Ertayev: Feelings Run High

Recently, the lawyer of Zhomart Ertayev, a Russian businessman of the Kazakh origin, has informed the public that the police has been pressurizing his client. The statement was published on Ertayev’s Facebook page that the lawyer was operating on behalf of the businessman.

According to Alexey Petrov, “presently, Ertayev’s house is being watched 24/7 by at least 10 Moscow Police Department officers” and “on the night of November 17 and the following day, the policemen visited Ertayev’s apartment once an hour under the pretext of checking for his presence in the vicinity. If the members of his family said he was sleeping, the policemen demanded to wake him up and ask him to come to the door”.

We believe there are several reasons for the Russian police to act in such an abnormal manner.

  • First, they are showing to their Kazakh colleagues that they are doing everything in their power to extradite Mr. Ertayev to his home country.
  • Second, in doing so, they are trying to compensate for their Presnenskiy District Court defeat that occured on November 16, 2018, when the judge refused to sanction Zhomart Ertayev’s detention having placed him under house arrest, and only for the duration of 40 days at that.
  • Third, they are exerting the psychological pressure on the person who, wishing or not, has become a serious problem in the Kazakh-Russian relationships and are trying to force him to agree to be extradited voluntarily. 

However, this kind of psychological tricks are non-effective and are likely to cause the opposite reaction. If for no other reason than the fact that they may encourage sympathy in the Russian society. 

Besides, the chances for the extradition to take place in the nearest years have come down to a zero. According to Alexey Petrov, the attorneys have already appealed to the European Court for Human Rights, and the latter, on November 23, 2018, admitted their complaint to examination. The previous experience, for instance a similar case of former BTA Bank manager Veronika Efimova, suggests that such a procedure usually takes at least three years and, considering Mr. Ertayev’s financial possibilities and his connections in Russia, the procedure, in this case, may last even longer. And there is no guarantee that it will end in favor of the authorities.

During this time, Zhimart Ertayev will stay in Moscow. And the most that the police can do under the pressure from their Kazakh colleagues is change his detention regime from house arrest to remand prison but even that will not be for the entire duration of the Strasburg trial. However, most likely, after he serves the term of house arrest, Ertayev will be released on his own recognizance.

Not only the efforts on the part of Ertayev’s lawyers but also the fact that his silence is beneficial to such influential Kazakhs as Prime-Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev and Head of the Lower House of Parliament Nurlan Nigmatullin whose close relatives, one way or another, are involved in the hyper-scandalous matter surrounding the Bank RBK embezzlements tell us that the realization of the said scenario is quite feasible.


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