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Kazakstan: President Reshuffles Government

By Merkhat Sharipzhanm

Almaty, 31 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev today named a new Defense Minister, State Secretary, and Deputy Prime Minister as part of his latest government reshuffle.

Correspondents say that Nazarbayev regularly replaces government officials at all levels, reportedly to prevent the development of opposition leaders and power bases.

In today's action, Muhtar Altynbayev, commander of Kazakhstan's Air Force, was appointed Defense Minister. Altynbaev replaces Alibek Kasymov.

Nazarbayev also named Abish Kekilbayev as the new State Secretary. Kekilbayev most recently served as Chairman of the Committee on International Relations and Defense in Kazkhstan's Lower House of Parliament.

Nazarbayev's third reshuffle involved removing Deputy Prime Minister Garry Shtoik and replacing him with Dyusembai Duseinov, an industry official.