Many independent international analysts and journalists, who have been researching the January events in Kazakhstan over the past year, are inclined to believe that the entourage of the first president Nursultan Nazarbayev and members of the special services close to his clan tried to take advantage of popular protests and thereby provoked a bloody course of events. All for the “Elbasy” to revise the scenario of the transit of power and replace Tokayev with someone from his family members. However, there is no reliable confirmation of this, as well as other versions.
In an authoritarian system, it is impossible to conduct an appropriate independent investigation, let alone an international one. In addition, in a clan system, where opposing elite groups are always more likely to agree with each other behind the backs of the population, rather than reveal the truth to them. After all, as they say, when conducting any investigation, the main thing is not to go out on yourself.
Recall that during the beginning of the January 2022 events, Tokayev gave the order to “shoot without warning” and said that “20 thousand terrorists” trained abroad attacked Almaty. The President of Kazakhstan asked for help from the CSTO troops. And later he announced an “attempted coup d’etat.” However, he did not present any “terrorists” and “conspirators” with their insidious plans to the public. There is no official evidence, just as there are no charges against the “Nazarbayev family” in connection with the bloody January events.
The arrest and closed trial of the “scapegoats” — former chairman of the KNB Karim Massimov, accused of “organizing a coup”, and of Defense Minister Murat Bektanov, who “gave illegal orders and did not take measures to restore order in the country” — does not exactly add answers, but only multiplies questions.
At the same time, the subsequent anti-corruption attack by the current authorities on individual members of Nazarbayev’s family and oligarchs close to him, who lost assets, looked more like an inter-clan showdown than an attempt to change the former autocratic unfair system.
Also with elements of a “contractual agreement” — the work of law enforcement agencies was selective. For example, Nazarbayev’s son-in-law Timur Kulibayev, who controls the country’s largest bank, is still one of the key players in the energy sector. Nazarbayev’s two daughters and grandson are still on the list of the richest people in the country. The Nazarbayev Foundation and its other structures accumulating huge funds are protected by a special law that deprives the state of the right to interfere in their activities https://rus.azathabar.com/a/review-kazakhstan-year-since-bloody-january-/32213362.html.
All this suggests that Tokayev is not building the “New Kazakhstan” promised to citizens after the January events, but only crushes the “Old” one, slightly modifying the political framework and relations with business structures and the current “elites”. The authorities in such a situation are not interested in an objective investigation of the January 2022 massacre. After all, it can shed light on the mechanisms of interaction hidden from the eyes of citizens within the system itself, revealing the unsightly “secrets of political cuisine”. So it’s better to “slow down” a loud criminal trial and forget about it as soon as possible. The rulers in authoritarian states are used to negotiating behind the scenes, “not taking the trash out of the hut.”
It is not surprising that fewer and fewer Kazakhstanis believe in Tokayev’s beautiful slogans about the “demonopolization of power”, reforms, and a fair division of income from the sale of natural resources. Little changes in the country. All the same uncontested presidential elections, which Tokayev held under himself last year. All the same energy disasters, like the December one in Ekibastuz. The same decline in the standard of living of the population. All the same unjust courts, monopolies, and corruption of officials.
The creation of the fund “To the People of Kazakhstan”, where big business transferred part of its income, the renaming of Nur-Sultan back to Astana or the imprisonment for embezzlement of Nazarbayev’s nephew — do not change what is happening.
Real measures to abolish the oligarchic structure, allow opposition parties to participate in elections, and redistribute wealth (half of which is owned by 162 people in the country) Tokayev did not take action. It is no coincidence that the combined wealth of the 50 richest people of Kazakhstan from the Forbes list increased by $ 1.2 billion in 2022.
Dismantling the system built over decades based on extreme inequality is possible only through real democratic transformations of society. Not only in Kazakhstan but in all non-free post-Soviet states.
Until this happens, we will not know the whole truth and will not achieve the punishment of the real culprits of what happened during the January events in Kazakhstan. As in Uzbek Andijan in 2005, in Kazakhstan Zhanaozen in 2011, in Moscow on Bolotnaya Square in 2012, in Karakalpakstan (Uzbekistan) or Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan in 2022.