Allying against Nazarbayev

At the trial against Bergey Ryskaliyev’s “organized criminal group”, the Special Intra-District Criminal Court of the Atyrau region had sentenced the former governor or the region to 17 years of imprisonment in a maximum-security facility. Former deputy of the Mazhilis Amanzgan Ryskali had been sentenced to 16 years. To the brothers, however, this does not seem to make even a blind bit of difference.

It is important to remark that the defendant’s bench was empty during the trial proceedings: all the eight defendants were not present, and the trial was conducted in absentia.

We will recall that Bergey Ryskaliev is accused of committing criminal violations stipulated by Sections ‘a’ and ‘b’ of Part 4 of Article 176 (expropriation or embezzlement of entrusted property), Sections ‘a’ and ‘b’ of Part 3 of Article 177 (fraud), Article 192-1 (making business transactions by a subject of private entrepreneurship without intentions to carry out entrepreneurship activities), Part 3 of Article 235 (founding and managing an organized group with the aim to commit one or several crimes as well as participating in it), Parts 4 and 5 of Article 235-1 (founding and managing a criminal community (criminal organization) as well as participating in it), Part 4 of Article 307 (abuse of power), Part 5 of Article 311 (receiving a bribe) of the Kazakh Criminal Code of the old wording.

It is worth mentioning that the accused had made no response to all this. Neither the Ryskaliyev brothers nor their accomplices had responded to the multiple invitations to familiarize themselves with the case file, to participate in the trial proceedings as well as to give their last plea. By the looks of it, the former governor of the Atyrau region feels quite secure living in London.

And it is obvious why he feels that way. For the past twenty years, from the moment of ex-prime minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin’s emigration to Britain and his appearance on the international wanted list, only once was Akorda able to achieve success in the fight against the opponents who had been able to leave the country at a good hour and had (have) substantial monetary funds.

We are talking about the murder of Nazarbayev’s son-in-law, former deputy chief of the National Security Committee and Kazakh ambassador to Austria Rakhat Aliyev that occurred on February 24, 2015, in the Viennese prison.

The rest (ex-prime minister of Kazakhstan Akezhan Kazhegeldin, ex-governor of Almaty and East-Kazakhstan region Viktor Khrapunov, ex-minister of energy and chairman of the board of directors of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov and ex-governor of Atyrau region Bergey Ryskaliyav) are currently living abroad. And even though not every one of them currently has a good financial standing, they have been and remain unattainable for the Kazakh authorities.

We will remark that it does not matter for what reason they have emigrated and what the are accused of in Kazakhstan. Of the aforementioned persons, only Akezhan Kazhegeldin and Mukhtar Ablyazov were engaged in politics and openly opposed the authoritarian political regime. Victor Khrapunov initially took the hit because of his familial connections, namely, his son Ilyas who is married to Mukhtar Ablyazov’s daughter. As for Bergey Ryskaliyev, he was a victim of the inter-elite conflict between former head of the Presidential Administration Aslan Musin (as he was his ally) and the latter’s numerous adversaries.

This level of efficiency of Akorda’s operations against the well-known opponents of the authorities when it is only by committing a murder that they are able to achieve success, testifies to the extreme global distrust towards Kazakhstan and its state structures.

This distrust is so high that even the $1 bln that, by our estimates, had been taken from BTA Bank and the state budget and spent by Akorda on its “war” against Mukhtar Ablyazov in 2009 – 2016 was thrown into the winds. Eventually, Ablyazov was freed from the French prison in 2016 and he is now trolling Akorda, Nursultan Nazarbayev and the Kazakh authorities practically every day while living in France.

In light of this, it is clear that the chances for Bergey Ryskaliyav’s return to Kazakhstan and for his going to prison are miniscule.

On the other hand, as of today, these people do not present any real danger for Nazarbayev since they do not trust (do not love, hate, cannot stand – underline as appropriate) each other even more so than they do the Kazakh President. But this is only until the time comes. The political logics will undoubtedly force them if not make friends and unite then at least start moving in the same direction.

Of course, this is not going to happen right away but only when they will see a chance to gain revenge in their fight with Nazarbayev or at lease to take out on him and their enemies for the fact that they are now forced to vegetate in emigration.


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