On the New Role of Security Council

The emotionally-charged discussion between the supporters of the June 9 presidential elections and their opponents who urge to boycott this political campaign and to even hold massive protests on the election day continues in the Kazakh segment of the internet.

In our opinion, this discussion is but a tempest in a teapot. If only because the number of its participants does not exceed several hundreds of people while its overall audience is unlikely to exceed several hundreds of thousands. Nonetheless, there is clearly a certain upsurge of the internal political developments which is, undoubtedly, beneficial to the future of the country.

On the other hand, we do not believe that the Kazakh society has «awakened». At this moment, this process is in its embryonic state. And, in our opinion, it is not the internet-activists and the few civic leaders who can dare to take to streets even under the threat of punishment that will have a big impact on it in the foreseeable future. But the meltdown in the ruling elite that has to do with the forming of the two centers of power will.

More precisely, we are talking about a clientele that is forming around second President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev. It consists of the representatives of the elite groups and clans that, in the past, were unable to get close to Nazarbayev, lost their battle in the intra-elite war or chose to place their bets on the successor.

In view of this, we would like to call the reader’s attention to perhaps the most important political instrument in possession of the First President that he forethoughtfully «improved» ahead of time and can now employ universally. Especially if he needs to humble some official, entrepreneur or statesman including Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev himself.

We are talking not about the ruling party Nur Otan but the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan in its new format. Let us once again evaluate its exclusive status and super-powers by analyzing Presidential Decree 838 of February 12, 2019, called «On Several Issues Regarding the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan» and its appendixes.

Let us quote some key passages from the document (text in bold by kz.expert).

In «The Statute of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan» (Appendix 1), in is stated that -

«1. The Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan (hereinafter — Security Council) is a constitutional authority formed by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan that coordinates the implementation of the unified state policy in the sphere of national security and defense capabilities of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the purpose of preserving the internal political stability, the defense of the constitutional order, the territorial unity and the national interests of Kazakhstan on the international arena.

2. Security Council is chaired by the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan — the Leader of the Nation who, due to his historic mission as the founder of Independent Kazakhstan has the right to be the Chief of Security Council».

Then, it is stipulated that the responsibilities of Security Council include -

«1) making suggestions and giving recommendations to the President in regard to pursuing the major policies in the field of national security, defense capabilities, law-enforcement, coordination of the state agencies’ operations;

2) working out draft solutions for the President in regard to:

imposition, prolongation, repeal of martial law;

imposition, prolongation, repeal of state of emergency;

use of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan for fulfilling the international peace-keeping and security commitments;

3) other tasks in accordance with the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan and decisions of the Chef of Security Council».

With that, Security Council is responsible for:

«1) the coordination of the operations of the law-enforcement and special state agencies in regard to ensuring the national security and implementing the decisions of Security Council;

2) the monitoring and assessing the implementation of the state’s strategic documents regarding the crucial lines of the country’s development;

3) a comprehensive analysis and assessment of state programs, draft laws, important external political and other initiatives of the state-level significance, of the current developments in the country, the global and regional trends; forecasting the internal and external threats to national security, working out suggestions and taking measures for prevention and neutralization of these threats;

4) hearing the annual report of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the results and main lines of action in the sphere of national security, defense capabilities, public order;

5) hearing the top officials of the governmental agencies reporting on the implementation of the state policies in the sphere of national security and defense capabilities of the country;

6) discussing the candidates recommended to be appointed by the President as top officials at the central and regional executive bodies, of the cities of the national significance and the capital as well as at the state agencies directly supervised by the President;

7) the analysis, monitoring, inspecting of the operations of the law-enforcement agencies, Armed Forces, other military troops and fighting units, the coordination of the operations of the state agencies and organizations in re pursuing the policies of ensuring national security and the country’s international standing, defense capabilities, rule of law and public order;

8) working out suggestions on ensuring the defense of the constitutional order, the state sovereignty and territorial unity of the Republic of Kazakhstan, preparing draft decisions of the President on the issues of ensuring the safety of a person, the society and the state;

9) the analysis of the results of the monitoring of the appropriate use of the state budget resources allocated for the state defense, public order and safety;

10) the analysis of draft laws in the sphere of national security, giving recommendations to the President in re these draft laws;

11) the approval of Presidential decrees on imposing martial law, state of emergency; the approval of of Presidential addresses to the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan regarding the employment of the Armed Forces for the fulfilment of the international peace-keeping and security commitments;

12) other duties in accordance with the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan».

The cited stipulations clearly demonstrate that the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan under the leadership of the First President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been transformed into a supervisory constitutional authority placed above the second President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the entire super-presidential vertical. With that, Security Council is freed from the necessity to make the operational decisions in the sphere of state governance, to implement them and, therefore, to be hold politically responsible for them.

The setup of this new configuration of the supreme power in Kazakhstan in which Security Council, from a major yet quasi-independent division of the Presidential Administration, has suddenly turned into a constitutional authority placed above all and everyone is clearly shown in the mechanism of its making. Here is a quote.

«6. The members of Security Council include: the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Head of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Head of the Mazhilis (Lower House) of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Head of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Aide of the President — the Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan (hereinafter the Secretary of Security Council), the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Chief of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Syrbar of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

If necessary, the President can additionally appoint other parties as members of Security Council with the approval of the Chief of Security Council».

In other words, the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan under the leadership of Nursultan Nazarbayev has de-facto been transformed into the supreme body of power whose members include all the key state officials in a mandatory fashion. We are talking not only about the acting leaders of the state and the government but of both houses of the Parliament as well as of all the law-enforcement agencies without exception.  

And, as members of Security Council, all of them including Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev are placed under the direct supervision of the Leader of the Nation who, according to «The Statute of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan» -

«1) exercises the leadership of Security Council;

2) arranges the coordination of the unified state policy in the sphere of national security and defense capabilities of the Republic of Kazakhstan;

3) comes forward before the people of Kazakhstan, the governmental bodies and officials with initiatives on the crucial issues in the sphere of state-building, foreign and domestic policy and national security.

4) summons the assemblies and, if necessary, operational meetings of Security Council;

5) approves the decisions of Security Council and operational meetings of Security Council;

6) approves the Statute of Security Council, makes changes and additions to the document;

7) determines the organizational and legal status of the Apparatus of Security Council (hereinafter Apparatus) and approves its structure;

8) issues decrees including those of the legal nature that have to do with the operations of Security Council».

In our opinion, Nursultan Nazarbayev has de-facto turned the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan into the Politburo of the CPSU albeit with one crucial difference — the members of the latter, although nominally, were elected at the plenums of the CPSU and, therefore, could have been reelected. Whereas the membership in the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan depends exclusively on Nursultan Nazarbayev since it is Security Council that approves all appointments in the highest echelon of power in Kazakhstan.

In view of this, the issue of whether Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev will be reelected as the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on June 9, 2019, and what percentage of the voters will vote for him is a nonissue at all.

Even if the impossible happens and say Amirzhan Kosanov is elected President, he will become the hamster in the same spinning will that Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev is running. And he will be running it while imitating carrying out the responsibilities of the head of the state to the degree and at the speed determined by Nursultan Nazarbayev.


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