Who Is Behind the Rise of the Security Council?

The Kazakhstan Parliament has begun discussing the legislative draft on the Security Council of Kazakhstan. Officially, the draft poses as the development of the law “On the Security of the Republic of Kazakhstan”. In reality, however, it is to create a new center of the political influence in the country that may compete with the Presidential Administration and the government.

The current law “On the National Security of the Republic of Kazakhstan” adopted in 2012 contains one article devoted to the Security Council. We will quote it.

“Article 11. The Authorities of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan

  1. The Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan is a consulting agency acting under the authority of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
  2. The authorities, organization, and the procedures of the Security Council are determined by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Therefore, currently, the Security Council of Kazakhstan is a consulting agency acting under the authority of the President. The legislative draft “On the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan” significantly increases the status of the agency. Here are the quotes (text in bold oursKazakhstan 2.0).

“1. The Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan (later in the text – Security Council) is a constitutional agency that coordinates the state policy in the sphere of the national security and the defense capacity of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the purpose of preserving the domestic political stability, defending the constitutional order, the state independence, the territorial intactness, and the national interests of Kazakhstan at the international arena”.

More precisely, the tasks and the functions, the rights and the responsibilities, the structure and the organization of the Security Council are defined in the Presidential decree # 8 of March 20, 1999 called “On the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan”. In particular, it states the following (text in bold ours – Kazakhstan 2.0).

“3. The main tasks of the Security Council are –

  • to determine the major directions of the defense of the national interests, the exposure, analysis, evaluation, and prediction of the threats to the national security, the choice of the methods and means to ensure the national security of the country;
  • to work out the key points of the state policy in the sphere of the national security of the country;
  • to make suggestions and recommendations to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan to help him make decisions on the issues of the domestic, the foreign, and the military policy in the sphere of the national security and on the ways to implement these decisions as well as on how to improve the effectiveness of the state agencies’ procedures that ensure the personal, social, and state security.
  • to prepare the recommendations on signing, implementing, and denouncing the international treaties of the Republic of Kazakhstan concerning the national interests”.

As for the legislative draft “On the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan”, the tasks for this structure are presented in a very different manner. Let us quote (text in bold oursKazakhstan 2.0).

“The main tasks of the Security Council involve the following –

  • to approve the key points of the state policy in the sphere of the national security and the defense capacity of the country;
  • to define the problems, to propose the decisions and recommendations, to coordinate the activities of the state agencies in the sphere of the national security and the defense capacity of the country;
  • other tasks in accordance with the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the decisions of the Chief of the National Security Committee”.

The same principal changes are to happen with the functions of the Security Council as well. Here is their list as presented in the law “On the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan” (text in bold ours – Kazakhstan 2.0).

  • to perform a comprehensive analysis of how the situation in the world is developing in regard to the national interests of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to elicit and predict the sources of the domestic and external threats to the national security, to take measures to prevent and neutralize them;
    • to review and evaluate the content of the strategic and program documents on the key points of the country’s development;
    • to coordinate the activities of the law-enforcement agencies;
  • to review the topical issues on ensuring the social, military, political, economic, informational, ecological safety;

2-1) to prepare the operative decisions on preventing the crisis situations related to the major socio-political, economic, military, ecological, and other ramifications including the recommendations on the issues of the resource use;

  • to analyze, monitor, inspect the activities of the law-enforcement agencies, the military and other forces and armed groups, to coordinate and reform the activities of the state agencies participating in ensuring the national security, to make suggestions on improving these activities to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan;

3-1) to discuss the candidates recommended for the major posts in the Public Prosecution Office, the National Security Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Syrbar Foreign Intelligence Agency, the Financial Monitoring Committee;

3-2) to review the reports of the top-officials of the law-enforcement agencies, the military and the other forces and armed groups, as well as the other state agencies participating in ensuring the national security;

  • to prepare the annual report on the state of security of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the President. This report serves as the base program document for the central and local government bodies on the issues of the domestic, foreign, and military policy in the sphere of the national security;

4-1) to review the annual report of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the results of the activities of the central government agencies in the sphere of the national security for the purpose of presenting suggestions to the Head of the state;

  • to make suggestions on ensuring the defense of the constitutional order, the state sovereignty, and the territorial intactness of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to prepare the drafts of the presidential decisions on ensuring the personal, social, and state security;
  • on the order of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to monitor the use of the strategic resources of the country;

6-1) to analyze the results of the monitoring of the appropriate use of the republican budget resources allocated for the defense, the preservation of the state order, and safety;

7) to analyze the legislative drafts on the issues of the national security, to present recommendations on them to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan;

8) to monitor the implementation of the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the decrees of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the decisions of the Security Council on the issues of the national security, to make suggestions on the measures how to eliminate the found deficiencies, the causes, and conditions contributing to their emersion to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan;

8-1) to organize the scientific research in the sphere of ensuring the personal, social, and state security”.

In the legislative draft “On the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan”, they give a cardinally different list of the functions. We quote (text in bold ours – Kazakhstan 2.0).

“The functions of the Security Council involve the following –

  • to coordinate the works on the planning and organization of the events in the sphere of the national security and the defense capacity of the country;
  • to coordinate the activities of the law-enforcement and the special state agencies for the purpose of ensuring the national security and implementing the Security Council decisions;
  • to monitor and evaluate the status of the implementation of the state strategic documents on the key points of the country’s development;
  • to perform the comprehensive analysis of the state programs, legislative drafts, important initiatives of the state-level significance as well as the development of the situation in the country and the world in regard to the national interests of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to elicit and predict the possible sources of the domestic and external threats to the national security, to make suggestions and determine the measures including the operative ones to prevent and neutralize them;
  • to review the annual report of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the results of the activities in the sphere of the national security;
  • to review the reports of the top state agencies’ officials on the issues of implementing the state policy in the sphere of the national security and the defense capacity of the country;
  • to organize the monitoring of the implementation of the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the sphere of the national security and the defense capacity including the appropriate use of the resources for ensuring the defense capacity, social order and safety with determining, if necessary, the measures to eradicate the found deficiencies, causes, and conditions contributing to their emersion.
  • to discuss the candidates recommended for the top positions in the central and local government agencies of the regions, cities of the national status, and the capital as well as the state agencies directly subordinate to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
  • other functions in accordance with the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the decisions of the Chief of the Security Council.”

In the conditions of the authoritarian political system, the mere increase of the top-state positions from eight to several hundreds, considering that the candidates will be subject to the mandatory review by the Security Council, automatically transforms the SC into a super-structure that, on the one hand, is comparable to the Presidential Administration in its real influence on the country and, on the other, excels the government in this regard.

So, here are the obvious questions – why did the legislative draft “On the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan” appear? On whose initiative or directive was it prepared?

We do not have the answers but, on the basis of the Kazakhstan political practices, we can propose several theories.

According to one of them, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan Vladimir Zhumakanov was the initiator of the legislature. He and his subordinates will be the first “beneficiaries” if the agency becomes the constitutional super-structure with the ability to directly influence the entire super-presidential vertical.

However, the fact that, previously, Vladimir Zhumakanov has never expressed any political ambitions or tried to be in the foreground, even when he served as the Chief of the National Security Committee, speaks against this theory.

Apart from that, for the legislative draft to make it to the government, it must be vised by a number of the officials including those from the Presidential Administration. However, Adilbek Dzhaksybekov and his deputies did not object to the draft that significantly lowers the political weight of their agency. This shows that a more influential person than Zhumakanov was its initiator. The list of such persons is extremely limited and, in our opinion, consists of only two people – Karim Masimov and Nursultan Nazarbayev.

As for the current Chief of the National Security Committee, for him, after he served two terms as Prime Minister, the leadership of a Kazakhstan security service (albeit the key one) is a clear demotion. This is what could motivate Karim Masimov to initiate the increase of the Security Council status with the plans to become its secretary in the future.

This maneuver would be typical of Karim Masimov and, if all goes well, Masimov will de-jure become one of the three key figures in the country along with the heads of the Presidential Administration and the Cabinet.

But the President himself could be the one to initiate the rise of the Security Council. The emergence of the third center of the political influence in the country would be to his advantage.

Today, preserving the domestic political balance is one of the key tasks and problems for Nazarbayev. And it is becoming harder and harder to do it manually. Increasing the status of the Security Council would create an external supervisor over the Presidential Administration, the government, and all the law-enforcement structures. Therefore, it will increase the competition in the apparatus and, thus, radically simplify the realization of this vitally important task.

But, in this case, the new head of the Security Council must be the person whom Nursultan Nazarbayev trusts the way he trusts his own flesh and blood. And it is not hard to guess who this person is.

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