On the Dual Power in Akorda

The Kazakh authoritarian political system is learning to operate in the extremely unfamiliar conditions of dual power. Obviously, mistakes and botch-up are unavoidable and what is being carefully hidden is floating to the surface.

To confirm this, let us recall two events that took place on April 18, 2019. On that day, acting President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev received Deputy Minister of Defense, Head of the General Staff of Armed Forces Murat Bektanov while the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev had a meeting with Minister of Defense Nurlan Ermekbayev.

Let us quote the official press-releases published on Akorda’s official website by the press-services of the Leader of the Nation and the new head of the Kazakh state (text in bold by kz.expert).

Here is the first one.

«The First president of the Republic of Kazakhstan — the Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev has received Minister of Defense Nurlan Ermekbayev.

Nursultan Nazarbayev has been reported on the progress of the implementation of his orders issued at the last session of the Security Council.

The Minister of Defense has also informed the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the current state of the Armed Forces and the measures taken to provide the army with the modern weaponry

Apart from that, N. Ermekbayev has provided N. Nazarbayev with the information on large-scale staff exercise Aybalta — 2019 held in the Almaty region».

And the second one.

«President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev has received First Deputy of the Minister of Defense — the Head of the General Staff of Armed Forces Murat Bektanov.

The head of the state has been reported on the combat-alert status of the Armed Forces and on what the General Staff has done in re implementing the plans for the defense of the country.

Kasym-Zhonart Tokayev has pointed out the necessity to intensify the work on the analysis of different military threats, to develop the conceptual approaches towards further strengthening of the Armed Forces.

Apart from that, M. Bektanov has informed the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on strategic staff exercise Aybalta — 2019 that is now being held in Almaty.

In conclusion of the meeting, the head of the state issued a series of orders on coordinating the work of the state agencies in the sphere of military policy, on increasing the level of military discipline as well as on ensuring the safety of the on-going staff exercise».

If we are to believe the official press-releases, the Minister of Defense had only informed the First President on how the decisions previously made by the Security Council were being implemented, what was happening in the Armed Forces of the country and how a large-scale military exercise was being held. With that, Nursultan Nazarbayev, allegedly, did not supply Nurlan Ermekbayev with any requests.

In contrast, the First Deputy of the Minister of Defense — the Head of the General Staff of Armed Forces had not only reported to the head of the state and Commander-in-Chief but also received the valuable guidelines from the latter.

The texts of the official press-releases published by the Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the First President’s Chancellery allow us to conclude that the officials from both agencies were smart enough to casually demonstrate to the Kazakh citizens that Nursultan Nazarbayev had really retired from his post and that his successor Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev was now in charge. However, the did not try to separate these events in time even though it would not have been difficult to do.

As a result, the citizens of the country and foreigners interested in Kazakhstan have once again ascertained that the Leader of the Nation is placed higher than his successor in the state hierarchy for the Minster of Defense reported to the first and someone of a lower rank, his deputy, reported to the second.

We do not know the exact reasons for what has occurred; most likely, this is a result of not even a bureaucratic mistake but of a simple misunderstanding. Nursultan Nazarbayev, it would seem, wanted to meet with his old acquaintance Nurlan Ermekbayev while Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev wanted to see his own appointee Murat Bektanov.

As a result of this random overlapping of the two ordinary events, the Kazakhs have once again ascertained that Nursultan Nazarbayev has not abandoned the state steering wheel and continues to rule the country and everything that happens in it while his successor, second President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev is but an alternate, someone who has been allowed to sit in the presidential chair for a bit. 

In the meantime, the state propaganda machine has for weeks been trying to force the opposite idea into the heads of the Kazakhs — that Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev is a serious stateman and is to rule the country for years to come, that he is to be trusted and supported. And just like that, one drop of the information «tar» has spoiled the entire tanker of Akorda-produced propaganda «honey».


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