On the National Bank Stunt of the Democrats

The day before yesterday, the activists of an unregistered civil organisation called “The Democratic Party” led by a young politician Zhanbolat Mamay decided to exert some pressure on the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan. And when they weren’t allowed to talk to the top-management and voice their requests, they spent the night at the bank’s doors as a sign of protest.

You can learn more on the subject from the publications in the press. As for us, in this particular case, we are troubled not so much by the fact that the law-enforcement structures of Nur-Sultan responsible for not only retaining the rule of law in the capital but for preserving the political stability in the entire country were much more tolerant towards the activists of the “self-appointed” party than towards the supporters of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan – 2 or the same kind of unregistered party called “Koshe”.

In other words, the activists were not detained and sent to court that sentenced them to 15 days of administrative arrest on the same night.

It is already clear that such tolerance on the part of the siloviks is nothing but Akorda’s strategy aimed to intensify the friction among the protest-minded citizens and ignite the total suspicion – whether or not a particular activist is an NSC agent.

No, something else has disturbed us – the demands with which the Democratic Party activists came to the doors of the National Bank. Here is a quote from a Radio Azattyk publication titled “The Activists of the Unregistered Democratic Party Spent the Night in front of the National Bank Building in Nur-Sultan” (text in bold by KZ.expert).

“The activists of the unregistered Democratic Party arrived at the capital from Almaty several days ago. They made the following demands on the authorities.

to write off the problem loans registered in collecting agencies;

* to pass the physical bodies bankruptcy law;

to pass resolutions on the 100 thousand requests from the citizens collected by the activists;

* to pass the law requiring collecting agencies and enforcement agents bear responsible for abusing their authorities;

to regulate the interest rates of micro-credit organisations and to monitor the imposing of surcharges».

We at KZ.expert believe that, in this particular case, the so-called “Democratic Party” is acting not so much as a political structure (although it is not registered by the country’s judicial bodies) as a lobbyist one. Why do we think so? Because at least three demands it has made are but bare populism that is no way different from the slogan of the Roman times – panem et circenses!

For writing off the bad loans registered in the collecting agencies, passing resolutions on the 100 thousand claims of the citizens and regulating the MFO interest rates are unabashedly anti-market methods that can be implemented only at the expense of the state and the loan providing/receiving organisations. In other words, at the expense of the taxpayers, both physical and legal.

Clearly, the Democratic Party has adopted the aforementioned demands from the citizens that have found themselves cornered by the loans they borrowed.

And it is of no matter who exactly is responsible – the government, the banking system, the citizens themselves or the circumstances such as the birth of the children or moving to a big city.  

Something else is of importance here: instead of making some efforts to solve or avoid the problem of their own insolvency, these people, again and again, are demanding to write off their debts and Zhanbolat Mamay and his supporters picked up these demands and began torpedoing the state vertical.

And, hypothetically, there is a chance that they will be able to achieve their goals, if not today or tomorrow, than a bit later.

Meanwhile, from the political perspective, it means that, after some time, the demands to write off the debts just because (for nothing doing) as well as to start strictly regulating the interest rates to the advantage of the borrowers may very well convert into a new slogan - “deprive and divide”.

In other words, after a hundred-plus years, the slogans of the 1917 revolutions may not simply come to life but become a real material force.

At this point, we are doubtful that the government will dare to repeat the 2019 operation when, in order to weaken the protest sentiment during the transition period, Akorda and the Library chose to take an extraordinary measure – write off the debts and introduce other exemptions for hundreds thousands of citizens (for more information click here).

A lot will depend on how many people support these demands and, most importantly, on whether Akorda and the Library feel the danger that the protestors may, if not overthrow them, then at least seriously shatter the vertical. If this happens, they may decide that money is not as important and valuable as power.

However, Kazakhstan’s problem lies in the fact that, if the changes of the political system take the path outlined by the Democratic Party of Zhanbolat Mamay, then the road to democracy is going to be much more difficult and bloody than Tokayev’s half-baked reforms.

See the protest video below


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