By H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times
January 8, 2022
NUR-SULTAN – The former intelligence chief of Kazakhstan, Karim Massimov, has been arrested and charged with treason in efforts to quell a growing tide of protests.
The National Security Committee made the announcement that Massimov, who was fired by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, was arrested for his suspected role in violent protests that erupted throughout Kazakhstan.
According to reports, thousands of people have been arrested and dozens killed in the violence, along with the torching of government buildings. Tokayev brutally issued a “shoot-to-kill” order to government troops to act against what he claims are terrorists.
The arrest of Massimov looks to be an attempt to show that those responsible are being held accountable, though some experts suspect it could be for political reasons. Massimov was also a two-time former prime minister with close ties to former president Nursulstan Nazarbayev who left office in 2019.
According to government officials, the violent protests were ignited by the increase in fuel prices under the Tokayev regime, which is backed by Russia.
After a brutal crackdown, security shock troops have reclaimed control of Kazakhstan’s main city Almaty, the former capital, on Friday. The mayor of Almaty still advises citizens to remain at home as the shock troops conduct a clean-up operation.
According to reports from the interior ministry, nearly 4,400 people have been arrested, internet access has been shut down, and there are reports of Russian troops in Kazakhstan’s major cities to help snuff out the violence. Russia and Kazakhstan are part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization which stipulates mutual military support in times of war and crisis.
The Biden administration has questioned the need for inviting Russian troops into Kazakhstan and fears that the occupation might be permanent.