Kazakhstan might be Russia’s next victim in 2015, according to the Jamestown Foundation’s regional expert, Paul Goble. Goble discusses the coming shake-up of Kazakhstan’s ethnic mix and the tensions it may cause during the country’s Presidential elections next year:
Astana [Kazakhstan’s capital] has adopted laws that, as of January 1, will make it easier for ethnic Kazakhs now living abroad to return home and obtain citizenship, and at the same time Astana’s own agreements with Moscow will allow ethnic Russians a greater chance to return to Russia as well. As a result, the ethnic balance in Kazakhstan is going to swing further against Russians, and those who remain will feel that they are ever more likely to become victims of an ethnocratic state.
No one knows how Putin will respond to Russia’s economic nose-dive, but if he’s looking for a target next year, Kazakhstan’s Presidential elections may provide him with a ripe one.