What the Future Holds for Nazarbayev’s Clan?

Kazakhstan is preparing for the post-Nazarbayev period. This development, first of all, concerns the people that have something to lose. They are now trying to find a place in the new political reality getting ready to flee the country or, on the contrary, preparing to fiercely defend their positions both inside the state vertical and the economy.

In our opinion, the «super-clan» of Nursultan Nazarbayev has been put in the most difficult position inside the ruling elite. And not only because it is this clan that is going to lose its leader and protector. As of today, this clan is the biggest, richest and most influential one in the country, therefore, it’s got more enemies and haters than anyone. As of now, of course, these enemies are more potential than real. But this can change literally in a matter of days.

Today no one, not even the Elbasy himself, knows the actual size of this «super-clan». Simply because this clan represents a certain pyramid whose bottoms are lost in the country’s vast spaces. The top of the pyramid consists of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the «Leader of the Nation», then there is his brother, the two wives, the children, the grandchildren and nephews and the major oligarchs — the keepers of the fortune. Below, there are those included in the lattes’ entourage. And so on and so forth.

It is impossible to calculate how many levels the pyramid consists of but, by our crude estimate, it has at least seven levels. Now then, all these members of the «super-clan» will have to not only live through the transition of supreme power in the country but come off unhurt after the process will have been completed.

In our opinion, the process will consist of three steps that can be randomly called «the farewell to the great man», «the fight for everything that can be wrestled away» and «the progress review».

We are basing our assumption on the history of the supreme power transitions in Eurasia including the one that followed the death of the «leader of the progressive humankind» Josef Stalin and his later successors in the Kremlin.

Since Nursultan Nazarbayev (in contrast to the Soviet dictator by the way) has got a lot of close relatives in power and around to it and, besides, they are all uber-rich people, they are doomed to take participation in the first two steps of the process. But whether they manage to influence the Elbasy’s successors at the presidential post and effectively defend their clan interests will largely depend on the extent of their unity and the desire to coordinate their actions.

In our opinion, during the second step when the «fight for everything that can be wrestle away» starts, Nazarbayev’s «super-clan» is to fall to pieces. Due to various reasons that include not only the mutual hatred between many a key future of the clan but the loss of the former mechanism of keeping the balance inside the group.

Apart from that, during the past fifteen years, Nursultan Nazarbayev’s close relative and allies have not been experiencing serious political problems and an open and fierce resistance inside the country. Which could not but poison them in the sense that they have stoped fearing their fellow citizens and got accustomed to holding the dominant position everywhere and in everything.

We are not considering an option that Nursultan Nazarbayev’s «super-clan» will be destroyed via the heavy-handed methods such as opening high-profile criminal cases related to creating an organised criminal group, pillaging the country and embezzling the state funds on a «cosmic scale».

In theory, this option does exist and, if implemented, will destroy the «super-clan» in a matter of days, however, the likelihood of this particular scenario is not very high. At least, not in the next one or two years.

But what happens next is unclear. For the loss of the «super-clan’s» leader may result in the mobilisation and consolidation of its members and in the nomination of the Elbasy’s successor from among «the family».

On the other hand, it is quite possible that the «super-clan» will irrevocably brake up into the smaller clans — of Dariga Nazarbayeva and Nurali Aliyev, Timur Kulibayev (possibly without the participation of Dinara Kulibayeva), Aliya Nazarbayeva, Kayrat Satybaldy and Samat Abish, Akhmetzhan Esimov, Bolat Nazarbayev, Aset Kurmanbayeva (Isabayeva) and her two sons Tauman Nursultanuly and Bayken Nursultan — each of which will follow its own life trajectory.


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