Posted 12 января 2022,, 12:33
Published 12 января 2022,, 12:33
Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37
Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37
Yelena Ivanova, Natalia Seibil
Less than a couple of days after the suppression of the riots, the first money "presenting" arrived to the former ruling clan of Nazarbayev. President of the country Kassym-Jomart Tokayev came forward in parliament with an initiative to create a special social fund, to which businessmen who have become rich thanks to former President Nursultan Nazarbayev will have to make "significant and regular contributions." So that no one would think that this is a voluntary matter, Tokayev instructed the government to draw up a list of enterprises and individuals and agree with them the amount of payments.
According to Andrey Suzdaltsev, a Russian political scientist, an expert on the CIS countries, deputy dean of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics at the Higher School of Economics, the comprador Kazakh bourgeoisie has all its assets scattered across sectors of the economy, from gas, oil and finance to trade.
- They will be forced to list, otherwise they will shoot. I think that the main pressure will be on the Nazarbayev clan. It somehow happened that Nazarbayev himself is a billionaire, Nazarbayev's wife is a billionaire, daughters and sons-in-law are also billionaires. They did it great. There is a lot of money there, - Andrey Suzdaltsev describes the situation in the neighboring country.
It was announced that the money will go, among other things, for the infrastructure destroyed by the riots. It is impossible to estimate its size. From the business side, the figure is $ 200 million, the head of state speaks of billions.
- These are broken shop windows, burnt cars, looted warehouses. Tokayev names the amount of 2–3 billion dollars, which is also a plausible figure. This includes supply disruptions, logistical damages associated with the interruption of rail links and the supply of goods, and air traffic disruptions. This is closer to the truth, but the real assessment is not clear. Is it done? Not done? Preliminary ? - there are more questions than answers, says economist Nikita Maslennikov.
Most likely, money will be collected from the rich first, and then the damage will be calculated. It turns out that this is not only and not so much an economic matter, but rather a political one.
What is happening cannot be precisely called nationalization. In a political sense, this is the completion of the transit of power, which was started by Nazarbayev himself, who, however, did not expect such an ending. An indirect confirmation can be considered the fact how fiercely the Belarusian dictator Lukashenko promoted the idea of helping the CSTO to his friend Nazarbayev. Andrey Suzdaltsev believes that nothing came of it:
- It doesn't work, Nazarbayev is now dispossessed there. Nazarbayev will not return to power. It was the hard regime of the so-called fathers of the nation. And it finally came to an end.
What we are seeing is the redistribution of power inherent in vertical regimes. Nazarbayev was pushed out of power by Tokayev. His support group will now accuse those who were closer to the trough at Elbasy that they imposed "Nazarbayevism".
- They will be deprived of their powers of power, their people will be judged and imprisoned, and at best, removed from power and from access to resources, because in such regimes, power provides the path to prosperity. So, this is a purge, a persecution of former colleagues who have become competitors, opponents and even enemies, and a purely ideological explanation, typical for such regimes, to blame everything on the predecessor in order to continue his policy , - this is how political scientist Dmitry Oreshkin describes the future of Kazakhstan.
The balance of power is rather fragile - Nazarbayev has enough supporters and clan members who, over the years of his rule, have become multimillionaires or even billionaires. With the closest circle, such agreements are hardly possible. Therefore, apparently, the youngest daughter of Nazarbayev had to urgently withdraw $ 300 million from the country, although it is also obvious that you cannot withdraw everything. Kazakhstan has an exorbitant monopolization of the economy. The reason why the riots broke out - a cartel conspiracy and, as a result, a twofold increase in gas prices for the population - clearly speaks of the situation in the economy. Mobile communications in Kazakhstan are twice as expensive as in Russia. And all because Nazarbayev's relatives are holding her.
- Those who were oligarchs and those who controlled key industries, stuffing their pockets, but respecting the interests of the one who gave them a label to manage these industries, they already safely and reasonably realized that they had lost, filled chests and who left for London, who are in the Emirates, away from their homeland, and now there will be new people, - says Dmitry Oreshkin.
First and foremost, Tokayev and his team are creating a stronger position in the economy. Andrey Vernikov, Head of the Investment Analysis and Training Department at UNIVER Capital, states:
- There is a banal redistribution of property. This is not nationalization, not a change in economic course. A few days ago, they assured investors that everything is calm, this is an internal Kazakhstani affair. I believe that the influence of the Nazarbayev clan will only slightly diminish. There will be a new balance, new scales.
The political structure of Kazakhstan has never been democratic, and the economy has never been competitive. According to experts, the family and the clan in the country is sacred. Don't give a damn about the state, but relatives need help - this is how Andrei Suzdaltsev describes the system of relationships in the elite. Nevertheless, now the situation with Tokayev is not so, apparently, therefore, for negotiations with the old masters of life, an intermediate wallet was first created - you will still have to negotiate. It is not clear what the model of voluntary-compulsory assistance to the Kazakh people will look like. Will companies and businessmen pay in cash or in shares of their companies? What will be the state quitrent? Who will manage the fund and who will spend money from it? Neither the authorities themselves, nor entrepreneurs, nor observers know about this. It is also unclear whether this fund will become a kind of "water truce", or some oligarchic clans will suffer more than others.
Foreign investors look with apprehension at the former stronghold of stability in troubled Central Asia - all in the past. The project of the world financial center, which was developed and in which far advanced, is buried. All economic reforms are only nominal proposals. Real businesses require specific answers to the main question: with whom to decide, with whom to deal. According to Rustam Gallyamov, Tokayev promised to provide a plan for economic reforms within three weeks. The political program should be ready by September. However, investors and business want to get, first of all, political guarantees, so that only a redistribution can take place until autumn.
- Judging by the grandiose plans to dekulak the oligarchs and the orders handed out today, the process of active involvement of the siloviki in the economic life of the country will dominate in the coming years, and it will undoubtedly crush any positive initiatives, even if they exist. Judging by what is happening, there is no reason to expect that Kazakh law enforcement officers will be better than Russian ones, ”the political scientist says.
With all the political explanations for eternal love and friendship and unconditional support from Russia, Nursultan Nazarbayev pursued an economic policy that was quite independent of Russia. The trade turnover between Russia and Kazakhstan does not exceed 6%. China plays a much more prominent role in Astana. Therefore, when the decision was made to bring in the CSTO peacekeepers, certain agreements were reached, believes Andrey Vernikov:
- As we understand, there must have been a call to Putin and Xi, we just do not know about it. China has great interests in Kazakhstan. If you look at the trade turnover, Russia is not at all the main partner of Kazakhstan, the share is about 6%. There are few oil projects, projects related to the mining and processing industry, we can potentially talk about a nuclear power plant. China has much more economic interests, so I think that all steps have been agreed upon.
A significant share of Kazakhstan's resources have been sorted out either by Western investors or by Chinese. Russian companies are behaving rather cautiously and have already stated that nothing is changing in their lives. However, there are Rosneft projects, Lukoil projects. There are plans for a transport corridor with China's participation.
- Rosatom is interested. It is quite principled, because there are uranium deposits in Kazakhstan, from which Rosatom obtains ore”, - recalls Nikita Maslennikov.
In a geopolitical sense, the beneficiary was, according to Dmitry Oreshkin, Russian President Vladimir Putin. For the new people who came to power, Kazakhstan is corporate property: Tokayev is at the head of the holding. He, like any other tsar, having come to power, will fight the old oligarchs, corruption, hand out money to the people, but his position has become more vassal than Nazarabayev's in relation to Moscow:
- Since Tokayev relies on bayonets, and he was not sure of the loyalty of the bayonets, they were controlled by his competitor Massimov, he had to invite borrowed bayonets, which is quite traditional for despotic regimes. But then you have to share with the Moscow Sultan.
According to the political scientist, the Russian president has two allies that neither China nor Turkey has - the army and the navy. Turkish President Erdogan is, like Putin, the head of a belligerent state, as Syria has shown, but he will rather treat the population ideologically, from the standpoint of pan-Turkism. China, on the other hand, will not go to war for sure, although it will try to quickly fill the vacant niches. Therefore, Russian peacekeepers are a very solid argument in promoting the country's interests.
However, there is also skepticism in assessing the situation and prospects. Russia does not know how to convert its support into durable solutions, says Andrey Suzdaltsev, and cites Belarus as an example. Lukashenko, for example, still has not recognized Crimea as Russian - and this is after unconditional support and endless financial injections after his failure in the elections in August 2020.
- I am afraid that our support for Tokayev will not result in a solution to important issues for us - about ending discrimination against local Russians and so on. We do not know how to use what we do for our neighbors.
One thing is good - we can clearly say that President Tokayev will not become the "father of the nation", although he will remain an authoritarian ruler. However, it is weaker than its predecessor. This is good for business and the population - an extra breath of air will appear.