Feeling Sorry for Officials 

A great animus on the part of the citizens towards state officials is one of the signs of Kazakhstan’s zeitgeist. Moreover, it is starting to gradually turn into hatred as it had already happened during the perestroika times when people hated the Party apparatchiks holding them responsible for everything that was wrong with the country.

The reasons for such a phenomenon are clear. Being incapable of changing anything in their life and having realized it, the people are looking for and finding the guilty party. With that, the fact that public officials and employees of the quasi-governmental companies are probably present among their own nearest and dearest is automatically tossed aside.

As a result, the statesmen corpus of today has found itself in a precarious position. On one hand, the familiar super-presidential vertical has been replaced with the «two-headed model». On the other hand, the mayhem in the state apparatus has begun. If, prior to this, the minimal employment term for the state agencies’ top-managers constituted not less than a year, then now it has been reduced to several months while the number of the transfers within the state apparatus has skyrocketed.

Apart from that, the level of the requirements to the state officials on the part of their bosses has risen drastically since the situation in the country is critical and something needs to be done. At the same time, as we have already pointed out earlier, the citizens’ dislike towards officials had grown noticeably which cannot but exert (albeit not directly) sensitive psychological pressure on the latter.

We highly doubt that, today, anyone in Akorda is concerned or well be concerned about this problem. What they may be talking about at the most is raising the salaries and even then, this is likely to be done via reducing the personnel number.

However, amid all this, the power holders are risking a lot: not so much that their main instrument — the state that ensures their domination in the country and the pursuit of the desirable internal policy — may be destroyed ad the significant decrease of the state apparatus’ efficiency.

Let us remind you: this has happened in Kazakhstan more than once — during the times of the perestroika and the first years after the collapse of the USSR and the creation of independent Kazakhstan when the reorganization of the government, of the individual agencies, the regions as well as the officials’ movements were so chaotic, unpredictable and senseless that state officials preferred to become entrepreneurs or simple leave the country.

By the looks of it, it is exactly the way by which today’s processes within the Kazakh state apparatus will unfold. Of course, they are likely to continue remaining outside of the public and press domain.

Why do we think so? Because the authorities have no real possibilities to react to this threat (indirect, for the present). In Russia, where the similar processes are going on as well, the Kremlin has employed the patriotism card as a mobilizing instrument (especially since there have been enough reasons to use it since 2008), the external threat (from the US, NATO and the West in general) and the internal threat (personalized by those who wants to sell/betray Russia to its lifelong enemies).

In Kazakhstan, such instruments cannot be employed even in theory. The country has definitely no possibilities to fight with the neighboring states, as for attacking the US, NATO and the West, it isn’t even worth the effort. As for the internal enemies including Mukhtar Ablyazov and the DCK-2, they are unlikely to seriously threaten anyone even though such attempts are already being made.

So, the authorities can only hope that the state apparatus as such will withstand the trying times and will remain an effective instrument in their hands. However, the problem lies in the fact that these are but hopes. If we are to add the escalation of the inter-elite conflict that has become even more acute and severe since the start of the internal political transition, it looks like state official are facing not simply hard but very hard times. 

And each one will have to live through these times by oneself. There will be no union protecting their interests as employees in the near future. They also do not have political instruments to influence Akorda. As a result, the indirect confrontation between the statesmen corpus and the authorities will become something closely resembling in its tactics the «Italian strike» when people seem to be employed and working but they do so slowly, formally and without enthusiasm.

And since, today, the likelihood of officials suddenly «getting sick» with patriotism and starting to solve the important for the country problems without a renumeration equals zero, even the most correct, worthy and reasonable ideas, while being put into practice, will be changed in such a way so that they serve private interests.

With that, the ability of the power holders to achieve what they want via strict orders and strict control over their implementation has been weakened dramatically, among other things, due to the existence of the two centers of power — Akorda and «the Library».

To those who disagree with our idea, we recommend visiting the Leader of the Nation’s website and see how active the latter is. But each summation of a member of the Government or of some other top-manager by Nazarbayev is always accompanied by a preparation that includes an information request from the subordinate and affiliated structures, its analysis and processing and assembling it in some comprehensive document. However, the same mechanism is employed for the preparations of the meeting with Tokayev as well. In other words, those several dozen people that, today, are in charge of the Government, the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the ministries and agencies have become even more overloaded with work as they were a year ago.

In other words, the load placed on the state apparatus from the above has clearly become heavier as we as the responsibility since we are living at the times of the crisis. With that, the pressure from the below (the citizens and civic society) and from the side (the parallel structures) has grown too. And what to do with this? One doesn’t know.


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