Who Is Now «Dining»* the APK

On September 22, 2020, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin signed Governmental Decree 597 under a boringly-neutral bureaucratic title «On appointing the legal body responsible for the organisational, financial, material/technical and other management of the operations of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan».

Since the document is quite short, let us quote it in its entirely (text in bold by kz.expert).

«In accordance with Section 1 of Article 13-1 of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan «On the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan» of October 20, 2008, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan hereby decrees: 

1. To appoint state agency Kogamdyk Kelisim of the Ministry of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan the legal body responsible for the organisational, financial, material/technical and other management of the operations of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan.

2. The Decree enters in force on the day it is officially published».

Thus, starting from September 22, 2020, the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan is going to be backed by the state agency within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

From the internal political standpoint, this fact, among other things, means that the public and political structure that can delegate seven deputies directly to the Mazhilis of the Kazakh Parliament has been indirectly subordinated to… not even the Presidential Administration and (or) the Department of the Presidential Affairs but to a bog-standard agency. And since, in Kazakhstan, apart from the Constitution and the legislature, the informal norms and rules apply as well, all the officials have been informed on the fact that the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan is an entity of a third-rate variety. For the philosophy of «he who dines with the girl, dances with her» applies in Kazakhstan in the internal political sphere as well.

We do not know what’s caused this lack of caution — most likely, the matter lies in the absence of political intuition among the mid-level officials and in the indifference to this matter at the top level.

In our (and not just our) opinion, the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan is but one of the cow-tails of the «super-presidential» vertical and not even the most important one at that. The hopes that it can do something useful for the country and the Kazakh citizens have been dead for many years (if they ever existed at all). At the same time, the APK continues to operate and, moreover, in contrast to the Senate, does not receive much criticism on the part of the civil society and experts.

In the meantime, in view of the fact that the time of its creator (the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan) is coming to an end, the question of whether we need this structure and (if yes) then who needs it and why, is soon to be brought to the internal political agenda.

In his day, Nursultan Nazarbayev had created the Assembly of the Peoples (People) of Kazakhstan as a tool for implementing the state nationalities policy and, at the same time, as a channel for bringing his people to the Mazhilis of the Kazakh Parliament. It seemed like these people were to perform the part of a holding brake in case the Lower Chamber was to get away from the Elbasy’s control. Not once had they had a chance to perform this task since the critical situations that Kazakhstan had experienced during the early years of its independence have not occurred in the country since 2002.

However, keeping the APK alive thus providing the acting president with an opportunity to delegate seven deputies directly to the Mazhilis as well as to appoint 15 deputies to the Senate may turn out to be political dangerous after Nursultan Nazarbayev exits the political arena and life. First of all, it may be dangerous for his relatives and allies. Because that same Kossym-Jomart Tokayev or the person who replaces him in the future as the head of the state will have an opportunity to form their own faction in the Kazakh Parliament, in other words, to grow stronger.

It will be extremely difficult to interfere with this development since the process of selecting deputies from the APK and the Presidential list will be happening in the closed (non-public) format and the final decision will be made by the President and his Administration exclusively. Therefore, depriving the succeeding presidents of the opportunity to bring their own people to the country’s highest legislative body would be advantageous to the Elbasy’s clan.

Therefore, one can assume that, after the parliamentary and local representative bodies elections, Kossym-Jomart Tokayev may initiate the next «revolutionary» reforms — this time, of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the purpose of adapting to the task of keeping the Elbasy’s clan in power when the presidential chair will be occupied by a persons from a different clan.


*A play on a Russian saying «he who dines with the girl, dances with her.»


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