A Ballet and a Banquet Hall
Though Kurmanbayeva’s closeness to the Leader of the Nation has been known for years, very little about her life has been reported in the Kazakhstani press.
Practically the only available information is presumed to have come from Rakhat Aliyev, the former husband of Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter Dariga, who was already in exile when he is believed to have published passport photos of Kurmanbayeva and her children during his feud with the Nazarbayev family. (Aliyev died in an Austrian jail in 2015, allegedly by suicide.)
The first and last time Kurmanbayeva and Nazarbayev were publicly seen in the same place was when she was among hundreds of people who attended his last annual address to the nation as president at his residence in 2018.
But Kazakhstani company records show that the president and his unofficial third wife also had business connections.
As it turns out, Kurmanbayeva was the founder of a company that established the Astana Ballet in 2012.
According to the group’s website, it was founded “at the initiative of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.” His foundation took over the company less than a year later, and then passed it on to the government. Kurmanbayeva remains involved as its art manager.
Strangely, Nazarbayev’s foundation also dealt with Kurmanbayeva on a very different project. For two months in 2013, it owned a company called Astau that Kurmanbayeva had founded in 2006. Then she became its owner again.
The banquet hall owned by Kurmanbayeva’s company Astau.
The соmpany owns and operates a banquet hall, spa, and beauty salon in Nur-Sultan city center.
Judging by its tax records, it does very little business. But its Instagram account shows off a sparkling banquet hall, happy guests, and dishes laden with food.