The shocking revelations of Kazakh «prince» Aisultan Nazarbayev and the active involvement of political refugees Alnur Musayev and Mukhtar Ablyazov in the matter seem to have awaken the country. But even though this scandal is worthy of becoming a first-class plot for series of all kinds of genres (from a horror to a comedy), it too shall pass soon.
Such is the logic of the modern consumerist society that exists in a constant demand for new things. And Kazakhstan has no problem satisfying it — be it the death of five young girls in a fire, or the ammunition depot explosion, or the arrests of highly-placed officials in the rank of regional governors, or the scandal around the gigantic and useless LRT investments, or the elite infightings…
Meanwhile, if one is to take a step back from this routine, three alarming circumstances will catch one’s eye.
First, the almost overwhelming passivity of the Kazakhs who «wake up» and start advocating their personal and (or) group interests (albeit not the common ones, not to mention the national-level ones) only when someone accidently «attacks» them (be it the state, or officials, or business or their neighbors)
Second, there is a clear expectation on the part of a significant majority of the citizens that someone will come and solve their personal problems starting with cleaning the communal entrance hallway and ending with providing them with a decent pension even though they themselves have not earned it.
Third, the nationwide growth of dissatisfaction in all the social strata from the ruling elite to the margina groups; the dissatisfaction that, however, is not converted into action but only into words and emotions.
It seems like, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the socialist system when they found themselves taken up by the mad torrents of the market economy and were forced to «swim out» by any means possible, the Kazakhs involuntarily chose the tactics of the individual (or, at best, group) survival. And continue to stick to it to the present day.
This tactic seems quite justifiable for such societies — if you cannot solve the problem, run to the place where it doesn’t exist. This is why the Kazakhs have fled and continue to flee — some abroad, others — from villages to cities, someone else — to their private lives and into themselves. As a result, Kazakhstan is unintentionally turning into a kind of prison even though, contrary to its physical analogue, it does not have a security wire and custodial guards and one is free to leave it anytime. However, those who succeed (a clear minority)
or those who cannot or do not want to run remain its prisoners.
The problem, however, lies in the fact that this state of things cannot exist indefinitely. And a discharge of th protest sentiment from homes to streets will invariably happen if not tomorrow than in five-ten-twenty-year time. At this point, it is impossible to predict its format, scope and causes. Theoretically, anything
is possible — starting with a revolution under the slogans of dethroning the anti-national power (personified by Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kossym-Jomart Tokayev or someone else who takes up the country’s leadership after them) or an intra-elite coup d’etat and ending with ethnic or religious pogroms (akin to those that took place in the Soviet republics in the waning days of the USSR).
On the other hand, another scenario is feasible — a conversion of the current authoritarian political system and the «super-presidential» vertical with the «Leader of the Nation» at the top of it into a dictatorship akin to those of the first half of the 20th century that, first, emerged in Italy and Germany and then materialized in other countries of Europe, Latin America and Africa.
Let us remind you that, back then, the dictatorial regimes and their leaders enjoyed a great (if not nationwide support of the then existing societies. Moreover, Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany and became the Reischchancellor as a result of elections.
Why do we allow for a possibility that the 21-st century Kazakhstan may repeat the events that happened one hundred years ago? Because the people en masse are not prepared to act, yet they starve for a better living. With that, they are not relying on themselves but hoping for a miracle.
But someone has to perform the miracle in order for it to materialize. Throughout history, such dreams did indeed result in the appearance of such people. Some of them are now known as Jesus Christ, Mohammed and Buddha; some immortalized themselves as historic figures, tzars, emperors, the leader of the tribes that had seized Rome. Thus, the only question is how persuasive this aspiring dictator is going to be in his words and actions.
Regard that it is not at all necessary that he appears as a result of a revolution like Napoleon Bonaparte or Vladimir Ulyanov-Lenin. It is enough that he simply enters the front stage when the time is ripe.
In modern Kazakhstan, such person may ascend to power as a result of a consensus among the ruling elite or its majority that will agree to this only in order to save themselves and their fortunes. And if, by that time, the population en masse will get tired of the poor quality of life, they may silently agree to this scenario.
To confirm the feasibility of such events, let us recall the political rehabilitation of «the father of the peoples» Josef Stalin in the eyes of many Russian and perhaps Kazakhs (we have not seen sociological surveys on this subject). In other words, the people en masse have forgotten how much damage this man inflicted on the USSR and other states but suddenly recalled how he restored the strict order in the country and how well he maintained it.