Roles within Kazakh Government
Karim Massimov served as a public servant for over two decades in Kazakhstan and played a significant role in establishing foreign trade relations with the US, Europe, China, and Gulf at the nascent stage of Kazakhstan’s statehood.
He occupied a variety of public office roles since 2000, serving as Minister of Transport and Communications, Deputy Prime Minister, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, before becoming the longest serving Prime Minister in Kazakhstan’s modern history.
In his various roles in government, Massimov consistently championed a more progressive and modernizing agenda, placing the betterment of the Kazakhstani people and maintenance of Kazakhstan’s sovereignty at the heart of his vision for the country.
Karim Massimov initiated critical reforms, from aviation to telecoms and taxation, which continue to have significant positive impacts on Kazakhstan’s development and growth as a modern, middle-income country.
His major achievements include:
- Reform of the state transport policy in 2001 – a precursor to Kazakhstan’s later involvement in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
- Negotiations of the Tengiz oil-field project with ChevronTexaco – a prime example of successful transnational private-public partnerships.
- Extensive contributions to science, education, technology, and the arts, including:
- Member of the Supreme Board of Trustees of Nazarbayev University
- Author of The Next Master of the World, an acclaimed review of artificial intelligence and its future potential
- Series of fiscal and monetary policies that vastly improved socio-economic conditions in Kazakhstan:
- From 2007 to 2012, GDP per capita doubled from USD 6,500 to USD 12,500, with economic growth rates at an average level of 5.5% per year
- 100 concrete steps for further state building which included:
- Humanizing the criminal legal code, increasing transparency of the government through digitization
- Establishing a corporate income tax of 15%, making Kazakhstan one of the most tax-friendly countries in the world
- Creating a Unified National Healthcare System with modern medical technology and equipment
- Installing thousands of points of public access to the Internet across the country where professional consultants would provide basic IT literacy for free
One of his main roles as Chairman of the KNB was the continuation of these institutional reforms, establishing Kazakhstan as a significant economic and political power in Central Asia.
“The country’s two decades of work on real economic reform have led to Kazakhstan being integrated into the world economy and boasting a growing middle class. [The country] continues on that same path today under the leadership of Prime Minister Karim Massimov.”
Richard Hoagland, Former U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan (2008 – 2011)
“Dr Massimov has been for decades a key person in the modernization of this huge and strategic country. He is a wise scholar and a great diplomat, with a huge knowledge of geopolitical issues.”
Jacques Attali, French Economic and Social Theorist
“Kazakhstan putting Karim Massimov, a loyal and skilled strategist, in solitary confinement is akin to Washington arresting James Baker, Russia incarcerating Yevgeny Primakov, or China putting Chou En-lai in chains at the height of their service to their country. President Tokayev has sacrificed multi-vector foreign policy for a dependence on Putin for legitimacy, ensuring tension between Beijing and Moscow over Kazakhstan’s future.”
David A. Merkel former State Department and NSC senior official, Associate Fellow with the IISS
“As former prime minister and intelligence chief, Karim Massimov has spent decades building the infrastructure and economy that underpins Kazakhstan today. His work as a public servant was central to the development of Nur-Sultan as a dynamic, forward-thinking city.”
Rajeev Misra, Board Director, Executive Vice President at Soft-bank Group Corp
“The level of managers that surrounded Nazarbayev … in the early years of 21st century – Karim Massimov, Kairat Kelimbetov, Imadagali Tasmagambetov – these are all people who can be called representatives of the Eurasian bureaucracy. The politicians surrounding the President are patriots, who above their political ambitions put the interests of the country.”
Alexei Vlasov, Former Director of the Information and Research Centre of Moscow State University