08ASTANA2445, KAZAKHSTAN: AMBASSADOR IDRISOV ON RAKHAT ALIYEV,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA2445 2008-12-10 11:00 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO2668
PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHNP RUEHPW RUEHROV
RUEHSR
DE RUEHTA #2445/01 3451100
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101100Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4077
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 0908
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0310
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1015
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 0475
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY 0390
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2417
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2085

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 002445 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR/RUS, EEB, DRL 
PLEASE PASS TO USTR 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/11/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON SOCI KDEM RS KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  AMBASSADOR IDRISOV ON RAKHAT ALIYEV, 
POLITICAL SUCCESSION, RUSSIA, OTHER ISSUES 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR RICHARD E. HOAGLAND:  1.4 (B), (D) 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  The Ambassador met Kazakhstan's Ambassador 
Erlan Idrisov for lunch at the Georgetown Club in Washington 
on December 5.  They discussed 
 
-- President Nursultan Nazarbayev's exiled ex-son-in-law and 
how he is an irritant in the U.S.-Kazakhstan bilateral 
relationship; 
 
-- presidential succession in Kazakhstan; 
 
-- Kazakhstan's desire to accelerate its WTO accession 
negotiations; 
 
-- Kazakhstan's perception of a "new great game"; 
 
-- Freedom House's rigidity; and 
 
-- frozen cows.  END SUMMARY. 
 
RAKHAT ALIYEV 
 
2.  (C) Idrisov explained how Kazakhstan thinks culturally 
about Rakhat Aliyev, currently exiled in Austria:  he 
violated Kazakh traditions of family (and, by extension, 
national) loyalty and fealty; he shamed himself, his family, 
and his country; he is a criminal on the lam.  Having burnt 
every bridge, the only thing he can do now is seek political 
asylum in the West.  Idrisov said:  "I accept that our 
judicial proceedings against him were clumsy (closed 
military-court proceedings); we shouldn't have done that; but 
that is simply where we are in our judicial development." 
 
3.  (C) According to Idrisov, Aliyev is using his off-shore 
wealth to deploy a Western (mostly European) public-relations 
campaign to build sympathy for his attempt to find political 
asylum.  Every time the Western media report on Aliyev from 
Aliyev's point of view, it's a huge irritant in "Ak Orda" 
(Nazarbayev's White House).  From Nazarbayev's traditional 
cultural view, Aliyev makes him look weak, like a father who 
cannot control his son, which is a huge cultural shame. 
(NOTE:  During lunch, Idrisov took a call from Deputy Foreign 
Minister Khairat Sarybay (1:00 am Astana time!), complaining 
about the December 3 pro-Aliyev, anti-Nazarbayev article in 
the "Washington Times."  END NOTE.) 
 
4.  (C) Idrisov's advice:  At every possible opportunity at 
high levels, the United States needs to repeat that we are in 
no way secretly supporting Aliyev or in contact with him, 
because Kazakhstan suspects that we are.  Ideally, Idrisov 
said, Nazarbayev needs a phone call from President-elect 
Obama or Vice President-elect Biden, both of whom Nazarbayev 
greatly respects, to tell him we have not supported, we are 
not supporting, and we will not support Aliyev.  (COMMENT: 
We need to make crystal clear at the highest levels we have 
no dog in this fight.  This obsession makes little rational 
sense from our perspective, but we need to understand it is 
an existential obsession for Nazarbayev.  END COMMENT.) 
 
5.  (C) Footnote:  Former Prime Minister Kazhygeldin, exiled 
in London, is reportedly ramping up a new public relations 
campaign to impugn Nazarbayev's Kazakhstan as it prepares for 
its 2010 OSCE chairmanship.  Idrisov said Kazhygeldin is 
portraying himself, Chelabi-like, as the "democrat" who will 
save Kazakhstan.  To quote Idrisov, "It's pure bullshit." 
 
PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION 
 
6.  (C) What is the plan for presidential succession in 
Kazakhstan?  Idrisov:  "This is a great problem, because 
there is no institutional plan.  The institutions have not 
been developed, and that, frankly, is where we have failed. 
Nazarbayev doesn't want to stay forever.  He believes he's 
already achieved his legacy.  What he wants is to wait until 
the "Bolashak Generation" is ready to take over.  This has 
 
ASTANA 00002445  002 OF 002 
 
 
been his dream from the beginning.  He wants Kazakhstan to 
join the world as a respected player in its own right. He 
doesn't want Kazakhstan to be someone's appendage. 
Kazakhstan is no one's 'little brother.'"  (NOTE:  Under the 
Bolashak Program during the past decade, Kazakhstan has sent 
nearly 5,000 young people to the West for university 
education, and all but a handful have returned.  Many are now 
in mid to upper levels of government and private business. 
END NOTE.) 
 
WTO ACCESSION 
 
7.  (C) Idrisov said Kazakhstan wants to ramp up again its 
WTO-accession activity, especially because Russia is pushing 
to lock the CIS countries into its new customs union, which 
would effectively mean no individual c
ountry in the union 
could join WTO until Russia does and under Russia's terms. 
Idrisov said this does not mean the various chapter 
negotiations will be easy, but Kazakhstan is newly motivated 
because of Russian pressure. 
 
THE NEW GREAT GAME 
 
8.  (C) Idrisov:  "We will always be close to Russia, and you 
have to accept that."  (NOTE:  We do.  END NOTE.)  "But we 
know by experience Russia presses us in ways we don't like. 
We need you (the United States) to stand with us without the 
usual irritants.  Russia wants us to be one thing that we are 
not; you want us to be another that we are not -- please let 
Kazakhstan be itself.  Whether you like the term or not, 
Russia is playing a New Great Game for all it's worth.  It 
has zero-sum tunnel vision and wants you totally out of 
Central Asia, and is doing everything possible at all levels 
to achieve that.  We are not trying to play you against 
Russia; we want you to stand with us." 
 
FREEDOM HOUSE 
 
9.  (C) Idrisov:  "I scheduled our most recent parliamentary 
delegation with Freedom House so that both sides could listen 
to each other.  At the end of the scheduled time, it seemed 
there was more to say.  The Freedom House Central Asia 
director agreed to a second meeting.  After a short time, he 
stood up and said, 'I don't have time to listen to this' and 
walked out.  Later, he called me and apologized, but the 
damage had already been done.  He knows what he believes and 
refuses to listen to the complexities of reality." 
 
FROZEN COWS 
 
10.  (U) Idrisov:  "Ten years ago when Nazarbayev was trying 
to force bureaucrats to move to Astana, Kazakhstan-TV filmed 
a humorous report about a farmer who was moving two cows from 
Almaty to Astana in an open truck during the winter.  When 
the truck arrived at Astana, the cows were frozen solid.  The 
segment was a great comic hit that's still remembered, but 
Nazarbayev was livid, and a few heads rolled." 
HOAGLA ND

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