The Price of Betrayal

In the past six months, Amirzhan Kosanov has become one of Kazakhstan’s most notable, discussed and criticized political figures. Moreover, thanks to him, the Kazakh political dictionary has now acquired a new legomenon — «kosanovschina»* that may survive the man himself as well as the current transition period.

The rise of the previously not too high-profile civic leader who, for a long time, had remained in the shadow of his former boss, ex-Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who did not stand out among his colleagues from the opposition either in terms of activities or in terms of notable actions was fairylike. Then again, so was his fall, at least, in terms of the public opinion.

Nonetheless, we do not consider Mr. Kosanov a loser. Having popped up in the right place at the right time, he was able to demonstrate an excellent ability to be practical and not to be overly concerned with moral superfluxes.

By now, no one has any doubts that Kosanov’s nomination as a presidential candidate and his participation in the early presidential elections was a part of Akorda’s plan to transfer the presidential chair from the Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev to Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev. Also, no one has doubts that he had betrayed those who supported him by giving him his votes. But the fact remains — he was successful in carrying out the part of a political marionette. At the same time, figuratively speaking, he caught the Firebird by the tail and pulled out a couple of gold feathers.

There are talks on the internet that, for the participation in the political spectacle called «Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev’s Early Presidential Elections», he received one million dollars.

According to the information provided by our insiders, the renumeration was twice as high.

Unfortunately, it cannot be proved documentarily (at least at this point): even if the fee was somehow documented on paper, the document is unlikely to be made public in the next couple of years. But if this is true, it means that, after the three decades of being an oppositional leader, he was able to secure quite trouble-free sunset years on which we congratulate him.

However, life goes on and the next elections are upon us. So, the question is — does Amirzhan Kosanov have a political future? For instance, will he be able to create and take the leadership of a political party in order to repeat his success at the upcoming parliamentary elections?

We believe Akorda knows full well that, as a political leader, Amirzhan Kosanov is of no value and, therefore, it is senseless to spend money, time and effort promoting him. He would have been in-demand had the country had several oppositional civic organizations so the authorities would try and disintegrate their electorate, but something like this is still a long way off. In other words, the authorities do not need him in any capacity.

Of course, theoretically, it is possible that, being inspired by the massive support at the early presidential elections, Kosanov may try to «take the sea» independently. However, without the support of the Kazakh authorities, he won’t be able to register a political party especially if the parliamentary elections are to be held ahead of schedule. Besides, he has neither the human resources nor ideas that can attract a lot of supporters.  

He also has no chance to be supported by the protest-minded Kazakhs. This window of opportunity was shut permanently when Kosanov cowardly acknowledged the results of the early presidential elections choosing not to challenge them and giving up on the support of the observers that were trying to do so.

Today, Mr. Kosanov is de-facto a «political corpse» for whom all that is left to do it to imitate his living abilities in order not to fall down completely in the eyes of his acquaintances, friends and relatives.

This process is likely to drag on for years since, in Kazakhstan, «blowing hot air» is much more important than the other human values. Luckily, now Amirzhan Kosanov has material means to play the part of an independent politician.


*The suffix -schina in Russian has a negative connotation and is similar in function to the English -ism.


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