The events develop with a rapid pace.
Early presidential elections will be held in Kazakhstan on June 9. Nursultan Nazarbayev, who ruled the country for 29 years, announced his resign from the presidency of the country, signing a decree on resignation of powers, in March this year. However, the power in Kazakhstan is still concentrated in his hands.
The leader of the opposition movement “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan”, ex-Minister of Energy, Industry and Trade Mukhtar Abliazov told about the likely scenario of the development of the situation in the country in connection with the upcoming elections, for the website Charter97.org.
- How do you assess the situation in Kazakhstan on the eve of the presidential election? Protest actions seem to be happening in the country more and more often.
- In Kazakhstan, protest moods are growing. There are pretty many signs of it. If last year we were the first, precisely as a political organization “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan”, to organize protest actions, then from the beginning of this year, people organize themselves and take to the streets. Especially active mothers who face serious problems. They come in hundreds to the city administrations, protest at the presidential residence. They used to go to Nursultan Nazarbayev, and now to Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev. For example, yesterday in Kazakhstan there was a forum attended by Nazarbayev, and women came to him demanding to pay attention to their problems.
In general, the protesting mass is growing very strongly now, and on June 9, when we plan to hold actions all over the country, an explosive process will probably happen, and then the protests will only increase.
- Does the opposition have a chance for the participation in the electoral campaign?
- The opposition does not participate in the presidential elections. Nazarbayev organized the election process in such a way that no one from the opposition can participate in it. Oppositionists are “knocked out” in advance, put in jail, persecuted, accused of criminal and administrative violations. In general, they prevent the opposition from participating in the presidential election in every possible way.
The united opposition last participated in the presidential elections in 2005. Since then, the opposition has been deprived of this right, so we declared a national boycott and plan to bring thousands of people into the streets on June 9. We will demand the holding of democratic elections and the entire political elite to leave power. This is our mission.
We do not consider these elections legitimate. Moreover, the legislation was amended in such a way that it does not allow all citizens to participate in elections. Firstly, there is no such thing as a self-nominated candidate that exists all over the world.
The current legislation looks so that only a person who has worked in public service for at least 5 years can participate in elections. Secondly, a presidential candidate is nominated by a party or a republic-wide association. In our country, all these republic-wide associations and parties remain under the control of the authorities.
There is not a single registered party in the country that would not be presidential; therefore, in fact, 99 percent of voters are denied the right to participate in elections. The Constitution, which assumes that all citizens have equal rights, is violated.
Participation in the elections of only those who were civil servants, is depriving an independent person of an opportunity to be elected. This contradicts not only the Constitution, but also all international treaties signed by Kazakhstan, and, as you know, international treaties are above the country's internal laws.
Therefore, I emphasize that we consider the elections illegal and on June 9-10, we take our citizens to protest actions all over the country.
- What is Nazarbayev’s plan? Whom he sees as a successor?
- Nazarbayev has a very simple plan. He wants Tokayev, the former chairman of the Senate, to become president, and then, after a while, that the power should be transferred to his daughter.
As soon as Tokayev became the acting president, Nazarbayev’s daughter Dariga became the head of the Senate and the second person in the state. Nazarbayev wants Tokayev to become a formal president for a five-year term, and after a short time, for some reason, for example, poor health condition, give away the power. Then, according to the Constitution, Nazarbayev’s daughter may rule these five years because she is the chairperson of the Senate.
We want to disrupt the plans of Nazarbayev. In general, he would like only his daughter to take part in the presidential elections, but we uncovered all his plans and raised the voice of the public at least a year before the election. People began to protest, saying that they would not accept Nazarbayev’s daughter to the position of a president. So he decided to do such a trick: put Tokayev as president of the country, and eliminate all potential competitors.
There is no registered opposition party in the country. They arrested a person who took to the square with a clear sheet of paper as a poster. If a person writes the word “Truth” on a T-shirt, he will be arrested. These are not jokes, but facts that most recently took place in Kazakhstan.
- Have the independent media, the civil society remained in Kazakhstan?
- There are no independent media left. The civil society as such exists. The question is how independent it is. Now a lot of young people come out in T-shirts with the words “Truth”, empty posters - this is how they express their protest. I believe that right now we are developing an independent civil society.
Nazarbayev is a fraud. He wants to establish a monarchical system so that the power is inherited only by members of his family. But the youth and the society as a whole are outraged. June 9 will show how many such people we have.
- Tell about the movement you head, the “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan”.
- In November 2001, together with our comrades who were governors of the regions, prime ministers, deputies, we announced the creation of the “ Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan. ” Then we assumed that elections to local authorities at all levels would be held, that the president would not have such super-powers, the parliament would be elected by the people, the government would be approved by the parliament. Actually, we proposed separation of powers so that there was no dictator.
Because of this, me and my friend were put in jail. I got six years, and Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, who was the governor of the Pavlodar region, got seven years.
The movement was crushed, but then reanimated. After I spent more than a year in prison, in 2003 we revived the movement.
In May 2004, we managed to create a party, six months later it was banned as “extremist”. It was a long struggle, and now we again on the Web announced the creation of the movement “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan” and began to gather supporters. For 42 days we gathered 100 thousand people who joined our organization through the Internet. Then the Kazakh authorities, headed by Nazarbayev, again declared that the “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan” is an “extremist” organization that was not registered domestically, but this does not stop us, there are many supporters in our ranks, there are dozens of thousands of them, and we intend to achieve a peaceful regime change, as it happened in Armenia.
We use the presidential elections as a reason for organizing mass protests and will press for a complete change of regime. We want to build a parliamentary republic without the presidency, when the people in open elections will elect deputies who will further appoint the government and ministers. The Constitution will not have a presidential post.
On May 1, thousands of people went to rallies and chanted “Parliamentary Republic!”. Now it has become a mass idea, therefore the “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan” will implement this political platform for building a parliamentary republic without a presidential office.
- What is the economic situation in the country now?
- You know, the economic situation is bad, but, probably, if you look in the official press, they will boast about the economic growth of 2-3 percent per year. Although previously it was 10 percent. After the devaluation of the national currency, which depreciated twice, the situation in the country has deteriorated significantly.
Nazarbayev has been in power since 1989, for 30 years. The people are finally tired of his rule and the economic problems: total corruption, pressure from the security forces, the ruin of business. Only the elites are getting rich. When power belongs to one person, the whole economy is also concentrated in his hands. Nazarbayev is the richest man. His fortune is estimated to be at least 200 billion dollars, his close relatives, his entourage, and those who support him are rich.
The situation is as follows: the political elite owns all the wealth of the country, they are super billionaires, and since the people have no power, they are poor. The rapid stratification has led to the fact that now a huge protest potential has been accumulated by the people and we expect that this, in the end, will lead to a regime change. That is, a social explosion will actually occur. We expect it during this year. All events will occur this year.
- The dictatorships of Kazakhstan and Belarus seem very similar. How do you think, will they end also in a similar way?
- The global trend is already obvious. Thanks to the Internet, information is now spreading very fast, people are learning, there are social networks, and dictatorial regimes are falling like card houses.
No one on the planet right now will tolerate what is happening in dictatorial countries. If earlier dictators handed over power by inheritance or the closest circle, could have been in power for decades, now this has come to an end.
All dictatorial regimes will collapse. Look, it happened in Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan. I'm talking about the post-Soviet space.
Remember what recently happened in Algeria? There the dictator was forced to resign. Now there are hot events in Venezuela. Recently, a number of African countries have seen a revolution.
The events are developing with a rapid pace. I am sure that this will happen in Belarus. In the coming years, all dictatorial regimes will fall rapidly, very quickly. They have no future, they will all fall.