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Prominent Kazakh Opposition Figure Leaves Politics

Bolat Abilov led the opposition Free (Azat) party
Bolat Abilov led the opposition Free (Azat) party
ASTANA -- A prominent opposition figure in Kazakhstan has announced his decision to quit politics.

The chairman of the Azat (Free) party, Bolat Abilov, wrote on his Facebook account on September 19 that he has made the "difficult" decision to stop his political activities.

Abilov did not offer a reason for the decision, saying only that he will now be involved in television and film projects.

Abilov, 56, is one of the most successful businessmen in post-Soviet Kazakhstan.

He left pro-presidential political circles in the early 2000s and joined the opposition.

One of his close associates, the former information minister and Kazakh ambassador to Russia, Altynbek Sarsenbaev, was assassinated in 2006.

Abilov himself faced numerous trials on charges tied to his financial and opposition activities. He was fined or sentenced to several days in jail on numerous occasions.