A Forecast for Bolat Nazarbayev’s Future

The thirty year-long «reign» of Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan is going to affect all the aspects of the life of the state, the society and the people even after his death. This influence is going to be both positive and negative, and will sometimes take rather unexpected forms.  

For instance, following the Eurasian tradition, the Elbasy is to become, in the public perception, the main party responsible for the fact that the Kazakh citizens’ lives are not as rich, happy and safe as he had promised they would be. Although he did fulfil his promise in regard to his nearest and dearest.

This scenario is all the more likely to take place if the Elbasy’s successors will be able to preserve the infamous internal political stability while allowing for the level and the quality of life to deteriorate even further. And since, in our opinion, this is exactly what’s going to happen in the nearest future, Akorda is going to face a difficult dilemma — it will have to make a political sacrifice.

Simply put, it will have to shift the blame for everything that is wrong with the country from itself onto someone else in order to lessen the anger of the masses. The question is on whom they are going to place it.

Of course, they can place the blame on some member of the opposition. But no one is going to believe this especially since the most prominent opposition members have long been living abroad. So Akorda is going to need a real scapegoat.

The First President seems like a natural choice for this role, however, we believe that Akorda is unlikely to take such a suicidal step. For the people that are to take charge of the authoritarian political system and the «super-presidential» vertical will probably come from the circle the the Elbasy’s closest allies if not relatives. Therefore, these new «fathers of the nation» will have no reason to try and complete their difficult (but rather tactical) task via weakening the political foundation of their power in the form of the «Elbasism» as the state policy and practice.

Under these circumstances, Akorda may solve the problem via sacrificing someone who is close to Nursultan Nazarbayev but does not have any serious political influence at the top and also is vulnerable for one reason or another. Even better — if this future scapegoat turns out to be Nursultan Nazarbayev’s close relative.

Then, everything will follow the historically established canon: we have nothing to do with anything, the «Leader of the Nation» is partially to blame, but the real culprits are those in whom he trusted and who had betrayed him and the people.

The list of the «enemies of the state» can be drafted up as we speak: Dariga Nazarbayeva and her husband, Timur Kulibayev and his wife, Aliya Nazarbayeva, Bolat Nazarbayev, Kayrat Satybaldy, Samat Abish, Akhmetzhan Yesimov. With that, we believe that, for the last three, the chances of becoming the scapegoats are much smaller than for the Elbasy’s daughters and his brother. Simply because much less information exists on the sins of Yesimov, Satybaldy and Abish. Also, they are not as rich as do not get as cocky as the others.

As for the first four, today, it is Dariga Nazarbayeva and Timur Kulibayev with their spouses that seem to stand out in this group. At the same time, they are too rich and influential, lead the clans that are particularly large in size and possess well-established connections not just within the ruling elite but abroad as well. But, most importantly, they are capable of effectively resisting anyone who tries to take away their power, influence and fortune.

In this regard, Aliya Nazarbayeva and Bolat Nazarbayev seem more vulnerable; each one in a different way.

For instance, the «Leader of the Nation’s» third daughter is now engaged in the ecology and green economy-related business but, so far, due to a number of reasons, she has not been perceived as an object of a violent and unfailing anger on the part of her fellow citizens. Perhaps she is shielded by the Elbasy himself and her elder sisters with their spouses. On the other hand, Bolat Nazarbayev is «reigning» over the Almaty region leaving its borders on a very rare occasion (for example, to visit the neighbouring Zhambyl region). And this, in our opinion, is very risky for him.

The thing is that, the scale and the energy of the public anger is going to serve as the key factor that will determine which one of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s relatives will be sacrificed at the altar of the public opinion several years after the First President’s death. In this regard, Bolat Nazarbayev is definitely among those who lead the way, in our opinion.

Why? Because not only has the Elbasy’s brother long been the scandal of the neighbourhood but he has been dominating the consumer goods market in the Almaty region and, partially, in the Almaty city. Mainly, in the sphere of groceries and the goods imported from China.

 The Altyn Orda marketplace and the Magnum Cash& Carry retail network are the key elements of the unofficial monopoly that he and his clan have created.

It is a well-known fact that Altyn Orda is controlled by Bolat Nazarbayev. As for Magnum, multi-billionaire Alexander Garber is thought to be the chain’s official founder and majority shareholder (№ 18 on the 50 most influential businessmen list and № 32 on Kazakhstan’s 50 richest businessmen list). In the meantime, according to our insiders, Kayrat Satybaldy and Bolat Nazarbayev are the two members of the Nazarbayev family that represent the real Magnum owners. 

Note that, based on insider information, Nursultan Nazarbayev’s brother became Alexander Graber’s business-partner after the latter was arrested and spent three days in the Almaty pre-trial centre (back in the day, Internet-portal Respublika used to cover this high-profile story). After spending time in jail, the businessman had allegedly «begun to see things clearly» and agreed to go to a notary officer where all the commitments and agreements vis-à-vis the member of the «ruling» family were signed.

Incidentally, Yerlan Tatishev (the brother of Yerzhan and Yerkin Tatishevs) was also arrested during the same time period. He was able to leave the Almaty pre-trial detention centre only after his younger brother (as the head of the family clan) had agreed to pay 50 $ mln to the racketeers in power. By the way, it is after these events that the Almaty pre-trial detention centre got its unofficial title as «the business-incubator».

As a result, a unique situation has been formed on the consumer goods market of Almaty and the Almaty region today (mainly, on the groceries and Chinese-produced goods markets) when all the players have to operate with an eye to Bolat Nazarbayev and his people. It is they who control this market on both sides.

They control it at the entrance since importing a large parcel of goods (especially on a regular basis) without their consent is extremely difficult, costly and sometimes even dangerous. Particularly, if we are talking about smuggling goods from China. For the clan unofficially controls both the state and the regional compliance and monitoring authorities which, under the quarantine restrictions, had played a somewhat positive (!) role in the matter of providing goods to the citizens.

And they control it at the exit since it is Altyn Orda that is now serving as one of the main consumer goods hubs.

As for the Magnum Cash& Carry stores, they have long become one of the major players in the small-scale wholesale and retail sectors of the country’s market by using and, judging by the numerous complains on social media, abusing their quasi-monopoly position. And all this thanks to the «protection» of Bolat Nazarbayev and Kayrat Satybaldy. 

Under these circumstances, the number of Bolat Nazarbayev’s ill-wishers is already sky-rocketing although, until a tipping point has not been reached, the discontent does not go beyond the limits of the usual spur of the moment altercations. Still, one way or another, the tipping point will be reached, and it will happen in Almaty and the Almaty region or, to be precise, at their border where we can expect a repetition of the events that took place at the start of the year in the Korday district of the Zhambyl region — with the massive-scale pogroms and arson attacks on the properties that belong to the clan of the Elbasy’s brother.

This scenario is all the more likely to materialise in the coming years since the masterminds of the operation akin to the one that took place in the Korday district will be driven by a financial interest that unites many — to free the market from the hated monopolist that takes away a part of their earnings, keeps them from doing their job or even pushes them off the market.

Adding to this Bolat Nazarbayev’s behaviour when he is openly priding himself on his exclusive standing, big fortune and impunity, changes his wives like socks and practically never crawls out of scandals, we presume that he will be the one scarified.


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