Timur Kulibayev secured the throne by closing down the independent media

Transition of the socialist republics to capitalism took highly centralized state forms. Kazakhstan is one of the most extreme examples of this case. President Nursultan Nazarbayev concentrated most of the wealth of Kazakhstan in his own hands and hands of his relatives.  Free speech and media is suppressed, Internet is monitored and censored.  The only independent media holding in the country – Respublica (Golos Respubliki) was brutally closed by Timur Kulibayev, the son-in-law of then-president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Timur Kulibayev is known as a social and charismatic man. However there is a darker side of his character rarely exposed to public. He used his influence to close down the opposition media in Kazakhstan, namely ‘Respublika’ newspaper, Assay News reminds the readers.Timur Kulibayev, the wealthiest Kazakhstani oligarch, is well known for his relationship with Prince Andrew. He is also widely known for being an owner of the most expensive Swiss real estate. Despite being viewed as a likely successor of the Nazarbayev’s throne he carefully tries to stay out of the politics in extent the presidential son-in-law can afford. But let’s not fall into illusion that Timur Kulibayev uses his power only for his enrichment. He has to protect what’s he already grabbed and here comes his other nature. Timur Kulibayev is known as a suppressor of his critics inside the country.

In 2010 the fugitive colleague of Timur Kulibayev, Mukhtar Ablyazov sent an open letter to several media outlets in Kazakhstan. ‘Respublika’ was among them, and it paid dearly. Soon after publication the office was raided and the whole issue was collected and burnt. Since the date ‘Respublica’ was terminated and the stuff was forced to exile.

It happened only due to the mere fact that ‘Respublika’ published the open letter of Mukhtar Ablyazov… to the General Prosecutor office of Kazakhstan.

What was in the letter?

Ablyazov accused Kulibayev of stealing $ 1.8 billion from the Kazakh budget during the deal to acquire 100% of the shares of Mangistaumunaigas by the state oil company KazMunaiGas in November 2009. Timur Kulibayev himself, as Chairman of the Board of Directors of KazMunayGas and owner of a large stake in It, according to Ablyazov, benefited from this transaction.

Judging by the published documents and the earlier leaks it seems that 28% percent of the shares of the Indonesian company through offshore structures belonged to Timur Kulibayev and his partner, the British Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal. But the ownership of the remaining 72 percent is a secret.

Earlier, in the Kazakhstan media, including at the pages of “Respublika”, Ablyazov expressed suspicion that among other shareholders of Central Asia Petroleum Ltd. were Rakhat Aliyev and/or several other members of the family of the President of Kazakhstan and, possibly, personally Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Whether this is true or not is unknown. But it triggered a fierce reaction: the media was brutally suppressed and even the web site is now ceased to exist. Timur Kulibayev made everything to make the life of journalists miserable, including opening criminal cases and mob attacks. As a result Timur Kulibayev bought himself some enemies and melted deeply in the body of the regime. He can’t say no more that he is out of politics.

General Prosecutor of Kazakhstan was forced to mimic the fact-checking on the letters. In a surprisingly quick proceeding the facts were declared fake and falsified and no wrongdoings were found. Timur Kulibayev orchestrated closing the criminal case against him in Switzerland. After all, he is one of the wealthiest residents of this country and invested tons – literary – of oil-spoiled money in the Swiss property the same way he bought loyalty in Britain.

Timur Kulibayev is not alone. His father-in-law and other relatives are known for the practice of free speech suppression too. After the fall of Respublika newspaper there is no really independent media left in country.

About the author

Nicholas de Kramer

Nicholas de Krammer, а self-taught economic analytic with heave mathematical background. Math behind the economics (and economics behind math) is the strong side of the author. Contact him at [email protected]

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