This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L ALMATY 003839
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CACEN (J. MUDGE)
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/18/2015 TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PINR KZ POLITICAL SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: INTERIOR MINISTER FIRED OVER ARREST OF OPPOSITION POLITICIAN
REF: A. ALMATY 3790
B. ALMATY 3453
Classified By: Ambassador John Ordway, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).
1. (C) Summary: Interior Minister Turisbekov was fired over the arrest of an opposition politician just hours before Secretary Rice's arrival here, according to presidential
SIPDIS advisor Masimov. Turisbekov will be replaced by deputy PA head Baurzhan Mukhamedzhanov, thought to be the initiator of several recent pieces of repressive legislation. End summary.
2. (C) During an October 16 breakfast with the Ambassador and former Secretary Henry Kissinger, presidential advisor Karim Masimov stated that Interior Minister Zautbek Turisbekov had been fired over the October 12 arrest of opposition politician Tulen Tokhtasynov (Ref A). Masimov described the arrest as a "provocation designed to embarass President Nazarbayev" just hours before Secretary Rice's arrival in Astana.
3. (C) According to an October 14 presidential press service announcement, Turisbekov has been moved to head the State Civil Service Agency, clearly a demotion. Baurzhan Mukhamedzhanov, a deputy head of the presidential administration and chief of the PA legal department since June 2003, will replace Turisbekov at the Interior Ministry. Mukhamedzhanov, born November 26, 1960, is a lawyer by training. He served as Minister of Justice from 1997-2000 and deputy Prime Minister from 2002-2003. In recent months, several human rights contacts had identified Mukhamedzhanov as the initiator of the recent string of repressive legislation, including the extremism law, election law amendments, and NGO legislation. During a September 27 meeting with the Ambassador (Ref B) on election-related issues, however, Mukhamedzhanov went out of his way to appear open and constructive.
4. (C) Comment: There had been rumors for several weeks that Turisbekov was on his way out for unspecified reasons. It is possible that the Tokhtasynov arrest was the last straw, resulting in his significant demotion. Post's cooperation with the Interior Ministry on law enforcement and security issues has been quite good; it remains to be seen whether Mukhamedzhanov will be as proactive an interlocutor. End comment. ORDWAY