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Former Businessman Named Kazakh Prime Minister In Cabinet Shuffle

Baqytzhan Saghyntaev

Baqytzhan Saghyntaev

Former Economy Minister Baqytzhan Saghyntaev has been appointed Kazakhstan's new prime minister, as President Nursultan Nazarbaev shuffled his cabinet and top government and security posts.

Saghyntaev replaced Karim Masimov who was named the head of the country's main security service on September 8, a move widely seen as a demotion. Saghyntaev previously served as Masimov's deputy.

A former economics teacher and businessman, Saghyntaev previously headed the Kazakh antitrust agency, and served as regional governor and economy minister.

Masimov was pushed aside by Nazarbaev for what many observers said was excessive self-promotion on social media.

Saghyntaev takes over at a time when the Kazakh economy is struggling with low world oil prices, which hurt government revenues and forced officials to abandon a pegged exchange rate policy. That sent the let Kazakh currency plunging against the U.S. dollar.