Behind the Scenes of the NSC “Purges”

On April 3, 2022, the NSC RK announced that the counterintelligence agents had arrested a Kazakh citizen whose surname starts with an “A”. The news turned out to be so shocking that we simply cannot pass it by.

Allegedly, as a recruit of foreign intelligence, Mr. A was planning to “assassinate the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and a number of high-rank governmental officials”, to carry out terrorist attacks “against the officers of the special and law-enforcement agencies”, was carrying out “the tasks on promoting the anti-Russian propaganda in the Republic of Kazakhstan and cultivating the anti-Russian sentiment in the civil society via publishing related materials on social networks”. He was also in possession of a sniper rifle “of foreign make with a buffer, narcotics” and a large sum of money.

This fairylike (in every sense) story has aroused much interest among the Kazakh and foreign media (click, for instance, here and here) as well as the Internet users. Note that the latter did not believe the NSC’s announcement and vigorously ridiculed it.

Be as it may, the news on the brewing assassination attempt against Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (to be carried out via a sniper rifle, as we understand) got spread very quickly and widely. So, let us wait for the trial against Mr. “A” to begin.

By the way, as suggested by some posts on social networks, this man’s name is Ayan Atygayev. He is a journalist who used to work in several Kazakh media-outlets and held the position of the press-secretary at the Ministry of Energy when the latter was chaired by Sauat Munbayev.

We cannot verify this data at this point, however, we find it highly doubtful that an assassination attempt against the head of the Kazakh state was being prepared by a person who was not involved in military action and probably had no sniper training, either. So, we have tried to clear up our doubts by turning to our insiders including the past and the current employees of the NSC.

Unfortunately, they could say nothing regarding the matter. However, one of the insiders did provide a glimpse of what is happening inside the NSC today. We believe our reader will find it quite interesting. 

First of all, our insider remarked on the lack of professionalism among the officers handling the case. According to him, the ratio of the NSC employees conducting real work to the employees doing nothing since their posts in the agency were obtained through nepotism (even at the departments involved in such important matters as fighting the opponents of Nursultan Nazarbayev) was one to five before the January events. Now the situation has gotten even worse.   

The situation has gotten worse not only because the former NSC Chief, three of his deputies and several high-rank officials in charge of the central and regional departments have been arrested. But also due to the fact that the new NSC leadership that came from the State Security Service (see more on the subject in “On the NSC Power Landscape” has begun the purges.

In the course of these purges, apart from the people suspected of being affiliated with former Chief Karim Masimov and his deputies (regardless wether these people were arrested or simply dismissed from their posts) many officers conducting real work have suffered as well.

Apart from that, the number of the employees desiring to leave the agency has grown. Albeit these people have not yet acted on this desire due to the difficulties of finding a new job.

Having made this emotionally-charged speech, our insider expressed his bewilderment that Akorda had not yet dismissed Nurgali Bilisbekov from the post of the deputy chief despite the fact that, according to him, this man had committed far more sins than his former colleagues fired after the January events.

For instance, he was allegedly involved in the “distribution” of the illegal profits from trafficking Chinese goods through Khorgos, in providing the protection blanket to the Beybars Gas company that resold gas for retail trade, in the tight, mutually-beneficial connections with the Myrzakhmetov brothers, Ablay and Askar.

Although the insider did not say why he was so angry with Nurgali Bilisbekov, his words allowed us to assume that the latter is somehow involved in the Mr. “A” case. 

In view of this, we do allow for the possibility that the operation called “Mr. A’s arrest” is not going to be an isolated act on the part of the NSC  but an important political step whose main task is to prove to the country and the Kazakh citizens that Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is such an important political figure capable of making a huge impact on the country’s future that Kazakhstan’s enemies want to kill him.

We do not know who the author of this extravagant idea is but we do suspect that this idea has been approved by the head of the state himself. For, two days prior to the arrest of the would-be terrorist, the NSC Chief Ermek Sagimbayev was reporting to the President and simply had to give him the scoop.


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