The case of Akhmetov is interesting in that it is not a classic struggle of clans within the government, as was the case with Tymoshenko in Ukraine or with Filat in Moldova. Akhmetov was a graduate of the system. He passed the way from akim (mayor) Temirtau to the Prime Minister. Interestingly, the sentence concerns embezzlement during his work in the Karaganda region. That is, either by going to work in the republican government, Akhmetov stopped the embezzlement, or it was not possible to prove it.
This case is very significant. Because the structure of power in Kazakhstan is more similar to the Russian than to the Ukrainian or Moldovan. And to draw analogies with Tymoshenko or Filat is wrong. Because they are based on completely different processes. In Astana, as in Moscow, all influential economic and political groups are equally approximate or equidistant from the head of state, who is the arbiter of intraelite relations. All groups are somehow tied to the head of state. Open conflict or subversive activity against the central government is fraught with deprivation of business and positions.
Internal elite conflict as an economic phenomenon
However, the Akhmetov incident shows us completely new processes that will be an uptrend in the very near future. 10 years with confiscation of the pupil of the system is a serious bell for the entire vertical of power and all elite groups. This means that the state system has switched to the mode of self-clearance of elites as a result of the struggle for resources. Government revenues are plummeting, while the appetites of the elite stratum remain the same. Accordingly, the relationship sharpens. What could the indulgence of the economic appetites of the elites, we could see on the example of the Ukrainian crisis.
The economic model of Kazakhstan, like Russia, fell into a similar trap of a systemic crisis. The state concentrated industrial capital mainly only in the oil and gas industry, while the rest of the industrial sectors are controlled by private capital. Only FPGs are engaged in metal, gold - another pool of oligarchs, and still others are engaged in coal. Private industrial capital is interested in the fastest possible incomes, so it prefers to sell raw materials. Accordingly, prices for raw materials began to fall - and private capital reduces activity and displays value added in foreign currency and foreign accounts. This causes a devaluation - the tenge collapses synchronously with the ruble. The movement of elites to their capital begins. Moreover, the personal movement of the Kazakhstani elitarians is clearly directed to the movement of their capital - towards Britain, Switzerland and offshore. Already today, the Kazakhstan business diaspora has taken the third largest place in London, after the business diasporas of Russia and Ukraine.
In the current economic conditions, the state simply cannot afford the costs of feeding all elite groups. A further drop in oil and gas revenues will confront the state with a choice: it will be necessary to sacrifice the interests of either the private capital of the elites, or state revenues, or personal savings and incomes of the masses. With the price of oil at 30 dollars per barrel, the budget will not be able to feed both citizens and financial-industrial groups. In the Kazakhstan case specifically, the crisis will be exacerbated by the recent accession to the WTO.
State in the reaction period
10 years with confiscation for the Prime Minister and a graduate of the Akhmetov system is an indication that the state in the crisis will act tough and stop any activity. Moreover, the activity is both corrupt and political.
Almost simultaneously with Prime Minister Akhmetov in Kazakhstan, Yermek Taichibekov was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment. With Yermek I happened to be familiar and communicate in social networks. At the center of Taychibekov’s political platform was the idea of uniting Kazakhstan and Russia into a single state and the provision that Kazakhs and Russian are one people, but different ethnic groups. Actually, this platform became the basis for recognizing Taychibekov guilty of inciting "interethnic hostility."
Interestingly, a similar sentence to Taychibekov was recently received by blogger Sychev from the Kazakh city of Ridder, who made Vkontakte a survey on the possible accession of Northern Kazakhstan to Russia. In Alma-Ata, Kazakh nationalists Serikzhan Mambetalin and Yermek Narymbaev are now being tried for political ideas directly opposed to the imperial ideas of Taichibekov. That is, the state in Kazakhstan is evolving into a pre-war, mobilization regime, when a political position, different from the state, is viewed as a potential threat. Moreover, the signal was sent both to business and political elites, and to the media class: journalists, political scientists, social activists and experts.
Russia in the mirror of Kazakhstan
Such cases would be completely internal affairs of Kazakhstan, if they did not relate to relations with Russia. The fact is that the Crimean precedent and the Ukrainian crisis launched political processes of a comparative nature. Kazakhstan, like Ukraine, is a state that emerged on the basis of the Soviet Republic. Which was created by the method of political economy and class design as a result of the Bolshevik party discussions, when national borders had no meaning. So, the first capital of Kazakhstan was Orenburg. And the Kazakhs until the middle of the 20-s were called Kyrgyz-Kaisaks.
Kazakhstan, as well as Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia with Armenia and Azerbaijan, at the time of registration of statehood was considered as a non-class and, accordingly, international project. That is why, in fact, all ethno-national conflicts, starting from Karabakh and ending with the Donbas, happened.
National statehood enters into conflict with the socio-economic and ethno-geographical reality. Indeed, residents of Northern Kazakhstan are often more integrated with cities and regions of the Russian Federation than within the republic itself. Uralsk with Samara, Aktyubinsk with Orenburg, East Kazakhstan region with Altai Territory. Accordingly, there is the illusion that the country is one and the borders are superfluous. Similar processes, by the way, were observed among the residents of bordering Kharkov, Donetsk, Lugansk and Sumy regions.
However, in reality, citizens of the Union of the Russian Federation in the CSTO and the EAU of the republics are in the zone of national legislation. And, accordingly, within the framework of the national political agenda. Which, for example, in Kazakhstan does not imply any discussion about integration, except for the economic one. Moreover, the issue of political rhetoric of integration with the Russian Federation is a privilege of the central government. And any initiative, let alone a deviation from the central line, is perceived as a threat to the system.
This is neither good nor bad. This is how any state machine works in the face of external threats and a declining economy. Especially in a situation where the anti-crisis program is built on the idea that sooner or later the price of oil and gas will be restored.
Therefore, it can be predicted that as the economic situation worsens, contradictions between the state, elite groups, and the masses will increase. The elite stratum will demand liberal reforms from the state, the masses will be inclined to social democratic and socialist changes. Accordingly, nationalist-rightist sentiments will grow, which will support elite groups in the masses in order to extinguish socialist-leftist expectations.
The state, as always before the world war, is likely to respond with increased repression in all directions. Serik Akhmetov, Yermek Taychibekov, Serikzhan Mambetalin - these are only the first swallows. The worse the situation in the economy, the tougher the state will act.
And all this would be an internal affair of Kazakhstan, if Astana were not our second most important ally after Minsk. Moreover, given the geographical location, Kazakhstan today is a kind of "body armor" of the Russian Federation in Central Asia.
The north of Kazakhstan, Alma-Ata and other large cities are populated en masse by Russians, who in conditions of internal conflict may well be designated as scapegoats, as is sometimes the case even in the regions of the Russian Federation, not to mention the former Soviet republics. This scenario is likely if the elite stratum succeeds in fighting with the central government for access to financial flows to pump up nationalist sentiments. The elites will argue with the central authorities by saying that in this way the discontent of the masses can be solved.
Supporters of Russia and the federal TV
And here the Russian Federation has a very serious choice to make, especially at the level of propaganda and agitation. Being critically dependent on the allies, modern Russia can in no way influence the internal political agenda of the allies. There are no lobbying pro-Russian groups inside the parliaments of Kazakhstan and Belarus. Just like in the State Duma and the Federation Council there are no lobbyists of Kazakhstan and Belarus.
In the CSTO, the EAU and the Union State, citizens live in two realities. And one of these realities is created by the Russian federal media and especially television. Which replaces the allied media to us today, because people living in the Union want to have an allied media space.
The active militarization of the Russian media 2014-2015, naturally affects the political space of the Union State, the EAU and the CSTO. "Our Crimea", the war in the Donbass, the conflict with Turkey, the intervention in Syria were the central media trends not only in the Russian Federation. The militarization of media space naturally leads to the fact that viewers are forced to decide on whose side they are. And if the support of the Russian authorities inside the Russian Federation does not threaten the citizens, then a demonstration of loyalty to the actions of Moscow can turn into real terms and arrests for the citizens of Kazakhstan and other EAU and CSTO republics.
As the experience of the Ukrainian crisis showed us, excessive activity on social networks, Russian television often became the basis for the detention, arrest and burning of Ukrainian citizens in Kharkov, Kiev, Odessa, Zaporozhye and Dnepropetrovsk. Oles Buzin was killed at all. They are pursuing not only Ukrainian citizens. Thus, in the Odessa SIZO, a citizen of the Russian Federation Nefedov, sitting on 2 in May, is one of those who was not burned in the House of Trade Unions and is now being tried. At the last court session, the accused Nefedov opened his veins in protest.
It is necessary to clearly realize: the federal mass media created in the Russian Federation and especially television is an extremely effective propaganda tool. Both within the Russian Federation and outside.
However, according to the laws of dialectics weapon it is double edged. And it can play a very bad joke with sympathizers of Russia in Kazakhstan and other republics. Because no tendency to ease the reaction from the state is not expected. Moreover, in Russia itself, it will also increase.
Therefore, each of us has a task not only to be ready for shocks, but also to save our like-minded people as much as possible. Especially from the union republics.
Therefore, Russia's task is to support the Allied regimes as much as they strengthen the state. That is, if an ally has an oligarchization of politics within it, a multi-vector approach and the activity of foreign special services, then such a regime can be completely set free. Moreover, the Russian Federation can afford bilateral integration relations with any ally, as is happening today in the framework of the union state with Belarus.
Because if the economy collapses, and after it the state in the Russian Federation, it will inevitably cover everyone around the perimeter from Moldova to Mongolia. And if the Russian Federation maintains a capable state, then there will be a chance to integrate allies or their fragments and continue to act as arbiter.
No matter how cynical it may sound, imperialism works in the context of world wars. Only those allies that are able to survive and fight as autonomously as possible, consuming as few resources as possible, are important. The rest will be sacrificed, as, for example, the Allies in the Entente sacrificed the Russian Empire in the First World War.
Therefore, the transition of the state in the reaction mode is inevitable. The worse the situation in the economy, the harder the reaction will be. This is neither good nor bad. This is a political reality in the context of a world war. That is, the war of all against all.