On the Transformation of Birlik into Adal

Now and then, the process of internal political development in Kazakhstan assumes the form of a vaudeville or burlesque. Usually, it happens when Akorda suddenly feels an urge to do something useful under certain circumstances but does not have the tools to do it. So, it creates something out of what it’s got on hand turning a blind eye to the fact that the «creation» turns out to be quite mediocre if not worse.

Case in point — the «creation» of political party Adal (translated from Kazakh, it means «honest» or «fair») that, until this November, used to be called Birlik («unity). 

Here is a quote from a Sputnik website publication of November 5 titled «Political Party Birlik Renamed As Adal» (text in bold by KZ.expert).

«Following the results of the Political Council meeting, the party Birlik (unity) has been renamed as Adal (honest, fair). The party’s leader Serik Sultangali said that the party is ready for the resetting that will affect not just the governing bodies but the political platform as well.

«We have conducted a research on the subject of a possible name change or rebranding as they call it nowadays. The research was conducted by professional sociologists who had analysed about 10 remaining options. According to the results of the analysis, option Adal had won by a wide margin», explained Sultangali».

«The idea to change the name of the party was put to a vote among the Political Council members. As a result of the voting, they have made a decision to rename it as Adal. Also, in the course of the meeting, they have discussed the question of whether the party is ready to participate in the elections. They have presented 7 options for the election campaign including increasing population’s incomes, the fair state, advancing education and the human capital, developing the regions and the agricultural industry, creating a supportive environment for the young generation and fighting corruption.

The final draft of the campaign is to be approved on November 16 at the pre-election conference».

There can be no doubt that the «revival» of the Birlik party including the Political Council meeting followed by such significant political «results» (the renaming and the readiness to hold a conference (at last) are directly tied to the upcoming elections to the Mazhilis of the Kazakh Parliament and to the maslikhats of all levels. 

It looks like Akorda and the Library wish to bring certain suspense into the more then predictable and extremely boring electoral process (its predictability and boredom are particularly evident against the backdrop of the Kyrgyz, Belarusian and US elections). So, they have come up with the idea to «revive» the Birlik party and turn it into a viable competition for Ak Zhol and The Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan.

The attempt, albeit quite a justified one, has been made too little too late (putting it mildly). For, logically, Birlik should have reminded the voters of its existence approximately at the time when Nur Otan suddenly gave birth to the «primaries» idea. We believe that this «late arrival» can be explained by one thing only — it results from the fact that the top of the Kazakh authoritarian political system and the «super-presidential» vertical have divided itself into Akorda and «the Library», therefore, the making of the final decision to implement this idea took more time than usual.

And when the authorities reached an agreement, they spent a lot of time finding a suitable sponsor since the coronavirus pandemic and the related problems had affected the entire local business in Kazakhstan.

As a result, «the mountain has brought forth a mouse» and quite late, too. Thus, the election process in Kazakhstan has definitively turned into a mockery of itself.

In our opinion, there is zero chance for the Adal party to be active longer and beyond the scope desired by Akorda and the Library today. And this is considering that no other than Timur Kulibayev (himself a billionaire, the official husband of billionaire Dinara Kulibayeva, son-in-law of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Chairman of the Atameken National Entrepreneurs Chamber) seems to be acting as Adal’s sponsor.

The list of the new nine party members admitted at that very «historic» Political Council meeting of November 5, 2020, testifies to the fact that it is the Elbasy’s son-in-law who is now performing the part of the party’s «provider». Here is the list –

Eldar Zhumagaziyev, member of the Atameken Management Board;

Almasbek Sadyrbayev, Chairman of Kazakhstan’s National Sheep Breeders Association Shopan ATA;

Laura Malikova, Head of the Association of Practicing Ecologists;

Olzhas Ordabayev, Deputy Chairman of the Atameken Managenet Board;

Ardan Nazarbayev, World Champion, former civic leader;

Maksat Tolukbay, well-known TV-reporter;

Daulet Mukayev, well-known TV-reporter, author of social development projects;

Igor Shatsky, civic leader;

Murat Kozhamkulov, head of an Adal party branch.

It is very likely that the aforementioned people represent the team whose task is to revive the Adal party for the period of the elections. Add to this that the party’s longstanding leader Serik Sultangali used to be believed to be Timur Kulibayev’s henchman, and it all fits together as they say.

On the other hand, something tells us that, in this particular case, the son-in-law did not show the political initiative himself but became a victim of the situation — perhaps when the search for the sponsors ended in nothing, the Library decided to use the reserves of the Supreme High Command. 

For this reason, we believe that Adal has zero chance of turning into a real political party and surprising us with its energetic domestic political activities under the wing of Timur Kulibayev.

Although, let us remark for fairness’ sake, some people in Kazakhstan have a different view.


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