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Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Qazaqstannyń Demokratııalyq Tandaýy, QDT; Russian: Демократический выбор Казахстана, DVK) is a banned political party deemed an extremist group by the Kazakh courts.[1]

Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan

Qazaqstannyń Demokratııalyq Tandaýy
AbbreviationQDT in Kazakh
DVK in Russian
LeaderMukhtar Ablyazov
  • 18 November 2001 (2001-11-18)
  • 20 April 2017 (2017-04-20)
Liberal democracy
Political positionCentre-right[citation needed]
Colors     Blue



The Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan was founded as a result of a split within ruling elite that erupted into a full-scale crisis in November 2001. What the roots of the crisis were is not clear, yet it appears that conflicts of interest between a group of reformist bureaucrats, including the governor of the Pavlodar region, Galymzhan Zhakiyanov; the deputy premier, Oraz Zhandosov; a fugitive banker, Mukhtar Ablyazov; and President Nazarbayev’s son-in law, Rakhat Aliyev, prompted Mukhtar to declare the establishment of a pro-business, pro-reform movement called Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan. Founders of the movement included deputy defense minister Zhannat Yertlesova, deputy finance minister Kairat Kelimbetov, leading businessmen, Nurzhan Subkhanberdin as head of the Kazkommertz bank, and Bulat Abilov. The then prime minister, Tokaev, harshly criticized the movement and asked the founders to resign from their government posts. The crisis was contained as a result of the intervention of Nazarbayev. Tokaev was reassigned as the foreign minister, while Rakhat Aliyev was transferred to Vienna as ambassador. Zhakiyanov, Zhandosov, Ablyazov, and others were fired from their government positions.[2]


QDT, from its foundation, embraced a number of influential politicians and wealthy businessmen of the country who grew disillusioned with the inner circles of President Nazarbayev. The movement adopted a strong anti-Nazarbayev stance and criticized the corruption and nepotism of the president and his clique. Despite repeated attempts, authorities did not register QDT as a political movement. A party, Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, was founded out of the movement and participated in the 2004 parliamentary elections in a bloc with Serikbolsin Abdildin’s Communist Party. The bloc failed to win any seats in the parliament. Two founding members of the movement, Galymzhan Zhakiyanov and Mukhtar Ablyazov, were convicted of embezzlement and misuse of their position for private gain and were sentenced to seven- and six-year prison terms, respectively.[3] Ablyazov was released on health reasons and Zhakiyanov was pardoned in the winter of 2006.


DCK was disbanded in February 2005 before the presidential elections. But the party-led coalition of opposition forces, For a Just Kazakhstan, nominated former deputy chair of the OTAN party, Zharmakhan Tuyakbay, as a presidential candidate in the elections held on 4 December 2005. Tuyakbay received 6% of the votes. QDT was split in the spring of 2002, as a group of moderate members, including Oraz Zhandosov, Bulat Abilov, and Alikhan Baimenov, established the center-right Ak Zhol Party. Later, Ak Zhol also gave birth to another party, Naghyz Ak Zhol, led by Bulat Abilov, Altynbek Sarsenbaev, and Oraz Zhandosov. QDT leaders have been trying to reregister the party with a new name: Alga! Kazakhstan.[4]


  1. ^ "Fugitive Tycoon's Political Movement Found 'Extremist' In Kazakhstan". RadioFreeEuropeRadioLiberty.
  2. ^ Barbara Junisbai, Azamat Junisbai, Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan: A Case Study in Economic Liberalization, Intraelite Cleavage, and Political Opposition, Demokratizatsiya, Summer 2005.
  3. ^ Nurbulat Masanov, Political development of sovereign Kazakhstan, (Years 1992 through 2002),International Eurasian Institute for Economic and Political Research,, (accessed on February, 05, 2007)
  4. ^ Cengiz Surucu, 4 Aralık 2005 Kazakistan Başkanlık Seçimleri Üzerine Gözlemler, OAKA, vol: 1, No: 1, 2006, pp. 153-158