Kazakhstan: a fresh start with Tokayev?
A few days after the suppression of the unrest in Kazakhstan, former ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev seems to have disappeared from view. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced to parliament a new policy aimed at limiting the oligarchs' power - and thus also that of Nazarbayev's network. Commentators discuss how firmly the president is in the saddle.
Those who stand in the way will be condemned
Tokayev will now be able to rule the country without Nazarbayev as 'leader of the nation' (Yelbasy), Delfi predicts:
“The dragon is dead, long live the dragon! Before the unrest, President Tokayev had always emphasised Nazarbayev's role in official speeches. ... Since the riots, there have been no references to Nazarbayev. It seems that Tokayev will emerge as the absolute winner. A commission of enquiry will no doubt be formed to find the culprits behind the uprisings in Kazakhstan. The guilty party will be the one who is now the greatest threat to Tokayev. This is how the president will solve his political problems: by freeing himself from Nazarbayev's entourage and ruling Kazakhstan single-handedly.”
Settling scores with the Nazarbayev clan
Radio Kommersant FM keeps its fingers crossed for the new ruler:
“Tokayev's appraisal is noteworthy: Kazakhstan's economic system is ineffective, essential assets are in the hands of a group of oligarchs, and the Development Bank of Kazakhstan serves as an instrument for divvying up money between them. Thanks to Nazarbayev, these people have become wealthy even by international standards. ... Nazarbayev and his family, wherever they may be, have been ousted from Kazakhstan's leadership. And importantly, both Russia and the West - and apparently China too - have no problems with that. ... The reforms can only be welcomed, but pushing them through will definitely not be easy.”
Out of the frying pan and into the fire
Renewed dependence on Moscow is the price the president is paying for emancipation from the Nazarbayev clan, comments Russian political scientist Kirill Rogov on 24tv.ua:
“It was the hatred [of the Nazarbayev family] felt by the majority of the Kazakh elite and the population that helped Tokayev to win when he broke with his former boss. But like his predecessors, Tokayev owes his victory to Moscow. Nazarbayev had managed to largely free himself from this tutelage. And that is the main task of Tokayev's presidency. ... Undemocratic transfers of power highlight the role of the institutions of authoritarian systems of rule in the post-Soviet space. And these are the 'family' and the 'siloviki' [law enforcement forces].”
Tokayev has surrendered to Moscow
Kazakhstan's president has messed up with this move, Karar fears:
“It's hard to understand what Tokayev was thinking when he handed over a matter that could have been resolved by national - and above all democratic - means to the Russian army, leaving himself so heavily indebted to Moscow and making room for its intrigues. Instead he should have sacrificed his own state power if necessary to restore peace and security in Kazakhstan. Because as soon as he bases this power on the Russian army it ceases to be his state power anyway and passes to Putin. Let us hope that the last exit before the bridge has not yet been missed.”