On April 10, 2020, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kossym-Jomart Tokayev held a meeting of the Emergency Response Committee. Judging by the format of the event (a video conference with the remote participation of Prime Minister Askar Mamin and most of the other Committee members), it may be considered rather a technological breakthrough.
In our opinion, if such practice will be used even after the coronavirus pandemics will have ended, the state will be able to save huge sums of money, and officials will save a lot of their working hours since a significant part of the events in the country will be held in the format of a video conference which means not spending money on trips and time wasting.
Unfortunately, such is the only positive that we can observe. As for the rest, it remains quite sad. And even though the Leader of the Nation’s successor had tried to convince the fellow citizens that the country was overcoming all the difficulties, he was not particularly successful in that. Obviously, to a large extent, it was due to the objective reasons since the number of the people infected with coronavirus and the snowball of the economic problems are continuing to grow. However, Akorda and the Library’s own missteps are evident here too.
One of such missteps lies in the fact that the Leader of the Nation’s address to the nation under the high-sounding name «When We Are United, We Are Invincible» was published on the Library’s website before Kossym-Jomart Tokayev held the Emergency Response Committee meeting.
In the article «A Leaderless Country?», we wrote that «speaking from the point of view of preserving the current political stability (not to mention the trust to the state and state agencies), it would be better if the article never saw the light of day». In this publication, we arrive at the conclusion that the country has lost the «leader of the nation» while Nursultan Nazarbayev is still alive since he, de-facto, has stopped performing the said role.
The reasons for the tactical mistake are clear.
First, the people comprising the Library team had to demonstrate, in an urgent fashion, that Nursultan Nazarbayev is alive, well and even capable of writing articles.
Second, such is the logic of the authoritarian political system and the «super-presidential» vertical — the Number 1 in the country must speak first. In the Soviet times, Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko used to give speeches and wave to the people from the Mausoleum podium even though they were physically unable to do it.
So, Nursultan Nazarbayev too, with the help of his current Library team, is waving to the Kazakhs from the newspaper pages and the Internet thus saying — here I am, alive. Then, Kossym-Jomart Tokayev is trying to demonstrate that he is governing the country and, therefore, fighting the coronavirus pandemics.
Meanwhile, the article signed by the Leader of the Nation (to whom no one in the country believes if only the because he has distanced himself from the people to such an extent that it is no longer redeemable) has screwed over Kossym-Jomart Tokayev twice. First, by proving, yet again, that trusting the authorities won’t get you anywhere and then, by demonstrating that the power vertical is half beheaded.
We are not going to analyse and comment on the acting President’s speech at the Emergency Response Committee meeting of April 10, 2020. In our opinion, it is too long and clearly lacking charisma. In this sense, Kossym-Jomart Tokayev should take his cues from his colleague Donald Trump who is capable, by saying a couple of phrases, of not only solving the current political and governmental problems but influencing everyone and everything, starting from this allies and ending with his enemies not just inside the country but around the globe.
As for Akorda’s official press-release titled «The President of Kazakhstan Has Held a Meeting of the Emergency Response Committee», it, in our opinion, deserves attention. For the Presidential Administration staff must have examined every word in it in order to communicate the key massages to the citizens.
Now then, if we are to omit the reminder that the coronavirus pandemics continues and the medical staff are heroically fighting it every day, then we will see that Kossym-Jomart Tokayev is concerned about the following:
a) the problems with additional payments to the medical staff;
b) the question of providing the medical staff, the policemen, the military, the «first line» state agencies’s staff with individual protective equipment as well as the necessary working conditions;
b) the timeliness and the fullness of the social support provision to the citizens via a special payment in the amount of 42.5 thousand tenge;
g) the introduction of a remote system of the social aid provision and support of the Kazakhs citizens;
d) the introduction of a remote system of school and university training;
e) the provision of affordable groceries to the citizens living in the quarantine zones;
f) the timely and high-quality sowing campaign.
It is not hard to see that all these issues, while quite important, are more of an operative than a strategic nature. And this is particularly noticeable since it testifies that Akorda is acting under the conditions of high uncertainty and has no clear plan of action.
At the same time, judging by the text of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s article can that be called a propaganda leaflet with the plea to believe the Leader of the Nation and in the Leader of the Nation, the Library has no such plan, either.
Well, since the Kazakhs have no choice, they will have to, if not trust Kossym-Jomart Tokayev and Nursultan Nazarbayev, then at least accept the fact that they are led by the people that cannot see the road ahead or whose hands are tied and the vision is blurred.
One can only hope that the country is still capable of taking certain steps and manoeuvring in the search for a better way instead of following a narrow road leaving which would lead to falling down into a deep abyss.