How Daulbayev Performed in a Circus

On Sunday evening, September 29, 2019, the Khabar TV-channel broadcasted a very interesting talk-show called «Ablyazov. An Ideology of a Thief. We believe this historic (in every sense of the word) event, undoubtedly, deserves a commentary.

Let us explain why we think so.

First, it was an attempt (albeit a clumsy one) to publicly investigate the phenomenon of Mukhtar Ablyazov.

Second, the very fact that the country’s main TV-channel devoted a special program to Mukhtar Ablyazov (a program that lasted for an hour and 20 minutes) shows that the latter has become a real subject of the domestic political process in the country.

Third, from the propaganda standpoint, the talk-show format is much more effective than the simple statements of the Public Prosecution Office and the other agencies on the subject of Ablyazov and the DCK-2 which means that the authorities have begun to understand the limitations of their administrative instruments in the information sphere.

We are not going to analyze what has been said by the talk-show participants, do the fact-checking as well as guess the reasons why certain individuals had revealed some things while concealed the others and sometimes even told shameless lies. This will require too much time, effort and the analysis of too many documents. Therefore, we will limit ourselves to registering that it was the first time when today’s main political enemy of Nursultan Nazarbayev was honored with such a big political show in his home country.

We have no doubt that talk-show «Ablyazov. An Ideology of a Thief» was not so much a «talk» than a «show» Having spent almost an hour and a half watching it (simultaneously registering what the participants were saying), we have arrived at the conclusion that it was done according to a script written beforehand and that all its participants can be divided into three groups: «the attackers»,  «the neutrals» and «the victims».

Former Attorney General of Kazakhstan Askhat Daulbayev, senior partner of the Ilyashev and Partners legal firm Roman Marchenko and certain Matthew Schwartz, a US attorney working for BTA Bank JSC performed the role of «the attackers».

Director of the Talpan Applied Research Center Rakhim Oshkbayev, psychologist Aybek Sidikov and Director of the Expert Institute of the European Law and Human Rights Marat Bashimov were «the neutrals».

As for «the victims», this group was the largest of the three and consisted of two sub-groups. The first was formed by those who had previously worked with Ablyazov at BTA Bank JSC and then were held criminally responsible with him: Zhaksalyk Zharimbetov, Saduakas Mameshtegi and Zaure Zhunusova. The second sub-group consisted of those who had been supporting the DCK-2 but then repented — Aset Nurzhaubay and Muslim Nukenov.

Each participant of the talk-show performed the role given to them in the script. We are not going to evaluate their performing abilities but note that Zuare Zhusupova who said nothing significant on poorly working Skype probably gave the worst performance. In contrast, Roman Marchenko looked most relaxed.

Let us also note that, if Rakhim Oshakbayev really was sincere in his statements, this means that the people of his generation do not know and do not remember much about the tumultuous internal political events that started in the country in the fall of 2001 with the creation of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan. As well as about the real reasons why, in 2003, Ablyazov was first convicted to six years of imprisonment and then pardoned by Nazarbayev and about the history of their confrontation in which the seizure of BTA Bank by the state was an important albeit not the key moment.

The main flaw of the show was, in our opinion, the absence of Mukhtar Ablyazov’s defenders who would provoke «the attackers», mobilize «the neutrals» and sympathized with «the victims». Or, on the contrary, accuse them of being weak thus ensuring the necessary emotional pumping up of the audience. In Russia, such talk-shows always include this kind of «scapegoats». It is they who are being attacked in front of the camera, called bad names and humiliated, nonetheless, they are always in business.

Among other flaws, one must note that the speakers from «the attackers» group named different amounts of the «damage» done by Mukhtar Ablyazov and the members of his «organized crime group» as well as of the money «stolen» by them from BTA Bank. In the meantime, in order to create a high-quality narrative (which was the goal of the Kazakh authorities in this case), it is necessary to limit yourself to one single figure. For the simpler and clearer a narrative, the easier to is to digest. Several different figures in one narrative inadvertently make people doubt what is being said to them.

Yet another mistake, this time made by Roman Marchenko, had to do with the assessment of France’s actions.

In the course of the discussion of the reasons why the decision on Mukhtar Ablyazov’s extradition to Russia that had passed all the necessary judicial levels and had already been approved by France’s Minister of Justice nonetheless was revoked by the French State Council, the senior partner of the Ilyashev and Partners legal firm hinted, in our opinion, rather transparently that it could be a result of… corruption. At least, this is the way we heard it and we think we were not the only ones. Something tells us that, if they learn about it in France, the attitude of the French state agencies and officials towards BTA Bank JSC and Kazakhstan is unlikely to improve.

In conclusion, let us remark that the talk-show on Ablyazov was lacking the representatives of the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan as well as Ms. Elena Bakhmutova who, from 2004 to 2011, had been employed by the agency for regulation, control and supervision of the financial market and financial organizations first as the Deputy Chairperson and then as the head of the agency even though, judging by the hosts’ remarks, these people seemed to have been invited. The reasons for their refusal are unknown but it is not hard to guess what they are — by the looks of it, the Presidential Administration was unable to convince them to present themselves in the role of clowns.

As for the key speaker of this show, former Attorney General of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askhat Daylbayev, then, according to our insiders, he also did not want to participate but was forced to do so.

The thing is that, after our web-portal had published a material On Daulbayev’s Case and BTA Money that (according to the informed persons) had been widely discussed in certain circles, his son, entrepreneur Rakhat Darmesh started experiencing problems. And if, prior to this, he had been resolving all his issues with the representatives of the law-enforcement agencies via using his father’s name, then now he is allegedly being demanded to pay for the services. 

According to our insiders, Askhat Daulbayev was so displeased because of this circumstance as well as because of the individual law-enforcement agencies had suddenly «remembered» the testimony given by Ulugbek Naksatbekuulu as part of the investigation of embezzling the money from BTA Bank that he promised to imprison everyone who had had a hand in the «spotlighting» of the story about his offspring.

The angry father had even tried to get an audience with the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan in order to complain about the bullies and receive protection. However, he got a cold shoulder. On the other hand, they had promised to help him visit the Leader of the Nation in exchange for the participation in such an important political event as the talk-show devoted to Ablyazov.

It is worth mentioning that the former Attorney General of the Republic of Kazakhstan did not shine in front of the camera. First, having declared that the crimes Ablyazov is accused of are among the five most significant ones ever committed in the history of the humankind in terms of the size of the damage, he was not able to say what these five crimes were. And, second, he was seriously mistaken when he said that the US7.5 $ bln of BTA Bank’s losses equals 10% of the country’s GDP. It looks like the authors of the script and the show organizers had failed to prepare him well.

P. S. At the end of last week, Khabar broadcasted yet another high-profile talk-show about the «crimes» of Ablyazov, this time, with the participation of «killer» Muratkhan Tokmadi who was communicating with the host of the show from behind the walls of the penal colony where he is serving his sentence. What can one say? The Show Must Go On.


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