Former Kazakh president denies conflict among elite

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NUR-SULTAN, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Former Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev said in a video address on Tuesday that there was no conflict among Kazakhstan’s elite, in his first appearance since unrest rocked the former Soviet country this month.

Nazarbayev, who ruled the oil-rich country for three decades, said he had remained in Kazakhstan during the worst violence in the country’s post-Soviet history. Unrest erupted over a sharp increase in car fuel prices before swelling into an anti-government movement, with public anger targeted at 81-year-old Nazarbayev.

Several relatives of Nazarbayev have left senior positions in the public sector or at state companies in recent days. Nazarbayev described himself as a “pensioner,” saying full power was in the hands of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. (Reporting by Tamara Vaal in Nursultan and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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