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Nazarbaev Calls On Nation To Stand Against 'Provocateurs'

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
ASTANA -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has called on the nation to stand against possible challenges by "provocateurs."

Speaking at a session of Kazakhstan's Security Council on February 26, Nazarbaev said the country's "constitutional order, sovereignty, and territorial integrity are being challenged by new destructive influences," an apparent reference to the Internet and social media.

He said "the methods of influence and information technologies have been changed these days."

Nazarbaev's statement came as tensions mounted between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian citizens in Ukraine's autonomous Crimean republic.

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has sparked pro-Russian sentiment in Kazakhstan, especially in the country's north.

Russian opposition figure Eduard Limonov and the leader of Russia's Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, have publicly raised the idea of Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries becoming subjects of the Russian Federation.

Blogger Detained

Meanwhile, a Kazakh blogger has been detained while protesting the jailing of two of his colleagues.

Police detained Nurali Aitelenov in front of the presidential offices in Astana on February 27 after he unfolded a placard demanding the immediate release of bloggers Andrei Tsukanov and Dmitry Shchyolokov.

Tsukanov was arrested last week on his way to the meeting of Almaty Mayor Akhmetzhan Esimov with city residents.

He was later sentenced to 18 days in jail.

No official explanation has been given for Tsukanov's sentence.

Dmitry Shchyolokov was arrested on February 21 after he arrived at a court building in Almaty to demand an explanation for Tsukanov's jailing.

Shchyolokov was later found guilty of hooliganism and sentenced to 10 days in jail.
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