The conflict in the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK) – 2 between civil activists Natalya and Aydos Sadykovs and oppositionist politician Mukhtar Ablyazov and his allies that had splashed out on social media finally ended with Aydos Sadykov’s “exclusion” from the Organizing Committee of this virtual political organization.
In our opinion, there is absolutely no point in trying to get to the bottom of the situation where the key role is played by the personal ambitions, grievances, and demands of the participants. If for no other reason than the fact that the emotions are running over the top and, as it always is in such cases, the innocent is nowhere to be found. Nonetheless, one can and must learn from what has happened on this side of the Kazakhstan political ruler.
We believe that, even though Natalya Sadykova’s careless words were the immediate cause of the conflict, the disaccord between Aydos Sadykov and Mukhtar Ablyazov possesses a much more fundamental nature than one may initially think and is caused by both their personal traits and the logic of the home political processes in Kazakhstan. Whether they themselves realize it, is another matter. We think it is possible that they don’t.
Judging by Aydos Sadykov’s posts on social media and the opinions of those who know him personally, he is a proactive person ready to sacrifice a lot to reach his goals. Capable of leading the people whose psychological type is similar to his and who are prepared to follow him, he, from the very moment of the DCK-2 foundation has been focusing on creating the oppositional organization inside the country with an eye towards those whom he knows and trusts.
Considering all this, his membership in the DCK-2 Organizing Committee could not have been of a long duration. The thing is that this “organization” that now, after Aydos Sadykov’s “expulsion”, consists of only two persons – Mukhtar Ablyazov and Bulat Atabayev – has been of a virtual nature from the very beginning and, as we can see, is not intended for conducting a large-scale organizational and political explanatory work to create an oppositionist political organization inside Kazakhstan.
We believe, after Mukhtar Ablyazov’s release from French prison at the end of 2016, he (perhaps unconsciously), due to his well-developed instinct and vast experience in political fighting and the inter-elite adversary, chose the only effective method of political activity available to him – populism.
It’s enabled him to minimize the constraining influence of the two key factors in creating a party – the availability of the monetary resources and the number of allies. In other words, it is enough to spend funds only on maintaining one’ presence on social media and on supporting the propaganda activities while allies are effectively replaced by followers. Something like that has been and is practiced by many political and not only political leaders around the world.
For this reason, Mukhtar Ablyazov starts his numerous internet-addresses and chats with loud promises to different social groups of the Kazakhstanis. Among other things, he is talking about high salaries and other rewards that the latter will recieve after the DCK-2 ascends to power. Obviously, due to the objective economic reasons, he is unlikely to keep his promises, but it will be evident only in the case if he actually does become the Head of the Government. Considering all the other scenarios, Ablyazov’s populism seems like a safe bet for him.
One should note that Mukhtar Ablyazov is by no means the first political to use populism in his fight for power. In the post-Soviet space, it has been and is practiced by acting Presidents of Kazakhstan and Russia Nursultan Nazarbayev and Vladimir Putin. And abroad, too, such politicians and state officials have been popping up in large quantities during recent years. US President Donald Trump is the most famous one among them.
The reader can learn more on this topic from article Средний класс и его предатели. In addition, we would like to point out the two key moments aiding the expansion of populism in the world.
First, amid the universal globalization and informatization, the density and speed of the information flow has increased by a huge ratio. It resulted in the unavoidable informational marginalization of the population. Beyond the chosen professional field, the people are increasingly forced to believe or not to believe, to react or not to react, to agree or not to agree without relying on their own knowledge and life experience. Hence the popularity of social media, the appearance of blogs, hypes, etc.
Second, due to the significant increase of the level of life after WWII, the massive expansion of the consumer sentiment, the limitations of the power accessibility by the hidden mechanisms including the high financial minimum for conducting successful election campaign, the political activity of the population has notably decreased. Therefore, the decisions on supporting certain political parties and politicians are increasingly made based not on the political but personal reasons, circumstances, expectations, hints, and advices.
For this very reason, Mukhtar Ablyazov’s chosen tactics is not simply the only possible way for him to go due to certain circumstances – the absence of a large quantity of spare financial resources and a significant number of active, unwavering, and loyal allies inside the country – but the only correct one. Because, first, there are no strings attached, And, second, only this kind of policy will be understood by the marginal groups of the population, in other words, by the people who are capable of taking to the streets since they have nothing to lose except their chains.
We purposefully will not address the question whether such tactics will be successful and if it will bring the DCK-2 and its leader to Akorda. This issue is too sensitive for everyone and there is no more or less objective information of any kind (such as the level of the voters’ support) to rely on. We will point out only two things.
First. Akorda has already learned how to fight the oppositionist organizations inside the country (mostly, by the repressive methods). So far, Aydos Sadykov poses no threat, all the more so since he will need time and human resources to create a more or less operational organization. Theoretically, however, he may be able to achieve his goal in a year or two.
Second. As for Mukhtar Ablyazov and his populism, today Akorda has nothing to set against it. But not because the DCK-2 leader is right in his statements. The things is that the protest moods are rising everywhere in the country and, therefore, any bold and direct statement (luckily the social media are not easy to block) falls on the breeding ground. In theory, they can counteroffer the pro-governmental kind of populism, but the catch is that they will have to fulfill their promises not in a distant future but immediately.
It is precisely the absence of the countermeasures that explains Akorda’s increased sensitivity to Mukhtar Ablyazov’s initiatives. We believe Nazarbayev’s Administration, Security Council, and NSA, even understanding the real level of the DCK-2 support in Kazakhstan, are really sacred of the possible unforeseeable events and scenarios, for example, the repetition of the tragic events in Shanyrak or Zhanaozen. And, this time, these events may unfold more unpleasantly for the authorities than before. Even to the point of not so “tender“ a revolution.