Aidos Sadykov Shooting: First Suspect Detained by Kazakhstan Authorities

Image: General Prosecutors Office of Ukraine

Yesterday, TCA reported that two suspects had been identified by the Ukrainian authorities just three days after after the shooting of Aidos Sadykov, a Kyiv based political blogger. Both are Kazakhstan citizens, 33-year-old Meiram Karataev and 36-year-old Altay Zhakanbaev, whose names have been corroborated by the Prosecutor General of Ukraine’s website.

Immediately following the attack, President Tokayev of Kazakhstan said that “the official bodies of the Republic of Kazakhstan are ready to join the investigation.”

According to the Kazakhstan Office of the General Prosecutor, on June 21, Zhakanbaev independently turned himself in to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where he was questioned on the circumstances of the case. On the same day, he was detained on suspicion of involvement in the crime against Aidos Sadykov.

Sadykov and his wife, Natalya Sadykova left Kazakhstan in 2014 following allegations of slander by a Kazakh MP, a charge no longer considered a criminal offense as of 2020. Since 2014, they have resided in Kyiv, where they have received refugee status.

From Kyiv, the couple host the YouTube channel @base-kazakh, which, according to their description, “covers events in Kazakhstan and the world and does not depend on the authorities, oligarchs and grants”. Sadykov has criticized the Kazakh authorities in the regional press since 2000 and the YouTube channel has been consistently critical of Kazakhstan’s government, starting with President Nazarbayev’s term and continuing under the new President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Since the war broke out in Ukraine, Sadykov and his wife have claimed that Kazakhstan’s leadership is colluding with the Kremlin.

The apparent assassination attempt of Sadykov has raised questions about the motive. Kazakhstan parliamentary deputy, Ermurat Bapi has suggested that the assassination attempt was due to “third forces” that want to create a “quarrel between Kazakhstan and some countries”. Sadykova has accused President Tokayev of ordering the assassination.

The detainment of the first suspect by Kazakhstan authorities is a positive development in determining the actual motive behind the attack.