Kazakhstan Unrest Will Not Be Influenced by Erzhan Kazykhanov’s Return

Kazakhstan Unrest Will not be Eased By Erzhan Kazakhstanykhanov’s Return as Deputy Chief Of Staff

Following a string of protests, Kazakhstan’s government now is confronted with a new reality.

Erzhan Kazykhanov’s return shows the power dynamics which have shifted.

The international arena must now adapt to a more assertive and empowered citizenry. Additionally, policymakers must be aware of the changes in order to figure out effective ways to engage with the country.

The role of Ukraine in Kazakhstan’s shift
The past few weeks have seen everyone’s eyes at Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin has prepared and began an attack against a sovereign state. This is no surprise considering that NATO leaders, including the Vice President Biden, ignored the warnings from Moscow. Russian President Putin has repeatedly expressed his displeasure at NATO’s plan to invading Russian territory.

Although Putin’s actions were inexcusable they must admit that western leaders were a part of the cause. We are now dealing with the effects of the European crisis which could have been prevented, it is fair.

Protests against Kazakhstan
It is important to contrast the current state of affairs in Ukraine with recent events within the region. The color revolutions of 2003 to 2005 are mentioned along with unrest in Belarus and, in particular, Kazakhstan. As an ex Soviet republic, it is not often seen in the streets expressing discontent.

A series of protests began in Kazakhstan in the spring of this year, to protest rising gas prices. The protests escalated into massive demonstrations which culminated in violent violence. Almaty was the most shattered of human life, with 227 people killed and over 9900 arrested. Russian troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) were briefly stationed in Almaty.

Restructure in Kazakhstan’s Government and Erzhan Kazykhanov’s Return
Qasym Zhomart tokayev, Kazakhstan’s new president, has brought many changes to the power structure of the ruling elite. These changes have been questioned and raised concerns with many Kazakhs.

Protesters were enraged by the decision of President Tokayev to assume the presidency of the National Security Council replacing ex-President Nursultan Nazabayev. Protesters were worried about his impact on the country’s economy.

Three sons-in law of the former president were ejected from their state companies. The nephew of the president was fired and Karim Masimov was arrested for treason. A number of top business leaders of the former president Nazarbayev lost their positions or emigrated abroad for lengthy vacations, or were given massive “donations.”

Reform does not always come through government reforms and the elimination or retention of former guards. It is not unusual to see administration’s members to be replaced by ineffective family members or loyalists.

Erzhan Kazakhstanykhanov’s Apppointment Is Unsatisfactory
Erzhan Kazykhanov’s elevation to the highly influential post of President Tokayev of the Deputy Chief of Staff counter productive. Kazakh Kazykhanov is Kazakhstan’s least effective ambassador to America.

Kazykhanov gained a reputation within Washington as an aloof, arrogant diplomat, too self-confident and frequently disconnected from the sensitivity of his country’s image abroad. His actions on national issues, including the Jackson-Vanick restriction as well as other issues related to Kazakhstan’s image abroad, is also disappointing.

Due to his unworthy reputation and his shady past, Kazykhanov is unlikely to be a candidate for important positions. Kazykhanov does not have the necessary skills to be the deputy chief of staff.

The most enthusiastic supporters of Kazakhstan have expressed displeasure with Kazykhanov’s appearances on the important news networks around the world which expose his weaknesses. Tokayev’s decision to not allow a volatile, self-promoting, incompetent deputy to enter a fragile state at this crucial moment is absurd.

Tokayev’s Kazakhstan reforms are in some ways reminiscent of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika and Glasnost initiatives in the Soviet Union. Perestroika was Mikhail Gorbachev’s mid-1980s plan to reform Soviet economics and politics. Glasnost is the name for his reforms to the political system. These reforms are what caused the collapse of the Soviet Union. Putin is trying restore the Soviet Union. Tokeyev has also forged economic relations with countries around his own as well as with the West as well, and is careful not to upset Putin however, he has opted to remain steadfast in his support. Kazykhanov may upset the delicate balance.

When Times Are Not Stable, the US Should Pay Particular Attention to Kazakhstan
Washington ought to pay attention to Kazakhstan’s activities during the conflict in Ukraine. They are an example of what a power-swap might appear like in this area of the world for better or worse.

The Russian invasion that is engulfing Ukraine is an alarming event. It is important that the United States (and its allies) make the right decisions to combat Putin’s aggression. We must not forget the fact that NATO has been pushing Russia for years, and that this crisis is a direct result of their deficiency.

Washington must pay close attention to the developments in Kazakhstan that could become the next hot spot in the conflict between Russia and the West.
Erzhan Kazykhanov