Inside Central Asia


    • Commentary

    What’s Behind Protests Against China in Kazakhstan?

    China has always been considered a convenient partner for Central Asian countries, because it asked for virtually nothing in exchange for investment. But unlike with Western countries, which state the terms of cooperation in advance, with China there are unspoken rules, including a taboo on acknowledging any problems in the relationship.

    • Op-Ed

    The Failure of Atambayev’s Planned Power Transition

    Unlike in Russia and Kazakhstan, an effort in Kyrgyzstan to carefully orchestrate the transition of power backfired.

    • Commentary

    Tale of Two Presidents Reveals Risks of Post-Soviet Power Transition

    The beleaguered former presidents of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are both typical clan leaders with notable numbers of supporters. Both cases illustrate clearly how complex and risky the process of handing over power remains in the post-Soviet arena.

    • Commentary

    New Balance of Power Takes Shape in Kazakhstan, Defying Assumptions

    While civic activity in Kazakhstan remains the purview of young people in the city of Almaty, the country’s new ruling tandem has a chance to conduct political modernization from above. This would be in line with the vision of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who considers himself the father of independence. Successful political reforms would also bestow upon him the status of father of Kazakh democracy, and preserve his legacy unchallenged in the decades to come, when Kazakh institutions become fully operational.

    • Commentary

    Accelerating the Transition: What’s Behind Kazakhstan’s Snap Election?

    Kazakhstan’s power handover increasingly looks like a trap for Nazarbayev. He wants the process to go smoothly, as planned, but the entire system only works when he is at the helm. There is no one capable of replicating precisely what the first president conceived. Nazarbayev has ruled Kazakhstan with an iron fist, but that fist is gradually growing weaker. As for Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Dariga Nazarbayeva, their influence can buy them respect, but it doesn’t inspire fear.

    • Commentary

    Why the Kazakh Experiment Won’t Work in Russia

    Unlike Nazarbayev, Putin was not as strongly affected by the death of the Uzbekistani President Islam Karimov and the ensuing division of power which ended badly for late president’s family. Will Putin even leave behind much that will need protection? It seems that his primary concern will not be family or the family business, but problems of another dimension: what will become of Crimea, Russia’s presence in Syria, and the country’s ability to assert its sovereignty and withstand the confrontation with the U.S. and NATO.

    • Op-Ed

    Putin Wants a Kazakh Retirement

    Over the next few years, the Kremlin will be able to observe what happens in practice when the informal authority of the nation’s leader and the post of president—the main instrument for creating that authority—are separated.

    • Commentary

    Musical Chairs: Will a New President Change Anything in Kazakhstan?

    Prior to his resignation as president of Kazakhstan this week, Nursultan Nazarbayev had predictably become head of the country’s security council. After that, the post of president had largely become an encumbrance. His status as head of the security council provides him with a separate lever for controlling the country’s repressive machinery, while his status as leader for life of the Nur Otan ruling political party gives him control over lawmakers.

    • Commentary

    Turkmen Leader’s Personality Cult Goes Viral

    The video propaganda glorifying Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has reached new heights of absurdity. The personality cult is trying to distract the public from their economic problems and outdo the glorification of his predecessor.

    • Commentary

    Moscow Courts the Taliban

    Russia wants to be a player in Afghanistan, and that means dealing with the Taliban. But the postponement of a planned international conference in Moscow, involving a once-reviled group, shows that Russia’s influence is still limited.

Carnegie Experts on
Inside Central Asia

  • expert thumbnail - Baunov
    Alexander Baunov
    Senior Fellow
    Editor in Chief of
    Carnegie Moscow Center
    Baunov is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center and editor in chief of
  • expert thumbnail - Kozhanov
    Nikolay Kozhanov
    Former nonresident scholar
    Foreign and Security Policy Program
    Moscow Center
    Kozhanov is a former nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center and a contributing expert to the Moscow-based Institute of the Middle East.
  • expert thumbnail - Trenin
    Dmitri Trenin
    Carnegie Moscow Center
    Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, has been with the center since its inception. He also chairs the research council and the Foreign and Security Policy Program.

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