Sharipbaev
© KazTransOil
Kairat Sharipbaev out as chief executive of the state oil pipeline firm KazTransOil
Two sons-in-law of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev have been pushed out of top jobs at two major state companies, Kazakh officials said.

The announcement, made on January 15 by the country's sovereign wealth fund, comes in the wake of last week's unprecedented political turmoil and was the latest indication that the current government of President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev was moving to purge or squeeze members of Nazarbaev's extended family.

In a statement, the sovereign wealth fund, Samruk-Kazyna, said that Kairat Sharipbaev had resigned as chief executive of natural-gas pipeline operator QazaqGaz. Dimash Dosanov, meanwhile, left his position as CEO of state oil pipeline firm KazTransOil.

Samruk-Kazyna gave no reasons for their resignations. Both companies play a key role in the country's oil and gas industry, an industry that fueled Kazakhstan's economic growth for decades.

Sharipbaev is widely known to be married to Nazarbaev's eldest daughter, Darigha, though neither Sharipbaev nor Darigha Nazarbaeva have ever commented on their relationship. Dosanov is the husband of Nazarbaev's youngest daughter, Aliya.

The announcement came just days after Toqaev publicly criticized a lucrative car-recycling company that is owned by Aliya Nazarbaeva, indicating authorities were moving to take control of it. Toqaev has said publicly he wanted Nazarbaev's associates to share their wealth with the public by making regular donations to a new charity foundation.

The unrest, which started with a protest in the remote western region of Manghystau over a sharp rise in car fuel prices, exploded into nationwide protests in major cities and towns. The violence was worst in the commercial capital, Almaty.

Amid the unrest, Toqaev moved to push Nazarbaev out of his position on the National Security Council, a position Nazarbaev had retained after resigning in 2019 and essentially handing the presidency to Toqaev.

Nazarbaev, who had ruled Kazakhstan since the Soviet collapse, has not been seen in public since December 28, and rumors have circulated that he had fled the country or was in ill health. His spokesman has denied that Nazarbaev, 81, had left the country, saying only that he was in the capital, Nur-Sultan.

Kazakh officials have said that almost 10,000 people were arrested during the nationwide protests. Prosecutors said on January 15 that 225 people had been killed in total nationwide, including 19 police or security officers.

Toqaev has blamed rights activists and independent journalists for "inciting" the protests, which also led to the arrest of several reporters in towns and cities across the country. On January 15, authorities said they had detained a deputy energy minister and several other officials who they believe were responsible for the "unjustified" fuel increase that led to the protests.

In related news, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that the Russian troops who had deployed to Kazakhstan during the recent unrest have returned home. The troops, which were requested by Toqaev, were part of a force sent by the Collective Treaty Security Organization, a Russia-led alliance of six former Soviet states.

More than 2,000 troops in total were sent to Kazakhstan, mainly Russian soldiers, but also small contingencies from other member states Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on January 15 that all of its planes carrying troops had returned. It was not clear whether troops from other alliance countries remain in Kazakhstan.