.

"I think a lot of people in social networks, critics, continue to say he's a nominee of Nazarbayev, that Nazarbayev is standing behind his back and manipulating him," he said. "Now he has complete formal executive power, the question is how he will deploy it. He needs to take command."

Tokayev is likely to name new government members when he addresses parliament on Tuesday, his spokesman said.

He awarded prizes for bravery to 16 police and army officers killed in the violence.

IMAGE SETBACK

"The situation has been stabilised in all regions of the country," the presidential office said, adding law enforcement agencies had seized back control of administrative buildings.

"The counter-terrorist operation ... will be continued until the complete elimination of the terrorists," Deputy Defence Minister Sultan Gamaletdinov said.

The violence has dealt a blow to Kazakhstan's image as a tightly controlled and stable country, which it has used to attract hundreds of billions of dollars of Western investment in its oil and minerals industries.