Kazakhstan Kleptocracy – Opinion

There are reasons“s” Special December issueThe 30th anniversary marks the end of the Soviet Union. This is part of an ongoing investigation into the global legacy that this evil empire left behind. We want to make sure that there are no further tragedies. The terrible consequences of communism cannot be ignored

Kazakhstan is a country that covers over 1 million sq. miles. It’s located in Central Asia. Kazakhstan is rich in oil, gas and other hard minerals. This country is home to 30 billion barrels in proven petroleum reserves. It also produces approximately 1.8 million barrels per day. In 2020, hydrocarbon production accounted for 70% of all exports. These vast natural resources haven’t stopped the country from falling into kleptocracy.

Kazakhstan, the former Soviet republic that declared independence in December 1991 from the crumbling Soviet Union, was led by President Nursultan Nagabev for almost 30 years. In 2019, Nazarbayev was resigned and Kassym Jomart Tokayev, his chosen successor, took over. Nazarbayev, however, retains the important post of Kazakhstan Security Council chairman and is still head of the Nur Otan (“Light of the Fatherland”) party.

Analysts think that foreign direct investments and connections to Western natural resource corporations might be able to help reduce corruption in places like Kazakhstan. Authoritarianism combined with abundant natural resources can be dangerous. Sandra Joireman (University of Richmond) and her coworkers found in a 2020 article that institutional reforms they would expect to see were impossible because of the lack of natural resources. [economic]Kazakhstan does not have any links and even those which do exist, they are only “cosmetic.” They suggest that Western corporations are open to engaging in “commerce under anarchy”, and may even be willing to risk the government seizing their property, if they receive sufficient returns.

Sebastien Peyrouse of George Washington University, international affairs wrote in 2012 that Nazarbayev had established a “neopatrimonial system.” There are two types of such regimes: political (patronage or paternalism and weakness of institutions) and economic (endemic corruption, the management of national wealth, private property, the kleptocracy established elite), but Nazarbayev’s has both.

Family members of Nazarbayev are believed to have offshore accounts worth up to $10 billion. The family has $785 million worth of foreign real property holdings, according to a 2020 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Report. However, Kazakhstan’s economic growth has almost tripled in the past 25 years, despite Nazarbayev and his cronies gaining a lot of wealth in question. Similar to the GDP per head, it has tripled.

However, the country’s performance in individual rights protection is much less impressive. Kazakhstan came 90th in personal freedom out of 162 countries assessed by the Cato Institute 2020 Human Freedom Index. Freedom House 2021 Nationen in Transition report, Kazakhstan garnered a dismal 1.32 out of a possible seven points for democratic progress.

Rico Isaacs from the University of Lincoln warned that Nazarbayev might be “an example for other post Soviet authoritarian leaders” in which they surrender power, and instead, quit as president. Threety-years after the Soviet Union collapse, it appears that Kazakhstanis must continue to await meaningful democratic reform.