Based on the information received by kz.expert, Akorda is forming (or has already formed) a wide coalition whose main task is to stand up to Dariga Nazarbayeva and her clan. Among other things, it is to withstand her attempt to become her father’s successor as the President.
On December 26, 2018, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev signed Decree 806 “On the measures of the further improvements of Kazakhstan’s state governance system”. According to this Decree, the Ministry for Investments and Development was transformed into the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and a part of its functions including the development and the implementation of state policies in terms of attracting foreign investments was transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Economy.
Former Investments and Development Minister Zhenis Kasymbek was appointed the head of the new agency.
Zhenis Kasymbek is known in Kazakhstan not so much as an efficient state manager as the son of Makhmud Kazymbekov, one of the oldest, most loyal and influential allies of Nursultan Nazarbayev who has been permanently in charge of the President’s Office since 1990.
According to Zhenis Kasymbek, his agency was reorganized and downsized in terms of its functions due to the necessity of dividing the spheres of activities inside the Government and to the “big challenges”. Here is what he said (according to the Radio Azattyk version).
“The challenges are big today, the world’s foreign investments market has declined a lot for the past two years. Here is what last year’s trend was – foreign investments had decreased by 40%, globally. Therefore, we must accentuate our operations and use all our international offices, embassies etc. One of the embassies’ major tasks nowadays is to promote export and attract investments. This a normal international practice that many international agencies employ”.
In the meantime, according to the information received from our insiders, it was the absence of real success in carrying out the task of attracting non-Chinese foreign investments in Kazakhstan that was the main reason for transforming the Ministry for Investments and Development into the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development as well as removing Minister of Foreign Affairs Kayrat Abdrakhmanov from the office and replacing him with Beybut Atamkulov.
Moreover, Zhenis Kasymbek’s reappointment as the head of the reorganized agency was open to question since Deputy Dariga Nazarbayeva, the President’s eldest daughter, spoke against it. Recently, she has been abnormally active in terms of state governance in both the offices and the public space.
Our insiders believe that Zhenis Kasymbek has preserved his spot in the Government not thanks to his father (who, knowing the rules of the game and understanding what and when can be requested, did not attempt to do anything in this case) but due to the fact that his candidacy was supported by Dariga Nazarbayeva’s opponents in Akorda. Note that the crucial input (once again, based on the information provided by the insiders) was made by Timur Kulibayev, Nursultan Nazarbayev’s son-in-law.
If this information is correct, we may draw the following conclusion: Akorda is forming (or has already formed) a wide coalition whose main task is to stand up to Dariga Nazarbayeva and her clan. Among other things, it is to withstand her attempt to become her father’s successor as the President.
And, since now Astana considers Zhenus Kasymbek a member of Timur Kulibayev’s clan, here is an interesting question – will Makhmud Kasymbekov, one of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s closest allies, the Head of the President’s Office, support this clan? On one hand, he probably feels hurt by Dariga Nazarbayeva since she was against his son’s reappointment as the minister, on the other hand, he will certainly refrain himself from supporting the anti-Dariga coalition if he knows or senses that she is to become her father’s successor.