Who Is Criticising Nazarbayev’s Clan and Why

Lately, we have been observing with great interest how the Kazakh media, politicians, political experts, civil activists and even state officials have been «attacking» Nursultan Nazarbayev, the members of his clan and the clan-affiliated oligarchs.

We can tentatively divide all these critics into three groups.

The smallest one consists of those who spoke publicly against the so-called «leader of the nation», the authoritarian political system and the super-presidential vertical even before Nursultan Nazarbayev has left the post of the head of the Kazakh state. 

The second (much larger) group consists of those who began reexamining the past and drawing their conclusions after Nursultan Nazarbayev had handed over the presidential chair to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev but before the events of January 2022.

Finally, the largest and, in our opinion, most active, driven and loudest group consists of the people who have grown bold only after the January tragedy and after Nursultan Nazarbayev has been transformed from «the leader of the nation» into a retired citizen.

All these groups are quite diverse in terms of their membership and the social structure — they include those living inside the country and abroad, all kinds of politicians (belonging to the opposition and the pro-governmental ones), as well as those who used to serve Nazarbayev loyally and for a long period of time but then suddenly awakened having received the opportunity to participate in the building of «new Kazakhstan».

As a result, the number of those «attacking» Nursultan Nazarbayev today is about a hundredfold bigger than the number of those defending or trying to justify his actions. The second President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is, undoubtedly, the most prominent figure in that second group. He (together with his followers in power) urge their fellow citizens, persistently and regularly, to take a balanced stand towards the First President of Kazakhstan evaluating not only his mistakes and failures but his successes, achievements and victories.

On the other hand, due to the fact that the size of the third group is about one hundred times bigger than the size of the first one and ten times bigger than the size of the second one, we sometimes get the feeling that what is happening is surreal.

The people who, in the past, had not only served Nazarbayev loyally but participated in the forming of the authoritarian political system and the «super-presidential» vertical, fought the opposition (both in word and in deed), «earned» their substantial pensions while serving the Elbasy are now criticising him and his rule without fear or favour.

The reasons why they have made this 180-degree turn (and in such a short period of time) are quite evident. However, since the human heart is always a mystery, we are not going to pass any judgement. We will, however, register one indicative fact. In Kazakhstan, losing supreme power automatically strips the person who’s lost it off the support of a significant part of proactive Kazakh citizens. 

Our next observation has to do with the list of the persons being «attacked». 

Ex-chief of the NSC and twice-Prime Minister Karim Masimov is, undoubtedly, on the very top of the list. By the joint efforts of the pro-governmental press and the third group of the critics, he is being made into a monster who, allegedly, had not only done damage to the county (deliberately) but tried to overthrow Kassym-Jomart Tokayev from the presidential post. 

Next on the «attack» list are Kayrat Satybaldy, Bolat Nazarbayev, Anipa Nazarbayeva and Kayrat Boranbayev. Note that the attacks against them are not just verbal. Materials based on documented sources as well as the actions and statements of the relevant authorities are regularly being released on the KAZnet. 

What is interesting, no such serious publications have been released against Nursultan Nazarbayev and his three eldest daughters — Dariga Nazarbayeva, Dinara Kulibayeva and Aliya Nazarbayeva.

The same is true regarding the current spouses of the Elbasy’s daughters and those who serve as the nominal owners of the Nazarbayev clan’s main assets. We are talking about Bulat Utemuratov, the Eurasian «billionaires» troika, Vladimir Kim, Abay Bisembayev and several other persons.

This fact makes us think some downward thoughts — why the third group of the critics has chosen not to bother these people? 

In our opinion, mainly, it has to do with the fact that the Kazakh media and Internet-resources, politicians and political experts, civic leaders and activists belonging to the third group usually respond to the news topics that they create themselves (or, rather, are fed by someone «from around the corner»).

This kind of selectiveness regarding the news on the «attack» objects makes us assume that it is but the result of the joint efforts on the part of Akorda and the Library. 

Of course, we do allow for the possibility that we are mistaken and there is no evil hand focusing the information «attacks» on a restricted circle of people thus diverting the public attention from others. But, then, the question arises — why are there no information leaks on Bulat Utemuratov? Or Abay Bisembayev? Not to mention Timur and Dinara Kulibayevs and Dariga Nazaebayeva?

All these people are clearly not without sin and the secret service has got a lot kompromat on them. Still, some strange vacuum seems to exist around them. Why?


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