I am constantly amused by the way Kazakhstan government officials choose to portray themselves when a scandal breaks. For example, when rumors started spreading that President Nazarbayev was having surgery in Germany recently, government officials answered by saying he was on vacation and no one knew where he was. The government was, quite understandably, trying to put to rest the idea that Nazarbayev is sick and might step down from power soon. So they chose to give the impression that when the President goes on vacation, no one knows where he is or has any contact with him.
Now following recent comments by Yermukamet Yertisbayev that Timur Kulibayev would be the right person to take over in case the President was unexpectedly able to serve, they give the impression that advisers to the President can say whatever they want.
Now Yertisbayev says that he was just giving his own opinion [RU] and did not consult with the President. He cites the Constitution which gives citizens the right to express their opinion and even confirms that his over the age of majority. So it appears that in the administration of the President, public servants are free to say whatever they want to the press. Almost every job I have ever had, I have been required to sign a code of conduct that said I had no right to make statements to the press on behalf of the company without prior authorization. But apparently Nazarbayev’s rules for his administration is much laxer than the rules for a dishwasher at McDonald’s; It’s a bit hard to believe. Alternatively Yertisbayev acted unprofessionally, which would seem to be grounds for dismissal or at least reprimand. He himself admits that it was wrong of him to name Kulibayev because of his status as public servant. So if he truly was giving his own opinion, one assumes he will soon be announcing that he is stepping down as advisor.
And perhaps when the next big rumor gets going, the administration will choose to be open and honest with the people of Kazakhstan, or at least give their cover story a bit more thought.