Two Mukhtars and Pandora’s Box

By starting the smear campaign against Mukhtar Dzhakishev, the Kazakh authorities may «open Pandora’s box». And something tells us that its content, dragged out for the people to see, will not please either of the «power towers».

On September 19, 2019, newspaper Vremya published a material called «Once upon a time, there were two friends called Mukhtars…». The tagline reads: «Our reporter has uncovered the details of «the Dzhakishev case». If we are to believe the author of the publication, he, after several months of correspondence with the state and law-enforcement authorities including the Public Prosecution Office and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan as well as of gathering the information from other sources has managed to sort out this high-profile story.

Here is what served as the cause for the «investigation» (quote):

«The country has recently recalled the case of former head of Kazatomprom NC Mukhtar Dzhakishev sentenced to 14 years of prison. The court that reviewed his early release request denied it because the prisoner had not paid off all the damage done in the course of the crime he committed. However, many Kazakhstanis believe that the top-manager ended up in prison not at all due to the banal shady activities but for his politics for he was a friend and a partner of fugitive banker Mukhtar Ablyazov».

This paragraph allows to assume that newspaper Vremya and the author of the publication have decided to prove:

  • first, that Mukhtar Dzhakishev is a thief, briber and embezzler of the state property (of those Kazakhstan had, have and will have plenty),
  • second, that he was put in prison not for his association with Mukhtar Ablyazov but for his own crime and with good reason,
  • third, that politicizing his case and calling him a political prisoner is a mistake on the part of the civic society and must be corrected.

We believe the appearance of the publication of such a nature and directionality in newspaper Vremya is not at all a coincidence, and the author of the material has received a serious «help» on the part of the state and law-enforcement agencies. And that the so-called «investigation», in this case, is pursuing a totally opposite goal — not to elicit but to hide the actual truth. In other words, the main task of the publication is to try and change the opinion of those civic activists that today demand freedom for Mukhtar Dzhakishev and have turned this demand into one of the main political slogans of the moment.

The reasons why Akorda (we do not doubt the fact that the decision on renewing the smear campaign against Mukhtar Dzhakishev was made either in Tokayev’s Administration or in the «Library» or in both «power towers» together) lie on the surface. For one of the most effective ways to reduce the protest sentiment in the context when such actions are carried out without much organization but under unifying slogans is to take the slogans away or, at least, to instill doubt in the minds of the protesters.

The article «Once upon a time there were two friends called Mukhtars…» seems to be the first one of the series of the «investigations» since the author and the media have promised to give the reader a lot more new and interesting stuff (quoting):

«Let us underscore that we have information from completely different sources. Among others, there were the witnesses of those times and events who shared their memories, elicited the details of the further interesting passing moves of the two Mukhtars. For they did not stop at the initial windmill. In the next publications, we will tell you how those very uranium fields were sold and what the person who participated in the then US President Bill Clinton’s election campaign had to do with it».

We have no doubt that newspaper Vremya will fulfill its promise. However, we would like to note that Akorda’s attempt to reduce the level of the protest sentiment by doing so may turn out to be not simply unsuccessful but become a big political mistake.

The thing is that all Mukhtar Dzhakishev’s and Mukhtar Ablyazov’s actions as well as those of their partners and subordinates were labeled «criminal» much later that they were actually committed. Moreover, these actions are not much different from those committed by Timur and Dinara Kulibayevs, Bulat Utemuratov, Alexander Mashkevich, Vladimir Kim and a great deal of other relatives, allies and wingmen of Nursultan Nazarbayev.

By starting to smear Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Akorda may easily provoke those who, today, are stand in opposition to the Kazakh authorities. And then Akorda and Nursultan Nazarbayev will be forced to recall all of the things they would rather forget forever.

For instance, how Halyk Bank became Dinara and Timur Kulibayevs’ property.

How the «family», together with Vladimir Kim, Alexander Mashkevich (the two «Eurasian» billionaires in cahoots) and Bulat Utemuratov gained control over the leading industries in the oil and gas sector, non-ferrous and ferrous metallurgy.

And how the Kazakh state, at its own cost and expense, was saving these private corporations by providing them with the multi-billion support.

How Timur Kulibayev was selling the oil-and-gas production enterprises to Chinese investors using the commission for his own benefit and paid a lot of money for foreign assets including Rompetrol.

And so on, and so forth.

All this information had already bee published in the Kazakh press albeit, in time, started to become forgotten. By trying to smear Muktar Dzhakishev, Akorda will automatically call the attention of the politically and socially active citizens to the events that happened ten-twenty years ago. And these events will not fail to interest the people who have started asking themselves the question why their country has lost its way in its own development and turned into a state where the people and the society are secondary to the authorities and the ruling elite.

In other words, by starting the smear campaign against former Kazatomptom NC President who, in his time (as well as Mukhtar Ablyazov) was a notable member of the ruling elite and a top-manager of the national company, the Kazakh authorities may open Pandora’s box and provoke if not a revision but an assessment of the actions carried out over the course of the 30 years of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s «reign».


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