Kazakhstan continues to build Nursultan Nazarbayev’s personality cult as the First President of the country. With that, the initiators, organizers and executors of this internal political operation including the Leader of the Nation himself are inadvertently demonstrating their own and the country’s archaic mentality to the entire world.
To confirm this, we will recall two recent events that we believe have not receive enough publicity.
The first one is awarding Nursultan Nazarbayev with the status of Honorable Senator.
On May 27, 2019, the Bureau of the Senate of the Kazakh Parliament chaired by Dariga Nazarbayeva reviewed the question «Regarding the Status of Honorable Senator». Here are some quotes from the press-release (text in bold by kz.expert).
«Awarding the status of Honorable Senator is an expression of the acknowledgement of the historic achievements of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan — the Leader of the Nation as the founder of the Kazakh nationhood who ensured the protection of the Constitution, the rights of the freedoms of man and citizen, consolidated the society, determined the strategic line of the development of the country.
The status Honorable Senator is awarded to the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan — the Leader of the Nation for his contribution to the building of the constitutional and legal base of the Republic of Kazakhstan as a democratic, secular, law-governed and social state as well as to the founding and developing the country’s parliamentarism. The members of the Bureau unanimously support this initiative announced by the head of the state K.Tokayev».
«The decision on awarding the status of Honorable Senator is made by the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan at a session».
The next day, the Senate of the Kazakh Parliament made the unanimous decision to award the Leader of the Nation with the status of Honorable Senator thus committing an act whose legality is, in our opinion, extremely dubious since, according to the Constitution, the members of the House are chosen by electors or appointed by the President.
With that, we are certain that, since the idea to award Nazarbayev with yet another honorary degree belongs to Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev, it was previously discussed with the Leader of the Nation himself (if not initiated by the latter). Then it was included in Akorda’s action plan regarding the power transit. So, the question arises — why did they need to do this?
At this moment, we do not know how to answer this question, but we can assume that the people who developed the action plan were guided by a certain corpus of their own ideas of what to do and when and how to do it. These ideas have been formed under the influence of the Kazakh mentality (of the provincial variety), Nursultan Nazarbayev’s personal wishes and the desire of his subordinates to please him yet again. It looks like all of this gave birth to the strange idea to award the Leader of the Nation with the status of Honorable Senator which, to him, really makes no difference since Nazarbayev has the right to participate in the work of the Senate as the First President of the republic anyway.
The second event that confirms the idea of archaic nature of Nazarbayev as a politician and of the Kazakh political system as a whole is awarding the Russian, Belarussian and Kyrgyz Presidents with the order in honor of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan — the Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Of course, we do not believe that this gesture was a result of the secret agreement between Nursultan Nazarbayev, Vladimir Putin, Alexander Lukashenko and Sooronbay Zheenbekov to present Nazarbayev with the status of honorable president of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in exchange for the high Kazakh awards. However, it looks like the Presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan made a politically right gesture in regard to the First President who decided to thank them for attention and support simultaneously underscoring that, as a statesman, he had achieved much more than they did.
In everyday life, they call it showing off. Obviously, we do not know what Nursultan Nazarbayev’s colleagues were thinking as they were handed over the award in his honor but we may assume that Vladimir Putin was laughing while Alexander Lukashenko, in a purely countryside fashion, was calculating how much such a piece of jewelry may cost and what can be bought for such money.
All the same, for the foreign audiences including Russia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, the mere fact that Kazakhstan has a state award in honor of the First President is out of the realm of surrealism.
And the fact that Nazarbayev personally handed over the award to the heads of the neighboring states is something on the lines of a joke.
We do not know whether Akorda understands it but, by the looks of it, the people responsible for the internal political developments in the country do not think about how poorly the current actions of the authorities affect Kazakhstan’s image abroad. Which is not surprising since it is beyond their responsibility area.
Meanwhile, the archaic nature of the Kazakh political system and practices, of Nursultan Nazarbayev himself, of his successor Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev and their environment simply strikes the eyes against the background of Ukraine, its new leader Volodymyr Zelensky and his political history. And since, nowadays, information (even of the emotionally-charged variety) is one of the key decision-making factors in the world, it is not at all surprising that foreign investors choose to stay away from Kazakhstan.