The question of the resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev is not an easy one, as there is no idea yet what this situation will turn into. After all, the very presidency of Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev may not resist, and in this case, the circuit of power in Kazakhstan will be completely different. But if Tokayev still manages to keep the situation under control, it will be possible to consider that Nazarbayev’s departure is part of the transition of power.
Nazarbayev at one time transferred the presidential power, thereby creating a certain transition situation. He stepped down to the position of head of the Security Council, while retaining leadership of the main party in Kazakhstan. If this situation does not persist, it will automatically destroy the entire transit model, and, in the first place, will have serious consequences for Russia. Such a turn would compromise, in Putin’s eyes, the very idea of a transfer of power through a successor. And Putin, looking at the experience of Nazarbayev, will not leave his post during his lifetime, especially in favor of any successor.
The Kremlin was completely unprepared for such a development of events. This is truly a spontaneous protest that no one expected. The final reaction of the Kremlin, as well as during the Belarusian events, has not yet formed, but a few things can be said for sure.
First: if everything ends with the collapse of Tokayev’s rule, the Kremlin will interpret it according to the model of Ukraine – as a coup d’état and anarchy. The Kremlin is unlikely to recognize the power that will emerge after such a shameful fall. But this, perhaps, will untie the hands of the Kremlin in any steps towards Kazakhstan.
Second: if in the night statement Tokayev addressed the protesters with a proposal for dialogue and even agreed to the resignation of the government, then in the afternoon he made a completely different statement, which classifies everything that is happening as some kind of conspiracy. He said that all protests are funded. And such a statement can only be interpreted from a negative point of view, since what Tokayev said allows defining any protest as an act of Orangeism, and if you gain the upper hand, this will mean that Kazakhstan has won the Orange Revolution. And this will be bad news for us, but good news for the Kremlin.
The best option for us would be for everything to settle down as a result of actions that are characteristic of democratic governments. And this is precisely the resignation of the government, possibly the dissolution of parliament and early elections. This would be the best solution for all countries in the region, Kazakhstan and the Russian opposition, since Kazakhstan occupies an average position in terms of its social development (it is not Georgia, not Moldova or Ukraine), but it is not autocracy, as in Belarus. Many foundations, public representations of international organizations continue to work there – everything that has long been destroyed in Russia and Belarus.
In all countries of the world, in the event of an acute civil crisis, the best way out is early elections and an opportunity for political forces, which in the course of the protest reveal themselves, going to the parliamentary elections. It’s better than a coup d’état. Therefore, if the protesters had achieved early elections from Tokayev, the situation would have turned out quite differently.
We understand that political modernization is taking place in Kazakhstan, and it must go through parliamentary procedures. New forces must enter both parliament and political life. Of course, in the course of this process, Nazarbayev’s ruling party will collapse or transform, but this is not so terrible compared to a coup d’etat, which will entail very grave consequences for the entire post-Soviet space.