Trump Names Nazarbayev’s Successor?

One of the theories explaining Speaker of the Senate Kazym-Zhomart Tokayev’s political carelessness in his BBC interview regarding Nursultan Nazarbayev’s participation in the next presidential elections is conspiracy theory.

The celebration of the Astana Day which coincides with Nazarbayev’s birthday was marked by a sensation — the personal greetings from US President Donald Trump. The thing is that, previously, the US leaders had never been keen on lavishing praise on the Kazakhstan President despite all his efforts to «befriend» them.

The reasons why Donald Trump has broken from that tradition are clear — he is trying to strengthen the role of the White House in the region located between the key US opponents, Russia and China. This region, in the case the US policy is successful, may potentially become a serious headache for both Beijing and Moscow. Hence the US president’s heightened attention to Nazarbayev during their personal meeting in January 2018 in Washington as well as the greetings on the Astana’s 20th anniversary and Nursultan Nazarbayev’s birthday.

However, judging by the shortness of Akorda’s press-release and the absence of the expression of delight in the text, Nazarbayev’s Administration is not too happy about it. We will quote the press-release in its entirety (text in bold by kz.expert).

«In his congratulatory letter, Donald Trump has expressed the satisfaction due to the established personal friendly relationships that were strengthened during the January White House meeting and underscored that the strategic cooperation between the countries has become stronger than ever.

-On occasion of your birthday, I wish you good health, prosperity, and happiness. From the bottom of my heart, I also congratulate the people Kazakhstan with the 20th anniversary of their capital city, Astana. The success of EXPO-2017 has demonstrated that, under your leadership, Astana has become Kazakhstan’s rapidly developing center and will remain the inextinguishable legacy for future generations, says the congratulatory letter».

The reasons why Akorda’s reaction to the oversees greetings was so restrained are quite understandable. Donald Trump’s words that he has established personal friendly relationships with the Kazakhstan President and the strategic cooperation between the two countries is strengthening, can seriously complicate Nursultan Nazarbayev’s relations with both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

However, it is unlikely that the Russian and Chinese Presidents will yield to Donald Trump’s provocations so easily. The US leader has already proven himself as a politician who breaks the stereotypes and pursues the policy that shocks not only the foreign countries but the US as well. Nonetheless, both Putin and Xi Jinping would probably be concerned about this development.

Amidst all this, Akorda will have to pursue an even more balanced and cautious foreign policy that should no longer be called «multi-vectored» but «trying to stay of the safe side». Which, by the way, is becoming more and more difficult due to the complex social-economic situation, the growth of the protest moods, and the uncertainty regarding the power transit in Kazakhstan.

With that, the US has lots of room to influence both Nursultan Nazarbayev and Akorda as a whole. It can, for instance, interfere with the resolving of the matter when the power transit in the country is to take place and who Nazarbayev’s successor as the leader of Kazakhstan will be.

To do so, it enough for the White House that yields on an issue of the economic influence on Kazakhstan to its neighbors Russia and China to voice the threat of imposing the economic sanctions against Nursultan Nazarbayev and his allies akin to those that already exist against Russia and the close to Putin billionaires.

To confirm our idea, we will cite the RBK article called «The Place in GLOMAG: What the New US Ministry of Finance’s Sanctions Regime Means».

Therefore, it is not surprising that a conspiracy version has appeared among the explanations for Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev’s political carelessness in the BBC interview on the subject of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s participation in the upcoming presidential elections.

Here is this version in the short form.

At the January meeting in Washington, Dohald Trump demanded that Nursultan Nazarbayev gave the presidential authorities to the person that Trump himself would want to see as the Kazakhstan leader. Trump warned that, in the event of a refusal, a new «Kazakhgate» would be launched. The successor named by Trump would indubitably be more supportive of the US interests simply because the US authorities would have enough compromising materials on that person.

With all its incredibility, this version helps to explain a lot: Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev’s words, Akorda’s restraint in its reaction to Donald Trump’s greetings. But, most importantly, it is quite in tune with the US President’s current practice to operate with his own hands, in other words, not be above the method of using the heavy pressure that violates all the norms of decency on his friends as well as his enemies. 

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