Nazarbayev’s Deal with Tokayev

The tragic events of the current January have literally turned the First President of Kazakhstan into an old-age pensioner on retirement in a matter of days. Then, not only did Nursultan Nazarbayev say good buy to his last governmental and quasi-governmental positions but had disappeared from the political front stage completely.      

Nonetheless, from time to time, he continues reminding to his fellow citizens that he is still there, for instance, via his unexpected visit to Turkey in March or congratulating the Kazakhs on the Nauryz holiday.

As far as the Turkey visit is concerned, it is all quite clear – Nazarbayev flew there on the invitation of the country’s President. (By the way, as it turned out, this visit had cost him a bundle - for more information, click here). We were, however, perplexed by his Nauryz greetings. 

Our amazement had, of course, nothing to do with their literally merits or the richness of content. We were surprised that, once again, the Library had chosen not to release a video of Nazarbayev’s address. Moreover, it did not even illustrate the text with a new photo of the “leader of the nation”.

We at believe there could be two reasons for such modesty.

Firstly, it could be Nazarbayev’s poor health. You will recall that, at the Turkey meeting, Erdogan wore a mask but Nazarbayev did not – probably, he could not put it on due to the medical reasons. Secondly, it could be the Library’s unwillingness to irritate the Kazakhs by showing them the Elbasy’s face.

Whatever the case, this uncharacteristic modesty on the part of Nursultan Nazarbayev and his entourage makes us think that the “leader of the nation’s” time is coming to an end.  

This assumption, by the way, can be confirmed not only by the problems currently experienced by his relatives and allies (most notable of whom are ex-chief of the NSC Karim Masimov and Nazarbayev’s eldest nephew Kayrat Satybaldy now awaiting their fate in the NSC detention) but by some small events occurred during the recent days.

There have been three such events in March.

On March 17, 2022, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev issued Decree 841 “On Making Changes and Additions to Some Decrees Issued by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan” in which he reduced the number of the Library staff by 30 members, downsizing it from 140 to 110 employees.

A couple of months ago, something like this would be unimaginable. But now, it has happened without causing much reaction on the part of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s entourage.

The second unexpected event was the dismissal of Daniyar Akishev from the post of the First President’s Aide on March 18, 2022.

Interestingly, the announcement on Akorda’s official website says nothing about why this happened. Was it a voluntary resignation or was the Elbasy not satisfied with the job performance of the National Bank’s ex-chairman? And where did Mr. Akishev go? Could it be Hong Kong by any chance?

Finally, on March 30, 2022, Nursultan Nazarbayev quietly dismissed his closest ally, Abay Bisembayev, from the post called “the Aide to the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – the Elbasy – the First Deputy Head of the Department of Presidential Affairs” and appointed him a much more modest “Aide to the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – the Elbasy”. So, now the Department of Presidential Affairs” seems to be beyond Nazarbayev’s influence. Let us congratulate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on that.

We at believe these three small events show that both Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev would very much like to distance themselves from one another.

At the same time, they continue maintaining trust-based relationships. This clearly follows from Tokayev’s unwillingness not only to criticise Nazarbayev but also to take any political or enforcement measures against him and his closest relatives (children and their spouses).

This closely resembles what was taking place in Russia after Boris Yeltsin had turned the reins over to Vladimir Putin. Which, among other things, means that Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev have an agreement. This agreement has probably been altered several times but is honoured by both parties.

In view of this, we believe the time has come to demand that the current President of Kazakhstan makes the terms of this agreement public. And if he refuses to do so or claims that no such agreement exists, the public should insist on what the opposition has been demanding for quite some time - overturning the law on the First President by deeming it unconstitutional.


Add comment

Your e-mail will not be published. Required fields are marked with *