Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Anybody who follows politics in Kazakhstan knows that the death of Altynbek Sarsenbayev was a serious blow to the country in many ways. As an important thinker, a person who cared about the future of Kazakhstan, and an astute politician, Sarsenbayev was almost universally seen to be critical to the further development of Kazakhstan as the country's next generation of politicians begins to emerge to take over the helm. Beyond the death of an important politician and potential leader, however, the death of Sarsenbayev also marks an opportunity for the state of Kazakhstan to actually deal with a critical issue fairly through the justice system. Despite bringing in the FBI to assist with forensics and going after people affiliated with the Committee for National Security (KNB) in connection with the case, most people observing the invstigation and trial are dissatisfied. In fact, it seems to be fairly obvious that there is a cover-up in the case that is intended to shield some important figures yet to be officially implicated in the murder. Americans are familiar with the potential grave consequences of covering up a political crime--afterall, hiding the truth brought down President Richard Nixon in the mid-1970s when coming clean on certain campaign "dirty tricks" immediately may not have been as leathal for the president's career.
Of course, one of the biggest problems about a "cover-up" is that it becomes more leathal the longer it is maintained. Hence, those involved in hiding the truth only seek to "cover-up" more and more. If they succeed, they may save themselves while living with a dirty secret until their grave; if they do not, the consequences are all the more grave.
So--the question remains, will the murder of Sarsenbayev lead further up the ladder than those who are presently charged with the crime? August 2, one of the accused, Rustam Ibragimov, made a shocking public declaration that he had brought Sarsenbayev to the scene of his murder to meet with none other than Nurtai Abykayev (the speaker of the senate and long time confident of the president), Nurtai Dutbayev (the former head of the KNB), and a mysterious Kalmyk Catholic with Russian citizenship by the name of Alexei Kikshaev, who had served as a presidential advisor on religious affairs in Kazakhstan.
According to Ibragimov, these three men were plotting a coup against President Nazarbayev with the intent of taking over power in the country (once again recent events awake deja vu from 2001!). While it is difficult to guess whether Ibragimov's words are true or not--both the presence of these three men at the scene of the crime and their intention to carry out a coup. But his accusations once again open up the question that continues to concern most who are following this case closely:
Will the actual organizers of the murder be punished, and are they higher up the ladder in the echelons of power than the men presently being tried in Taldy Kurgan?Also, perhaps most importantly, how high up the ladder will/should the blame go? Or, will the truth just remain covered up? It is already telling that the nightly news on Channel 31 (usually the only station to report on such critical news items) remained silent about the latest scandalous news from the Sarsenbayev murder trial.