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Putin on the Prowl
Kazakhstan: Ukraine 2.0?

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.

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  • Fat_Man

    I am willing to bet over/under on the number of Americans who care in anyway, positive or negative, what happens to Kazakhstan. The line is 4. I am not one of them.

    • Jon Camp

      Considering Nazarbayev tends to get 90+% of the vote each time he runs, I doubt there will be much change in a presidential election there.

      Oddly enough, while he gets those “strongman dictator sham-democracy” levels of support, according to Christopher Robbins in his “Apples are from Kazakhstan” book ( that level of support seems to stem from both genuine liking of the President and also a relic from the Soviet days where “everyone votes for the incumbent or else!” and they simply don’t realize that they don’t have to if they don’t want to anymore.

      The reason that I care, Fat_Man is that my sister and her husband live in Astana, so I quite hope that nothing bad happens in that part of the world while she’s there.

      • Fat_Man


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