Re ASHYK and Timur Kulibayev

To help Kazakhstan’s small and medium-size businesses amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the Kazakh Government has launched the ASHYK project. Now, according to our insiders, governmental officials have got yet another feeding station.  

Those who wish to learn more about this project may visit the website of the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan and search for the word ASHYK. If you are lucky, you may find some info on the project.

As for us, …teenth time was the charm. On Sunday, our numerous attempts to obtain the information via pressing the related badges turned out to be futile: the webpage of the agency would reload… and that’s all. On Monday, the situation changed for the better and we were able to familiarise ourselves with some details. But not with all of them. And this last circumstance seems to us particularly significant for we got interested in the project for a reason. 

But first, let us give you a brief description of the ASHYK system. Since the site of the state agency continues to malfunction, let us quote the publication of the Atameken National Entrepreneurs Chamber titled «The ASHYQ App To Safeguard Visiting Public Places» (text in bold by -

«The Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry (MDDIAI) together with the Ministry of Healthcare have developed the Ashyq app to control and analyse the data on the epidemiological situation in the country. 

The MDDIAI, the Ministry of Healthcare and the Atameken National Entrepreneurs Chamber are testing the project among representatives of the business-community whose operations are limited due to the quarantine measures (SPA-centres, fitness-centres, cinemas). Now, to visit such places, one has to take a scan of a special QR-code and show it at the entrance. The app, in its turn, shows the risk rating that has three levels (status)  — red, yellow and green.

The red status signifies a restriction of movements, a strict compliance with the isolation regime for ambulatory patients.

The yellow status indicates a partial restriction of movements (in the PCR database, such user is identified as contact-permitted: this person is allowed to visit grocery stores and department stores as well as pharmacies located no further than 500 meters from the place where the patient is adhering to the isolation regime).

The blue status means that the person is not restricted in their movements except for the places where PCR is mandatory (for instance, airports). 

The green status means that the user is not restricted in their movements and is identified in the PCR database as tested negative for COVID-19.

Displaying the said statuses will enable businesses to continue operating without putting their clients in harm’s way. If the client has no smartphone, the employees controlling the entrance may check the client’s status using their own app via typing in the individual tax number or scanning the ID barcode. 

The testing of the project will allow to determine the timeframe of replicating the Ashyq app nationwide to be used when entering public places (shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, train stations, airports etc.)».

It is not hard to see that the name of the app on the MDDIAI website (ASHYK) differs from the name in the Atameken publication (Ashyq). So, we’ve tried to search for the word Ashyq on the state agency’s website. And, lo and behold, we’ve found the webpages of regional akimats (of the East Kazakhstan region, for instance) containing publications regarding this project. 

We got interested in the subject thanks to our insiders who have contacted us from several regions of country simultaneously providing information that the people responsible for connecting businesses to the ASHYK (or Ashyq) system are doing it… for a price. And if they do not get the requested sum, they delay the process by using all kinds of pretexts.

This didn’t surprise us in the slightest since corruption among governmental officials and employees of quasi-governmental structures became the norm in Kazakhstan a long time ago.

What is significant in this case, however, is that the discontent of entrepreneurs forced to give bribes again amid such dire circumstances is directed at the National Entrepreneurs Chamber and its head Timur Kulibayev, a billionaire and Nursultan Nazarbayev’s son-in-law.

According to our insiders, for some reason, the bribe-takers refer to Kulibayev and no other. Perhaps in order to demonstrate that they are operating under powerful wings.

Hypothetically, we do allow for the possibility to that this is indeed the case and Mr. Timur Kulibayev (or perhaps someone from his immediate circle) is in some way involved in the new scheme of making money. However, it is possible that, in this case, the Elbasy’s son-in-law has been wrongfully accused.

Be as it may, this slander (if it is one) has been planted into heavily fertilised soil. Therefore, we can say with confidence that the number of those disliking Timur Kulibayev and ready to get back at him upon the first opportunity will grow as the project continues to be implemented. And it seems Akorda and the Library are not to avoid this political consequence.


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