Daniyar Abulgazin and the hole in Kazakhstan Olympic budget
Daniyar Abulgazin seemingly neglected his duties at Olympic Committee
Daniyar Abulgazin is a sidekick of the wealthiest man in Kazakhstan, Timur Kulibayev. Their involvement in VITOL affairs is widely known and well documented. The role of Daniyar Abulgazin evolved in time and is now more independent. Quite the opposite – it’s Timur Kulibayev who needs Daniyar Abulgazin more and more.
Of course Daniyar Abulgazin remains the satellite of his more influential patron. Daniyar Abulgazin lacks a charisma, charm and is generally doomed as a independent politician. So he need his chief’s skills and influence to leverage the shortcomings in publicity. That’s why Daniyar Abulgazin was invited by presidential son-in-law to join the National Olympic Committee. Of course it backfired almost immediately.
There is a tradition in almost every post-Soviet state to appoint leading statesmen to the heads of sporting association and federations. In the eyes of society it gives much needed prestige to the correspondent sport. Perhaps even more important it brings sportsmen an unofficial support they need to show some results. The more prestigious and high-ranking the sport is the more influential chief it gets. Timur Kulibayev is currently the president of NOC, so he appoints the respective sporting federation chiefs. Suleimenov, Abulgazin and Shayakhmetova followed their chief everywhere.
And the whole Abulgazin-Suleimenov gang got their chairs. Suleimenov got skiing federation and vice-chairmanship of the National Olympic Committee. Abulgzin got a ping-pong and weightlifting. It was supposed to help the federation. After all Abulgazin is a multimillionaire. But as soon as he reached the command level something weird happened: sportsmen were left without the wages. It’s not what been expected when you appoint such a wealthy and influential person as Daniyar Abulgazin as a NOC bureaucrat.
How sports are funded in Kazakhstan and why the personality of Daniyar Abulgazin is important
Sportsmen get subsidies in Kazakhstan, according to their international recognition, ranks and results. It is paid partly by the state and partly by the sponsoring organizations of sport federations. One of the biggest investor and sponsor in Kazakhstan sport is Samruk-Kazyna national wealth fund. Daniyar Abulgazin is rich by himself and he could sponsor some events and talents on his own account.
It came with some strings attached: the fund is widely criticized for ineffective and even suspicious sponsorship of insignificant sporting teams organizations. So the management decided to check for the ways the fund’s money are used. It didn’t go well for weightlifters. According to the local press small-scale audit had found some holes in the books. Some sums are unaccounted, however it wasn’t known exactly who stole it. Samruk-Kazyna suspended the sponsorship until the more comprehensive audit will be performed. Fund leaders step short of pointing fingers at Daniyar Abulgazin.
It is said that the state support for the sportsmen will not be withdrawn. But most of the money comes from sponsorship. State salaries will barely allow weightlifters to stay alive. There is a pile of questions rising about the fate of extra funds. It would be horrifying and bizarre to expect that Daniyar Abulgazin has stolen the sponsors input. But as a chief of the federation he has been too distracted by extensive international property network. Daniyar Abulgazin was unable to prevent such a misery.