Who Was Oppositionist Aidos Sadykov?


Well-known Kazakh oppositionist, blogger, and journalist Aidos Sadykov passed away on July 2, 2024. During his career, Sadykov was known for his uncompromising criticism of the authorities. Orda has put together a brief biography.

Sadykov was born in the village of Qarabutaq in the Aqtobe region, near the Russian border. He attended a Russian-language school but spoke Kazakh at home. After graduating from the history department of the Aqtobe Pedagogical Institute, he went into business and later worked in the oil industry. 

In 2003, the journalist was charged with using a firearm and hooliganism in two criminal cases from 1997 and 1999, which the prosecutor's office combined into one proceeding. Sadykov claimed that the seven-year-old case was reopened because of his critical articles in the Pravda newspaper. In them, he wrote about the ties between the Aqtobe region leadership and a Moscow criminal group. Sadykov named the officials associated with the organized crime group.

In 2005, he headed the regional branch of the Azat party. In 2009, when Azat was merged with the OSDP party, the journalist spoke out against this decision, which intensified regional intra-party conflicts.

Aidos Sadykov accused the Social Democratic Party and its Aqtobe branch of a "compromising position towards the government." In 2010, he and 80 other activists wrote a statement about Azat leaving the OSDP. Sadykov then created his own opposition public movement, Ğastat, which operated until 2014 - his departure from Kazakhstan.

On June 16, 2010, about 400 SNPS-AqtobeMunGas workers went on strike demanding higher wages, Sadykov supported them.

In 2010, he participated in a protest for Nazarbayev's resignation, the release of political prisoners, and the sale of land. Several criminal cases were brought against him, accusing him of distributing counterfeit money, engaging in a fight, and resisting the police.

Sadykov was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of hooliganism, although he claimed the criminal cases against him were fabricated. He said Kazakh security services tried to recruit him there by offering privileges, but he refused.

Moving to Kyiv and Refugee Status

In early 2014, the authorities opened a case against Sadykov's wife. The couple left Kazakhstan with their children and settled in Kyiv. In Ukraine, Aidos Sadykov became known as a journalist and head of the media resource "BASE," which has criticized the President of Kazakhstan, Qasym-Jomart Toqayev, for his pro-Russian position.

A few months after moving to Kyiv, unknown individuals in police uniforms forced their way into the Sadykovs' apartment. The journalist said that they demanded that they stop publishing critical posts about the Kazakh government and threatened to deport them. The Kyiv police did not investigate the incident.

While in Kyiv, he continued to support Kazakhstani oppositionists.

Sadykov also supported protests in Kazakhstan in January 2022, when CSTO troops were brought into the country to help restore order. In the fall of 2023, Aidos and Natalya Sadykov were put on the wanted list in Kazakhstan on charges of inciting hatred.

The Assassination Attempt in Kyiv

On June 18, 2024, an attempt was made on Aidos Sadykov's life. He was shot in the head while he was sitting in his car with his wife near their home in Kyiv.

After the assassination attempt, the suspects fled the scene and later dispossessed the pistol with a silencer, leaving the weapon near the Kyiv Zoo. An investigation was launched in Ukraine under the article "Attempted Homicide."

A few days later, President Qasym-Jomart Toqayev commented. He requested all necessary legal assistance to be provided in the investigation.

All conflicts and disagreements in our society must be resolved exclusively in the legal field, based on the current legislation of the country (and on the main international norms). And the crime in Kyiv must be considered precisely from this point of view, Toqayev noted.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have revealed the identities of those suspected of involvement in the assassination attempt: 36-year-old Altay Zhakanbayev and 33-year-old Meiram Karatayev

One of them voluntarily came to Kazakhstan's law enforcement - Altay Zhakanbayev. He has been questioned and detained. The prosecutor's office does not specify which city or district police or whether there was a confession. The second suspect, Meiram Karatayev, is still wanted. On July 2, 2024, "Moldova: Actually," citing its sources in the border service, reported that Zhakanbayev and Karatayev entered Moldova on June 18 at 18:28. They passed through the Palanca customs. They left the country on June 19 at 01:20, departing by plane from Chisinau to Antalya.

On June 25, the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine reported on its intention to request the two suspects' extradition. They were to be charged under Article 115 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine with the application of Article 15. This concerns an attempt at premeditated homicide by order and by prior conspiracy committed by a group of persons. 

On June 27, the Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Kazakhstan Maulen Ashimbayev stated that Kazakhstan will not extradite Zhakanbayev to Ukraine. According to him, the Prosecutor General's Office of Kazakhstan has joined the investigation, they are working with their colleagues from Ukraine. He emphasized that Kazakhstan does not extradite its citizens to other countries

Original Author: Artem Volkov

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original piece published on 03/07/24 for accuracy. The article has been updated to reflect the current situation as of 03/07/24.