Casualties of a Clan War

SHAMIL ZHUMATOV / REUTERS

A Kazakh woman weeps for the murdered opposition leader

Along-smoldering clan war inside the inner circle of Kazakhstan's strongman President, Nursultan Nazar-bayev, has burst into the open. Last month, opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbayev, 43, and two aides were killed by state security ( knb) officers. The killing exposed rivalries among those bidding to succeed Nazarbayev, 65, Kazakhstan's leader since 1989. Though Nazarbayev just won a third seven-year term, Oleg Panfilov, a Moscow-based human-rights campaigner and expert on central Asia, says Sarsenbayev was seen as a challenge to other potential contenders for the presidency.

According to many Kazakh and Russian newspapers and websites, two of those contenders...

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