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Kazakh Opposition Figure Masanov Dies

October 5, 2006 -- Prominent opposition figure and political analyst Nurbulat Masanov, 52, has died of heart failure.

A historian by training, Masanov was the president of the Kazakh Political Sciences Association.

In the early 2000s, he was a leading member of the Forum of Democratic Forces that opposed President Nursultan Nazarbaev's government.

Masanov originally focused on Kazakh nomadism before increasingly turning his attention to his country's post-Soviet political scene.

He was temporarily banned in the 1990s over criticism he leveled at President Nazarbaev's administration.