Baybek at Gunpoint

Our latest article on the upcoming parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan ends in a conclusion that it is Nur Otan Party that may spring the main surprise on the voters. But this can only happen in the case if the First President Nursultan Nazarbayev departs from life and the political scene.


In our opinion, if this happens, Nur Otan will invariably follow the path of the CPSU of Mikhail Gorbachev’s era. Simply because the country will experience an upsurge of the intra-elite fights between the clans, groups and figures of influence a part of whom may try (for their own benefit of course) to seek support in the society. However, it does not necessarily mean that this will end in a perestroika and not in yet another coup d’etat that will bring a new «leader of the nation» to power. 

Nonetheless, we believe that, even though there is likelihood for this scenario to actually happen, what will take place is the standard election campaign during which Nur Otan and the pro-governmental media will invariably talk off the Kazakh citizens’ ears convincing them that, while there can be no alternative party, Nur Otan itself has reformed and is not listening to the needs of the fellow citizens.

Of course, given the rise of the protest sentiment in the society, this is not going to be very effective. However, it does not necessarily mean that the negative attitude of a significant part of the voters towards Nur Otan will convert into the party’s defeat. The fact that it will be a part of the next composition of the Mazhilis and obtains more than a half of the deputy mandates is a guarantee. For, in Kazakhstan, it is much more important who controls the vote count and calculates the end results than how the citizens really vote. 

Given all this, we see only three factors (apart form the Elbasy’s death) that may seriously complicate (if not sabotage) the upcoming parliamentary election in Kazakhstan:

  • first, a new natural or manmade disaster such as a sharp outbreak of the pandemics, a powerful earthquake or a fall of an asteroid on Almaty or Nur-Sultan;
  • second, a rise of the revolutionary activities on the part of the civic society that suddenly awakes and unites in the face of its main enemy;
  • third, the extreme acceleration of the intra-elite fights related to the post-electoral manpower deployment in Akorda and below.

Since power has always been a critically important and most valuable commodity in Kazakhstan and due to the fact that the parliamentary elections, will all their general political predictability, will invariably serve as a cause and a space for the redivision of the spheres of influence and the changes in the manpower deployment, we expect the fights to escalate, and on all levels at that — from a rural district to Akorda and the Library. 

Let us demonstrate a possible sequence of events via an example of Nur-Otan’s First Deputy Head who had provoked a lot of negative emotions on the part of his ill-wishers, competitors and critics even before.

Bauyrzhan Baybek is not just the Elbasy’s relative, he is a person very close to him. His official bio shows that he holds three college degrees (in teaching, economics and music), has a Ph.D. in political science, used to be in charge of the protocol of the head of the state and then was employed as a Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration.

Baybek became Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Deputy as the party Head a year ago, in June 2019. He got this position second time in his life having left the post of the Almaty Governor for it.

Now then, in our opinion, it is Bauyrzhan Baybek that may unexpectedly become Nur Otan’s weak link. Because, in the course of the election campaign, Nazarbayev as the leader of the party will be criticised only by the completely unraveled civic activists; the rest will prefer the «punching» of the party officials. But, in order to «punch», they will need newsworthy information that will engage the press and internet-activists and will be able to ignite the society.

Our insiders believe that there will be plenty of this kind of information on Baybek in the course of the campaign. And not so much due to the political activities of the Nur Otan First Deputy Head as to the money.

The thing is that, in the past, the ruling party’s campaign funds were collected by a) governor’s offices (from small to partially medium-sized businesses), b) the Atameken National Entrepreneurs Chamber (from medium-sized to big businesses), c) the Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (from big businesses and oligarchs personally). 

Having become Nazarbayev’s Deputy a year ago, Bauyrzhan Baybek has tried to modernise the party, to change its image and to make it more attractive to the citizens. It is hard to say to what extent his efforts’ been successful, however, he did manage to achieve certain things. In the financial sphere, for instance. In other words, it is he who now controls all the main Nur Otan’s and the upcoming campaign’s financial channels. Therefore, many of those who used to have a hand in it in the past have been wrinkled out and lost an opportunity to «make money».

In other words, the number of those who not just hates Bauyrzhan Baybek but knows of his private financial dealings, of where the campaign money comes from and how it is spent has already increased sharply. Thus, one may expect to see enough juicy leaks on social media, for instance, on how rich Baybek is and how he and his people are spending the people’s money.                                                                                           

Particularly, we are certain that the First Deputy Head of Nur Otan will be demanded to give an answer in re what kind of funds were invested in the purchasing of an apartment (about 150 square meters in area) in famous Ritz-Carlton complex at Al-Farabi avenue in Almaty. The cost of a square meter there constitutes US13 $ thousand which means the property may have cost a couple of million dollars.

Since this will be happening during the election campaign and will be directly linked to Nur Otan, the result may turn out to be very interesting.


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