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Kazakhstan: Opposition Figure Resigns; Cites Persecution

Almaty, 1 February 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Gaziz Aldamzharov, a leading opposition figure in Kazakhstan, resigned from his leadership position in a political party yesterday, saying the government persecuted his family to force him out. Aldamzharov resigned as deputy chairman of the Republican People's Party, one the most prominent, although mostly powerless, groups in opposition to President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

The Republican People's Party leader, former Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin, has left Kazakhstan and is living in London, and has said he fears political repression if he returns to his homeland. In his absence, Aldamzharov was the leading figure in the party.

Aldamzharov told AP that his wife and three grown children have been fired from government jobs or positions at state-controlled companies. He said police have also opened a tax evasion case against him.