The Mysteries of Rashid Amanzhulov’s Case

At last, we have learned the nature of the accusations against the former Government for Citizen deputy chair Rashid Amanzhulov.  Replying to “”, the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan stated that Amanzhulov was being investigated in relations to giving a large-scale bribe. 

 The Committee also stipulated that, “for legal purposes, no additional information related to the case can be disclosed”.

What makes this situation unique is the fact that a high rank manager of a quasi-governmental agency is being accused not of receiving but of giving the bribe. So, the question arises whom had Rashid Amanzhulov bribed and for what purpose?

Note that he was arrested at the end of April, two days after terminating his Government for Citizen contract of his own free will. Perhaps he intended to flee the country. This, however, is not the only strange occurrence in this matter. Amanzhulov is known to have close relationships with the current ambassador to Russia Imangali Tasmagambetov.

This fact is confirmed by coincidences in their work history. Having begun his career at Almaty government at the times when Tasmagambetov was in charge, Amanzhulov followed him later to Astana. Note that, during recent years, Amanzhulov had served as the head of the Car Roads and Public Transportation Department. But when Tasmagambetov was appointed Minister of Defense, Amanzhulov suddenly became the head of the troop housing headquarters.  Only when Tasmagambetov was appointed Ambassador to Russia, did Amanzhulov not follow him. These facts give us grounds to suspect that Imangali Tasmagambetov (not Rashid Amanzhulov) is the main figurant of the criminal investigation.

If this is the case, three scenarios of the future developments are possible.

Here is the first scenario. Sometime later, Tasmagambetov will be called away from the Russian capital and accused of taking a large-scale bribe. This scenario we believe is highly implausible because it will lead to a dramatic aggravation of the intra-elite antagonisms and may cause severe complications both at the national level as well as in the Western part of the country.

The second scenario is that Rashid Amanzhulov will be convicted and sentenced to a long term in prison. At that, all the documents related to Imangali Tasmagambetov will be set aside for a special case that can be used as a threat ready to materialize any time. Given the Kazakh political practices, this method has proven to be one of the most effective pressurizing instruments. Take, for instance, the political decline of Aslan Musin, the man who was once de-facto the second most influential person in Akorda after Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The third scenario that we also consider highly implausible supposes that the criminal investigation against Amanzhulov will continue without being connected to Imangali Tasmagambetov. However, for that to happen, Nursultan Nazarbayev must issue a direct and strong order – something he has no reason to do. When the intra-elite conflicts are on the rise, Nazarbayev’s optimal tactics is still to position himself above the tussle because it enables him to control the ruling elite with minimal costs. The fact that he is no longer capable of containing the process and can only regulate it is another matter.

There is still the question of who is behind Rashid Amanzhulov’s arrest. Obviously, these are Imangali Tasmagambetov’s political opponents in Akorda who are afraid he may become the main player in the “post-Nazarbayev” period when the question of the power transfer will stop being a purely theoretical matter. It looks like Amanzhulov’s case and the election legislature amendments prohibiting self-nomination for the presidency are, in some mysterious way, connected and serve the same purpose.

See also: Cutting off dark horses  and «Disrobing” Rakishev.

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