• KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01150 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09386 0.64%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 6

How Kazakhstan Is Cleansing Itself of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Legacy

“New Kazakhstan,” the term introduced by Kasym-Jomart Tokayev after the attempted coup d'état in January 2022, has also given birth to a thesis about “Old Kazakhstan." "Old Kazakhstan" is associated with the country's first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and his numerous relatives, who penetrated all spheres of life in the country. So,  which former head of state's relatives fell into the clutches of justice? Gulmira Satybaldy Gulmira Satybaldy, former wife of Kairat Satybaldyuly, nephew of the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is currently on trial in Almaty. She is accused of locking up her relative and business partner, Abai Zhunusov, for 165 days and, after intimidating him, transferring his shares in various companies to her proxies. Damages are estimated at $2.2 million (1.4 billion KZT). The guilty verdict, which few doubt will be passed, will not be her first. On 4 May 2023, the Astana court sentenced Gulmira Satybaldy to seven years' imprisonment for self-rule and kidnapping. A month later, on 30 June 2023, the Kyzylorda court sentenced her to eight years in prison for embezzlement and misappropriation of other people's property. The new, harsher sentence absorbed the previous punishment. Kairat Satybaldyuly Next is Kairat Satybaldyuly, a rather grim figure from the Nazarbayev clan. In the early noughties, on the now defunct Internet site “Aziopa,” which was attributed to Nazarbayev's former eldest son-in-law Rakhat Aliyev,  Kairat Satybaldyuly was painted black with hints of his handcuffing his wife to the radiator and beating her. It also pointed to Kairat's presidential ambitions. Satybaldyuly is the son of Nursultan Nazarbayev's younger brother, Satybaldy, who died in 1981 in a car accident. According to Forbes Kazakhstan, during his uncle's presidency, Kairat was listed as one of the country's most influential business people with a fortune of 163 million dollars. According to Kazakhstan's media, the nephew of the former president of Kazakhstan was listed as the sole founder of the offshore firm Skyline Investment Company S.A., which owns over 24% of the shares of Kazakhstan's telecommunications company Kazakhtelecom. In addition to working  in the civil service, including in the National Security Committee, he was deputy akim of Astana, and held senior positions in national companies. Detained in March 2022 on suspicion of abuse of power and large-scale embezzlement of funds by Kazakhtelecom JSC and Transport Service Center JSC, Satybaldyuly was held in custody until the trial. In court, Satybaldyuly reached a mediation agreement with the injured parties and paid 40 billion tenge ($89.5 million) in damages. He also entered into a procedural plea agreement. In September 2022, he was sentenced to six years in prison. The court ordered the confiscation of his property and banned him from working in the civil service for ten years. A submission was also made to the President of Kazakhstan to strip Satybaldyuly of the title “Major General of the National Security Bodies of Kazakhstan,” as well as the state orders “Kurmet” and “Parasat.” Despite reports that the Anti-Corruption Service of Kazakhstan is investigating criminal cases against Satybaldyuly involving tax...

Justice Prevails in Kazakhstan Murder Trial Exposing Rift Between Government and Old Regime

The trial of Kuandyk Bishimbayev, a former Minister of the Economy of Kazakhstan, was a watershed event representing the growing role of civil society in the country, as well as the new political leadership’s success in breaking a decades-old cycle sustained by corrupt elites. In spearheading reforms to align his country with international best practices, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has also answered people’s demands. But public worries that Bishimbayev, sentenced to 24 years in prison for killing his wife, may be pardoned as soon as Tokayev leaves office shows how fragile the country’s institutional development remains and how its progress may still be on a ticking clock. Kazakh politician Kuandyk Bishimbayev was convicted of murdering his common-law wife, Saltanat Nukenova, during an altercation between the couple in November 2023 at an Astana restaurant. Throughout the course of his trial, which started in March 2024, it became apparent that the violence caught on a CCTV camera was not a one-off incident, but the latest in a string of abuse. The video, also seen by the jury, includes scenes of a man grabbing a woman by the hair, kicking her, and hitting her in the face. Nukenova is said to have subsequently died from brain trauma. Several factors drew international attention to the case, including the high-profile names involved, broadcasted court proceedings, wide social media engagement, and the commentaries from human rights figures and opinion leaders. The ultimate verdict handed down to Bishimbayev, 24 years imprisonment in a maximum-security institution, is in many ways unprecedented in post-Soviet states, and became a harbinger of changes in both Kazakhstan’s justice system and society. Bishimbayev’s cousin and the director of the restaurant where Nukenova was killed, Bakhytzhan Baizhanov, was also sentenced to four years in prison.   How a tragedy precipitated positive change Saltanat Nukenova’s death, and the events following it, helped bring about new laws and perhaps even opened the way for further reforms. Just as importantly, they also increased legal literacy among Kazakhstan’s civil society. The government’s response, for its part, has garnered international praise. Critically, the public tragedy expedited the implementation of positive steps that President Tokayev had previously wanted to take. Contrary to popular belief, Nukenova’s murder was not the basis of the initiative to re-criminalize domestic violence. This change had already been proposed by Tokayev in 2019, but was opposed by legislators, some of whom reportedly had themselves been previously associated with cases of domestic violence or abuse. The events surrounding Nukenova’s death provided the government with an opportunity to overcome domestic opposition and take steps to correct the country’s course on violence against women and children. On April 15, 2024, Tokayev signed a landmark law criminalizing violence against women and children, reversing a 2017 decriminalization. The need for full-fledged judicial reforms has been advocated for by several international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and public associations, as well as institutions in the United States and Europe. This is not surprising given that the country’s existing judicial system was largely formed under its first...

Kazakhstan Political Experts Outline Tasks Ahead for New Government

On February 7th, an expanded meeting of Kazakhstan's new government took place at which President Tokayev sharply criticized previous initiatives. For example, tax code improvements had been in the works for quite some time, but the final proposal was reduced to raising rates and even imposing taxes on mobile-phone transfers. This caused a wave of resentment among ordinary Kazakhstanis and entrepreneurs. Therefore, the recent resignation of the government is not a surprise, according to political scientist and Director of the Institute of Eurasian Integration, Urazgali Selteyev, who also labeled such legislative reforms "mistakes." "The resignation was long overdue," Selteyev told The Times of Central Asia. "There are accumulated omissions and systemic failures in the work of the government. For all the months of work, no serious improvements are visible. A practical vision of a new economic model has not been presented. The development of the budget code has been delayed, and the clarification of tax reform has failed. Positive statistics on the reduction of inflation do not correspond to the real state of affairs in the economy and social sphere." A similar opinion is held by political scientist and Managing Director of GR Consulting Group, Yerbol Yedilov, who notes that the focus will now be on improving the economy, but not to the detriment of business, as instructed by Tokayev at the meeting. "I think they will target [improving] the country's economy, and, led by the prime minister, will carry out large-scale work on the return of illegally exported funds. Reforming the budget sphere, which the president is talking about, is only the beginning. There are deeper plans, and in time they should lead to a global increase in the country's economy," Yedilov told The Times of Central Asia. The head of state referred to this in his address, stating that Kazakhstan will seek to improve its anti-corruption policy, meaning that further personnel reshuffles are inevitable."Tokayev mentioned that the state of roads, heat and power centers is a reflection of our corruption. It can be understood that [more] personnel purges within the ministries lay ahead. Emphasis will be placed on honest and incorruptible officials," Yedilov concluded. Currently, according to political analysts, Kazakhstan is lacking in investment resources, and the main goal of the new cabinet is to replenish the national fund. "This is a transformation of the economy on the basis of strengthening and expanding investment activity," political scientist Gaziz Abishev told The Times of Central Asia. "After all, the liberalization of prices in a number of sectors, the liberalization of the economy itself, the protection of investors from corruption and bureaucracy, the use of public funds and simplification of the tax code is all about investment, which is now so lacking in Kazakhstan. We need to invest in new production and the creation of [value-added industries], but this cannot be done without capital. For both internal and external reasons, and because of volatility in foreign markets, there is not a lot of free money in Kazakhstan's economy. How realistic...

Elbasy No More: Monument to Nazarbayev Removed From National Museum

In a further sign of the dismantling of the cult of personality which the first President of Kazakhstan strove to build around himself, a monument to Nursultan Nazarbayev has been removed from the National Museum of Kazakhstan in Astana. According to the Minister of Culture and Information, the decision was made in relation to the modernization of the exhibition space. "This exhibit is the property of the museum, and in connection with the changes in the concept of the hall, [the monument] will be moved into permanent storage in the Museum Fund", the National Museum said in a statement. Renovation work has already begun at the hall of the National Museum which depicts "Independent Kazakhstan." The hall hasn’t been updated since 2014, and the management intends to highlight important events from the recent history of the country. The National Museum of Kazakhstan was built upon a direct order from former President Nazarbayev within the framework of a government program called "Cultural Heritage." It is the largest museum in the country, with its buildings occupying a total area of 74,000 square meters, with an exposition area adding another 14,000 square meters. The statue of Nazarbayev first appeared in the museum in July 2018. Above the sculpture of the former president a placard in Kazakh in Latin script reads, "My dream is for Kazakhstan to be an eternal country. Time will pass; people will pass - but independence will remain. The first president of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Elbasy (leader of the nation), Nursultan Nazarbayev." Could this mark the beginning of a wider trend? This is not the first time a monument to Nazarbayev has been removed. During the events of January 2022, a statue of the first president was demolished during riots in Taldykorgan. Later, another monument to Nazarbayev was removed from the National Defense University in Astana, and a picture of Nazarbayev which hung in the Almaty subway was also removed. In January 2023, the law on the first president and leader of the nation, which granted lifetime benefits and privileges to Nazarbayev was rescinded by the Constitutional Court. Earlier this year, a provocative exhibition by artist, Yerbosyn Meldibekov, about the fall of the ex-president and monuments to him was installed in the House of Officers, a military-cultural building in Almaty. Monuments and busts of Soviet-era leaders and revolutionaries in Kazakhstan still stand in parks and various buildings, though often no longer on central pedestals. As of 2021, there were still 159 statues commemorating Lenin, the majority of which are found in regions with a high-density of ethnic Russians, including Pavlodar and Akmola, and in the North Kazakhstan Region, where ethnic Russians outnumber Kazakhs, but since the fall of the Soviet Union, 341 had been demolished. Another lasting symbol of a cult of personality can be found among representatives of law enforcement agencies, who still revere the so-called "Godfather of the Chekists," Felix Dzerzhinsky. In the East Kazakhstan Region, which has an extremely high-density of ethnic Russians, a bust of...

Changes in Composition of National Kurultai

The Kurultai is a body which brings together representatives from different sectors of society to address important public issues. The involvement of public representatives and activists in the work of the Kurultai testifies to an aspiration for a broader and more comprehensive discussion and decision-making process at a national level. On January 19th there were changes to the composition of the National Kurultai, with Bauyrzhan Alteyev, Amangeldy Tolamisov, Gulmira Kanai, Sergey Ogai, Zhiguli Dairabayev, Kazbek Maigeldinov, Berik Uali, Anastasia Timoshchenko-Borovikova, Serik Sarybai, Daulet Turlykhanov, Alexei Lodochnikov, Sarsen Kuranbek, and Edik Sularov leaving their posts. At the same time, new representatives were added, including children's ombudsman, Dinara Zakieva, and Mazhilis deputies, Nikita Shatalov and Nurlan Auesbayev. In addition, representatives of public councils from various regions were added. Preparations are currently underway for the third meeting of the National Kurultai, which is scheduled for this spring.

Kazakhstan President Tokayev: “As a progressive nation, we should look only forward”

“As a progressive nation, we should look only forward”, said President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev in an interview with Egemen Qazaqstan newspaper, stressing the importance of focusing on long-term goals and placing “national values at the center”. The interview, published on January 2, 2024, included frank discussions on many topics ranging from the government’s “constructive and balanced” foreign policy to its extensive reforms in political, social and economic arenas, while also covering uneasy issues such as the “complex and tense” events of January 2022, which devolved into an attempted violent seizure of power by criminal groups and risked pushing the country into chaos. On foreign policy, Tokayev summarized his government’s “unchanged” priorities as “ensuring the inviolability of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, protecting the rights and interests of the citizens of Kazakhstan, and creating favorable external conditions for sustainable economic growth.” The interview revealed key insights on Kazakhstan’s relations with powerful neighbors Russia and China, as well as the country’s strengthening international role, such as through hosting the International Astana Forum, and the One Water Summit with France in 2024. On political reforms, Tokayev highlighted that Kazakhstan was the only country in its geopolitical environment to have undergone large-scale democratic transformations and progressed towards protecting human rights. Some of the advancements detailed in the interview include political modernization and implementing a fairer and more balanced political system, including expanding powers of the elected Majilis [parliament] and eliminating the “super presidential powers”. Tokayev described the political reforms to date as “irreversible”. In terms of economic achievements and goals, Tokayev said the goals he set for the economy in 2023 (i.e., to double the GDP to $450 billion by 2029) were “achievable” while stressing that Kazakhstan had the most significant nominal GDP growth in Central Asia in 2023. He described his government’s new approach to economic management, specifying large industrial projects, attracting investment and asset recovery as components of one direction and, on the other, highlighting systemic reforms such as new tax and budget codes as well as new laws on public procurement and public private partnerships to increase transparency. On other issues, he reiterated his vision for the future of energy security as including clean nuclear energy. He also maintained his support for the country’s younger generation of professionals, including in government positions, and touched upon the government’s efforts to further counter domestic violence. The full text of the interview, translated from Kazakh, is given below: EQ:       Thank you, Kasym-Zhomart Kemelevich, for finding time in your busy work schedule for an interview with the newspaper Egemen Qazaqstan. The Kazakh press has been waiting for your opinion on issues of concern to our society. Therefore, today I would like to talk to you frankly on these topics. What was memorable for you last year? KJT:      I would like to take this opportunity to once again congratulate all compatriots on the New Year! The year 2023 was a year full of significant events for our country. We have come to the completion of...

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