Exclusive material from “Exclusive”. We continue our rubric “Internet-portrait”. Now we present the next “dish” to our reader-gourmets. This time the dish is simple, without seasoning and synthetic additives. However, the approaching fast is not the reason. The reason is that a well-known bird is the target. It hard to find a suitable seasoning for the dish, even through the world’s largest source of information. Nurtay Abykaev’s CV contains positions in political parties and diplomacy, activities in law enforcement and directing of the Administration of the President. His next to last position was head of the Senate of the Parliament of RK. The current position is the ambassador of Kazakhstan to the Russian Federation. He is called a person of the old guard, a person faithful to the President. He is the President’s right hand.
Almost 40,000 references are given by a Russian-based search engine in response to the request of information about Nurtay Abykaev. 80% of the provided information is in the form of scanty statements referring to his work – meetings, negotiations, visits. Only a small part of the references lead to analytical reviews, where the authors try to characterize the personality and actions of the politician. And the references also contain short comments of the average users of the Internet.
N. Abykaev, who is called “the potential successor of the President” by the average users of the Internet, doesn’t think that he falls behind in publicity in comparison with other politicians. Anyhow, this phrase from one of his interviews, as well as the rest of the dialog with the journalist Gabdullin, can be found on several portals. Although, the interview took place three years ago, its full text is provided on www.zakon.kz. This is virtually the only source of information that says a little bit more about the opinions of Nurtay Abykaev on different issues. The article “Nurtay Abykaev: My civil duty and official responsibility – to help the President in every possible way” is provided on the web-site with a reference to the “Central Asia Monitor” newspaper. When Abykaev was the leader of the upper chamber he used to say: “Today proper arrangement of the external side of public policy alone is not enough to be successful in it. It is necessary to have a strong basis, which, I think, was created by the character of my previous works, which have given me a lot of knowledge and information on hidden, shaded processes, springs that move societies and events that can be understood in comparison and dynamics. This gives me confidence. I don’t think that I fall behind in publicity to other experienced politicians, because my actions are not guided by emotions and the desire to make an impression. I try to form my image not through my behavior, but by the results of my work.”
Well, if that is true, then one could only be in envy of the image of Nurtay Abykaev. The characteristics of a professional given to him on the Internet make you take your hat off as a sign of respect, or at least wave with your hat as a sign of greeting. The characteristics are: the second person in the country; serious, strong-willed and wise politician, who can make well-weighted decisions and respect the opinions of colleagues; real state servant, who will never do anything that threatens the national sovereignty; etc. The opinions expressed on the Internet regarding the political preferences of Nurtay Abykaev do not diverge. Everybody talkes about his loyalty to the President. Being such a key figure, he emphasizes his position himself: “I think that our President, Nursultan Nazarbaev, is a unique person. His merits in building the government are indisputable, they result in the facts that the standard of living in Kazakhstan is one of the highest among the CIS countries, and that peace and harmony prevail in the country. At the same time, not everything is perfect; there are many difficulties and unknown obstacles that are successfully overcome by the President, and it gives him a valuable experience, which will be required for a long time in the future. Thus, my civic duty and official responsibility is to help him in every possible way and support him during the difficult pre-election period; when the country and society face serious challenges in building a new economy, social sphere and civil society. That’s how I see my participation.”
Andrey Grozin, head of the Department of Central Asian and Kazakhstan of the Institute of the CIS Countries, writes in his article, presented on the web-site www.arabeski.globalrus.ru: “Abykaev was considered as the main candidate for the position of the President’s successor, outside his family. “Faithful Nurtay” is known in Kazakhstan as the most trusted person by the President, he is a predictable and experienced politician, who has had a strong influence on practically all of Kazakhstan’s highest bureaucracy.” The web-site of “Liter” newspaper in the article “Abykaev’s image is serious and stable” contains the following: “There is a reason why Abykaev is said to be a representative of the “old presidential guard”. First of all, it refers to the moral principles and loyalty to the President. Indeed, the “old guard” have always been the main organizers of of the President’s policy of restraining and counter-balancing in society. Due to this, the term “confrontation of clans” has never been on the political agenda.”
The Internet-newspaper “ZONAKZ”, which has the following address, http://zonakz.net, develops the topic: “Nurtay Abykaev was the last one who was included into the “closed circle” and the circle of contestants for the exclusive position, while being the “President’s man” but not his relative. With his departure, all the balances of a personal power regime, which are called “elite-internal”, “clans-internal”, etc., came to one final balance – family-internal.”
The web-site of the Eurasian International Institute of Economic and Political Research contains a series of articles analyzing the political situation in Kazakhstan. Naturally, they have some information about the main people in politics. “Who is attached by the “Khabar” channel or other information agencies, that are said to belong to the tandem of Dariga and Rakhat? They aim at Nurtay Abykaev, speaker, head of the Senate of the upper chamber of the Parliament of RK. He is known in the republic as the grey cardinal, who, although not related to Nursultan Nazarbaev, has been next to the President all of his own career. Abykaev has a serious authority over the highest officials of the country. He is also known for influencing the formation of the united anti-Rakhat block in 2000.”
There also is an opposite opinion. It was shown by Sygyndyk Mendybaev, the author of the article “Drops on hot stones”, hosted on the web-site www.iicas.org. “Nazarbaev’s loyal helper has headed the “Ministry of Supporting the Authoritarian Power and Nursultan Nazarbaev” for two years. The results of his activities are well-known; the crisis in the elite has aggravated, repressions against the opposition and mass media killed the myth of unity of Kazakh society, and reactionary law and judicial disorder decreased ratings of Kazakhstan and the President in the democratic world…”
More weighted information is provided on the web-site of “Freedom” radio - http://www.svoboda.org/programs. Two years ago in one of their programs, Merkhad Sharipjan commented on appointing Abykaev to the post of the head of the Senate: “Nurtay Abykaev is politically very strong. He’s always been with Nazarbaev, he is the President’s right hand, I’d say he is the person most loyal to Nazarbaev. In 1999 Abykaev was dismissed from his position in response to the claim of Clinton’s administration for involvement in the illegal delivery of former Soviet fighter planes to North Korea, but within half a year he again appeared on the political stage, as vice-minister of foreign affairs. Then he became the head of the Security Council and now he is the speaker of the Senate. This fact was a shock to people following the political situation in Kazakhstan. People like Abykaev are not appointed to such positions for no reason. Usually, Abykaev was in the shade and nearby Nazarbaev, sometimes being called the grey cardinal. His appearance on the political stage in this role gave food to thought to many people, not least because, according to the Constitution of Kazakhstan, if anything happens to the President, his functions are given to the speaker of the Senate.”
However, one shouldn’t hurry with conclusions when Nurtay Abykaev is considered. Below are the words of the politician himself about valuable characteristics.
“I value those features of character in people, which could be called basic for a politician, who do administrative work or serves society in another way. Such features of character like honesty, loyalty to one’s duty, priority of state and social interests over personal, and self-sacrifice are the most highly required. I value those people whom you can rely on in a difficult situation, who clearly compare one’s own skills and possibilities and can successfully overcome obstacles. I cannot stand it when people, both colleagues and friends, are irresponsible, unstable in defining their goals, cover their inability to do something with redundant words, and most of all – betrayal and readiness to sacrifice one’s principles for immediate benefit. However, in general, I think there aren’t any ideal people. One should see the good and bad side of people, shouldn’t spurn people away, but work on them and cultivate good characters for their own benefit and for society.”
The last change in Nurtay Abykaev’s career is gladly discussed in the Internet. Some people call this change of the politician’s position disfavour, others demotion, political pension, and even honorable exile. The Internet is full of forecasts. The web-site of Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, http://www.zhakiyanov.info, published an article called “The key event among the political changes in January is not the change of the Prime-minister, but the departure of Nurtay Abykaev”. The article says: “The nearest circle around the President, with the departure of Abykaev, became 100% family. The political circle decreased to the size of the family.” Another web-site www.arba.ru adds: “Abykaev had significant informal influence in the political circles of Kazakhstan… His departure means a serious re-distribution of areas of influence among the elite of Kazakhstan.”
Information portals repeat Abykaev’s short comment. “No, I didn’t get tired. The reason is not banal. The senate is a legislative body and I’m glad that at some point I was entrusted with it. I think that my task is completed.” According to the ex-speaker, he asked to be transferred to the system of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs due to family issues.
The sport preference of Nurtay Abykaev is the most well-known fact from his current public life. The former head of the Senate is the captain of Kazakhstan’s team and the president of the National Golf Federation. Abykaev explains his passion for golf on the web-site www.dialog.kz. The author of the article “Game with self-control” quotes the words of the politician: “It is an interesting and unpredictable game. This sport is young in Kazakhstan; it is only nine years old. It associates with our state – young country, developing quickly, acquiring all democratic principles. No wonder, Kazakhstan became one of the first of the CIS countries to have golf. The number of players increases every year. There is a golf-club for children in Almaty. What I like about golf, is that the physical condition doesn’t matter much; the person must control his excitement. Once a philosopher said, that the winner is not the one who wins, but the one who controls his emotions. I like this game, because I test myself.”
“Indeed, he speaks like a grey cardinal! There are no redundant words in the answers, everything is well-considered, short and clear. “I try to form my image, not by my behavior, but by the results of my work ”. I think many politicians (especially deputies) need to learn from Abykaev to make real work rather than speak nicely!” – commented one of the visitors of the information portal www.zakon.kz after having read the interview with Abykaev.
Authority, influence, loyalty to the President, reserved character – here are the main characteristics of this article’s hero seen on the Internet. If we don’t consider the huge block of information in the Internet – totally subjective comments of some users regarding the sensational murder of Altynken Sarsenbaev and forecasts regarding the transition to the new diplomatic position, the conclusion is easy to make. In general, Abykaev’s image in the Internet is positive, or at least neutral. Most of his colleagues don’t have such achievements in their image. Certainly, Abykaev’s reserved character due to his personality and also the positions held influenced the formation of his reputation.
Nurtay Abykaevich Abykaev
The ambassador of Kazakhstan to the Russian Federation
He was born in 1947 in Jambul village of the Jambul region of the Alma-Atinsky oblast. He graduated from Uralsky Politechnical Institute in Sverdlovsk (currently Ekaterinburg) with the specialization of “mechanical engineer”, then graduated from Alma-Atinsky Highest Political School. He is candidate of science.
During 1972–1976 worked as an engineer in Almaty plant, producing industrial machinery, while he worked at the Party’s and Soviet services between 1976 and 1988.
In 1988 he became assistant to the chairman of the Council of Ministers of Kazakh SSR. During 1989–1990 he was assistant to the first secretary of CC (Central Committee) of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan. Between 1990 and 1995 he was head of the Apparatus of the President and the Prime-Minister of RK, and member of the Security Council of RK.
In 1995 he switched to diplomatic service in the position of ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the UK and combined this position with the ambassadorship to Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
In September 1996 he became the first assistant of the President of RK.
During 1998–1999 he was the chairman of the CNS (Committee of National Security) of RK, having the rank of major-general.
Between 2000 and 2002 he was the first vice-minister of the foreign affairs of Kazakhstan.
In January 2002, he became the head of the Administration of the President of RK.
In March 2004, he became chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of RK.
Since January 2007 he has been the ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Russian Federation.
He is the president of Volleyball Federation of RK. He is married (to Rimma Filipovna), and has two sons and one daughter.