“Hot” Summer in Akorda

As we predicted in July, this summer has proven to be “hot” for the president of Kazakhstan who had too little rest and too much work.

 The official statement on Nursultan Nazarbayev’s taking a short vacation was issued on July 21. On August 7, however, the president was already meeting with Prime-Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev.

Then, on August 9, Nazarbayev presided over the meeting on how to reform the Kazakh law enforcement system. On August 14, he with the head of the National Bank of Kazakhstan Daniyar Akishev. On August 14, he gave a big interview to the Khabar TV-channel. On August 15, he met with Astana EXPO-2017 Chairman Akhmetzhan Esimov. All this notwithstanding the numerous scheduled meetings, telephone conversations, and working visits.

However, the meeting on the regional social-economic development and realization of the state programs held in the Burabay town on August 18 turned out to be the main summer event for the president. Judging by Akorda’s official statement, the entire top of the state apparatus participated in the meeting. Vice Prime-Ministers Askar Mamin and Askar Myrzakhmetov, First Deputy Director of the Presidential Administration Marat Tazhin, Information and Communication Minister Dauren Abayev, and all the regional governors, without exception, reported to Nazarbayev.

So, the question arises what had caused all this activity on the part of Nazarbayev whose age and the exceptional status in the state system suggest a more moderate pastime.

There can be two (rather obvious) explanations.

First, there is the unsatisfactory condition of the national economy that, despite the growing (according to the official statistics) GDP, remains in the state of a permanent crisis.

Second, there is the obvious desire to mobilize the state vertical and make it execute Nazarbayev’s managerial orders on the third modernization of Kazakhstan in a more energetic, effective, and high-quality fashion.

There is, however, a third possibility. Perhaps, by the means of this abnormal activity, Nazarbayev is trying to prove both to the voters and to the international leaders that he is still capable of managing the country and retaining control over the state apparatus. May be, the president wants to show that he can still shape the state policy and do so with high professionalism.

The fact that the topic of the power transition in Kazakhstan is now being discussed not only in the foreign and Russian media but in the Kazakh media space as well speaks in favor of this assumption. The fact that, of course, did not go unnoticed by the administration of the Kazakh president.

As for the neighboring and (or) interested states, their external policy practices demand taking into consideration the time factor, therefore, they make predictions not for one year but for decades to come.

Thus, we believe that Nazarbayev’s abnormal activity that resulted in starting the fall political season a month earlier than usual testifies in favor of the assumption that the president, feeling that his time is passing, is trying to compensate it by his customary method of “hammering” his allies and subordinates.

Unfortunately, no other way to improve the situation exists in Nazarbayev’s arsenal anymore especially considering that even state investments in the economy can only now happen on a very limited scale.


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