New Counter-Elite and a Chance for Revanchе

It looks like we have rushed to the conclusion that the Kazakhstan counter-elite will be formed outside of the country. We have underestimated the relentlessness of the inter-elite war. Apart from that, we have not taken into consideration that fact that the stakes in this war are running too high.

Let us remind you that we have already written an article on the forming of the counter-elite called On the Fronde to Nazarbayev’s Successor. We will quote the final passages.

“There is no doubt that the logic of the domestic political process will force some of other former influential people in the country to choose between emigration and prison. And since it is obvious that the prosecution of such people as Ablyazov, Khrapunov, Ryskaliyev and so forth is unlikely to end up successfully for the Kazakhstan authorities in the nearest years, it may turn out that the Kazakhstan counter-elite will form anew, this time, inside the country as it did in the beginning of the 2000s and not beyond its borders.

Clearly, it will not be homogenous in the political and the mental sense. Its members will be extremely unfriendly to each other personally. But it will appear. Of course, its life expectancy will be short since the children and the grandchildren of the exiles will probably not want to return to their homeland and, therefore, will not (at least on a massive scale) covet a place in the Kazakhstan power vertical and economy.

But, for Nazarbayev’s successor, this counter-elite is likely to create a number of problems. All the more so, since Akorda has still been unable to come up with the effective ways to fight it not counting the physical destruction it as the case of Nazarbayev’s former son-in-law Rakhat Aliyev showed”.

We will continue the discussion of the subject but make one correction: the counter-elite is forming not only outside of the country but inside it as well. To prove it, we will cite the case of a high-level Kazakhstan official currently serving his term in prison – Talgat Ermegiyayev.

Note that Talgat is a son of Amangelda Ermegiyayev who, in the past, used to be Nazarbayev’s personal friend and the Deputy Head of the Otan party (Nur Otan’s predecessor). However, when Ermegiyayev, Sr. tried to visit Nazarbayev to intervene on behalf of his son a couple of years ago, the President refused to see him which was received very badly by the nearest and dearest of the former.  

Now, not only Talgat Ermegiyayev’s misdeeds as the Chairman of the Astana EXPO-2017 NC but also the strong pressure on the part of the ill-wishers from Nazarbayev’s closest circle were among the main reasons for his demise. According to the inside information, the latter not only wanted to knock him out of his chair and replace him with their own people but were also trying to put a stop to the further rise of Ermegiyayev Jr.

The thing is that, at one of the meetings, Nursultan Nazarbayev publicly announced that, if Ermegiyayev Jr. would succeed in organizing EXPO-2017, he automatically becomes the Governor of Almaty and, later, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan. This standard motivation of an official via painting a picture of his bright future did not do any good for Ermegiyayev Jr. since it significantly increased the number of his enemies and unified them. All the more so, because he was and still is a member of the “Karaganda clan” whose leaders include Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter Dariga, Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament Nurlan Nigmatullin and his twin-brother and former General Prosecutor Rashid Tusupbekov.

As a result, there began a strike led by Kayrat Kozhamzharov (see photo), a long-standing Rashid Tusupbekov’ ill-wisher. The strike was vigorously supported by a significant number of the clans.

Thus, Talgat Ermegiyayev had found himself behind bars even though he was no different than his colleagues in power since the use of the state (quasi-state) positions for personal gain has long become the norm in Kazakhstan, and there are no saints in the ruling elite.

What matters in this particular case is the fact that, even though he was released from his duties as the Chairman of Astana EXPO-2017 NC, placed under house arrest in the summer of 2915 and sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony with forfeiture of property and the life-long ban to occupy high-level positions as a state servant in the summer of 2016, Talgat Ermegiyayev still has not admitted the guilt.

This means that, de-facto, he has refused to play by the rules established by Akorda when high-level officials such as former Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov eventually admit their guilt, repent, pay the court-imposed fees and are released early.

So far, not too many people have shown such stamina among the elite. However, they do exist, for example, former Kazatom President Mukhtar Dzhakishev and former Minister of Economy Kuandyk Bishimbayev. And even if such people do not hold a grudge against Nazarbayev personally, it is unlikely that they forgive their ill-wishers and enemies, especially those who have had a hand in their demise.

It means that the ruling elite, due to the rapid decrease of the “feeding water” in the past ten years and the intensification of the fight for the shadow earnings, not to mention the preparations for the inevitable power transit in the country and the exacerbation of the struggle for the power or a chance to be close to it, will be divided into those who won and remained free and those who lost and went to prison.

The latter will, undoubtedly, lack in number but they be much hungrier than their clan colleagues since they, like the proletariat, have nothing to lose expect their chains. And they are unlikely to emigrate simply because they will have nothing to do abroad while they may find support inside the country. With that, the authoritarian political regime, due to the objective reasons (the times have changes, the dependency on the West is high, and it is impossible to hide from the rest of the world), is no longer able to use Stalin’s methods to resolve this problem.

Therefore, in a few years, there will be several hundreds of people in Kazakhstan who were crushed performing their duties as state servants and put behind bars yet found the strength not to admit their guilt and not to show servitude to Akorda. With that, these people will have their own circle of contacts, they will not be poor, they will have experience in state service, they will know the strong and the weak sides of the Kazakhstan state, and they will be hungry for revenge.

Thus, one may predict that the Kazakhstan counter-elite will be formed both outside and inside the country. Note that the outside-of-the-country elite, albeit a small one, already exists. With that, to discover and stop the elites’ unification is practically impossible since it will be happening under the cover of the traditional for the Kazakhs wedding ceremonies and different celebrations, and Kazakhs are much better at forming friendships against somebody than at fighting for a cause.


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