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Powerful Kazakh Envoy To Russia Relieved From Duties

The Kazakh presidency has relieved one of the Central Asian nation’s most powerful politicians, Imanghali Tasmaghambetov, from his duties as the ambassador to Russia, saying he had reached the "retirement age."

A statement on the presidential website on December 18 announced Tasmaghambetov’s dismissal as Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Russia, indicating a possible power struggle in the oil-rich former Soviet republic.

Tasmaghambetov, who turned 63 on December 9, was seen by many in Kazakhstan as a possible successor of former President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who has ruled the country nearly 30 years.

But when Nazarbaev resigned in March he picked another close ally, Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, to succeed him as president.

Toqaev, 66, won the presidential election in June in a vote that international observers said was marred by “widespread” irregularities.

Nazarbaev continues to control social, economic, and political spheres by leading the country’s ruling Nur-Otan party and the influential Security Council.

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