On the Return of Ryskaliyevs’ Assets

What is interesting about the high-profile case involving the return of the previously confiscated properties and assets to the members of Bergey and Amazhan Ryskaliyevs’ organised criminal group and their relatives is that, for the first time in the country’s history, Akorda and the Library had to not simply negotiate with their political opponents but to demonstrate the results of these negotiations in the public domain.

We are not going to retell what’s happened – Ratel.kz has not only devoted an informative publication called “Kazakhstan’s Public Prosecutor Demands to Return What Was Confiscated from the Ryskaliyevs And the Other OCG Members” to the subject but also released the text of what we believe to be a historical protest on the part of the Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Judging by the fact that Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court had scheduled the hearings for June 23, 2020, but reviewed the Public Prosecutor’s protest already on June 16 having satisfied it entirely, the authorities were striving to close this uber-scandalous issue as soon as possible.

Personally, we have no doubt that the political decision regarding this case was made at the very top by the consolidated forces, in other words, by Nursultan Nazarbayev with the participation of Kossym-Jomart Tokayev. The decision had also not been met with much resistance in their circles. Which, among other things, means that Bergey and Amanzhan Ryskaliyevs had had some trump cards and had chosen the right moment to show them to the opponents.

This fact has been noted by many in the Internet-community. As usual, some have reacted with malevolence, others with envy, and one well-known opponent of the Kazakh authorities, former Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Akezhan Kazhegeldin has started online information attack on Akorda and the Library, among other things, by threatening the Kazakh authorities with exposes and probably wishing for the same outcome for himself – the return of the assets confiscated based on the courts decisions many years ago.

Given our negative attitude towards Bergey and Amazhan Ryskaliyevs, their relatives and accomplices, we can nonetheless see at least two positive things in the favourable outcome of the case. Unfortunately, no one seems to have noticed them.

The first one lies in the fact that, even within the framework of one of the most manipulated judicial systems in the world, one may successfully manage to achieve not simply a formally legal but a just verdict. Of course, it order to do so one must be able to balance out the pressure of the authorities at a particular moment and in a particular place which, in our country, happens extremely rarely.

The second positive thing is that they have demonstrated, right before our eyes, that an absolutely good democracy does not exist the same way an absolutely bad autocracy does not exist. We have witnessed how bad people have successfully managed to achieve what they wanted, protected their private interests while, ironically, proving that success comes with tenacity and that the law must protect everyone whose rights were violated.

One must agree that if the people that the law had been deemed criminal based have managed to get what they wanted, what stands on the way of others (non-criminals) to do the same? Especially since there are millions of them.

Unfortunately, if the Kazakh society is now forming a practice when the numerous and heterogeneous protest groups and individuals can unite in order to defend someone from the arbitrariness of the authorities, in other words, are learning how to consolidate forces, then engaging the main or at least a significant part of the citizens into this kind of activities is still a problem.

Even though it is vitally important (for the bright future of the country) that these activities should always be of a positive (not a negative) nature. But how are we to achieve it?

Photo Ak Zhayyk. 2011. Nursultan Nazarbayev’s visit to Atyrau.  


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