How to «Make Profit» on Quarantine

We had already noted that the question of prolonging the state of emergency had been actively discussed by the Kazakh authorities and came to the conclusion that Akorda and the Library are a likely to prolongate the emergency rule for a month in the hope that, in an emergency case, it will give a free hand to the state structures and especially siloviks. And that’s exactly what happened.

On Friday, it was announced that Akorda was prolonging the emergency rule in the country and the quarantine regime in thee cities — Almaty, Nur-Sultan and Shymkent — up until the end of April.

With that, according to the information provided by our insiders, it was no other than Bolat Nazarbayev, the First President’s brother who acted as the main lobbyist of the emergency rule prolongation and the preservation of the across the board quarantines, especially on the territory of Almaty, the Almaty region and the Zhambyl region.

The reason for such an activity on the part of the uncrowned «king» of the Almaty region lies not in his worrying about the lives and the health of his fellow citizens but in a private business-interest. The thing is that, for many years, Bolat Nazarbayev has been one of the key figures in Kazakhstan’s shadow economy. First of all, we are talking about the economy operating in Almaty, in the Almaty region and in the Zhambyl region as well as in the China frontier zone. In particular, we are talking about the wholesale trade of consumer goods imported to Kazakhstan, sometimes legally, but more often than not — semi-legally or via contraband from China.

This far-reaching, multi-level and practically unreachable for the state control economic community (space) relies on several big wholesale markets and trade centres usually located on the territory of the Almaty region and the adjacent areas often located right beyond the city ring road. This is where all kinds of flows of goods come, get mixed up and redistributed. 

Wholesale market Altyn-Orda is the most famous, popular, visited and profitable one among them. Currently, it has de-facto turned into practically only centre through which Almaty and the closely-located areas of the Almaty region are supplied with groceries. 

Our insiders believe that Bolat Nazarbayev and his people, using the fact that the local officials and siloviks understanding full well whom they are dealing with and how a conflict the Nursultan Nazarbayev’s brother may end for them, have greatly intensified their activities after the imposing of the emergency rule and closing of the Chinese border. 

If, in the recent past, Bolat Nazarbayev and his people had to compete with several rather big similar structures on the market as well as with a number of small businesses, now they have become practically monopolists. And the local officials, siloviks and representatives of the monitoring and supervising structures has helped them a lot. It was they who stand in the way of the competitors by ensuring the control over the supply and by helping the people of the Leader of the Nation’s brother. 

Since, for the past weeks, the retail prices for groceries in the country have grown significantly, the profitability of the wholesale and small-scale wholesale operations related to consumer goods deliveries in Almaty and other regions under the quarantine regime have grown too. And, in our opinion, it was not other than Bolat Nazarbayev who has become the main profit maker in the trade sector thanks to  the emergency rule. Therefore, prolonging the emergency rule and the quarantine regimes is beneficial to him. 

Nothing personal, just business as they say.


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