On Tokayev’s Personnel Decisions

On February 25, 2021, Kossym-Jomart Tokayev appointed his aide Murat Nurtley (Мұрат Нұртілеу) the Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration. This decision seems to be out of character for the Elbasy’s successor since, according to our insiders, Murat Nurtley is the President’s henchman.

To confirm this, it is enough to compare the life’s journey of Mr. Nurtley with the career turns and geographic moves of Kossym-Jomart Tokayev. And since such appointments can only be made upon the Library’s approval, it means that Nursultan Nazarbayev has given his blessing.

Let us assume that Murat Nurtley’s carrier rise is not going to end there. Kossym-Jomart Tokayev is likely to start softly pushing him towards the seat of the Head of the Administration after Nurtley gets comfortable with the new post.

You may recall that, currently, this post (one of the most important, weighty and even pivotal in the Kazakh power system) is occupied by Erlan Koshanov. We do not know what kind of personal relationships Tokayev has with Koshanov today but, even if these relationships are OK, the former is likely to wish (or to start wishing) that, instead of a mere state official, his staff was chaired by a close ally whom he trusts.

Of course, Tokayev’s attempt to appoint his henchman to a key governmental position may be curtailed. And not just by Nursultan Nazarbayev but by a dozen influential figures from among those who are currently involved in the process of working out and making final decisions in the country.

For this reason, we consider appointing Murat Nurtley Kossym-Jomart Tokayev’s personal victory that is he is likely to try and exploit. 

By the way, it is possible that another President’s aide is going to get a raise soon. According to our insiders, Akorda’s suggested appointing Kanat Bozumbayev the Akim of the Almaty region thus replacing Amandyk Batalov who has long been ready to go into a well-deserved retirement. Our insiders are divided about the question of whose creature Bozumbayev is today.

Some say that he is still being protected by Chairman of the Atameken National Entrepreneurs Chamber and dollar billionaire Timur Kulibayev (Nursultan Nazarbayev’s son-in-law). Others insist that, nowadays, Kanat Bozumbayev is Tokayev’s creature.

Be as it may, his appointment to the post of a regional governor will require the unofficial approval of the Library and the formal approval of the Security Council.

Apart from that, the Almaty region has long served as the unofficial backyard of Bolat Nazarbayev – Nursultan Nazarbayev’s brother who has been reigning the region the way he sees fit. Among other things, it means that, if appointed, Bozumbayev will have to consider Bolat Nazarbayev’s vast sphere of interests.

Hypothetically, he may resolve the issue quite successfully since he used to occupy the post of not only a minister but the governor of the Pavlodar region as well. Of course, it is still unclear whether or not the story involving his successor Bulat Bakauov (allegedly his henchman) has ended for him. 

In any event, the very fact that Kossym-Jomart Tokayev has begun promoting his own people (in other words, those have already worked with him, who are loyal to him or keen on getting under his protection) to the key governmental positions is noteworthy from the standpoint of assessing the way the power transition is happening in Kazakhstan.


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