Construction of “New, Fair and Prosperous Kazakhstan” under Tokayev and “Oligarchic Capitalism”

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In the 21st century, the world, and consequently international system has been facing a new transformation process. In this process, construction of the states emerged as a necessity. This also shows that the process of construction is continuing and is going to be continue in different various issues, such as politics, economics, society and security. To be a successful state, the construction process on domestic and foreign politics should be based on healthy and strong basis. Therefore, states, which are in a harmony and adaptation with their society, countries of the region and with the world, can be created. Thus, the states who lag behind the international system in the 21st century, and failed in the process of construction, started to take their seats on the table of the failed states.

In that sense, Kazakhstan strengthens its place and influence in the heart of Eurasia with constructive and balanced policies, based on cooperation in the 31st year of independency. Especially, after Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev became the President, the construction, advancement and development processes are escalated. One of the most basic reasons of this is the accumulation of knowledge, intellectual level and the experience gained through the significant duties that he took in past. In this context, Kazakh leader is playing and has played a pioneering role in the formation of domestic and foreign policy of his country.

Thusly, Mr. Tokayev has served as a Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1994-1999 and 2002-2007. In that process, the main strategy that he implemented was the multi-lateral/vectoral and multi-dimensional foreign policy. Subsequently, he was the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), and later he served as a Prime Minister and a President. Especially in the Presidency, Kazakh leader implemented the model of “The State Who Hears Its Nation” and consequently, he focused on strengthening the unison of the state and the nation; in other words, center-periphery relations.

Due to all of the reasons, Mr. Tokayev has stood out as a strong leader, who knows both his country, his nation and the world very well. Besides, when the policies, the declarations and the speeches addressing to the nation of the Mr. President of Kazakhstan are analyzed, it is observed that in domestic politics, Mr. Tokayev aims to create a strong state and a prosperous society; also in foreign affairs, he tries to make Kazakhstan a reputable state, with the mediation diplomacy, which is held as a reflection of the understanding of proactive diplomacy especially against the crises. It is definite that, Mr. Tokayev’s peaceful diplomacy aims to strengthen the independency, sovereignty, unitary form and territorial integrity of the country.

In fact, it can be said that Mr. Tokayev is incandescent in these aims. Naturally, the Mr. President of Kazakhstan, who is aware of dynamic structure of societies and politics, is strengthening his current success, as a part of his visionary leadership understanding, with the reforms in the context of construction of the “New Kazakhstan.” Consequently, Mr. Tokayev’s main reason is to make Kazakhstan as a world state in foreign policy; and to make “people’s state” in domestic affairs.

The latest example of this situation is the explanation of the Kazakh leader on the end of oligarchic capitalism. In his speech in Karaganda on October 5, 2022 Mr. Tokayev indicated that the state is in a bigger social responsibility for his people, and said that “Oligarchic capitalism ends.”i Kazakh leader’s speech taking place in Karaganda. Because Karaganda is significant for central geopolitical location and rich underground resources. Therefore, Mr. Tokayev recognized that there is a unpeaceableness against oligarchy from the public, which is periphery, and in that sense hears the voice of the public.

On the other hand, it was seen that Mr. Tokayev emphasized the expansion of production areas, protection of the environment and regulation of tax payments in his speech. It can be said that the issues mentioned by Mr. Tokayev, who has an important experience in state administration, will play a critical role in determining the direction of Kazakhstan, giving a message to the world and strengthening the relationship between the ruler and the ruled. In other words, Mr. Tokayev’s statements also reveal the economic-financial pillars of the “New Kazakhstan” construction process.

At that point, it can be expressed that Kazakhstan plans to incline towards different sectors to increase the production capacity and stable continuation of the development of Kazakhstan, who has various underground resources such as energy and minerals. That’s why, Mr. Tokayev highlighted the potential of Karaganda on industrialization. In addition, the emphasis on widening the production areas includes various sectors such as agricultural production, agricultural industry, technology and digitalization. Therefore, Kazakhstan aims to transfer into independent and production-based economy. Certainly, the reflection of this will be creation of a prosperous society.

As it is known, after the 2022 Tragical December Events, the policies prioritizing the security of the county is realized. The Astana administration forms the new security of the country through various reforms. Moreover, these policies not only focus on local ones, but the global issues. In that sense, one of the most important issues of the world is the global warming. Kazakhstan is also concerned about new threats from global to local. Thus, threat of water problem of Kazakhstan stands out. In that context, Mr. Tokayev aims to decrease the negative effects of increasing the industrialization and capacity of production to minimum. That’s why, in the context of new security politics aiming healthy and safe production, “Clean Kazakhstan-Green Economy” model is implemented.

Last but not least, the regulation of tax payments should be mentioned. This regulation could directly affect economy of Kazakhstan and Kazakh people. A balanced tax system will prevent the concentration of the stocks to a certain group of people, and abolish the possibility of oligarchic capitalism to be active again. This will also promote the wealth to be dissent from the center to periphery. Therefore, the aim of creating a prosperous society will be achieved. This will also strengthen the connection between the state and the society. In other words, “States Hearing the Public’s Voice” model will be active. It is definite that, the actions on this issue are applicable for the Kazakh proverb of “Keep together the mind, power of will and heart.”

It can be said that those policies are close to each other. In that sense, inclusion of the public to the system is facilitated. Therefore, through the reforms, the sources of income and stocks of the country are included to the interest of the state and society more effectively. Certainly, that kind of developments will enhance the bureaucracy. Because bureaucracy will be placed as a structure, which is not a block against the public; but solving the problems of them by reaching them. This situation means that relations of the state of Kazakhstan, which has the spirit and experience of Ulu Bozkır, with the Kazakh people will be stronger.

Mr. Tokayev, who knows the realities of the world and Kazakhstan well, makes his country the rising star of Eurasia with the policies he follows on political, socioeconomic and security issues. At this point, it can be argued that democratization reforms, which envisage increasing the political participation of the people after the Tragic January Events, have a great importance.ii As a matter of fact, the new constitution adopted in the referendum held in June 2022 and the early presidential and parliamentary elections constitute the political pillars of the “New Kazakhstan” construction process.iii

In addition to all these, in his speech on October 5, 2022, Mr. Tokayev added a new dimension to the socio-economic construction process in the country. Because the Kazakh leader clearly stated that protecting the interest of the state and the society is more important than prosperity of an individual based on oligarchic capitalism. In fact, it has been explained by Mr. Tokayev before, that oligarchic capitalism makes state institutions and companies cumbersome. Therefore, the end of oligarchic capitalism basically means the elimination of the structures that make the state unwieldy. That’s why, in his address to the nation on September 2, 2019, the Kazakh leader, referring to titles such as “Fast-Developing Inclusive Economy” and “New Era of Social Modernization”, resolutely maintains the principle of creating a “Modern Effective State.”iv

Undoubtedly, countries and governments that cannot build the state-nation unity on solid foundations cannot survive for a long time, as stated above. In order not to be a failed state, it is essential to ensure fundamental rights and freedoms and to use capital for the benefit of the state and the people. Since the day he became the President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Tokayev has been carrying out a consistent and determined policy on this issue. This is the main reason for the trust in the President and the “New Kazakhstan.” As can be understood, Mr. Tokayev tries not build a Kazakhstan, which is not only new; but also, just and prosperous.

As can be expected, the awareness of citizenship will be strengthened among the Kazakh people, whose wealth level rises. This will increase the value and influence of the national power elements of the country. Because the human factor comes first among the elements of national power. For this reason, the Kazakh people, who have a national consciousness, trust and protect their state, will be the country’s most important source of wealth and development. Mr. Tokayev, basically, implements policies aimed at reaching this potential of his nation. In fact, those policies are the reflection of the words of great Kazakh Abay Kumanbay: “Effort, mind and heart three of them talked about their abilities and discussed. Finally, they applied to the arbitration of science. Gayret said: ‘O knowledge, you yourself know that; nothing in the world happens without me.” Mr. Tokayev is making an effort to create a strong state and a qualified and prosperous society in accordance with the scientific realities of the modern world.

As a result, after Mr. Tokayev became President in 2019, a new era has begun for Kazakhstan. Thus, from discourse to action was taken to strengthen the bond between the center and the periphery and to create a prosperous society. One of the most important stages of this action is the liquidation of oligarchic capitalism. For this reason, it is very important that Mr. Tokayev draws attention to the end of the era of oligarchic capitalism. In this context, the steps taken to improve political participation, improve security policies and ensure a balanced distribution of capital have formed the socio-economic dimension of the construction process of the “New Kazakhstan.” Moreover, increasing the production capacity also serves to create the economic resources required for this construction process. Thanks to this, the principle of “strong state-prosperous society” is successfully implemented. This is what is in line with the historical background and experience of the Kazakh society and leadership. Therefore, Mr. Tokayev exhibits a very successful example of visionary leadership in accordance with the responsibility that history has assigned to him.

i “Oligarchic Capitalism Era in Kazakhstan is Ending, Says President Tokayev During His Visit to Karagandy Region”, The Astana Times,, (Date of Accession: 07.10.2022).

ii Emrah Kaya, ““Yeni Kazakistan”ın İnşa Süreci”, ANKASAM,, (Date of Accession: 07.10.2022).

iii Doğacan Başaran, “Kazakistan’da Güçlü Reformların Yeni Aşaması: Erken Cumhurbaşkanlığı Seçimi”, ANKASAM,, (Date of Accession: 07.10.2022).

iv Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, “Tokayev’in Ulusa Sesleniş Konuşması: Kazakistan’ın İkinci Atılımı”, ANKASAM,, (Date of Accession: 07.10.2022).

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
Born in 1969, Dörtyol-Hatay, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol graduated from Boğaziçi University (BU), Department of Political Science and International Relations in 1993. After completing his master's degree at BU in 1995, Erol was accepted to the PhD program at BU in the same year. After completing his PhD at Ankara University in 2005, Erol became an associate professor in the field of “International Relations” in 2009 and a professor in 2014. Erol worked at the Eurasian Center for Strategic Studies (ASAM) between 2000 and 2006 and and served as the General Coordinator of ASAM for a period. In 2009, he served as also Founding Chairman and Board Member of the Institute for Strategic Thinking (SDE). He is also the Founding President of the Center for International Strategy and Security Studies (USGAM) and the President of the International Relations Institute of the New Türkiye Strategic Research Center (YTSAM). Prof. Erol has also served as the Director of Gazi University Strategic Research Center (GAZISAM). In 2007, Prof. Erol received the “Turkish World Service Award” from the Writers and Artists Foundation of the Turkic World (TÜRKSAV), and has received numerous awards for his academic work and his activities in the media. Some of them can be listed as follows: 2013 “Print Media of the Year Award” by the Association of Contemporary Democrats, 2015 “APM 10th Year Service Award”, “2015 Press-Intellectual of the Year Award” by the Writers' Union of Türkiye (YTB), “2016 Volunteer Ambassadors Media Honor Award” by the Anatolian Village Guards and Martyrs' Families, “2016 Türkiye Honor Award” by the Yoruk Turkmen Federations. Prof. Erol has 15 book studies. The names of some of them are as follows: “The United States of Turks from Dream to Reality”, “Türkiye-EU Relations: Foreign Policy and Internal Structure Problems”, “The New Great Game in Eurasia”, “The Search for Strategy in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “The Search for Security in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “The Republic of Türkiye-Russian Federation Relations”, “The Cold Organization of Hot Peace: The New NATO”, “Theoretical Approaches in Foreign Policy Analysis: The Case of Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Crises and Crisis Management: Actors and Case Studies”, “Kazakhstan” and “Current Issues in International Relations”. Since 2002, Prof. Erol, who has carried out radio programs such as “Eurasia Agenda”, “Strategic Perspective”, “Global Perspective”, “Analysis”, “File”, “News Desk”, “The Other Side of the Agenda” on TRT Türkiye's voice and TRT Radio 1 (Ankara Radio), made the programs “Arayış” on TRT INT television between 2004-2007, “Beyond the Border” on Kanal A television between 2007-2010 and “Foreign Policy Agenda” on BBN TÜRK television in 2020-2021. Prof. Erol, whose foreign policy column “Arayış” was published in Milli Gazete between 2012-2018, is consulted for his expertise in numerous national and international media outlets such as television, radio, newspapers, news websites and magazines. Prof. Erol, who also taught at Gazi University Department of International Relations and Ankara University Latin American Studies Center (LAMER) between 2006-2018, has been continuing his academic career as a faculty member at Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University Department of International Relations since 2018. Since 2006, Prof. Erol has also taught in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Ufuk University. The main areas of interest and expertise of Prof. Erol and the titles of his courses at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels in this area are as follows: “Geopolitics”, “Security”, “Intelligence”, “Crisis Management”, “Current Issues in International Relations”, “Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Russian Foreign Policy”, “US Foreign Policy” and “Central Asia and South Asia”. Prof. Erol, whose articles-evaluations have been published in many journals and newspapers, has been editor of academic journals such as “Eurasia File”, “Strategic Analysis”, “Strategic Thinking”, “Gazi Regional Studies”, “The Journal of SSPS”, “Black Sea Studies”. He is currently in the editorial boards of “Regional Studies,” “International Crisis and Political Research,” “Gazi Academic View”, “Ege University Turkish World Surveys”, “Ankara International Social Sciences”, “Democracy Platform”. Prof. Erol, who has been working as the Founding President of the Ankara Center for Crisis and Political Studies (ANKASAM) since 2016, is married and has three children.