The Unsinkable Mynbayev

On October 20, 2018, NWF Samruk-Kazyna JSC announced Alik Aydarbayev’s appointment as the Chairman of KazMunaiGas NC JSC’ Board of Directors. It also informed that Sauat Mynbayev who had previously held this position became the Chairman of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy NC JSC.

We think all this is a big success on the part of the new head of Samruk-Kazyna Akhmetzjan Esimov. Finally, he was able to put in charge of the state holding’s largest, most profitable and important affiliated structure his own go-to man, namely Alik Aydarbayev.

For the country in general, however, this success on the part of President Nazarbayev’s nephew is not as important since it is of the tactical nature and has been predestined to happen. But, Sauat Mynbayev’s transfer to Kazakhstan Temir Zholy has, in our opinion, quite a different (higher) significance. Not only is it a testimony to his high standing as a top-executive capable of managing anything that can be managed in the eyes of Akorda and Nursultan Nazarbayev personally but also the proof that the corpus of high-rank professional state officials has been formed in the country.

We will recall that Sauat Mynbayev comes from the business sphere. In 1995, as he was serving as the First Deputy Chairman of Kazkommertsbank, Mynbayev, together with other entrepreneurs, was invited to join the state service. On the initiative of the then Minister of Finance Alexander Pavlov (who is presently serving as the Chairman of Halyk Bank), Sauat Mynbayev became his deputy. Since then, Mynbayev, de-facto, has never left the state service being put in charge of different governmental agencies and quasi-governmental structures. With that, in the eyes of the other clans, he has always remained a Kazkommertsbank man and has been suspected of lobbying the interests of Nurzhan Subkhanberdin and his other partners.

Apart from that, judging from the leaks in the foreign and Kazakh press, Sauat Mynbayev has continued to do business with his partners, particularly, with Evgeniy Feld and Askar Alshinbayev which allowed him to become one of the richest people in Kazakhstan (if not of the top ten then of the top fifty caliber).

Nonetheless, regardless of what the ruling elite and the society think of him despite the scandals surrounding his name (for instance, the one about purchasing an apartment in Paris for 65 mln euro (see Whose Apartment Is It in Paris?) and, certainly, about the offshores (see Kazakhstan’s Secret Billionaires), Sauat Mynbayev is an example of a professional top-executive who, for more than two decades, has been holding the important positions in the state and the quasi-state apparatus.

There are enough people like that in Kazakhstan (perhaps not as successful and wealthy as Mynbayev but still…). It is another matter that they are not as noticeable in the information space as he is. 


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