Kazakhstan 2015: burden of difficult decisions

Andrey Karpov, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
Kazakhstan 2015: burden of difficult decisions

Staff changes in the board of the National Bank of Kazakhstan were not a surprise for the majority of local experts, even though there were serious differences in views on the possible terms of dismissal of the previous head of the structure, Kayrat Kelimbetov. And almost no one managed to guess who would replace him – Daniar Akishev. At least, preliminary forecasts contained absolutely different names – some of the possible candidates were “written” into the context of a broader campaign on promotion the lobbying interests of some powerful financial institutions of the country.

This fact has apparently made Ak Orda solve the problem in an unexpected way for experts and journalists. Traditionally, the Presidential Administration doesn't appoint a person who wants it more than all others. Thus, the 39-year old manager who passed a serious test in the 'hottest' departments of the Presidential Administration was appointed to the position of the head of the National Bank. Moreover, Akishev is experienced in working in the National Bank as the Deputy Chairman, even though he has never presented himself as a public figure.

Daniar Akishev’s name is not associated with any independent groups of power, unlike some other people who have been actively discussed in this context by the Kazakhstan business media. It is an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time.

The leading Kazakh expert Dosym Satpayev pointed out this aspect in a comment for Voxpopuli.kz: “He is a top professional, but he is not a strategic player like Grigory Marchenko, who used to defend the interests of the National Bank and his particular work principles strictly. Daniar Akishev has fewer lobbying opportunities. Therefore, there is a risk that after his appointment some powerful forces in the elite will try to take him under their control.”

As for the former Chairman of the National Bank, Kayrat Kelimbetov probably understood that the term of his time in the position was determined by the devaluation, no matter how timely and technically professionally the step was taken. Any decision taken by state structures which is presented negatively in the media has to be personified. And it was obvious that Kelimbetov faced the attack in order to 'vanish' the general negative attitude in Kazakh society toward the devaluation decisions.

This is not heroism, but a clear principle of following the corporate culture, within which an official can get angry and bare his teeth to journalists or can stay self-respecting and try to explain some of the reasons which led to the step being taken.

Nursultan Nazarbayev’s assessment is reflected in the Kazakh President’s official address to the Senate of the republic: “Today, trust in the Bank and the national currency, the tenge, has decreased – this is unacceptable. The country feels a deficit of tenge liquidity; the volume of economy’s crediting is reducing. These are negative indices, we should work on their correction.” This is the conclusion on the general situation in the financial and economic sphere of Kazakhstan.

Ministers, the National Bank and the Presidential administration will have to make difficult decisions. The President of Kazakhstan reminds us: be ready to bear the burden. 

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