We Know Who Killed Altynbek Sarsenbayev
© mukhtarablyazov.org 04.02.2014

By Mukhtar Ablyazov

The authorities are now investigating the murder case of Altynbek Sarsenbayev and his assistants. Once again, Nazarbayev is trying to conceal his crime but he won’t succeed, as we know who the real murderer is.

In the spring of 2005 I had a meeting with Altynbek Sarsenbayev in Moscow in order to discuss the opposition candidate for the presidential election. He suggested Zhurmakhan Tuyakbay but I felt sceptical about that and suggested that Altynbek himself run for president. Altynbek said Nazarbayev would kill him at once. I believed that Nazarbayev would not dare get rid of a public figure, a presidential candidate, and so Altynbek would not be at high risk. Nazarbayev usually attacks second-line forces. I supported Altynbek’s suggestion, though, as it was important to set a precedent for the alliance of all the opposition forces.

In the autumn of 2005, Nazarbayev called us, a number of prominent businessmen, together and asked us to back his candidacy. After the meeting he invited us all for dinner; among the people present at the table, as well as a dozen well-known businessmen, there were ministers and several of the closest assistants of Nazarbayev. He was very concerned about the opposition having been able to put forward their only endorsed candidate, Zharmakhan Tuyakbayev.

The authorities put extreme pressure on the opposition, intimidating people, organising assaults in the regions and arresting activists. There were cases of kidnapping and killing people who had taken an active part in supporting the opposition. During that period Zamanbek Nurkadilov was campaigning a lot. Altynbek Sarsenbayev addressed the electors many times. The Orange Revolution had taken place in Ukraine, resulting in the opposition’s coming to power. Some international experts considered Kazakhstan to be the next country to undergo a change in regime. Nazarbayev was extremely scared. In the autumn of 2005, Altynbek admitted that putting forward Tuyakbay had been the wrong decision. He asked me again who I would back. I answered that I would support his candidacy. We decided that if the authorities managed to remove Tuyakbay from the election campaign somehow (by that time I didn’t rule out the possibility of physical elimination), then we — the DVK party — would back Altynbek’s candidacy so that he could run for president instead of Tuyakbay. The atmosphere in Kazakhstan was charged with tension.

During the dinner Nazarbayev talked a lot about the coming election, about the contribution he thought he had made to the development of Kazakhstan. He spoke very harshly of Tuyakbay, Nurkadilov, and Sarsenbayev. What provoked his most vehement reaction was the address of Nurkadilov and Sarsenbayev. When Nazarbayev was speaking of them, his face distorted with hatred. Suddenly he said in a threatening voice, "All right. I’ve given an order to record their words. Everything they say. When the election is over, each of them will pay for their words! For every single word! There will be no mercy!"

A heavy silence hung over the table. We understood that was no idle threat.

A few weeks later, on November 12, Zamanbek Nurkadilov was murdered. For all the participants of meeting it was clear that Nazarbayev had started to carry out his threats. Some may object that Nazarbayev intended to tackle them after the election. In reality, the murder of Zamanbek Nurkadilov was a well-calculated decision. It’s obvious that the election was to be rigged, as it always has been. In 2005, though, the atmosphere was tense, and Nazarbayev really dreaded the opposition bringing urging supporters to protest. That’s what happened in Ukraine; as a result, "the orange" came to power. It was important for Nazarbayev to show the opposition leaders and the citizens of Kazakhstan that he was not going to relinquish power without bloodshed. According to his plan, Nurkadilov’s murder was aimed at intimidating both the opposition leaders and the citizens. That’s why it was Zamanbek Nurkadilov who first fell victim to Nazarbayev. And so it happened. When journalists asked Tuyanbay whether the opposition leaders would bring people to the streets in protest, he answered that he would not, fearing for the safety of people, but if the citizens themselves started protest actions he would certainly join them. Of course these were not the words an opposition leader should have uttered. Nothing like a leader’s words...

The presidential election was held on December 4, 2005 with significant violations of procedure.
In the February of 2006, after the inauguration, Altynbek Sarsenbayev and his assistants became the next victims. Unfortunately, everything happened the way I had predicted: the "second line" was eliminated. So, Nazarbayev carried out the threats that had been heard by about 20 people present at that table. We are the witnesses.

No less than 1000 people attended the wake of Altynbek Sarsenbayev and his assistants held at the Almaty hotel. At the wake the grief-stricken wife of Altynbek, trying hard to control herself, said, "I know who killed Altynbek!" She didn’t utter the name of Nazarbayev but everybody present understood who she was talking about. The next day her speech was published in the Respublika newspaper under the title "I know who killed Altynbek".

We too, are certain who killed Altynbek Sarsenbayev and his assistants. We witnessed the threats. And however hard Nazarbayev might try to blame others for this crime, we know who killed Sarsenbayev!


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