mandag 17. januar 2022

Where is Kazakhstan’s former longtime leader Nursultan Nazarbayev?

It is a question being asked with increasing urgency by intelligence services, multinational companies and most citizens of Kazakhstan: where is Nursultan Nazarbayev? Kazakhstan’s leader from 1991 until 2019, Nazarbayev has long been the arbiter of all business and political decisions in the central Asian nation, and the purveyor of an all-encompassing personality cult. In 2019, he handpicked a successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, while retaining power behind the scenes. The capital city, along with its airport and main university were all renamed after him.

But since the worst unrest since independence broke out earlier this month, Nazarbayev has been silent and absent from public view. Official figures say 225 people died in the unrest and subsequent crackdown. Meanwhile, the man who personified Kazakhstan for so long has simply disappeared.