Oil Slump, Russian Revanchism Put the Squeeze on Kazakhstan

Bayterek Tower, Astana, Kazakhstan, June 7, 2012 (photo by Flickr user Mariusz Kluzniak licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).
Bayterek Tower, Astana, Kazakhstan, June 7, 2012 (photo by Flickr user Mariusz Kluzniak licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

A little over a year ago, Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, weighed in on the most pressing political challenge facing Astana at the time: whether or not to change the country’s name. Before any consensus could be reached, however, unidentified men cropped up in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, saying little and admitting less. Twelve months later, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and amid an intermittent war in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and the central government in Kiev, it’s clear that the status quo ante will not return. In just a year, Kazakhstan’s geopolitical environs have shifted more rapidly than at any […]

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