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Exile Aliev Spurns Violence, Hints At 2012 Kazakh Presidential Bid

Rakhat Aliev, seen here in exile in late 2008, was an influential figure within President Nursultan Nazarbaev's regime before the fallout with his father-in-law.
PRAGUE -- A former son-in-law who recently published a scathing memoir of President Nursultan Nazarbaev's administration has urged the Kazakh public during an RFE/RL online chat to prepare for a planned presidential election in 2012.

Rakhat Aliev, who was an influential figure in the administration until a purported fallout over his political ambitions sent him into exile, told questioners that violence could not effect change and said the only legitimate way to challenge the current regime is to actively participate in the next presidential vote.

His recent book, titled "Godfather-In-Law" and banned in Kazakhstan, expands on his previous accusations of involvement in murder and other misdeeds by his former father-in-law.

While they concede the usefulness of a high-level defection, detractors are quick to note that Aliev was a key figure within Kazakhstan's closely knit circle who could have been implicated in serious crimes.

But from exile in London for the chat on RFE/RL's Kazakh Service website, Aliev said he was ready to "invest into democratic development" in Kazakhstan, and pledged to "hire the best lawyers for each and every Kazakh citizen who wants to defend his or her human rights."

Aliev was tried in absentia by a Kazakh court last year and sentenced to 40 years of jail for kidnapping, extortion, and treason.

He said he is in constant contact with former Kazakh Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who fled Kazakhstan in 1997 and was convicted in absentia by a Kazakh court of alleged financial misdeeds.

Aliev also told questioners that he speaks on a regular basis with a prominent Kazakh businessman and politician, Mukhtar Ablyazov, who left Kazakhstan earlier this year after his bank, BTA Bank, was taken over by the Kazakh government and investigations launched into his business activities.

Kazakh authorities launched a fresh investigation into Aliev's activities after the publication of his book, which taps into more than two decades at the side of Nazarbaev, the country's only president since independence was gained from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Aliev has been living in Austria in self-imposed exile since 2007.