Whom’s Dariga Protecting?

Recently, we have commented on the problems of Kazakhstan’s well-known entrepreneur Nurlan Smagulov and the MEGA shopping centres he controls. We have expressed doubts as to his success in retaliating against the state administrative machine. Some people, however, manage to do this triumphantly. 

Let us remind you what exactly we’ve written on the MEGA shopping malls situation.  

«The thing is that, according to our insiders, the „raids“ of the sanitary inspectors on the MEGA malls in Almaty and Nur-Sultan had to do not only with their professional enthusiasm and responsibility as public officials but with the nudging on the part of some of the country’s very influential people.

These influential people, first of all, billionaire and one of the most powerful Elbasy’s allies Bulat Utemuratov, are extremely keen on the MEGA malls experiencing as many problems as possible and not earning enough money to cover the expenses. (The latter, by the way, are high enough without even counting the credit interests — learn more here). Why the keenness? Because, allegedly, they want to appropriate this future-proof and, most importantly, already operating business».

The press announcements and the news from our insiders that the big business colleagues of Mr. Smagulov (No. 12 on the Forbes 2020 Kazakhstan’s 50 richest businessmen list and No. 6 on the Forbes 2019 Kazakhstan’s 50 most influential businessmen list) can do whatever they want without experiencing any problems on the part of the regulatory authorities have made us return to this topic.

Let us start with Kayrat Boranbayev (No. 10 on the Forbes 2020 Kazakhstan’s 50 richest businessmen list and No. 6 on the Forbes 2019 Kazakhstan’s 50 most influential businessmen list). 

On November 5, 2020, Tengrinews published a material called «The Net Discusses „Bekshin’s Permission“ to Hold a Banquet for 150 Persons». Here are some quotes from the article (text in bold by KZ.expert).

«In one of the hotels, they have used the permission of Almaty’s Chief Health Inspector Zhandarbek Bekshin to conduct events for 150 people or less, reports Tengrinews.kz correspondent. The photo of the document has been posted on social networks. It says that the Almaty Department of Epidemiological Surveillance has allegedly approved holding events for 150 people or less provided that all the norms have been complied with».

«The representatives of the Almaty Department of Epidemiological Surveillance have explained that the letter posted on social networks was sent to Capital Tower Development LLP, Ritz Carlton Hotel allowing to hold a one-time event in honour of the sportsmen and for the personnel training».

Now then, according to our insiders, the aforementioned letter was used to hold an event under the aegis and at the instruction of Kayrat Boranbayev. The event was held to celebrate the big success of the Kayrat football club he owns. The thing is that the club has, ahead of the game, become the gold medalist of Kazakhstan’s football championship among the teams of the Premier League. And something tells us that Ritz Carlton Hotel is not going to be fined.

As for the second event, it did not make it to the pages of the Kazakh press even though quite a few guests had attended it. According to our insiders, it allegedly took place on November 4, 2020, on the seventh floor of the SAT business centre in the office belonging to the Mukashev family (No. 24 on the Forbes 2020 Kazakhstan’s 50 richest businessmen list and No. 9 on the Forbes 2019 Kazakhstan’s 50 most influential businessmen list). This event went unnoticed by Mr. Bekshin’s subordinates (not surprisingly) who seemed to be looking the other way.

In our opinion, this is an indication that, as a result of the 30 years of independence, Kazakhstan has produced a political system that’s got not only the social but the political fault line as well. It is when, even among those who are rich, some have more rights than others. Case in point — Nurlan Smagulov and his shopping centres that’s suffered from the hands of the health inspectors and Kayrat Boranbayev with the Mukashev family that haven’t experienced the quarantine-related limitations.

We are not to urge Mr. Smagulov who is famous for his ability to be flexible in all the life situations to start fighting for his rights. At the same time, it would be nice to restrict the rights of some of his «colleagues».

The latter, however, is unlikely to happen. For Kayrat Boranbayev and the Mukashev family are tied to Dariga Nazarbayeva, the eldest daughter of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the «Leader of the Nation». And, judging by the fact that, even amid the coronavirus pandemic, the regulatory authorities shy away from these entrepreneurs, she is still quite strong and influential.


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