"An Act of Political Terror." - Altynbek Sarsenbayuly’s Relatives About His Death

cover Photo: tarlan.kz
EXPLANATORY NOTE: Throughout the article Zamanbek Nurkadilov and Altynbek Sarsenbayuly are referred to as Zake and Alteke.

On February 13, 2006, the bodies of politician Altynbek Sarsenbayuly, his guard Baurzhan Baibosyn, and driver Vasily Zhuravlev were found in the Talgar district of the Almaty region.

Officially, the perpetrators of the killing were found and convicted. But those who had been in close contact with Sarsenbayuly still have many questions. Orda.kz has spoken with the relatives of the politician and found out what they think about the events of February 2006 and what followed.

Human Rights Activist Marzhan Aspandiyarova: "Falsifiers Still Alive”

Marzhan Aspandiyarova has been representing the affected party since 2006. For 18 years, she has had many questions both regarding the investigation and court. She believes that the deeper you go, the more questions arise.

Marzhan Aspandiyarova. Photo: Orda.kz
Initially, the very qualification of the crime was incompetent and, to put it mildly, incorrect. Because it wasn't just a political assassination — it was an act of terrorism. It was committed with the aim of intimidating the population, in order to eliminate a prominent statesman and public figure. I think this is the key moment. The affected party stated this in February 2006, and still insists that it was an act of political terror.
All these years, we have raised the question of the need for reclassifying. Because in this case, the investigation itself should have been different, and other versions should have been brought forward. And then there would have been a completely different circle of people involved, and the outcome of the case would have been different.
But we are not naive. We understand that in such a state as we live in, this is impossible in principle. At least under the current regime. I have not misspoken. After all, be it Nazarbayev's regime, or Toqayev's - nothing changes here. A competent, qualified review of this case in strict accordance with the requirements of the law can only be carried out when there is political will to do so. There is no such political will now. And I suspect that it is unlikely to appear in the foreseeable future. 
Some of the criminals who organized and carefully planned this brutal crime and those who falsified this criminal case have already passed away. But some of the falsifiers are still alive. And while they are around, it is not beneficial for them for this case to be cleared in the way it really had been.

Bulat Abilov: "Alteke had a lot of plans"

Businessman and politician Bulat Abilov, recalling the months preceding Altynbek Sarsenbayuly’s death, says that neither he nor his entourage thought that such a thing could happen despite Zamanbek Nurkadilov’s death in November 2005. Officially, Nurkadilov committed suicide, although this version still gives rise to doubt for many.

Bulat Abilov. Photo: Orda.kz
Then the situation was very difficult and critical. We understood that Nazarbayev would not give up power just like that. We thought that there might be some protests. But no one thought that such a tragedy would happen. Even when it happened to Zamanbek Nurkadilov. At first, of course, there was the version of suicide. But then, when they found out, he shot himself three times: two in the chest, one in the temple... We realized that the government was behind this. We discussed all the versions and then immediately ruled out Rakhat Aliyev. Rakhat was a cowardly man, he wouldn't have had the guts to do that.
But then no one had any idea that there would be further repressions, that there would be political assassinations. And Altynbek, I think, would not have allowed this. Smiling, he was full of strength and energy. He took care of his health, went on a diet, got built, constantly walked, went to the mountains on weekends. That is, Alteke had a lot of plans. His spouse, Saltanat, and children were all happy.
Neither he, nor we, felt any threat. We thought that such a tragedy had happened to Zamanbek, and then there would be a political lull for four or five years: there would be no presidential elections, and parliamentary ones would not be soon either. And that such a tragedy could happen to Altynbek, he did not even suspect it at all, otherwise, he would have behaved differently.

The Path of a Martyr

Another associate of Altynbek Sarsenbayuly, Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, spoke about his death on his Facebook page.

Galymzhan Zhakiyanov. Photo: Facebook
In 2013, I met with agents of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in Boston. It was about Altynbek's death. From this meeting, I learned that the FBI thoroughly investigated this crime and passed on the results to Kazakhstan. Both the old and new leadership of the country remain silent about the results of the investigation.
Altynbek knew that an authoritarian regime would not lead to the prosperity of the country. Therefore, he had always been against an unfair political system. He chose the path of martyrdom.
In the current situation, it is implausible to name a school after Alteke, erect a monument to Zamanbek Nurkadilov, and give a fair assessment of their role and place in the history of independent Kazakhstan. Witnesses who know the truth are still afraid to talk about it. This shows that the authoritarian system in Kazakhstan has remained unchanged.
Only with real political changes in the country will the crimes related to Zake and Alteke be solved, and legal, political, and historical assessments will be given. Only then can we say that the way to justice is clear. Such a time cannot come without the active participation of civil society.

Original Author: Igor Ulitin

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the context is the same. Please refer to the original piece in Russian for accuracy.

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