The Domino Effect and Bapi Scandal

It looks like the September 6 meeting of the NSDP activists when Ermurat Bapi was released from his responsibilities as the leader and expelled from the party was Akorda’s reaction to the video of Nursultan Nazarbayev walking along Hyde Park that was leaked on social media. Why do we think this is so?

On August 22, 2019, we published an article called Does the NSDP Have a Future?  in which we conclude that those who stand behind Ermurat Bapi, namely Akezhan Kazhegeldin and Bergey Ryskaliyev, are quite capable of making a deal with Akorda regarding their unofficial collaboration during the future parliamentary elections.

We will recall how we have arrived at this conclusion (quoting from the article):

«In our opinion, a lot will depend on whether Akrzhan Kazhegeldin and Bergey Ryskaliyev (currently permanently residing in London) will be able to make a deal with Akorda that will involve if not a mutually beneficial cooperation then the preservation of some kind of neutrality.

The fact that this is quite feasible can be proved, for instance, by the following example: the interview with the former Prime Minister entitled «Akezhan Kazhegeldin: the Kazakh in the uniform will not go against the Kazakh in the civvies» was published inside the country without any consequences for the resource that published it. Obviously, if any Kazakh media published this kind of interview with Mukhtar Ablyazov, it would have been already closed and its editor-in-chief condemned for cooperating with the extremist and extremism.

Besides, the Kazakh participants of several meetings with Kazhegeldin and Ryskaliyev (last one was held in Paris) were not subject to any repressions as oppose to the supporters of the DCK-2.

For Akorda, the NSDP’s participation in the next parliamentary elections will, undoubtedly, be a positive since it will show to the international community that Kazakhstan has moved towards democracy.

As for the NSDP, the positive is that the party will, first of all, receive a significant financial support that will allow it not only to conduct the pre-election campaign relatively actively but to «revive» the local party organizations, second of all, present a real opportunity to remind the voters of the party’s existence which will significantly ease its resurrection or, at least, the reinforcement of the party troops, third, it can attract those who have already come into the spotlight in the domestic political space as the party members».

However, the recent events demonstrate that Akezhan Kazhegeldin did not manage to make the deal: the authorities have decided to take the NSDP away from him by expelling Ermurat Bapi from the party.

We will not accuse the NSDP activists of executing a political order since they could have been motivated by some other reasons among which the worries that foreign financing may result in repressions against both the civic organization and its leaders is probably at the top of the list.

Even though after what happened on September 6 the NSDP has found itself «free floating», without money (so far) and under the leadership of some little-known people, it has remained unscathed. And it is still Kazakhstan’s only legally registered political party that may play the role of opposition in the course of the upcoming Mazhilis and local elections.

Therefore, we may assume that the NSDP will soon get the support of certain businessmen and «comes to life». The likelihood of this is if not 100% than 50% for certain.

Moreover, it is possible that the NSDP will reconsider its decision on Ermurat Bapi’s removal.

The latter prediction is based on the chronology of the recent events and the sensational confessions of Akezhan Kazhegeldin made in his Azattyk interview. He said that, while in emigration, he had personally met with Nursultan Nazarbayev and that the latter had allegedly asked him for forgiveness.

The fact that Kazakhstan’s former Prime Minister retains his unofficial contacts with Akorda has been well-known for quite some time. And Akezhan Kazhegeldin’s active participation in the information war against Rakhat Aliyev and Mukhtar Ablyazov on the side of the Kazakh authorities shows who is dearer to him. Note also, that Akorda showed no reaction to Ermurat Bapi’s coming to the NSDP and his appointment as the leader of this political party even after he went abroad (several times) and made direct contact with Akezhan Kazhegeldin and Bergey Ryskaliyev.

However, something non-standard has happened in the last couple of days. Perhaps it was the video showing Nursultan Nazarbayev walking along Hyde Park in the company of billionaire Vladimir Kim and Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to the UK Erlan Idrisov.

The video was released on Sunday evening (September 1st) on social media including the accounts of Akezhan Kazhegeldin’s allies. It is not hard to figure out who was behind this release.

It looks like the September 6 meeting of the NSDP activists where Ermurat Bapi was released from his responsibilities as the leader and expelled from the party was Akorda’s reaction to this careless move (for more details click — text available in Russian).

In his turn, on the same day (September 6, albeit after lunch) Akezhan Kazhegeldin himself unexpectedly gave a big interview (that lasted for about an hour) to the Azattyk magazine in which he revealed a lot of new, interesting and sensational things. In our opinion, apart from his confession of the meeting with Nazarbayev while in emigration, the key one lies in the following (text in bold by

Akezhan Kazhegeldin: I had met with him. Today I can talk about it.

Azattyk: With whom?

Akezhan Kazhegeldin: With Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Azattyk: When?

Akezhan Kazhegeldin: Several times.

Azattyk: In the recent years?

Akezhan Kazhegeldin: Yes, in the years when I was living abroad. A said to him: «Nureke, you worst problem is that you generate discord among the Kazakhs. Your sons-in-law Rakhat /Aliyev/, Timur /Kulibayev/ and others stand behind you. Why am I not among them? What am I guilty of? Am I guilty of expressing adequate criticism? When you invited me to take this position, we agreed that I would speak the truth whether you like it or not. Back then, you agreed». I had started all our conversation with the words: «Nureke, I am telling you this so that later you will not say that I knew about this but didn’t tell you». He asked me to forgive him. «(Aynalajyn (terms of endearment for a younger person —, I am sorry, we have gone too fat», said he. He acknowledged that. The conversation was recorded by the US representatives. But when he leaves the meeting, he acts in a completely different manner. We do not need this kind of «leaders of the nation». We need competent leaders who are concerned about the interests of the people. Nureke’s only achievement is that he has made his family rich and has been able to hold on to power for about 30 years. Now he is dreaming of making his children climb on the top. Now this is all in the hands of the people».

Azattyk: What document do you have that confirm the illegal transfer of funds out of Kazakhstan?

Akezhan Kazhegeldin: There is KIAR (Kazakhstani Initiative on Asset Recovery. — Its membership includes not only the Kazakhs who have left the country but journalists from Germany, France, UK, Canada and the US. It is a non-governmental organization. Thanks to this organization, today we can prove the illegal transfer of about 70 $ bln. However, based on my own calculations and on the calculations of the other observers, we may be talking about roughly 180 $-200 bln.

Azattyk: In what circumstances may this money be returned?

Akezhan Kazhegeldin: If Tokayev unites with the society and journalists and invites foreign attorneys, calls for our help, we will help him. The money may be returned in 18 months. If they pass a decent amnesty law, up to 80% can be returned.

Azattyk: Is this money registered for individuals or unknown legal bodies?

Akezhan Kazhegeldin: It is hidden in offshore companies. You must have read about Panama Papers. They mentioned the names of Dariga, of the former Kazkommertsbank’s top-managers. They are all known. Behind these offshore companies, you will find Kazakhstan’s natives, the members of the Nazarbayev family, the ministers, the former National Bank’s Chairman.  We know of the three places where they keep the money of Sauat Mynbayev who chairs Kazakhstan Temir Zholy and who had previously chaired KazMunaiGas and Samruk for many years.

In other words, we believe that Akezhan Kazhegeldin’s reaction to Ermurat Bapi’s expulsion which deprives Kazhegeldin of the opportunity to participate in the internal political games via this political party was his public warning that:

  • first, his conversation with Nursultan Nazarbayev was recorded by the US secret service and, therefore, can be used as a pressure instrument against Kazakhstan’s «leader of the nation» or made public in order to put Nazarbayev in a tight spot,
  • second, he and his allies have in their possession the information on where about US70 $ bln stolen or somehow «earned» by Nursultan Nazarbayev’s relatives, friends and allies have been transferred and where this money is now.

In our opinion, these statements can be considered blackmail. Of course, Akezhan Kazhegeldin may very well be bluffing. And it is not at all a fact that he will be able to throw dust in Nazarbayev’s eyes or intimidate him.

One way or another, this story confirms yet again that Akezhan Kazhegeldin and Nursultan Nazarbayev are of the same stock and tarred with the same stick except the first one is a little younger. And that they have only one difference in the views, albeit a very important one, — it is who should manage the country and, therefore, abuse the authority. It is this circumstance that leads us to suspect that Nazarbayev and Akorda have enough lines of defense against Kazhegeldin, otherwise, the latter would have returned to Kazakhstan a long time ago and would have taken some respected and lucrative post in the state apparatus.

In addition, let us remark that Akrzhan Kazhegeldin’s statement that his conversation with Nursultan Nazarbayev was recorded by the Americans confirms our suspicions that it was US President Donald Trump that might have played the key role in Nursultan Nazarbayev’s decision to give away the presidential chair and authorities to Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev.

For the exodus of such experienced, pragmatic and tightly-connected to his Chinese and Russian colleagues leader is very beneficial to the current Washington authorities that are very keen on turning Kazakhstan (and Central Asia in general) from the territory that connects Russia and China into the territory that separates them.

As for the pressure against the leaders of foreign states with the use of all the tools at his disposal, one can say it is Donald Trump’s personal quirk. But this, of course, is only our opinion.


Below is the video of Nazarbayev’s Hyde Park walk in London.


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