30 years in power: Nazarbayev resigned

Big changes are coming in Kazakhstan or are they just formal shifts

The fact that big changes are coming in Kazakhstan has long been clear. For example, a month ago, Nazarbayev for the first time in the history of the republic dismissed the government. It’s hard to believe that he himself would lay down his powers afterwards, although in Kazakhstan, in May last year, a new post was invented specifically for elbasy (the head of the people) – the head of the Security Council. He will be able to lead it for life.


Nazarbayev has been at the head of the republic for 30 years. In 2007, parliament granted him the right to run for president an unlimited number of times. But apparently, in the 79th year of life, it became harder to do. Moreover, there is less time left before the upcoming elections and time is needed for the successor to maneuver. The previous elections, we recall, were held in Kazakhstan in April 2015, while Nazarbayev won almost one hundred percent – gaining 97.75% of the vote. His presidential term expires by law in April 2020.


As calculated in his country, Nazarbayev is the leader of Kazakhstan since June 22, 1989 (the date of appointment to the post of first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan) to the present is 29 years, 8 months, 25 days. The carrier of the official title “Leader of the Nation”.


– You trusted me all these years. It was my happiness to serve the people. I bow my head and thank you. To fulfill the covenant of the people, I worked tirelessly. I will continue to work as head of the Security Council and the Nur Otan party, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev in an address to the citizens of Kazakhstan, speaking on national channels.


78-year-old Nursultan Nazarbayev, an aksakal in politics, leads Kazakhstan more than any of the leaders of countries in the post-Soviet space (here 66-year-old Putin, 64-year-old Lukashenko has someone to take as an example). Despite numerous criticism due to censorship, corruption, the cult of personality (the carrier of the official life title “Leader of the Nation), and the violation of human rights, he managed to remain in power.


It seemed that Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kazakhstan cannot exist without each other, and it will be eternal and at least for one election, which is scheduled for 2020 in the republic, will definitely go. It was not the first time that political experts had predicted that Nazarbayev would retire on the eve of the elections, in order to go to the polls as an independent nominee, as he did many times. Well, an uncomplicated scheme, Vladimir Putin gave the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev for four years, in the firm belief that he would return from the Government House to the Kremlin. Now Putin is again “prophesied” by some similar scenario, and even they say that he will take an example from Nazarbayev.


And Nursultan Nazarbayev left. Speaking to the people of Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev said he decided to resign. Almost like Boris Yeltsin in 1999 with his famous phrase: “I’m tired. I’m leaving”. Nazarbayev even called the name of the “successor” – the powers of the president are transferred to the Speaker of the Senate of Kazakhstan’s Parliament, Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev. However, this is how it should be according to the law.


Has the Nazarbayev “sly fox” resigned for real or again for fun? He got this nickname in politics for his resourcefulness and undoubted authority among the leaders of the CIS countries. And, say, on the eve of the State Council meetings, many of the presidents went to see Nazarbayev to enlist his support. Nursultan Abishevich was so independent and so confident in all political and economic clashes that he could afford not to take into account the opinion of the Russian presidents. It seems that Vladimir Putin is a little afraid of him, well, he definitely considers equal and shows respect and reverence.


In the whole story with the resignation of Nazarbayev there is such a nuance – the state of health. It is known that Nursultan Abishevich has long been ill with cancer and was first treated in Russia at the Central Clinical Hospital of the 4th Department in Moscow. Then he began to travel for treatment to Paris, Switzerland (his accounts were later closed there), Austria. In one of the clinics in Germany, he was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes. Nazarbayev himself in a recent speech on the health of the nation (the average life expectancy in Kazakhstan increased from 67 to 73 years), said the following phrase:

“If you are sick, unhealthy, nobody in this world needs you.” Did he try on this phrase?


Suppose Nazarbayev is really tired and no longer wants to look haggard during the next presidential term, when he will be over 80. What will happen in Kazakhstan itself and, importantly, in Russian-Kazakh relations? How will the acting president of Kazakhstan, Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev, lead the republic? It is likely that this 65-year-old politician will not take drastic steps and, like a real diplomat (he graduated from the MGIMO of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1970), will not aggravate relations with Moscow. Moreover, Nursultan Nazarbayev himself will be behind him all the time, and he will not allow mistakes.


Tokaev’s Russia has a warm attitude – like most of the Kazakhs of the “Soviet formation”. His point of view on the political structure of Kazakhstan: “A strong president, authoritative parliament, an accountable government.” Apparently, these principles will be used until the next presidential elections in Kazakhstan.


And the retired Nazarbayev? Shows soon. If health allows, he will undoubtedly respond to the call of Kazakhstanis to the “Leader of the Nation” to lead Kazakhstan once again.