Timur Kulibayev is a son-in-law of Kazakhistan's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. With the president's help, Kulibayev has become a very important figure in the country's business community and politics. He is considered a possible successor to the presidency and is a political rival of Nazarbayev's daughter--Dariga Nazarbayeva--who herself is thought to aspire to the same post.
A 2001 poll conducted in Kazakhstan revealed that most of the country's journalists and media observers believed the country's media was effectively state-controlled, and that Kulibayev was one of the elites influencing the character of that control.
Kulibayev is a major player in Kazakhstan's growing oil industry. As of 2005, he was vice president of KazMunaiGas, the state oil company. Kulibayev remains a frequent point of contact for Russian oil companies interested in operating within Kazakhstan. He is also an important figure in the nation's finance with he and his wife together owning a majority stake in Halyk Bank. In late 2008, Nazarbayev appointed Kulibayev to manage the country's $3.47 billion fund to purchase stakes in banks hit by the financial crisis. The government plans to spend $1.5 billion to bail out Kulibayev's bank.
Though Kulibayev has so far stayed out of elected politics, his ally, Karim Massimov, was appointed prime minister in 2007. Kulibayev is popular among business people and belongs to the small Atameken party, which promotes pro-business reforms in Kazakhstan like privatization of state-dominated economic sectors and getting rid of corruption.
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