Reformer Lobbies Washington for Change in Policy Toward Kazakhstan

Reformer Lobbies Washington for Change in Policy Toward Kazakhstan

WASHINGTON -- "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" may have prompted Americans to run and find Kazakhstan on a map. But another recent development appears to have a growing number of Washington insiders talking seriously about political discord in the massive former Soviet republic.

A rising young Kazakh politician visited Washington recently trying drum up support from U.S. policy makers and journalists for his newly established and reform-minded Kazakh political party -- the official registration of which he claims is being obstructed by his country's "draconian law on political parties."

The second largest of the former Soviet republics, oil-rich Kazakhstan is situated on a vast tract between China and Russia. Aside from cozy relations between U.S. President George W. Bush and Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country's president since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 -- prior to which he served as the First Secretary of the Kazakh Communist Party -- Kazakhstan rarely makes news in the West.

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