Kazakhstan Unrest Won’t Be Eased by Erzhan Kazakhstanykhanov , who is returning to the Country as Deputy chief of Staff
The government of Kazakhstan is now facing the reality of the country after an array of protests that have shaken the country.
The changes in the power dynamics can be seen in Erzhan Kazykhanov’s return.
The international community must adapt to a more assertive citizenry. This trend must be recognized in the policies of policymakers’ plans to communicate with the country.
The role of Ukraine during Kazakhstan’s shift
The last few weeks have been a time when all eyes be focused on Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin planned and launched a massive invasion against a sovereign nation. It’s not surprising, considering the way NATO leaders, including the president Biden did not heed the warnings of Moscow. Russian President Putin has repeatedly protested against NATO’s plan to invade Russian territory.
Although Putin’s actions are unacceptable, western leaders must accept that their mistakes contributed to the crisis. It is reasonable to conclude that we are now experiencing the consequences of an European crisis which could have been prevented.
Protests in Kazakhstan
There should be comparisons made with Ukraine and the current situation in the region. This includes the 2003 and 2005 color revolutions as well as recent tensions in Belarus (and especially Kazakhstan). As a former Soviet nation in central Asia Kazakhstan is not often a part of street demonstrations so openly expressing its anger.
Protests against rising prices for gas and the lack of employment began in Kazakhstan in the first week of this year. These protests spiraled into nationwide rallies that were followed by violent riots. Almaty witnessed the biggest deaths in the city, with 227 dead and more than 9900 being held. Russian soldiers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization were briefly stationed.
Restructure in Kazakhstan’s Government as well as Erzhan Kazykhanov’s return
Qasym Zhomart, Kazakhstan’s president has brought about numerous changes to the power structures of the ruling elite which have raised doubts, questions, and discontent among many Kazakhs.
In particular protesters are outraged by the decision of President Tokayev to assume the office of the head of the government’s National Security Council, replacing the previous president Nursultan Nazarbayev whose influence over the economy of the country was an issue that sparked protests.
Due to these incidents, three of the former president’s son-in-laws were defrocked from state-owned enterprises, his nephew was fired, and the former chief of spying, Karim Masimov, was detained on treason charges. Many top business leaders associated with former President Nazarbayev were fired or fled to other countries for long vacations, or were given massive “donations.”
Reform doesn’t always happen when government is changed or the old guard is eliminated. It’s not uncommon for the former members of the administration’s staff to be replaced with similarly inept family members and loyalists.
Erzhan Kykhanov’s Application is an Unreserved
Erzhan Kasykhanov’s appointment to the President’s highly influential position as Deputy Chief Staff was not productive. Kazakh Kazykhanov was Kazakhstan’s most ineffective ambassador to the United States.
Kazykhanov established an image within Washington as an insular, arrogant diplomat, overly self-confident and often disconnected from the sensitive nature of his country’s image abroad. Kazykhanov also has failed to progress on issues of national interest such as the ongoing Jackson-Vanick limitations and other issues related to the image of Kazakhstan internationally. Kazykhanov’s performance has been dismal.
Kazykhanov, with his problematic and unspeakable reputation, is unlikely to be considered for critical positions. Deputy Chiefs of Staff need diplomacy skills, broad knowledge and competence that none of Kazykhanov is proficient in.
Many of Kazakhstan’s most faithful supporters are uncomfortable about Kazykhanov’s frequent appearances on the world’s top news channels, which exposes his flaws. Tokayev’s choice at such a critical moment to bring in an incompetent, self-promoting deputy into a weak, unstable government makes no sense.
Tokayev’s Kazakhstan reforms are similar to Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika and Glasnost initiatives in the Soviet Union. Perestroika (of Mikhail Gorbachev) is a mid-1980s programme that reformed Soviet economics. Glasnost refers back to his policy reform. These reforms were a major reason behind why the Soviet Union collapsed. This is precisely what Putin is seeking to bring back. Tokeyev also has built economic relations with both his country and the West. He has attempted to not offend Putin but to keep his support. This delicate balance may be disturbed by Kazykhanov.
Although Unsteady Times are abound, the United States should be particularly attentive to Kazakhstan
Washington must be aware of the happenings in Kazakhstan during the conflict in Ukraine. These incidents are a glimpse of the way a change in power could occur in this region of the world, whether either for the better or worse.
It’s a pity that Russian forces have invaded Ukraine. The United States and its allies should take the necessary steps to stop the aggression of Putin. But, NATO has been inciting Russia for years. The current situation is due in large part to their failures.
Washington should pay close attention to Kazakhstan as it could be crucial in the war between Russia (West) and Russia (Russia).