Sunday 21st of July 2024

Champion on the international wanted list: who exactly attempted to assassinate Aidos Sadykov

On June 18, in Kiev, they tried to kill the Kazakh opposition journalist, author of the “Base” telegram channel, Aidos Sadykov. He survived, but is still in the hospital. During these three days, many details of what happened became known. restores the chronology of the events of June 18 and the days preceding the assassination attempt, and also talks about one of the suspects in the attack on Sadykov. 

Penetrating wound

Aidos and Natalya Sadykov left Kazakhstan in 2014 and went to Ukraine, where they were granted refugee status. From Kyiv they ran the “Base” channel, in which they criticized the authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan. 

10 years later, on June 2, 2024, two more citizens of Kazakhstan appeared in Kyiv - Meiram Karataev and Altai Zhakanbaev. We publish this and all further information about the preparation and execution of the assassination attempt, based on data from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine . And we emphasize: for now Karataev and Zhakanbaev have the status of suspects.

So, June 2, 2024. Arriving in Kyiv, Karataev and Zhakanbaev rent apartments at different addresses. According to the prosecutor’s office, they came to kill Aidos Sadykov, whom they began to closely monitor. Ukrainian law enforcement agencies do not yet know who hired them for this and for what amount. 

Six days later, Karataev bought an Opel Vectra car in Kyiv, in which he and Zhakanbaev drove around the Ukrainian capital for the next 12 days. During this time, they not only studied Sadykov’s schedule in detail, but also bought a Makarov pistol with a silencer plus ammunition for it. 

On June 8, Karataev and Zhakanbaev booked an apartment not far from the Sadykovs. From their new “base” to the house of the authors of “Base” it was only 20 minutes on foot. They moved there on June 12. In fact, from this day on the countdown to the assassination attempt begins. 

On June 18 at about 11:30 they appeared at house 38 on Yarmoly Street, where the Sadykovs live. After 43 minutes, Aidos and Natalya drove up to him in their Subaru Forester. A minute later, Meiram Karataev appeared in front of the car. The following is a quote from the document of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine:

“He quickly approached the car from the passenger seat and fired one aimed shot from the specified firearm at the head of A. Zh. Sadykov, inflicting an open penetrating wound to the latter’s brain.”

According to the prosecutor’s office, Karataev decided that he had completed all the actions that were assigned to him, so he and Zhakanbaev fled. But Aidos Sadykov received a serious, but not fatal, wound. He is now in the hospital and fighting for his life. 

And Meiram Karataev and Altai Zhakanbaev first ran away to... the zoo. It is literally across the fence from the crime scene. There they threw away the gun. And then they left Ukraine for Moldova. It’s a few hours’ drive from Kyiv to the border. Both are currently on the international wanted list. And Kazakh prosecutors expressed their readiness to help their colleagues from Ukraine in the investigation of the assassination attempt on Aidos Sadykov. 

Master of sports and dark personality

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine published the names of the suspects in the assassination attempt on Aidos Sadykov this afternoon. After this, Natalya Sadykova wrote on social networks that Meiram Karataev is an employee of the Kostanay Department of Internal Affairs. But the Ministry of Internal Affairs soon published a response on this matter:

“As for citizen Karataev, we inform you that back in January 2019 he was fired from the internal affairs bodies, and now he does not work in the police.”

And the department refuses to say anything else about him. They don’t even specify whether he was fired or whether he quit. In general, citizen Karataev has been erased for the Kazakh police. 

But during his service he was quite a prominent person in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. At least in the Kostanay police. For example, in 2016, even republican resources wrote about him. And they wrote about him as a hero. Senior Lieutenant Karataev then prevented a local resident from committing suicide, who first wanted to jump out of the window and then drown himself in the bathtub. Moreover, in order to save the man, Karataev had to make his way through the balcony. 

“Thank you very much Meiram! He saved my only son, 18 years ago I lost my daughter. A low bow to Meiram’s parents for raising such a brave and sympathetic son,” then quoted a letter from the mother of the rescued man.

Meiram Karataev and the mother of the rescued man. Photo: DP Kostanay region

Fact two: Karataev is a successful athlete. Moreover, he also performed as a police athlete. The same Natalya Sadykova wrote that he was a shooting champion. And it is true. In 2017, a report on shooting competitions among security forces of Kostanay was published on the website of the Kazakh society Dynamo. And in this report there are these words: 

“In the individual competition, the list of the best was headed by senior police lieutenant Meiram Karataev, who showed a high level of skill and possession of weapons.”

But Karataev was engaged not only in shooting, but also in wrestling. For example, the Department of Internal Affairs of the Kostanay region wrote in March 2017 that he was the winner of the regional Kazaksha Kures tournament among security forces.

“According to the wrestler, the most difficult fight at the competition was with SOBR DIA officer Sergei Romanov. This fight was akin to a “hidden ending.” The audience predicted victory for both wrestlers in the tournament, but the draw brought them together in the semi-final stage. As a result, Meiram Karataev won a strong-willed victory, and became the champion,” the post says.

Participants in the Kazaksha Kures tournament among security forces of the Kostanay region. Meiram Karataev is fourth from left in the back row. Photo: DP Kostanay region

He is also a master of sports in grappling (a type of martial arts - editor’s note). Such a title may indicate that Karataev has won at least a prize title at the republican level. Karataev’s coach Alexander Varakin spoke about this, with whom the journalist personally spoke. Varakin is shocked by the morning news that his former ward is suspected of attempted murder. 

“I can’t believe it. Of course, I only knew him as an athlete, but I have extremely positive impressions of this guy. I can’t say anything bad about him. He is responsible, he has never refused to help me, and no meanness has ever been observed in him,” says Varakin.

Alexander Varakin has several photos of Meiram Karataev on social networks, including from international tournaments. 

Meiram Karataev (center) - winner of the wrestling tournament in Russia in 2013. Photo: “Odnoklassniki” by Alexander Varakin

According to Alexander, in recent years Meiram Karataev did not live in Kostanay, but moved to Astana. The coach says that he does not know what he was doing in the capital, because he communicated with him very little after that. But, according to the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office, at some point he appeared in another capital. You already know what happened next. 

But nothing is known about Altai Zhakanbaev! The only thing we were able to find was a page in Odnoklassniki signed with that name. There is this person on the avatar. 

Photo: Odnoklassniki, Altai Zhakanbaev 

The last time this user appeared on OK was in 2012. He has absolutely no friends, only four subscribers. The man himself in the photo shows something hanging on his right hip. Whether it is a holster or just a flashlight is difficult to tell. Therefore, we cannot say that it is Altai Zhakanbaev in the photo. We will find out whether it is him after we manage to detain that particular Zhakanbaev. The main thing now is to understand in which country he and Karataev are hiding. And now both Ukrainian and Kazakh law enforcement officers are looking for them.