Kazakhstan’s former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has made his first appearance since unrest broke out in the country earlier this month, in a four-minute video in which he denied reports that he had fled the country, or that there was a split in the country’s elites.

“President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has full power and there is no conflict or confrontation between elites,” Nazarbayev said in a video address, which was posted on Telegram-channel Orda.kz.  

“In 2019 I handed over my powers to president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and since then I am a pensioner. I am currently taking deserved rest in the capital of Kazakhstan and I have not gone anywhere,” he added.

Nazarbayev’s whereabouts have been the subject of much speculation in Kazakhstan.

Nazarbayev's family has extensive business interests in Kazakhstan and media reports say they have an impressive portfolio of wildly expensive luxury properties abroad.

Nazarbayev, 81, was the first president of an independent Kazakhstan and had not made any public appearances since protests earlier this month that erupted into unprecedented violence.

“This tragedy has become a lesson for all of us. It is important to find out who organized all these pogroms and murders," Nazarbayev said.

After stepping down, Nazarbayev maintained an influential role in the country's politics, giving himself the title of "Leader of the Nation" (Elbasy) -- a constitutional status that affords him immunity from prosecution and policymaking privileges.

He also remained the head of the Security Council after stepping down, but Tokayev took over the post following the outbreak of unrest in early January this year.

The capital city, Astana, was renamed Nur-Sultan in 2019, in Nazarbayev’s honor, and over three decades a huge personality cult built up around him.

The protests erupted over a hike in fuel prices, but escalated into violence between security forces and government opponents that left dozens dead.  Much of the anger appeared directed at Nazarbayev, who had ruled Kazakhstan since 1989 before handing over power.

Many protesters shouted "Old Man Out!" referring to Nazarbayev, and a statue of him was torn down in the southern city of Taldykorgan.

Several relatives of Nazarbayev have left influential posts in the aftermath and his ally Karim Masimov -- who headed the secret services -- was imprisoned.

In a first, Tokayev last week criticized Nazarbayev, saying he had failed to share the energy-rich country's vast wealth with ordinary Kazakhs.

Tokayev has framed the riots as a coup attempt assisted by foreign “terrorists.”  According to country’s authorities, the violence left 225 dead and led to the arrest of some 10,000 people.

Over 2,000 troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), sent in at Tokayev's request to help quell the unrest, began to withdraw from Kazakhstan last Thursday.