- President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned unexpectedly. What really happened?

-First of all, I would like to note that the resignation was not unexpected. His steps towards the design of Kazakhstan after his reign began in 2010. In July 2010, the concept of the first president of the Republic of Kazakhstan - the leader of the nation (Elbasy) was included in the Constitutional Law. This law determines the political and legal status of Elbasy, guaranteeing his right to vote in the post-presidential period. According to this law, Nursultan Nazarbayev received powers that he will perform until the end of his life. For example, Elbasy has the right to appeal to the people in important areas of state construction, domestic and foreign policy, security policy, to come up with initiatives that are important for government agencies and officials, to lead the Assembly of the Peoples of Kazakhstan of the National Security Council, to be a member of the Constitutional Council). After the adoption of the law on Elbasy, for the next 7 years, Nazarbayev did not take any steps to leave the presidency. I think that the international situation played a serious role in his transition to a wait-and-see policy - the beginning of the "Arab spring", especially the events in Syria and Libya, then the annexation by Russia of the Ukrainian Crimea and the bloody conflict in the Donbas. The sudden death in September 2016 of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov and the subsequent processes, especially what happened with the daughter of the dictator Gulnara Karimova, made Nazarbayev think again about the implementation of the structure built in his mind. In March 2017, according to the amendments to the Constitution, some of the powers of the president were distributed between the parliament and the government. The formation of the government is not solely the president, but with the participation of parliament, the responsibility of the prime minister to the legislature. According to the changes, the president can appoint only three ministers - defense, home affairs and foreign affairs. The rest of the Cabinet of Ministers determines the parliament. The president cannot liquidate the acts adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers and the Prime Minister. Then it became clear that these changes are aimed at limiting the powers of the subsequent president.

On May 31, 2018 the status of the Security Council was changed, and a consultative and advisory body turned into a constitutional state body. The Security Council has acquired the authority to implement state policy in the field of security and defense, as well as the responsibility for coordinating the activities of government agencies and in resolving organizational issues.

According to the law on Elbasy, the first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is the life-long leader of the Security Council. That is, since last year it was clear that Nazarbayev was giving up the presidency. As chairman of the Security Council, he will concentrate control over the country in his hands, while responsibility for social and economic problems will fall on the president. It was just a matter of time, and on March 19, 2019, at 19:00, the President addressed the people.

-The president passed the power to a man close to him. After retiring from the presidency, he retained a position that exceeds the presidential position. Now he can control everyone and everything. What kind of system is this?

- Kazakhstan is a republic. According to its Constitution, it is a democratic, secular socio-legal state. However, the Constitutional Law adopted in 2010 and changes to it, began to be implemented in 2017-2018, which contradicts the republican system and democratic principles. Adaptation of the Constitution for one person, who, after left his post, actually remains the first person of the state, with the privilege of authority, in essence resembles a monarchy. Elbasy, without occupying an elective office, received the authority to manage the state until the end of his days, which has nothing to do with democracy. This means the restoration of the Kaganate in the country. Nursultan Nazarbayev, having refused the presidency, actually became a Kazakh kagan.

- Will the worls centers like the new system?

-Kazakhstan is adjacent to two large countries: Russia and China. Russia is an ally of Kazakhstan. Both of these countries are represented in a single economic space, as well as in the security space - the Eurasian Union and the CSTO. What is happening in Kazakhstan, of course, is closely monitored in Moscow. At least, because 3.5 million ethnic Russians live in Kazakhstan. There is a significant strategic military facility on the territory of the country, such as Baikonur and the cosmodrome. For this reason, Russia is interested in continuing the strategic partnership and alliance. In recent years, China has been interested in the development of bilateral economic relations and in the stability of neighboring relations. Of course, the Kremlin would like to see a more obedient and pro-Russian leader in Kazakhstan. Some of Nazarbayev"s nationalistic steps - strengthening the role of the Kazakh language and, accordingly, oppressing the Russian language, switching to the Latin script, strengthening the national Kazakh identification, and converging with China and the US in foreign policy, somewhat limited Russia's influence on the region. Moscow is not satisfied with the establishment of a balance. However, in any case, Nazarbayev does not cause dissatisfaction with Russia as a leader who does not make sharp curtsies towards China and the West, who understands the power and importance of Russia, continuing close dialogue and cooperation with Russia, represented in the same integration projects. Neither Russia nor China is interested in the availability of democracy in Kazakhstan. For these aforementioned great neighbors, there is no problem, called democracy. On the contrary, mutual understanding takes place better with authoritarian and monarchical regimes. As for the West, I do not believe that the restoration of democracy in Kazakhstan is of particular importance to them. Even though Kazakhstan is a member of the OSCE, it does not belong to the European space, is not represented in the Council of Europe, and according to its geographical position, Kazakhstan does not have chances to integrate into the EU and NATO. In the field of democratization, Kazakhstan did not take on specific commitments, therefore, although the West verbally expresses a desire to see democracy in Kazakhstan, no such demands are actually made. In the field of security and economy, they have built good cooperation with Kazakhstan. Western companies are directly involved in the exploitation of the country's oil fields. The ports of Kazakhstan Aktau and Kuric are used to ship NATO cargo to Afghanistan. Cooperation at this level so far suits the West. It is no coincidence that last year Nazarbayev was invited to the United States and was received at a top level in the White House.

-Some analysts say that some processes are taking place in the region. For example, in Kazakhstan, although not in the field of human rights and democracy, but in recent years, especially in the field of economics, some reforms have been carried out. There are also talks about the transition from a presidential republic to a parliamentary one. Now the unexpected resignation of the president is of great interest. Is this really connected with some processes taking place in the region or does Nazarbayev really want to change the country? What is waiting Kazakhstan, what can happen?

-While Nazarbayev is alive and able to work, one should not expect that processes in Kazakhstan will get out of control. There is a certain discontent in society, especially in the matter of changing the name of the capital. There were protest attempts in this city, as well as in Almaty, but the police easily stopped these attempts. During the period of independence, the true opposition was not given such an opportunity. The activity of the real opposition organization "Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan" created by the former Minister of Energy, Industry and Trade Mukhtar Ablyazov was banned. Ablyazov himself is in exile. Now the political life of Kazakhstan will be focused on the upcoming presidential elections. Certainly, this position will be held by someone advised by Elbasy. For now, President Kasim Zhomart Tokayev and Senate Chairman Dariga Nazarbayeva have more chances. Among those mentioned is the name of Nazarbayev"s nephew, Samat Abysh, who is the deputy chairman of the National Security Committee. In Kazakhstan, A qualitatively new and different from the current situation will be in Kazakhstan if the 79-year-old Elbasy gets seriously ill, loses his ability to work, or dies. That's when the real struggle for power will begin. With his current steps, Nazarbayev tries his best to ensure that during his absence from the political arena for one reason or another, the situation does not get out of control.

- What steps should be taken to democratize a country like Kazakhstan?

-For the democratization of a country like Kazakhstan, first of all, there must be an internal need, coming from the society itself, and there must be a consensus between the clans for a normal democratic transition to take place. In fact, such a strong leader as Nazarbayev could slowly carry out democratic reforms, issue a gram of freedom, create conditions for the development of democratic institutions, and restore at least a democratic model at the level of Russia. However, Elbasy did not choose this path. I consider this a misdemeanor; the political system built on the charisma of Nazarbayev and the cult of his personality, will collapse after his death. It is unclear what will be created instead of this contruction. And this, in turn, creates the risk of stability violation in the post-Nazarbayev period.

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Грузия меняет западную ориентацию и идет на сближение с Россией? - беседа с экспертом по Кавказу Вадимом Дубновым в программе "Çətin sual"

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