Kazakhstan

  • Making Sense of Nazarbayev’s Abrupt Resignation in Kazakhstan

    On March 22, instead of the usual festive mood in celebration of Nowruz, citizens of Kazakhstan were feeling disoriented and confused. The past week had been a politically turbulent one for this Central Asian nation.

    Politics and people have existed in separate domains in Kazakhstan, but on March 19, politics made an unexpected return into the lives of ordinary people when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev made a surprising announcement about his decision to resign with immediate effect.

    While people were still processing this news (the seventy-eight-year-old Nazarbayev had ruled Kazakhstan for almost thirty years), they were informed that Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, was to be renamed Nur-Sultan in Nazarbayev’s honor. Parliament quickly approved the initiative put forward by acting President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who previously served as chairman of the Senate.


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  • Nazarbayev’s Resignation is a Sign of Strength

    On March 19, Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, made a brief statement on television declaring that he would resign the next day. Why prompted his decision and what will be its consequences?

    Nazarbayev has discussed his possible resignation aloud for the last couple of years, so it appeared to have been well-prepared. He is seventy-eight, has ruled Kazakhstan since 1989, and is considered to be in frail health, so his decision to resign makes perfect sense. He sets a good example for the region, where leaders have been ousted or other former colleagues in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan have died in office. His voluntary and well-planned resignation shows that Nazarbayev remained in full control and by no means was forced out.


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  • Nazarbayev’s Gift to Kazakhstan: An Orderly Transition?

    President steps down after almost thirty years in office

    By resigning from the presidency after almost thirty years, Nursultan Nazarbayev may have given his greatest gift to Kazakhstan: a peaceful transition to a new generation following nearly three decades of stability—a stability that was likely solidified by Nazarbayev’s willingness to commit human rights abuses and corruption.

    Nothing should be taken for granted. In general, transitions in the former Soviet Union have proved difficult, sometimes involving revolutions, internal coups, and last-minute changes in the succession before the new leader takes control.

    But although Nazarbayev effectively became president-for-life in 2007 when he secured a right to contest presidential elections indefinitely, he has in fact been planning carefully for at least twelve years to ensure a smooth transition in the event of his retirement or death in office.


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  • Nazarbayev Begins Uncertain Transition in Kazakhstan

    Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has served as the president of Kazakhstan for nearly thirty years, on March 19 abruptly announced his decision to step down from the presidency, but also said he would retain several important posts. The resignation goes into effect on March 20.

    “Nursultan Nazarbayev has been an effective leader for Kazakhstan since before independence,” according to John E. Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, but after resigning his position as president, the question now becomes whether Nazarbayev “and the various clans and other interest groups in the country can come to some sort of understanding on the new leadership.”  


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  • Cohen in Forbes: Kazatomprom IPO With Astana International Financial Center (AIX) Shows Global Appetite For Uranium


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  • Here’s Why Trump Needs to Deepen Engagement with Eurasia

    The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit and Expo 2017 hosted in the Kazakh capital Astana in June served to highlight important regional trends to which US policy makers should play close attention.

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  • Kazakhstan’s Niche in China’s Belt and Road Initiative

    Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, formerly One Belt, One Road) is an economic integration project that will allow the often-overlooked Kazakhstan to capitalize on its unique geographic location to leverage geopolitical benefits from the initiative.

    The infrastructure project is designed to expand China’s influence beyond its immediate neighborhood with economic soft power, achieving goals on its geopolitical agenda, namely, providing BRI nations a truly competitive alternative to Western, US-led partnerships.

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  • By Changing Alphabet, Kazakhs Take Another Step Toward the West

    Kazakhstan has decided to switch alphabets, from Cyrillic to Latin script, by 2025. After decades of Russian and Soviet domination, countries are developing their own cultural code, though some feel uneasy about the change. Yet the Latin alphabet will only boost Kazakhstan’s international integration and its economic, technological, and scientific development. Plus, Latin script isn’t new to Kazakhstan.

    In April 2017, President Nursultan Nazarbaev recommended that the development of the new Kazakh language alphabet, based on Latin script, be completed by the end of the year. All official documents, books, and periodicals in Kazakh should be published in Latin letters by 2025. Agreeing on a...

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  • Vajdich Joins Kazakh TV to Discuss Constitutional Reform in Kazakhstan


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  • Stein Quoted by Rudaw on Turkey, Syria, and Russia as Peace Talks Begin in Astana


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