On January 20, it became known that the patriarch of great post-Soviet politics, 82-year-old Nursultan Nazarbayev, underwent heart surgery.
Photo: Anatoly ZHDANOV
On January 20, it became known that the first president of Kazakhstan, the 82-year-old patriarch of great post-Soviet politics Nursultan Nazarbayev, underwent heart surgery. It was carried out at the National Scientific Center for Cardiac Surgery. The operation was carried out under the leadership of the country’s leading heart surgeon, 65-year-old Hero of Labor of Kazakhstan, a native of Dzhambul, Yuri Pya. All medical events were held in the capital of this Central Asian republic, Astana. Which for several years bore the name of the operated, the first head of the state – Nur-Sultan. According to the former president’s press secretary, Aidos Ukibay, the operation was successful.
During the past year, which followed the riots of January 2022, when pogroms were carried out in the cities of the south of the country, mainly in the former capital of Alma-Ata, to which, at the request of President Tokayev, the CSTO troops were driven in after the defeat of state structures, the situation in the republic in general, and around Nazarbayev in particular, has changed dramatically.
Riots in the republic were suppressed. With the help of Moscow. The instigators of the riot across the country are in jail. Or ostracized. From Astana.
The change in the political landscape has intensified dramatically. With the blessing of the current authorities of the republic.
On January 11, 2023, one year after the suppression of the coup, the Constitutional Court of Kazakhstan ruled invalidating the law “On the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy”. That law proclaimed Nursultan Nazarbayev the nation’s leader. That in Kazakh just sounds like “elbasy”. The previous Law granted Nursultan Abishevich privileges and lifetime guarantees.
But nothing lasts forever under the moon.
In January 2023, the Constitutional Court declared the following: “Based on the will of the people of Kazakhstan, expressed in the referendum of June 5, 2022, on the exclusion of paragraph 4 of article 46 and other provisions of the Constitution, recognize that the Constitution lacks a legal basis to preserve the constitutional law “On the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy” in the current law of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In this sense, it is subject to recognition as null.
This is how Nazarbayev in January 2023 ceased to be Elbasy, the leader of the nation. In the last year of riots, revelations and imprisonments, he was unable to protect his near and far family and friends in various power structures. Included in power. That in Kazakhstan they were imprisoned one after another. Or chased. Accusing them of crimes against the State. And also corruption.
And now Nursultan Abishevich had a heart attack. And it ended up in the hands of 65-year-old heart surgeon Yuri Pya. Who 10 years ago, for the first time in the history of Central Asia, performed a donor heart transplant on a respected 38-year-old patient, and was then assisted by a colleague from the Czech Republic.
What will happen after the operation on the heart of the first president of Kazakhstan, in Astana’s relations with Moscow, Beijing and Washington, as well as in relation to Nursultan Abishevich himself?
We talked about this with the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Central Asia, Semyon Bagdasarov.
THE HEART IS NOT A STONE
– Semyon Arkadyevich, the heart of the former president could not take it a year after the great riots in the south – and it is clear why?
– Yes, the other day the Constitutional Court deprived Nazarbayev of the title of “elbasy”. Power eventually passed to the current President Tokayev. That over the past year, following the January coup attempt, he has demonstrated not only his ability in all areas, but he has firmly taken all levers of control into his own hands.
– The riots that took place in January 2022 were not inspired from the outside?
– Some time later, statements were made that these riots were started by the head of the National Committee for State Security, former Prime Minister Karim Massimov. Who was close to Nazarbayev. Much has arisen there.
– But Nazarbayev himself left the highest post in the country almost three years ago?
– This is true. But Nazarbayev, apparently, still wanted to remain in one capacity or another as the nominal leader of the republic. But it turned out what happened.
– Since January 2023, Nazarbayev, who previously had the maximum state guarantees, has lost them all?
– Almost the entire package of guarantees for the former president has been cancelled. And the capital was renamed in his honor, and he himself is no longer Elbasy. And those close to him are now under such and such pressure.
Europe or Asia?
– After a successful operation, the former president of the republic will try to leave Kazakhstan?
– Where he will continue to live – will be his choice. Nazarbayev is a very rich man. Where he will recover and live after the operation will be his decision. Perhaps the decision of his relatives. Switzerland is possible. You really don’t need to worry about these people.
– You definitely will not be able to influence any decisions in Kazakhstan?
– You have to understand that the Tokayev era has come to Kazakhstan. For a long time. In the republics of the former Soviet Central Asia, if a person seriously comes to supreme power, he does not leave so quickly. And if, as it were, he leaves, he transfers power to those closest to him. But that did not happen here.
– Nazarbayev left the presidency in March 2019 hoping that no one would ever touch him?
– I think there was a miscalculation by Nazarbayev’s team. They underestimated the willpower and potential resources of the one he came to replace. Tokaev must receive credit.
– How will the situation change for us, for Russia, after Nazarbayev’s heart operation?
– Nothing will really change. We have one of the longest borders in the world with Kazakhstan – 7600 km. We cannot escape from this. And Russia will have to solve problems both in the Central Asian and South Caucasian directions, which are similar to each other. But nowhere will it be possible to solve it directly, with one click.
– The deputy and leader of one of the parliamentary parties of Kazakhstan was recently expelled from the party for a single positive review of Russia’s actions in the NVO.
– In Kazakhstan and a number of other former Soviet republics, there is still a large stratum of older people who have a good attitude towards Russia, towards Moscow, due to historical and personal memory. Also, most of the young Kazakhs speak excellent Russian. And they were positive to the end for us. In general, the level of knowledge of the Russian language in Kazakhstan was one of the highest in the territories of the former Soviet republics. But we have to be cynical with the countries that we consider our allies in the last 30 years.
– The Russian leader morally supported the former leader of Kazakhstan after his departure, they met several times.
– But what does this mean for Astana? Which one focuses not only on us, but also on Beijing and Washington? And the current leader successfully maneuvered between us, China and the United States.
– But investments in the economy of Kazakhstan are not equivalent?
– 75% of investments in hydrocarbons in Kazakhstan belong to Western companies. Therefore, life and human relationships are alone, and money for oil and gas is alone. The policy in the post-Soviet space must be changed now, tomorrow will be almost too late, the day after tomorrow it will be useless.