WHEN HE STEPPED down abruptly as president of Kazakhstan final yr after 30 years in energy, Nursultan Nazarbayev appeared to take out an insurance coverage coverage. As stipulated within the structure, he was succeeded by the speaker of the Senate, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who was later affirmed as president in a rubber-stamp election. To exchange Mr Tokayev as speaker, the Senate selected none aside from Dariga Nazarbayeva, the outgoing president’s daughter. Ought to Mr Nazarbayev for some motive really feel let down by Mr Tokayev, many speculated, an much more loyal lieutenant was poised to take cost—or maybe was being groomed to advance a Nazarbayev dynasty sooner or later. So when Ms Nazarbayeva misplaced her job this week, Kazakhs have been left stunned and confused.
Ms Nazarbayeva was changed by Maulen Ashimbayev, a technocrat who’s regarded as nearer to Mr Tokayev than Mr Nazarbayev. That prompted discuss that Mr Tokayev, who’s extensively seen because the puppet to Mr Nazarbayev’s puppeteer, was attempting to bolster his authority. However the “Chief of the Nation”, as Mr Nazarbayev is formally recognized, nonetheless chairs the committee that controls the safety forces and will definitely have prevented the change had he needed to. That implies that Ms Nazarbayeva has fallen foul not of Mr Tokayev, however of her father. If that’s the case, her issues most likely stem not from occasions in Nur-Sultan—the capital, renamed after Mr Nazarbayev final yr—however from peculiar goings-on in London, the place two embarrassing household dramas have just lately unfolded, within the courts and round a rehab clinic frequented by the wealthy and well-known.
In April Ms Nazarbayeva and her eldest son, Nurali Aliyev, efficiently fought off a British authorities try to seize $80m-worth of property deemed “unexplained wealth”. The British authorities didn’t show that they bought the property—together with a ten-bedroom mansion on a road nicknamed “Billionaires’ Row”—with funds obtained by way of corruption. She declared herself “vindicated” by the ruling, which might “clear her title”. Nevertheless, the case shone an unwelcome highlight on the Nazarbayev household’s fortune (one other daughter, Dinara Kulibayeva, and her husband, Timur Kulibayev, are collectively value $5.2bn, in keeping with Forbes journal), simply because the coronavirus pandemic and low oil costs have been starting to vitiate the Kazakh financial system.
Much more embarrassing has been the furore stirred by Ms Nazarbayeva’s youngest son, who makes use of the title Aisultan Rakhat and who featured prominently in British tabloids final yr after his arrest for biting a police officer summoned to take away him from a stranger’s flat in central London. He was convicted of inflicting bodily hurt and acquired a suspended sentence and a high-quality. On a choose’s orders, Mr Rakhat, who has admitted to a historical past of substance abuse, went into rehab on the Priory clinic, a hang-out of celebrities with a behavior. In January he out of the blue posted a collection of startling allegations on Fb. Most shockingly, he claimed that his actual father was not Rakhat Aliyev, the deceased former husband of Ms Nazarbayeva, however Mr Nazarbayev. Kazakh officers dismissed the declare because the fantasy of a drug-addled thoughts.
Ms Nazarbayeva has fallen from grace earlier than. In 2007 Rakhat Aliyev fell out with Mr Nazarbayev (whom he memorably dubbed his “godfather-in-law”), prompting Ms Nazarbayeva to divorce him and Kazakh courts to convict him in absentia of an outlandish plot to topple Mr Nazarbayev utilizing poisoned isotopes and mercenaries. Ms Nazarbayeva subsequently misplaced her job as a outstanding MP. It was 4 years earlier than she returned to politics. No matter their different qualities, Mr Tokayev didn’t generate many overseas headlines whereas he ran the Senate, and Mr Ashimbayev appears unlikely to. ■
This text appeared within the Asia part of the print version below the headline “Bye-bye Nazarbayeva”
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