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Will the Karaganov Doctrine turn south?

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Title:
Will the Karaganov Doctrine turn south? the potential for Russian intervention in northern Kazakhstan
Creator:
Moore, Kevin R. ( author )
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
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University of Colorado Denver
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English
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1 electronic file (69 pages) : ;

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Degree:
Master's ( Master of social science)
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University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Social science

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Subjects / Keywords:
Propaganda -- Russia (Federation) ( lcsh )
Information warfare -- Russia (Federation) ( lcsh )
Mass media -- Political aspects -- Russia (Federation) ( lcsh )
Public relations and politics -- Russia (Federation) ( lcsh )
Diplomatic relations ( fast )
Information warfare ( fast )
Mass media -- Political aspects ( fast )
Propaganda ( fast )
Public relations and politics ( fast )
Kazakhstan ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- Russia (Federation) -- Western countries ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- Western countries -- Russia (Federation) ( lcsh )
Kazakhstan ( fast )
Russia (Federation) ( fast )
Western countries ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Review:
Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has pursued an interventionist stance toward protecting ethnic Russians living in the border regions of Abkhazia, Crimea, and the Donetsk region of Ukraine. When considering regions potentially vulnerable to future Russian intervention, the presence of nearly four million ethnic Russians in the border oblasts of northern Kazakhstan constitutes a conceivable crisis for Kazakhstan and the international community. In order to assess the potential of Russian intervention or annexation of Kazakhstan's northern oblasts, this thesis will study the recent history and current state of political and ethnic considerations in northern Kazakhstan, the unclear succession process of longtime President Nazarbayev, and the emergence of China as a regional power rival in Central Asia.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
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System requirements: Adobe Reader.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Kevin R. Moore.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
on10043 ( NOTIS )
1004308796 ( OCLC )
on1004308796
Classification:
LD1193.L65 2017m M66 ( lcc )

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Full Text
WILL THE KARAGANOV DOCTRINE TURN SOUTH? THE POTENTIAL FOR
RUSSIAN INTERVENTION IN NORTHERN KAZAKHSTAN
by
KEVIN R. MOORE
B.S., University of Central Missouri, 2009
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Science Social Sciences Program
2017


This thesis for the Master of Social Science degree by Kevin R. Moore has been approved for the Social Sciences Program
Greg Whitesides, Chair Lucy McGuffey Christoph Stefes
July 29, 2017


Moore, Kevin R., (M.S., Social Sciences Program)
Will the Karaganov Doctrine Turn South? The Potential for a Russian Intervention in Northern Kazakhstan
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Greg Whitesides
ABSTRACT
Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has pursued an interventionist stance toward protecting ethnic Russians living in the border regions of Abkhazia, Crimea, and the Donetsk region of Ukraine. When considering regions potentially vulnerable to future Russian intervention, the presence of nearly four million ethnic Russians in the border oblasts of northern Kazakhstan constitutes a conceivable crisis for Kazakhstan and the international community. In order to assess the potential of Russian intervention or annexation of Kazakhstans northern oblasts, this thesis will study the recent history and current state of political and ethnic considerations in northern Kazakhstan, the unclear succession process of longtime President Nazarbayev, and the emergence of China as a regional power rival in Central Asia.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Greg Whitesides


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION........................................................1
II. THEKARAGANOV DOCTRINE..............................................3
A. Origins of Unofficial Policy and Rhetoric.....................3
B. The Putin Turn: Operationalization of the Karaganov Doctrine.10
III. HISTORY AND DEMOGRAPHICS OF NORTHERN KAZAKHSTAN...........13
A. Early Soviet History.........................................13
B. The Russian Question.........................................14
C. Russian Political Power and Separatism.......................20
D. Crackdown....................................................23
IV. TRIGGERING EVENTS AND COLOR REVOLUTION: THE PROBLEM OF
NAZARBAYEV......................................................28
A. Nazarbayev the Nation Builder................................30
B. Nazarbayev the Peacemaker ...................................34
C. Nazarbayev the Elder.........................................38
V. GREAT GAME, DIFFERENT PLAYERS: CHINA AS AN EMERGING
POWER...........................................................44
A. American Decline ............................................45
B. The Rise of Chinese Influence................................46
C. The Russian Shift Toward Security............................49
VI. CONCLUSION........................................................54
IV


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
In the wake of the Ukrainian independence movement in the summer of 1991,
President Yeltsin authorized his spokesperson, Pavel Voshchanov, to pen a largely forgotten
press statement concerning the millions of ethnic Russians who would be stranded in the
event of Ukrainian and Kazakhstani independence:
The Russian Federation casts no doubt on the constitutional right of every state and people to self-determination. There exists, however, the problem of borders, the nonsettlement of which is possible and admissible only on the condition of allied relations secured by an appropriate treaty. In the event of their termination, the RSFSR reserves the right to raise the question of the revision of boundaries (Soviet Turmoil 1991).
The statement did not name the republics with which Russia might have territorial disputes,
but when reporters asked Voshchanov which countries Yeltsin had in mind, he responded by
naming Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Voshchanov added,
If these republics enter the union with Russia it is not a problem.. .but if they go, we must take care of the population that lives there and not forget that these lands were settled by Russians. Russia will hardly agree to give away these territories just like that. (Soviet Turmoil 1991).
Voshchanov recalled later that the contested areas included territories that had earlier belonged to Russia: the Crimea and the Donetsk region of Ukraine, Abkhazia in Georgia, and northern territories of Kazakhstan (Plokhy, 2014).
The framework of what would later become the Karaganov Doctrine, the Russian right to intervene to protect ethnic Russians in the near abroad is evident in the Voshchanov statement. It is now somewhat prophetic as Russia has acted militarily, overtly and otherwise, to regain control of three of the four regions laid out by Voshchanov:
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Abkhazia (2008), and Crimea and Donetsk (2014). The only region that has not returned to Russias de facto control is northern Kazakhstan.
However, as recently as January 2017, the sentiment of the Voshchanov statement appeared in remarks given by a deputy with the ultra-right Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Pavel Shperov, at a Duma roundtable concerning ethnic Russians living overseas. Shperov, the partys authorized envoy in the State Council of Crimea currently under sanctions by the United States, reportedly called for the return of what he said were, Russian territories temporarily taken by Kazakhstan and stated that Russian borders, are not eternal...the territories are indeed ours. A fellow LDPR deputy, Leonid Slutsky, quickly walked back Shperovs comments, I can assure you that nobody had any idea of revising the borders of Russia and Kazakhstan (Russia Wobbles 2017).
This was not the first time an LDPR party member or other Russian nationalists have expressed little regard for Kazakhstani territorial integrity. The statements, a few among many since the annexation of Crimea and the subsequent war in the Donbass, show that northern Kazakhstan has not left the consciousness of many Russians. Among them are prominent media executives, politicians, and even President Putin.
The majority of academic and analytical intrigue into the potential of future Russian irredentism focuses on the Baltic States, particularly Estonia, and lingering frozen conflicts in eastern Ukraine, Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, and the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia. There is a body of work however, that raises the question of potential Russian intervention in northern Kazakhstan (Grigas 2016; Diener 2014; Brletich 2015; Laruelle 2016; Eltsov and Larres 2014; Goble 2014; Kucera 2014; Lourie 2014; Morozov 2015; Zevelev 2014; Casey 2016). Some work concludes that Russian intervention
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in Kazakhstan is overhyped (Diener 2014; Brletich 2015; Laruelle 2016) while a minority concludes there is significant risk (Grigas 2016). In this paper, I will show the continuity of Russian rhetoric and policy towards the near abroad and its interventionist turn under Vladimir Putin. I will then reconsider the potential of Russian intervention in Kazakhstan by updating the state of political and ethnic considerations in northern Kazakhstan. Finally, I will introduce two variables that could serve as potential triggering events: the unclear succession process of longtime President Nazarbayev and the entrance of China as a regional power rival in Central Asia.
3


CHAPTER II
THE KARAGANOV DOCTRINE
A. Origins of Unofficial Policy and Rhetoric
Although events in Ukraine signify an aggressive turn in Russian foreign policy, the
strategy of protecting ethnic Russians and leveraging Russian minorities in the near abroad1 dates back to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Karaganov Doctrine represents a continuity, if not unofficial Russian policy, toward the near abroad in recent years.
Shperovs statements, despite being weakly condemned2, are only the latest manifestation of rhetoric inspired by the Karaganov doctrine. They also represent a renewed focus on Kazakhstan, a country long thought to be safe from Russian intervention but featured prominently in early notions of politicized compatriots3. While Kazakhstan has never been held in the same regard as Ukraine or Belarus in the minds of Russians, it has its own history linked with the Karaganov Doctrine. Many prominent Russian intellectuals, diplomats, and politicians have professed unique positions in regard to the Russian diaspora in the post-Soviet era.
With the looming collapse of the Soviet Union, a famous Soviet dissident first put forth the notion that northern Kazakhstan was traditionally Rus. Nobel Laurette Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose reputation was built on revealing the atrocities of the Gulag system {The Gulag Archipelago 1973), authored a controversial article in 1990 called Rebuilding Russia in which he advocated a Russian Union encompassing Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and
1 Term popularized by Russian foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev in 1992 that refers to the newly independent republics which emerged after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
2 Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova underplayed Sheprovs remarks by stating we live in an era of democratic trends. (Russia Wobbles 2017)
3 See Grigas (2016) for a history of the concept of compatriots including its use as politicized phrase after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
4


northern Kazakhstan. His opening line in Rebuilding Russia: Ethnicity: it is the great hidden force of the age. Solzhenitsyn abhorred the Soviet domination of the non-Slav populations and was staunchly anti-imperialist. Despite this, he viewed northern Kazakhstan, with its large ethnic Russian population, as a part of greater Russia. From Solzhenitsyns historical viewpoint:
Up to 1936 Kazakhstan was considered an autonomous republic inside the Russian Federation; later it became a federal one. It was composed of South Siberia, the South Urals, and central desert regions that were transformed and built by Russians, zeks (gulag prisoners), and deported peoples (Solzhenitsyn, 1990).
Solzhenitsyn was considered a national hero in both Russia4 and the West, and was one of
the first prominent thinkers to extend an umbrella of Russian nationalism over ethnic
Russians in the near abroad.
Solzhenitsyns views established a national narrative of northern Kazakhstan, similar to the one used artfully by Russia to lay claim to Crimea.5 While Russian intellectuals do not embrace this narrative as a whole, it has been upheld by a group of prominent nationalists. In April 2014, the president the Republic of Khakassia (Southeastern Russia), Vladimir Shtygashev, echoed Solzhenitsyns claims. He argued that Russia gave several districts of the Ishim region to Kazakhstan when it gained Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) status in 1936:
Rudnyi Altai (In Eastern Kazakhstan) has always been part of Russia. Kazakhstan had few territories and the decision was taken to give it the Ishim district (part of the Russian Omsk region). They gave it and made it the Karaganda region. It was in 1936, not a long time ago. All together we gave five regions to Kazakhstan...these territories were exchanged as if they were just money (Speaker of 2014).
4 Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, but returned to Russia in 1994. Vladimir Putin and then President Medvedev attended his funeral in 2008.
5 See Laurelle (2016) for how Russia used a similar narrative to claim rightful ownership of Crimea. In her title she asks "Why No Kazakh Novorossiya?" a reference to the historic narrative and an ambiguously defined region in southern Ukraine and Crimea that pro-Russian separatists and Putin himself have used to justified annexation of Crimea.
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It is not inconceivable that this idea could be advanced at an opportune moment if it becomes useful to Moscow decision makers. Before he died in 2010, Solzhenitsyn offered admiration for Vladimir Putin, who he said had brought a slow and gradual restoration to Russia. The admiration was mutual: Putin said that much of what he had done for Russia was largely in tune with what Solzhenitsyn has written (Eltsov 2015). Solzhenitsyns concerns over Russians cut off from their homeland became a primary variable within the Karaganov doctrine.
The Karaganov doctrine materialized during the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1992, searching for a post-Soviet foreign policy, Sergey Karaganov, a senior foreign policy advisor for both President Yeltsin and later President Putin, advocated the use of Russian minorities in the former Soviet Republics as strings of influence to advance Russian foreign policy objectives (Grigas 2016). Karaganov encouraged this approach as a middle ground between complete withdrawal of influence from the near abroad and the total reintegration of the Soviet Union. He theorized that Russian minorities abroad could become the prime guarantors of Moscows political and economic influence over its neighbors. In some instances, it would be necessary for Russia to use military force to protect Russian minorities, though a clear mandate of a humanitarian mission would need to be established to legitimize military action (McKinnon 2014; Karaganov 1992).
The Kremlin never sanctioned the Karaganov doctrine, but Karaganovs concepts and predictions have nevertheless proven influential over a 20-year span. As head of the influential Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Karaganov was the only Russian considered among the top one hundred public intellectuals by Foreign Policy in 2005. He continues to be a leading voice in Russias foreign policy community and some
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commentators claim that Karaganov often speaks for Putin. Following the Crimea crisis in March 2014, a journalist asked Karaganov why his ideas were again at the center of Russian foreign policy discussions: Because almost everything I have said, happened (McKinnon 2014).
Indeed, the Yeltsin era in the 1990s saw Russian interventions in Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia under the auspices of humanitarian and peace-keeping missions, but the collapse of the Russian economy prevented the Karaganov doctrine from being fully implemented in Russias near abroad. Nonetheless, in the opening years of the Yeltsin presidency, the Karaganov doctrine established the language and narrative that would influence Russian foreign policy under Putin. The language of Russian compatriots, a loose characterization of Russian speakers abroad, became a political tool of the Yeltsin administration when negotiating within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and when deflecting criticism from Russian nationalists on the right. The narrative that former Soviet republics were persecuting Russian minorities crept into Russian diplomacy. The Karaganov doctrine surfaced in Russian domestic politics as well, pushing the concept of compatriots into the political mainstream.
Running for president in opposition to Yeltsin in 1993, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, founder of the ultranationalist LDPR, gained significant traction by pushing the plight of Russians in the near abroad into the campaign. Yeltsin responded to the attacks from the right by mimicking Zhirinovskys concerns and invoking the unfair treatment of Russian compatriots. He pressed an unsuccessful attempt to grant special status to Russians abroad as well as dual citizenship for ethnic Russians. The initiative failed under protest from Ukraine
7


and Kazakhstan (Erlanger 1993). In November of 1993, Kazakhstani president Nursultan
Nazarbayev made his apprehensions clear:
"Whenever one starts talking about the protection of Russians in Kazakhstan, not Russia, I recall Hitler, who began to support the Sudeten Germans at one time. I start feeling deep anxiety for Russians who live outside Russia. Really, they did not ask to be defended, did they? They are citizens of Kazakhstan (Grigas 2016).
Within two weeks, Nazarbayev responded in a more diplomatic fashion, recognizing the
future of Kazakhstan relied on good relations with Russia and noting that, The Constitution
of Kazakhstan does not provide for such things (Erlanger 1993). Still, it was evident that
Russian nationalism was a real threat to an independent Kazakhstan and Nazarbayev moved
to consolidate power and weaken the Russian elite in Kazakhstan. Only two former Soviet
republics agreed to dual citizenship: Turkmenistan (1993, withdrew from agreement 2003)
and Tajikistan (1995). Compatriots were never a high priority for Yeltsin, yet his presidency
was the starting point for compatriot rhetoric that President Putin formalized and expanded.
The Karaganov doctrine, the concept of compatriots, and nationalist rhetoric
concerning northern Kazakhstan has continued into the Putin administration. Zhirinovsky
still leads the LDPR 20 years later and routinely remarks about the falsehood of Kazakhstani
sovereignty, most recently in 2014 when he called for the whole of Central Asia to
reintegrate with Russia under the old Soviet capital city of Verny6 (now Almaty) (Voloshin
2014). While he is viewed as somewhat radical and clownish, some pundits claim
Zhirinovsky and his party act as a sounding board7 for testing nationalist ideas within the
greater Russian political scene (Osborn 2016). Zhirinovskys comments about Kazakhstan
6 Zhirinovsky was born and grew up in Verny (Almaty). He was declared persona non grata by Kazakhstan in 2005 for claiming Kazakhstani territory belonged to Russia.
7 Zhirinovsky repeatedly said Americans should vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 US election (Osborn 2016). Vladimir Putin never made such statements but U.S. intelligence agencies acknowledge that he worked to undermine the American election.
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are in line with the modern Eurasianists8, political thinkers led by Aleksandr Dugin who
advocate the creation of a supranational union integrating all the CIS countries, including
Kazakhstan (Diener 2015). Rumer (2002) claims Eurasianists are indeed part of Putins
inner circle but is careful to embrace them:
With respect to the Central Asian countries, Putin manifests tact and restraint: he does not give grounds to accuse him of irredentism. However, to judge from the opinion widespread in political circles his entourage supports the Eurasianists and is inclined to incorporate these ideas into the governments public relations activities (Rumer 2002).
There is conjecture (Schmidt 2015; Clover 2016; Morozov 2016) about how much influence Eurasianists like Aleksandr Dugin9 hold with Vladimir Putin. Shortly after being introduced to Dugin in the autumn of 2000, Vladimir Putin made his first trip to Kazakhstan where he said, Russia has always perceived itself as a Eurasian country. On the surface, these comments concern the economic integration of Russia with Kazakhstan and the rest of Central Asia. To Aleksandr Dugin, they were a call for the extension of Russia into a great Eurasian Empire. He described Putins remarks as, an epochal, grandiose revolutionary admission, which, in general, changes everything. (Clover 2016b).
Vladimir Putin does not publicly profess nationalist or radical Eurasianist sentiments, but the intellectuals that surround him suggest he is sympathetic to their ideas. He has employed Sergey Karaganov10 as a presidential advisor, met with Aleksandr Dugin on numerous occasions, admired Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as an intellectual influence, and has
8 See Morozova (2009) or Schmidt (2015) for a history and contemporary study of Eurasianism in Russian political thought and how it might affect foreign policy under Vladimir Putin.
9 See Shlapentokh (2007) for Dugin's views of the future of Central Asia and Eurasianism.
10 Karaganov is not a self-identified Eurasianist but routinely writes for the Council on Foreign Defense Policy in their terms. Some of his most recent articles include From East to West, or Greater Eurasia (October 2016^ A turn to Asia: the history of the political idea (January 2016), and Eurasian Way Out of the European Crisis (June 2015).
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looked the other way as Zhirinovsky and his LDPR deputies made repeated claims to Kazakhstans northern territories. Zhirinovsky represents ultra-nationalism and the re-imperialization of the Soviet sphere, Karaganov the pragmatic diplomat, and Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet dissident. All three men embody significantly different political views, but they symbolize a continuity in Russian nationalist thought about Russians in the near abroad that is alive and well in the Putin era. Additionally, they show that fears of Russian intervention in Kazakhstan among the media and Kazakhstani leaders are not alarmist, but instead have circulated for decades. Their opinions have become increasingly re-examined under the context of Russian intervention in Ukraine, and their voices noticed by pundits wary of the Putin turn in the Karaganov doctrine.
B. The Putin Turn: Formalization of the Karaganov Doctrine In the Yeltsin era, the Karaganov doctrine was relatively passive, incorporating compatriot language into rhetoric and creating policy toward ethnic Russians abroad that could not possibly be carried out under Russias reduced circumstances. Emboldened by oil and gas wealth, and perhaps a nationalist longing for the days of the Soviet Union11, the Karaganov doctrine has taken an active turn under President Putin, earning him the title among many Russians as the new gatherer of Russian lands12 and a spot on a new commemorative coin celebrating the Crimea annexation. Succeeding Yeltsin in 2000, President Putin has codified elements of the Karaganov doctrine in Russian law and policy and operationalized it through several interventions in former Soviet republics.
Nostalgia for the Soviet Union is often attributed to this Putin (2005) quote: "Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century."
12 'The gatherer of Russian lands" typically refers to Ivan the Great who tripled the size of the Russian state. Recently it has become a popular term used by Putin supporters to refer to the current Russian president. The state minted Commemorative coins bearing an image of Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Russian factory to mark the Kremlin's takeover of Crimea (Special Putin Coins 2014).
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Under President Putin, formal Russian policy on ethnic Russians abroad has been defined and expanded (Grigas 2016). In the first year of his presidency, Putin continued Yeltsins national security concept which strategically referenced protecting, the legitimate rights and interests of Russian citizens abroad, by taking political, economic, and other measures (National 2000). The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation in 2000 formally adopted the term compatriots into Russian foreign policy, which until then was only a rhetorical device. Passed in 2001, the Concept of Support to Compatriots Abroad by the Russian Federation in the Current Period greatly expanded the traditional notions of a compatriot. The definition allowed Russian policy to encompass and potentially protect anyone who is:
... constantly living abroad, but having historical, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and spiritual ties with Russia, trying to preserve their Russian authenticity and having a need to maintain contacts and cooperation with Russia (Grigas 2016).
This expanded characterization of compatriots provided legal pretext for Russia to intervene
in Georgia on behalf of the Abkhazian and South Ossetian minorities, who are not ethnic
Russians. These early steps in Putins presidency are only a fraction of the overall policy
changes that Moscow expanded and reinforced13 over the roughly 17 years Putin has been in
power. They have been the basis for projecting hard and soft power in the near abroad.
Under the pretext of this new formal policy, Russia intervened militarily in Georgia,
annexed Crimea, and supported pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Former Soviet
republics with large Russian minorities have watched these actions with growing concern.
Political scientist Daniel Treisman (2016) summed up the arguments for Russian motivation
in Foreign Affairs: (1) Putin as defender holds that the Crimea annexation was a response
13 See Grigas (2016) for a consolidated list and analysis of formal policy concerning ethnic Russians aboard under both Yeltsin and Putin.
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to the threat of NATOs expansion (Mearsheimer 2015; Walt 2015); (2) Putin as imperialist portrays the Crimea annexation as part of a re-conquest of the former Soviet Union territories (Barbashin and Thoburn 2014; Grigas 2016); (3) Putin as improviser argues the Crimea annexation was a hastily prepared response to the political crisis in Ukraine (Weiss 2015; Tierney 2014).
Though arguments differ on Russian motivations, it is evident the Karaganov doctrine has gone from being a passive tool under Yeltsin to overt intervention and possible annexation under Vladimir Putin. In the following chapter, I will give a brief history of the Russian minority in Kazakhstan, and update the current political and demographic considerations that offer insight to potential of a Kazakhstani separatist movement in northern Kazakhstan.
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CHAPTER III
HISTORY AND DEMOGRAPHICS OF NORTHERN KAZAKHSTAN
A. Early Soviet History
The first Russian immigration into Kazakhstans northern steppe began well before the Soviet era. Cossacks entered Central Asia in the eighteenth century and opened Kazakhstan for Russian settlers and former serfs to settle in Kazakh grazing lands. Russians gradually colonized Kazakhstan and Central Asia over the next two centuries, but not without significant rebellions against Imperial Russia in the 1770s, 1830s, and most infamously with the Basmachi revolt in 1916 (Peyrouse 2007). Initially governed from Turkestan,
Kazakhstan became a separate administrative state in 1925 as the Kazakh ASSR; in 1936, the USSR delineated Kazakhstans modern borders and incorporated it as a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). For many Russian nationalists like Solzhenitsyn, this recent creation of Kazakhstan illustrates its artificial nationality at the expense of traditionally Russian territory.
The Soviet era saw an increase of Russian immigration to Kazakhstan that systematically changed the ethnic makeup of the region. Successive famines (1922, 1932-1934) dramatically reduced the Kazakh population and the mass deportations of undesirables to Kazakhstan (1937-1944) (Russian, Koreans, Germans, Chechens, Ingush Crimean Tatars, Poles, Kalmyks, Karachays, and Balkars) diversified the region, particularly in the north (Kekilbayev 1998). The Virgin Lands Program in the 1950s Sovietized Kazakhstan through collectivization, industrialization, and an intense Russification of language and culture. Soviet settlers acting as the vanguards of the Virgin Lands Program settled in the northern oblasts and established new communities while maintaining ties to the
13


Russian homeland. At their peak in 1979, Russians represented 40 percent of the Kazakhstans population. By 1991, Kazakhs were a minority in their own country, constituting only 39 percent of the population, with a substantial Russian minority concentrated in the northern oblasts.
B. The Russian Question
The breakup of the Soviet Union dramatically changed the political landscape, creating a Russian question among newly independent states throughout Eurasia. Calling for the incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation in March of 2014, President Putin identified the collapse of the Soviet Union and the posed the question from the Russian point of view:
Millions of people went to bed in one country and awoke in different ones, overnight becoming ethnic minorities in former Union republics, while the Russian nation became one of the biggest, if not the biggest ethnic group in the world to be divided by borders (Putin 2014).
For the newly independent republics, the Russian minorities were a major impediment to
ethno-nationalism that promoted the titular (ethnic) identity of the new states (Surucu, 2002).
Rogers Brubaker14, a premier scholar on post-Soviet nationalization, notes:
Absolute and relative group size are chronic focuses of ethno political concern in many settings, but the large-scale Soviet-era migration of Russians and others into peripheral republics made this issue especially salient in the post-Soviet context, particularly in Estonia, Latvia and Kazakhstan. How could these states be the states of and for their eponymous nations when titulars comprised, according to the last Soviet census in 1989, just 40 percent of the population in Kazakhstan, a bare majority in Latvia and just over 60 percent in Estonia? In nationalist discourse, the very survival of the nation was at stake (Brubaker 2011).
The situation was not lost on President Nazarbayev either, who immediately recognized it as
problematic:
14 See Brubaker (1994,1996, 2011) for an authority on the nationalizing of post-Soviet states.
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God grant that no one should stir up Kazakhstan on ethnic grounds. It would be far worse than Yugoslavia (Nazarbayev (1991).
The demographic makeup of Kazakhstan in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet Union
justified Nazarbayevs concerns. Despite its name, which means land of Kazakhs,
Kazakhstan was the only independent republic in which the titular nationality (Kazakhs) was
a minority (Peyrouse 2007). The Russian question was very much alive in post-Soviet
Kazakhstan.
In 1991, over six million Russians lived in Kazakhstan, constituting 37.8 percent of the population, the largest percentage in any former Soviet republic. Counting Russians with other significant European (Germans, Ukrainians, Belarussians) and Asian (Uzbeks, Uighurs Koreans) minorities, Kazakhs only accounted for 39 percent of the total population in 1991. Of the ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan, 66 percent had been bom there, the highest percentages among the newly independent states. To make the situation more complicated, 70-80 percent of the Russian population lived in seven northern regions: Akmolinsk, Karaganda, Kokchetau, Kustanay, East Kazakhstan, North Kazakhstan, and Pavlodar (Peyrouse 2007). The majority of ethnic Kazakhs lived in the south along with the original capital Almaty, splitting ethnic groups along geographic and political lines. Despite the initial ethnic makeup, Russian emigration and Kazakh repatriation reversed demographic trends in the 1990s. Both were influenced Nazarbayevs Kazakhization policies.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, nearly all the post-Soviet republics embraced ethno-nationalism as the founding doctrine of the new states (Surucu, 2002). In Kazakhstan, this ambiguous process took the form of Kazakhization: the promotion of Kazakh language and culture; a shift in the balance of political power to Kazakhs; and the economic empowerment of Kazakhs (Peyrouse 2007; Smagulova 2008; Brubaker 2011;
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Olcott 2010). While Russian emigration from Kazakhstan began in the 1980s, the end of the Soviet Union and the proceeding Kazakhization intensified the exodus of ethnic Russians (Table 1). Between 1989 and 1999, an average of 150,000 Russians left Kazakhstan annually. With economic turmoil consuming the country and Kazakhization becoming more apparent, a peak of 300,000 Russians emigrated in 1994 (Peyrouse 2008). Emigration slowed after 2000 due to Kazakhstans economic development and President Nazarbayevs efforts to retain the highly skilled Russian workforce. Additionally, the assumption that the Russian question had been resolved blunted ethnic Russian fears of persecution (Peyrouse 2007).
As ethnic Russians left Kazakhstan, President Nazarbayev actively promoted repatriation of Kazakhs abroad to shift the ethnic balance in favor of Kazakhs, particularly in the northern border regions. Since 1992, 90 percent of the individuals who have received citizenship are Kazakhs (Turebekova 2016). Repatriated Kazakhs now constitute 5.5 percent of the total population and 3.3 million still live abroad and are eligible for return (Repatriated Kazakhs 2014). The Kazakhstani government streamlined Kazakh repatriation policies just months after the annexation of Crimea, leading some to speculate that the government is still trying to alter demographics in the north in favor of Kazakhs (Goble 2014). In April 2014, President Nazarbayev reduced the seven-year requirement to obtain Kazakhstani citizenship for returning Kazakhs to one year (Repatriated Kazakhs 2014). Kazakhstani government officials downplayed the significance of the policy change, stating it was based on earlier recommendations. However, the roll-out of new policy came two months after Russian intervention in Crimea and controversial statements by Eduard Limonov and Vladimir Zhirinovsky concerning Kazakhstans territorial integrity.
16


Ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan have diminished in numbers and influence since 1991.
Twenty-six years of Russian emigration and Kazakh repatriation reduced the percentage of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan from 37.8 percent in 1989 to 23.7 percent in 2009 (Table 1). Russian emigration continues today at a much slower pace than in the tumultuous 1990s. Around 19,000 Russians left Kazakhstan in the first nine months of 2015, a slight uptick from the previous year (Pannier 2016). The Kazakhstani government provided context for the numbers and suggested they are in line with previous trends; however, some Kazakhstani experts speculate they reveal an underlying attitude about a new decline in ethnic relations (Casey 2016b).
Despite emigration of the Russian minority, the remaining ethnic Russians continue to be concentrated in the northern oblasts. The physical division of the Russian minority (Figure 2) and their near majority in several regions (Table 2) are reminiscent of the situation in Crimea and much of eastern Ukraine. A further breakdown of the Russian minority shows they differ from the ethnic Russian Ukrainians, in that they are largely non-homogenous, depoliticized, and skeptical of separatist sentiment. A simple comparison of the numbers and geographic location of the Russian minority in Kazakhstan would suggest striking similarities with Ukraine. Brletich (2015) uses the Crimea model as a template for Russian political and expansionist ambitions in the former Soviet Union. The model contains three circumstances evident in the Ukraine case that might suggest potential Russian annexation in Kazakhstan, two of which involve Kazakhstans Russian minority: (1) deep historical and social links between Russia and the neighboring territory; (2) a population willing to submit to annexation (Brletich 2015). With these circumstances in mind, the following section will discuss the political power and influence of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan and the current
17


prospects for either an organic, or Russian directed, separatist movement in northern Kazakhstan.
TABLE 1. National Composition of Kazakhstan 1989,1999, 2009.
Nationalities 1989 1999 2009
Count % Count % Count %
Kazakhs 6,534,616 39.7 7,985,039 53.4 10,096,763 63.1
Russians 6,227,549 37.8 4,479,620 30.0 3793,764 23.7
Other 3,702,299 22.5 2,488,467 16.6 2,119,070 13.2
Total 16,464,464 100.0 14,953,126 100.0 16,009,597 100.0
Source: Diener (2015) Note: Changes in Kazakhstans territorial administrative structure have altered some of the population data from 1989 to 1999.
Source: Data collected from the CIA World Factbook. Created by the Washington Post.
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Petropavl
gandy<
Kyzylorda
wfiwy
Mangy stau
TZhambyl
Aktau
TURKMENISTAN
Percent European*
70-88
SO 69.9
30 49.9 I I 20 29.9
10 -19.9 0-9.9
* Russtam. Ukrainians. Beloruuam.
German*. Pole*. Moldovan* lithuonam, Greeki Itahom. fUJQortant and fngJkshmen.
FIGURE 2. Ethnic distribution per Oblast.
Source: Diener (2015) Data from Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan Committee on Statistics 2009.
TABLE 2. Number of Russians, Ukrainians, and Belorussians in Kazakhstans Regions, 2015 (In percentage of the population)_____________________________
Russians Ukrainians Belorussians
North Kazakhstan 49.90 4.44 1.03
Kostanay 41.89 8.75 1.56
East Kazakhstan 37.56 0.36 0.10
Karaganda 36.98 3.21 0.85
Pavlodar 36.90 4.72 0.64
Akmola 34.14 4.65 1.44
Almaty City 28.47 0.66 0.10
West Kazakhstan 20.63 1.60 0.31
Astana City 15.64 1.63 0.46
Almaty 14.60 0.24 0.03
Aktobe 12.30 2.82 0.15
Zhambyl 10.50 0.34 0.04
Magystau 6.36 0.33 0.04
Atyrau 5.80 0.14 0.04
South Kazakhstan 4.72 0.16 0.02
Kzyl-Orda 2.03 0.04 0.01
Kazakhstan 21.05 1.70 0.34
Source: Laruelle (2016)
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C. Russian Political Power and Separatism
Despite Nazarbayevs fears of an ethnic split, Russian nationalists have experienced declining power and influence in Kazakhstan. According to Peyrouse, the ineffectiveness of the Russian minority to mobilize was due to, the non-homogeneous nature of Russians in Kazakhstan, the development of non-ethnic allegiances, and the difficulties the Russian leaders in choosing between the defense of the political rights and the cultural rights of Russians (Peyrouse 2007). Following the annexation of Crimea, one might expect a rise in Russian grass root activity, yet Russian political activism in Kazakhstan has remained muted (Laruelle 2016). Russians have fared poorly in mobilizing political power before and after the Crimea crisis largely due to the authoritarian policies of President Nazarbayev that have reduced the democratic means in which Russians could organize.
In the early 1990s, the Kazakhstani government implemented a series of policies restricting Russian participation in the political process. Early attempts to form Russian or Cossacks political parties faced strict registration procedures firmly controlled by President Nazarbayev. In 1994, under the guise of ethnic harmony, the government banned political parties based on religion and ethnicity. This action deprived the Russian minority of two fundamental organizing tools: ethnic Russian heritage and Christian orthodoxy.
The March 1994 Parliamentary elections further separated ethnic Russians from political power. Due to Nazarbayevs recruitment efforts and poor Russian mobilization, of the candidates participating, 566 were Kazakh and 128 were Russian, even though voting-age Russians outnumbered Kazakhs (Kaiser and Chinn 1995). Although many Russian organizations such as Lad and several Cossack organizations identified with other registered opposition parties, the increasing authoritarian nature of the state made this association trivial
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(Peyrouse 2007). The proportion of Russians in the Ministry dropped sharply, from 43 percent 1989 to 14 percent in 1992. By 2002, only two out of 14 regional governors were ethnic Russians: East Kazakhstan and Kokchutau regions (Peyrouse 2008). In 1998, Nazarbayev moved the capital to Astana in the north. The Kazakhstani government identified earthquakes in Almaty as the reason for the move, but scholars view the new capital as a symbolic action to promote the sovereignty of Kazakhstan over a region that is predominately non-Kazakh (Wolfel 2010; Koch 2012).
Nazarbayev controlled or redirected Russian nationalism through two means: using the police arm of the state to suppress any hints of agitation, and funneling Russian political power into political parties that supported his administration. The creation of the Assembly of Peoples to defend minority rights offered the Russian minority an outlet for political participation but the organization was symbolic and over representative of other smaller minorities. Nazarbayev forced Russians leaders who expected to benefit from the privatization of the countrys national industries to align with him politically. Russian political influence was largely broken after independence, though Russian nationalist groups like Lad and the Ust-Kamenogorsk Cossack organization often spoke about separating from Kazakhstan and rejoining Russia during the 1990s (Peyrouse 2007). The Kazakhstani government arrested many leaders of these organizations as symbolic acts of authority culminating in the suppression of the so-called Pugachev Rebellion in 1999.
The popular myth of the Pugachev Rebellion as a serious threat to the state is due the governments embellishment of events. Additionally, the Kazakhstani authorities exploited the rebellion to send a clear message that political mobilization by the Russian minority was futile. Reporting of the rebellion was vague, and its leaders and the local
21


authorities disputed the ultimate goal of the conspirators (Commercio 2004). What is clear is
that the medias characterization of the separatist attempt greatly benefited the Kazakhstani
government to the detriment of Russian political organizations.
The Pugachev Rebellion occurred in the Ust-Kamenogorsk region of eastern
Kazakhstan. Local police authorities arrested 22 conspirators (13 Russians) for plotting a
violent seizure of power to create an autonomous Russian republic in East Kazakhstan. The
leader of the Ust-Kamenogorsk group, Viktor Vladimirovich Kazimirchuk, called himself
Pugachev after Emelian Pugachev, the Don Cossack who led the uprising against the Tsarist
regime in 1773 (Commercio 2004). Kazimirchuks rebellion however was not a rebellion,
but rather a handful of discontents with wild aspirations. With the arrest of Kazimirchuk and
his followers (many of whom were unemployed and desperate), Kazakhstani authorities
seized two hunting rifles, gun cartridges, a grenade, and a few billy clubs. With this arsenal,
Kazakhstani authorities claimed the terrorist group was:
... preparing the seizure of buildings housing the oblast governor administration, the Department of State National Security, and the Department of Internal Affairs. The main goal was the organization of a rebellion in order to separate the region from Kazakhstan, and to organize a Russian Land republic here. At the time of the arrest of the group in the insurance office, the scenario of a coup was being played out Commercio 2004).
It is easy to cite the Pugachev Rebellion as a case study of Russian separatism in northern Kazakhstan, however a deeper academic analysis by Commercio (2004) shows the rebellion was badly conceived and merely a symbolic act that had no potential for success. Even the symbolism of the rebellion was questionable. In a survey conducted in 2000, only 20 percent of Russian residents of Ust-Kamenogorsk considered the Pugachev Rebellion as a serious attempt to seize power and over 46 percent considered it an attempt by conspirators to gain notoriety (Commercio 2014). Kazimirchuk made wild claims that he enjoyed the support of
22


local Russians and the leadership in Moscow. While Russia requested extradition of the conspirators and offered minimal legal aid, they declined to support Kazimirchuk and his men any further (Pannier and Karabek 2014).
The Pugachev Rebellion was the only attempt of armed Russian opposition to the Kazakhstani government, and authorities subsequently exaggerated events to quell separatist sentiment. In the 1990s, the Russian minority lacked significant political power, but still maintained an activist element that pushed back against Kazakhization and fought for political and cultural rights. After 2000, the Kazakhstani government effectively silenced the activist element within the Russian minority through a demonstration of power. The suppression of the Pugachev Rebellion stood as an example to the Russian minority of the seriousness of the Kazakhstani authorities. In the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, the state began a renewed effort to silence dissent and make an example of those who express separatist sympathies.
D. Crackdown
Government arrests after 2000 largely concentrated on Islamic fundamentalists and anti-government activists; however, a crackdown on Russian separatism emerged after the Crimea crisis. A few days after the Russian intervention in Crimea in February 2014, Vladimir Zhirinovsky remarked that Kazakhstan should rejoin Russia as a Central Asian Federal Region and Eduard Limonov claimed northern Kazakhstani oblasts were Russian, calling for their return to Russia through annexation. In April, the president of the Republic of Khakassia, Vladimir Shtygashev, added to the chorus by making his declaration that the 1936 delineation had transferred historically Russian territory to Kazakhstan. Remarks by Kazakhstani senators to TengriNews show that separatism was on the minds of Kazakhstani
23


senators when they passed Article 180 to the penal code (Tashkinbayev 2014). The article strengthened the penal code by authorizing up to seven years in prison for public appeals to separatism (Punishment for Separatism 2014). In addition, senators added an article that allowed the government to block internet sites or cell phones without a warrant and streamlined the repatriation process for Kazakhs.
Kazakhstani authorities used the new laws to punish separatist sentiment. In March of 2015, the police arrested Tatyana Shevtsova-Valova for internet posts calling for Russia to occupy Kazakhstan; Pro-Russian separatist blogger Igor Sychev for posting an online poll about northern Kazakhstan joining Russia; and Yermek Tachibekov for inciting inter-ethnic hatred (Mirovalev 2015; Kazakh Court 2015). Nor were these arrests isolated cases: the state arrested ethnic Russian Igor Chuprina after calling for northern Kazakhstan to break away and reintegrate with Russia, as well as Serikzhan Mambetalin and Yermek Narymbayev for inciting ethnic strife and insulting the honor and dignity of the Kazakh nation. (Kazakhstan Conviction 2016; Alkhabayev, 2015).
Kazakhstan has also pursued citizens who have fought alongside pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. In December 2015, Yevgeny Vdovenko was jailed for fighting with Russian separatists in Ukraine (Kazakh Citizen 2015). Kazakhstan has hunted Nurlan Igenov since 2014 and Maksim Yermolov since 2016; both have eluded capture but authorities accuse them of fighting with Russian separatists (Casey 2014; "Kazakhstan Hunts2016). These cases have been highly covered by the Kazakhstani media. Despite most the arrests including little more than blog posts or Facebook musings, these cases clearly show the Kazakhstani authorities are concerned about the growth of Russian separatism. None
24


represented a significant threat to the state, but their prosecution serves to warn the Russian minority in Kazakhstan that the government does not tolerate separatist sentiment.
Yet there is little evidence of significant discord among the Russian minority that could lead to an armed rebellion. Capturing the attitude and sympathies of the Russian minority is a difficult task. Public polling is rare in Kazakhstan and the authoritarian makeup of the government will hardly allow questions asking for opinions concerning Russian separatism or ethnic conflict. Despite the lack of official surveys and polling, informal canvasing by reporters for Reuters (2016), The Guardian (2016), and Al Jazeera (2014) offer a snapshot of Kazakhstans northern oblasts.
Focusing primarily on the northern Kazakhstani cities of Petropavlovsk and Kostanay following the Crimea crisis, the commentary shows a heightened awareness of the potential of Russian intervention among the cities residents. Despite this trend, none professes overt separatist sentiments and few deem the prospects of Russian intervention as likely. While many ethnic Russians support stronger economic and political ties to Russia, this is far from a call to arms but rather a natural tendency to favor their former homeland. Additionally, Reuters reporting suggests, There is a broad consensus among the city's Russians (an estimated 70 percent of the population) that the land historically belongs to Kazakhs, and they praise the country's current leadership for its efforts to maintain Russians' rights there (Kucera 2014). Reuters interviewed the head of the Cossack Association in Kazakhstan, Yuri Zakharov. Cossack organizations have been leaders in separatist movements in Ukraine, but Zakharov offered praise for Nazarbayev and stressed cooperation with ethnic Kazakhs. Weve lived together for 300 years, we understand one another, he
25


said. Ethnopsychologically, were the same: Both Kazakhs and Russians are tolerant, calm.
If we have something to eat, something to drink, were not going to fight (Kucera 2014).
Although resentment of the language and cultural policies of Kazakhization persist
among ethnic Russians, this resentment seems manageable. In his assessment of the Russian
minority in Kazakhstan, Diener characterizes the situation as such:
The Russian-speaking populations of Kazakhstan, and specifically the ethnic Russians of the northern oblasts, have had 25 years to either migrate or agitate for separatism/irredentism. As suggested above, the vast majority of those currently living in the north have done neither. Most regard the prospect of Russian intervention as a safeguard against potential Kazakh nationalist extremism in the aftermath of Nazarbayevs death. They retain the option of migration should conditions worsen, while continuing to negotiate their place within Kazakhstans ambiguous nationalization process (Diener 2015).
Brletich (2015), Laruelle (2016) and Peyrouse (2007) share in Dieners assessment of the Russian minority in Kazakhstan. No potential short-term threat of an organic separatist movement in northern Kazakhstan exists, nor is there evidence the Russian minority would be receptive to Russian intervention. However, the situation of the Russian minority in precrisis Ukraine followed a similar line of assessment.
Like Kazakhstan, Ukraine avoided armed ethnic conflict before 2013 despite its well-known ethnic and political division. Ukraine embarked on its own nationalization process that created similar resentment among ethnic Russians, yet moderation prevailed. Kuzio (2015) notes the various Ukrainian and Russian nationalist groups, co-existed uneasily but largely peacefully until the 2013-2014 Euromaidan protests. Various polls and interviews conducted before and after the start of the Crimea crisis show little support for separatism among citizens in eastern and southern Ukraine (Balzer 2015; Chaisty and Whitefield 2015; Katchanovski 2014; Knott 2015). Two political trigger events were essential in widening the ethnic split in Ukraine and prompting Russian intervention.
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The Euromaidan revolution in late 2013 and Ukraines westward movement toward
NATO and the European Union escalated the Crimea crisis. Ukraines off and on flirtation with NATO and European Union membership threatened to alter regional power dynamics in a country deemed strategically important to Russian national security (Mearsheimer 2014). The Euromaidan protests beginning in November of 2013 magnified this long-term problem and led to a more pressing short-term trigger: the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, as Putin made the decision to intervene in Crimea the day after Yanukovych fled the capital (Putin reveals 2015). To return to the Voshchanov statement in 1991, both Ukraines slow move toward the west and the Euromaidan revolution were violations of the condition of allied relations in the eyes of the Russian government. Despite initial observations of Russia and Kazakhstans relationship, warning signs are emerging in both the short-term and long-term future of Kazakhstan.
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CHAPTER IV
TRIGGERING EVENTS AND COLOR REVOLUTION: THE PROBLEM OF
NAZARBAYEV
Kazakhstan emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union ethnically divided and in economic turmoil. President Nursultan Nazarbayev is perhaps the most successful of the Central Asian leaders in managing the transition and implementing a nation-building program resulting in relative economic and political stability for Kazakhstan (Ambrosio 2014). Through increasingly authoritarian means and deft political maneuvering,
Nazarbayev also negotiated a fine line between promoting the Kazakh identity of the new state and mitigating potential Russian agitation in northern Kazakhstan. He was instrumental in implementing what he calls a multi-vector foreign policy, which satisfied the need for international partners, while still maintaining necessary ties to Russia. His importance to the development of Kazakhstan cannot be understated and nor can the urgency for a clear succession process for the 76-year-old president.
The significance of Nazarbayev to the development of Kazakhstan is not lost on Vladimir Putin. At the Seliger Student Forum in 2014, a student asked the Russian president a question pertaining to the future of Kazakhstan. While overstating the threat of Kazakh nationalism, the student also suggested President Nazarbayev remained the only restraining factor to a Ukraine scenario occurring in Kazakhstan. The Russian government often plants questions to President Putin, so it is worth mentioning the question in its entirety:
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Everybody is talking about nationalism in Ukraine nowadays. However, we are concerned about a different situation, namely the growth of nationalistic sentiments in Kazakhstan, in the south of that country in particular. In our view the acting president, Mr. Nazarbayev is the main restraining factor here. Our question is should we expect developments in Kazakhstan to follow the Ukrainian scenario should Mr. Nazarbayev leave his post? Is there any strategy designed to prevent this? What are the prospects for Eurasian integration? (Seliger 2014)
President Putins answer sent alarm bells throughout the Kazakhstani leadership. Not only
did it call Kazakhstans independence into question but also suggested Nazarbayev was the
only reason the country had held together:
First, President Nazarbayev is alive and well, and, thank god, has no intention of resigning; however, being the wise and experienced leader that he is, he is always concerned about the future of his country. ..I already said that he has performed a unique feat: he has created a state on a territory where there has never been a state. The Kazakhs never had a state of their own, and he created it. In this sense, he is a unique person on the post-Soviet space and in Kazakhstan (Seliger 2014).
The comments received diplomatic inquiries from the Kazakhstani government, and ordinary
Kazakhs called for people to send textbooks to Vladimir Putin to refresh his memory about
Kazakh history (Kazakhstan MP 2014; Putin Downplays 2015). President Nazarbayev
arranged the celebration of the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate; a clear rebuke to
Putins own version of history.
There is a kernel of truth to Putins statement, whether leaders in Kazakhstan accept it or not. Before Russian colonization, Kazakhstan was never a state in the traditional sense of the word. Nazarbayev reluctantly admitted this much, The statehood of the Kazakhs dates to those times... It may not have been a state in the modem understanding of this term, in the current borders. .. .but it is important that the foundation was laid then (Kazakh statehood 2014). The development of Kazakhstan as a modern state has transpired under President Nazarbayevs leadership, which has required that he maintain cordial relations with Russia. The fall of the pro-Russian government in Ukraine triggered Russian action in Crimea.
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When considering possible trigger events in Kazakhstan, President Nazarbayevs succession is perhaps the most important.
This chapter will explore Nazarbayevs importance to Kazakhstan and the crisis that might emerge in his absence. The same Cossack leader Yuri Zakharov who praised Nazarbayev for his leadership also warned of potential trouble, As long as he (Nazarbayev) is president, there wont be any big problems.. .but if, God forbid, something happens to him, there is no guarantee. There will be trouble, Im sure of it (Kucera 2014). Nazarbayev has led Kazakhstan as a nation-builder and peace-maker and his departure will be critical.
His Soviet roots and Kazakh ethnic identity are significant to understanding why Nazarbayev has been an effective voice of moderation in Kazakhstans development.
A. Nazarbayev the Nation Builder
First, Nursultan Nazarbayev is the only president the country has ever known and goes by the official title father of Kazakhstan (Issacs 2010). Son of a nomadic Kazakh,
Nazarbayev was a steel worker who rose through the ranks of the communist apparatus. His strong affiliation with the communist party made him an unlikely candidate to lead a post-Soviet republic. Nazarbayev became prime minister of the Kazakhstan ASSR in 1984 and then president in 1990. He gained prominence as a moderating figure when Mikhail Gorbachev selected Nazarbayev to replace Gennady Kolbin, an ethnic Russian, after Kazakh nationalist protests of his appointment led to bloodshed (Olcott 2010). Considered by Mikhail Gorbachev for first Vice President of the Soviet Union, Nazarbayev turned down the offer. He negotiated for the preservation of the Soviet Union in one form or another, and as a result, Kazakhstan became the last republic to leave the USSR. As president of the newly independent Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev faced two daunting challenges to building a nation:
30


preventing the fracture of Kazakhstan along ethnic lines, and reversing the economic turmoil that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The first challenge for President Nazarbayev was to build a viable state amid political and economic turmoil in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. Although Kazakhstan is widely recognized as the most successful of the republics in Central Asia in terms of stability and economic growth, this success was not a forgone conclusion. Kazakhstan began independence as the largest former Soviet republic, yet little semblance of an administration to build upon existed. Its near 40 percent Russian minority constituted a potential source of ethnic strife and Russian irredentism. Government institutions were weak at best and Kazakhstan suffered severely from the economic collapse that followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 1989, 5 percent of Kazakhstanis lived below the poverty line; by 1990 that figure was over 50 percent (Peyrouse 2007). President Nazarbayev negotiated the transition to independence through charisma, soft authoritarianism, and compromise (Isaacs 2010). In doing so, he created an irreplaceable father figure and an increasingly authoritarian government that has no obvious or stated plan of succession.
Though Kazakhization is a continuous project, the nationalization process has so far avoided the ethnic entanglements other Central Asian states have experienced. Rogers Brubaker attributes this to Kazakhstans recognition of its ethnic minorities and the passive implementation of Kazakhization. Although the Baltic States and other former Soviet republics pursued aggressive ethnic nationalism in language, citizenship, and political participation that often isolated ethnic Russians, Kazakhstan slowly introduced Kazakhization policies using the rhetoric of ethnic harmony (Brubaker 2011). Nazarbayev was quick to embrace the Soviet legacy of cultural plurality to suppress Russian and Kazakh
31


nationalists while concurrently enacting policies that would slowly reverse Russification. Characterized by Smith (1998) as nationalization by stealth this strategy avoided explicit nationalizing policies, while quietly promoting the advancement of ethnic Kazakhs in economic and political life.
The careful implementation of Kazakhization is attributable to President Nazarbayev, as is the strategic ambiguity between civic and ethno-nationalism (Beachain and Kevlihan 2013). With one foot in the Soviet past and the other firmly in the future, Nazarbayev celebrated the cultural diversity of Kazakhstan in speeches and through the Assembly of Peoples, while passively enacting Kazakhization. The simultaneous promotion of civic and ethno-nationalism may seem contradictory, but has provided ethnic harmony and has improved the long-term prospects of a Kazakh-centered state. The most obvious example is the promotion of Kazakh as the official language.
The government, led by Nazarbayev, passed a variety of laws that established knowledge of Kazakh as a requirement for government jobs, higher education, and the presidency (Fierman 2009; Peyrouse 2009; Brubaker 2011). Representatives also passed legislation to change from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet by 2025. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the government has rarely enforced these and the policy changes are largely symbolic. Russian is still widely spoken, and those ethnic Russians who see the change in language policies as detrimental to their future prospects in Kazakhstan have already emigrated. Still, the Kazakh language has increased in usage and prestige, and many Russians who remain recognize the need to assimilate to the new reality. While not altering the day-to-day life of the average ethnic Russian or Kazakh, Nazarbayev established Kazakh as the future language of the state.
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Nazarbayev has threaded the needle between Kazakhization and the maintenance of ethnic harmony in the nationalization of language but also political life and economics (Beachain and Kevlihan 2013; Brubaker 2011). As previously shown, his authoritarian regime has de-politicized the Russian minority in Kazakhstan and few ethnic Russians feel persecuted in Kazakhstani society. Although rapid privatization and nepotism transferred major industries and natural resources to Kazakhs since independence, enough oil money and quality jobs are available to ethnic Russians to quell any resentment. Russian emigration and high Kazakh birthrates furthered the demographic shift, and Kazakhization, though not complete, has been reasonably successful.
Nazarbayev, as the primary power holder and decision maker in Kazakhstan since its birth, is responsible for the negative aspects of his authoritarian regime but also the relative stability and economic success of the nation building process. The chairman of the national bank, Daniyar Akishev framed it this way, All Kazakhstans achievements since independence are inextricably linked to the first president of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev (Note to self 2016). His leadership style is a representation of his Soviet roots but also his ethnic Kazakh identity. The authoritarian nature of his government is often forgiven by Kazakhstanis as a necessity and the majority agree with Nazarbayevs stated sentiment, We say the economy first, then politics (Loktev 2010). When President Nazarbayev leaves office, the moderating figure in the nationalization process of Kazakhstan will leave as well. Another component of Kazakhstan stable development, its multi-vector foreign policy and Kazakhstans relationship with Russia, are also attributable to President Nazarbayev.
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B. Nazarbayev the Peacemaker
Positioned in Central Asia as a Eurasian bridge between east and west, Kazakhstan and President Nazarbayev pursued what he calls a multi-vector foreign policy, balancing geopolitical relationships between Russia, China, and the United States. In actuality, Kazakhstan has a much deeper relationship with Russia, owing to its economic integration, history, and security concerns over its large Russian minority. Nazarbayev has maintained this special relationship with Russia, while simultaneously pursuing other economic partnerships and successfully positioned Kazakhstan as a responsible arbitrator in the international community. The slow movement of Ukraine toward NATO and the European Union and away from the Russian orbit contributed to the escalation of the Crimea crisis.
The maintenance of Kazakhstans delicate foreign policy has been a mainstay of President Nazarbayev and his departure could signal a similar change in direction.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many former Soviet republics faced a choice in the direction of their foreign policy. The Baltic States immediately chose economic and security integration with the West, while others like Belarus and Kazakhstan moved toward reintegration with Russia and a broader Eurasian concept. Kazakhstans geographic position and economic dependence on Russian left Nazarbayev with little choice but integration:
After independence, Russia became more than just a neighboring state. It is time to accept the simple fact that partnership with Russia will be one of the critical prerequisites for the strategic security of our country in the next century
(Nazarbayev 1999).
For Nazarbayev, the push for reintegration and partnership with Russia was born of economic and strategic realities. Kazakhstan faced economic collapse as much of its industry
34


and manufacturing was heavily reliant on integration with the Soviet Union. In this context, Nazarbayev championed economic Eurasianism and proposed several extensive integration projects (Vinokurov 2010). Kazakhstan joined the Commonwealth of Independent States five days after declaring independence. The CIS began bilateral integration efforts between Kazakhstan and Russia and led to negotiations of the Customs Union between Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan in 1994. Nazarbayev was also the first to introduce the concept of the Eurasian Union in the early 1990s, an economic bloc of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan that was finally realized in 2015 largely due to Nazarbayevs efforts.
Nazarbayev has pursued foreign direct investment to build Kazakhstans energy economy. Recognizing the need for technical expertise in exploiting Kazakhstans massive oil reserves, President Nazarbayev sought out new partners for investment outside of Russia through:
... attracting the attention of other large countries to Kazakhstan and its role as a world supplier of fuel. In this context, investments in our oil and gas industry will come from the United States, Russia, China, Japan, and Western European countries, among others (Nazarbayev, 1997).
These partnerships have proved invaluable in providing foreign direct investment to Kazakhstan. American and Kazakh consortiums were, and will continue to be, fundamental to the development of Kazakhstans rich oil fields, as is Chinese investment in mining industry and the Silk Road Economic Belt. China has passed Russia as Kazakhstans primary trading partner, receiving 20 percent of its exports and providing 18 percent of Kazakhstans imports in 2015 (MIT 2015). Nazarbayev views economic relationships with China, Russia, and the West as essential to integration with the world economy, a theme he regularly promotes (Ambrosio and Lange 2014).
35


The president has also sought limited military and security agreements outside of Russia. Kazakhstan cooperated with the American war effort in Afghanistan by allowing for the transit of American troops and equipment, hosted former Guantanamo bay prisoners, and received Iranian uranium as part of the Iran Nuclear deal (Standish 2016). Kazakhstan has developed security agreements with China regarding terrorism and cooperated with extraditing Uighur separatists to Chinese authorities. For Kazakhstan, these new relationships mean Russia is a strategic alliance but not its sole international partner (Vinokurov 2010). Nazarbayev has also cultivated a reputation as mediator in the international community, while keeping his important relationship with Russia intact.
Much of the international community views Nazarbayevs Kazakhstan as an honest broker in conflict resolution as evidence by Kazakhstans ascendency to numerous important positions and Nazarbayevs role as a mediator between Russia and other countries. In 2010, Kazakhstan was the first former Soviet country to chair the OSCE and in 2016 won a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council. Upon independence, Kazakhstan renounced the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world and has since been a leader in nuclear nonproliferation (Standish 2016). The World Assembly of Turkic Peoples nominated Nazarbayev for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his leadership, and he has received praise from American experts in nonproliferation such as Richard Lugar and former President Obama (Orange 2010; Remarks by 2012). This is an image Nazarbayev has carefully constructed since the beginning of independence to solidify Kazakhstani sovereignty and legitimize his regime within the international community.
Nazarbayev acts as a mediator for countries seeking rapprochement with Vladimir Putin and Moscow. For example, Nazarbayev mediated between Turkey and Russia over the
36


downed jet in Syria, between Ukraine and Russia in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, and hosted Syrian peace talks in Astana between Russia, Iran, and Turkey (Barnard and Saad 2017). During the Crimea crisis, maintaining Kazakhstans image as an independent arbitrator became increasingly difficult. Nazarbayevs initial statements seemed to lend support to Russias action in Ukraine:
Kazakhstan, as a strategic partner, treats Russias position, protecting the rights of national minorities in Ukraine, and also the interests of its security, with understanding (Lillis 2014)
However, Nazarbayev also offered support for Ukraines sovereignty and advocated for the:
...peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine on the basis of the preservation of sovereignty in line with the norms of international law (Lillis 2014).
While seemingly contradictory at times, Nazarbayevs careful balance between Kazakhstans
special relationship with Russia and its own independent voice is clear in these statements.
Despite the growth of Kazakhstans multilateral relationships, Russian remains central in
Nazarbayevs mind when making foreign policy decisions.
Despite the leadership changes in China and Russia during Nazarbayevs 26-year
rule, foreign policy in Kazakhstan has remained remarkably consistent. In an analysis of
speeches between 1997 and 2014, Nazarbayev has focused on three issues: Kazakhstans
geopolitical situation and position as a crossroads in Central Asia; the multi-vector foreign
policy with a heightened respect for the special relationship with Russia; and the need for
Kazakhstan to integrate into the global economy (Ambrosio and Lange 2014). Russia has
never sought leadership changes in Kazakhstan nor made overtures to Kazakhstans Russian
minority because Russia has always had a loyal partner to work with in President
Nazarbayev. Yet without a clear succession process, Kazakhstans position as a strategic
Russian partner is not guaranteed.
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C. Nazarbayev the Elder
Nazarbayev is the last holdover of the communist era remaining in power in the post-Soviet states. As a leader, he has successfully moderated Kazakhstans development as an effective nation-builder and peace-maker. Yet, his rule has established an authoritarian, personalist regime dependent entirely on his leadership and void of a clear succession plan (Ambrosio 2015). The political transition of the 76-year-old Nazarbayev has been a source of constant speculation and has dominated discussion of Kazakhstans domestic and international politics. Russia has a keen interest in who runs Kazakhstan as a geostrategic partner in Central Asia, as shown by Putins remarks to the Seliger Student Forum (See Page 28). When considering possible trigger events to Russian intervention in Kazakhstan, it is important to consider the history of authoritarian succession in post-Soviet states, the potential threat of a color revolution in Kazakhstan, and the current ambiguity of Nazarbayevs transition plans.
The way in which authoritarian regimes organize power is a critical factor in succession processes. Geddes (1999) categorizes authoritarian regimes by the three ways in which the state arranges authority: (1) personalist regimes are centered on an individual and power is based upon relations with that individual; (2) single-party systems have an organized political party that concentrates power; and (3) military governments maintain power through their armed forces (Ambrosio 2015). The Kazakhstani military plays only a small part in Nazarbayevs regime, and although the presidents party, Nur Otan, is the only significant political party in Kazakhstan, it exists only as a necessary bureaucracy. President Nazarbayevs authoritarian government is a personalist regime that relies heavily on his
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charisma and popularity. The personalist nature of Nazarbayevs government has only grown with time.
The celebration of Nazarbayev has given rise to a cult of personality in which museums, songs, statues, and banknotes are dedicated to his leadership (Lillis 2012). Astana shares the same birthday as Nazarbayev and there is a movement to rename the capital after President Nazarbayev (Sorbello 2016). In the most recent presidential election in August of 2015 in which no political opposition existed, Nazarbayev won 98 percent of the vote, for which he apologized:
I apologize that for super-democratic states such figures are unacceptable. But I could do nothing. If I had interfered, I would have looked undemocratic, right? (Nurshayeva and Solovyov 2015)
Personalist regimes have had the least success in transitioning authority and for a president increasingly identified with the state, Nazarbayevs succession is a growing concern.
Authoritarian governments have a mixed record of transferring power peacefully. When considering regime transitions, of the 340 authoritarian leadership transitions between 1946 and 2009, 47 percent resulted in the fall of the regime (Ezrow and Frantz 2011). The successes of regime transitions in post-Soviet states are equally mixed. In his assessment of leadership transitions in post-Soviet states that were neither free nor fair (Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia), Ambrosio (2015) concludes that only Russia and Armenia can be considered successful. In the three that were not (Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia), it is necessary to add to Ambrosios analysis that all three experienced color revolutions and ethnic strife that significantly altered their relations with Russia and led to intervention on some level.
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Democratic revolutions have swept many pro-Russian leaders from power and
replaced them with Western-leaning reformers prompting a Russian response. The Rose
(Georgia), Orange (Ukraine), and Tulip (Kyrgyzstan) Revolutions are associated with their
pro-Western orientation aimed at promoting democracy and developing closer
relationships with Western institutions like NATO or the EU. President Putin has presented
them as threats to traditional Russian spheres of influence:
In the modem world extremism is being used as a geopolitical instrument and for remaking spheres of influence. We see what tragic consequences the wave of so-called color revolutions led to (Korsunskaya 2014).
The Rose Revolution in Georgia brought pro-Westerner Mikhail Saakashvili to power and he
immediately began pushing for membership with NATO and the European Union.
Saakashvilis military operation to retake South Ossetia resulted in an overwhelming Russian
military response. Ukraines Orange revolution was a similar pro-Westem movement and is
seen as a precursor to the Euromaidan Revolution in 2013 that ultimately led to the
annexation of Crimea. While not precipitating a Russian military intervention, the Tulip
Revolution in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 led to the election of reformer President Bakiyev, who
eventually fled the country in 2010 after riots and protests that commentators frequently
attribute to Russian influence (Gorecki 2010; Shuster 2010; Cooley 2012). Recognizing the
threat of revolutions to his hold on power, President Nazarbayev has been an outspoken critic
of democratic movements and has made a concerted effort to suppress any sign of them in
Kazakhstan.
Nazarbayev is personally popular, but his presidency has been associated with the kind of corruption, nepotism, and authoritarianism that triggered revolutions in other former
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Soviet states. In June of 2016, Nazarbayev warned of growing signs of revolution in Kazakhstan:
We all know that the so-called color revolutions use a variety of different methods and begin with contrived rallies, murder, and the desire to seize power. These methods have manifested themselves in our country. In countries where these revolutions succeeded, there is no longer a working state and stability, only rampant poverty and banditry that create conditions for the emergence of extremists and terrorists (Putz 2016).
His remarks came in reaction to demonstrations criticizing the privatization of Kazakhstani farmland (Auyezov 2016b). Nazarbayev proceeded to lump the protests in with a series of shootings by Islamic extremists a few days prior, as a fifth column threatening the state (Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev 2016). Although Kazakhstan has avoided major ethnic clashes like those that led to the turnover of power in Kyrgyzstan, occasional incidents like a Kazakh-Chechen clash outside Almaty in 2007 or ethnic Tajiks-Kazakh clashes in 2015 do exist (Lillis 2015). Nazarbayevs concerns of ethnic conflict and revolution in Kazakhstan are exaggerated; however, the uncertainty concerning his succession and the makeup of his regime amplify these variables.
Questions about Nazarbayevs succession are a routine occurrence in the political life of Kazakhstan. Rumors persist about Nazarbayevs health ever since unconfirmed reports surfaced that a German hospital treated him for prostate cancer in 2011 (Brauer 2011; Kilner 2011). Speculation is also fueled by Nazarbayevs refusal to talk about succession and his tendency to reshuffle his cabinet to ensure no one person accumulates too much power within his vast patronage system (Auyezov 2016c; "Kazakhstan: A Cabinet 2007; Ambrosio 2015). The reshuffling even extends to Nazarbayevss family. In 2007, President Nazarbayevs son-in-law Rakhat Aliyev criticized the president for changing the constitution to allow him to become president for life. Shortly after, the government accused Aliyev of
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corruption and murder and he fled to Austria where he eventually died of apparent suicide (Lyman 2015). Ailyevs wife and President Nazarbayevs daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, has only recently emerged from the scandal having served as deputy prime minister and having been appointed to the senate.
Nazarbayev has several options to hand over power. These include the Yeltsin option of appointing a successor from outside his inner circle or altering the Nur-Otan party so Kazakhstan operates more like a single-party system (Ambrosio 2015). There is some recent evidence that Nazarbayev is contemplating empowering Nur Otan. In January 2017, Nazarbayev announced he would delegate some of his sweeping powers to parliament and allow them to form a cabinet. Nazarbayev proclaimed:
The point of the proposed reform is in a serious redistribution of powers and
democratization of the political system as a whole (Auyezov 2017).
Evidence for a hereditary handover also exists. Dariga Nazarbayeva, the presidents daughter, has made political comeback in parliament after falling out of favor in 2007, and the media speculates she is Nazarbayevs chosen successor (Gizitdinov 2016). The successful power transition in Turkmenistan in 2007 as well as the more recent handover of power in 2016 from Uzbekistans longtime leader Islam Karimov offers hope that the process could be replicated in Kazakhstan. Without a clear and stated plan however, a cloud will continue to hover over Kazakhstan with the Kremlin taking a key interest in the outcome.
Power transitions in post-Soviet states are delicate matter. Russia, for example, has intervened in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan when pro-Western governments came to power. In Kazakhstan, the ambiguity of the transition represents a short-term trigger event that could drastically alter the Russian-Kazakh relationship. The strength of Nazarbayevs rule has been stability, which is undermined by his clinging to the presidency. Russia,
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utilizing the Karaganov doctrine, has intervened to protect its interests in the near abroad, and it is not difficult to see it happening in Kazakhstan if the conditions permit. With the changing geopolitical landscape in Central Asia and the rise of China as a regional power, Kazakhstan also faces long-term prospects of an international triggering event.
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CHAPTER V
GREAT GAME, DIFFERENT PLAYERS: CHINA AS AN EMERGING POWER
The decline of American military presence in Central Asia, the rise of Chinese
economic power, and the increasingly security oriented Russian foreign policy threaten to
undermine Russias traditional position of influence in Central Asia and Kazakhstan.
Perhaps the most used metaphor to describe regional power dynamics in Central Asia is the
the Great Game. The term refers to the struggle between Great Britain and Imperial Russia
over control of strategically important Central Asia in the 19th century. Central to the
confrontation was the threat of an expansionist Russian Empire reaching British India. To
prevent Russian access to India, the British waged several disastrous military campaigns to
create a buffer state among the various tribes in Afghanistan. The American war in
Afghanistan introduced the United States as a new player in the region and conjured up the
19th century lexicon once more. The comparison proved fleeting, as American involvement
and influence in Central Asia steadily declined alongside the war effort. The rise of China in
the 21st century and its entrance into Central Asia has once again brought the term Great
Game back into popularity among scholars of Eurasia (Freire and Kanet 2010; Fingar, 2016;
Cooley 2012; Laruelle, Huchet, Peyrouse, and Balci 2010). Regional power dynamics that
have long been dominated by Russia now face an uncertain future.
Although Central Asian specialists emphasize traditional power politics, the new
former Soviet republics are now players as well. According to Cooley (2012), they have
instituted a set of local rules in which they:
.. .conflate internal and external security threats to further their regime survival, they use state office for private gain; and they act as brokers between their political clients and the international community (Cooley 2012).
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No place is this dynamic more apparent than with Kazakhstan, the most important state in Central Asia. It contains the largest oil reserves in Central Asia and massive quantities of uranium and other minerals. President Nazarbayev has stressed the need for regional and global integration and has led Kazakhstan toward establishing the most liberalized economy in Central Asia. Nazarbayevs multi-vector foreign policy is the backbone of this movement; however, the decline of American power in Central Asia leaves Kazakhstan with fewer options.
A. American Decline
Central Asia featured low on the priority list for American foreign policy following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Investment opportunities in Central Asian energy sectors, particularly in Kazakhstan, made the region important for American business. After 9/11, the region became increasingly vital as a transit route for American troops and equipment as well as basing rights for coalition forces carrying out airstrikes in Afghanistan. Initial small-scale cooperation between Central Asian states and the U.S. eventually blossomed into large-scale basing rights to the Karshi-Khanabad airbase in Uzbekistan and the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan. Both agreements where achieved through substantial economic and military contributions to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. U.S. military and economic assistance to Uzbekistan increased fourfold with the completion of the basing agreements in 2002, topping out at $300 million (Cooley 2012). In Kyrgyzstan, the basing agreements led to $100 million in American investment in the country by 2009 and over $2 billion in fuel procurement (Cooley 2012). Although initially approved by Russia and tacitly condoned by China, the U.S. bases and their matching economic aid packages became increasingly viewed as military encirclement by both China and Russia. In the context of color revolutions in former
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Soviet republics, the U.S. presence in Central Asia served to unite Chinese and Russian priorities.
Chinese and Russian interest aligned briefly in the mid-2000s in opposing U.S. military installations in Central Asia and opposing the democratic revolutions. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) acted as a mutual platform in which Russia and China pursued stability and security in areas vulnerable to revolution. The PRC, concerned over separatists in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, shared Russias perception that American intrigue was behind revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan (Cooley 2012; Kim 2014). In cooperation with Russia, China pressured Uzbekistan to close Karshi-Khanabad (K2) military airbase in 2005 and eventually expel the United States from Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 (Kim 2014).
This brief alignment of priorities faded as more U.S. bases closed and the American withdrawal from Afghanistan accelerated. Russian and Chinese interests have since diverged, with each staking out new economic and security spheres of influence in Central Asia. Increasingly, Central Asian states have turned to China as an economic alternative. While the surge of American power in Central Asia posed a temporary threat to Russian interests, Chinese economic development in the region represents a sustained challenge to Russian influence.
B. The Rise of Chinese Influence
Central Asian states seeking new investment partners and economic development are increasingly looking to China. The emergence of China as a regional power in Central Asia corresponds with its general ascension among developing nations as an alternative to the
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U.S.-led global economic system. Though governments in the region view Chinese inroads into Central Asia cautiously, China has promoted economic expansion into the region to the point where it is now the largest trading partner in Kazakhstan and in Central Asia. Three primary issues explain Chinese expansion: the security and development of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region; securing access to oil, gas, and uranium in Kazakhstan; and the transit of Turkmen gas to China.
Originally established as the successor to Shanghai Five (China, Russia, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) in 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is the
primary driver of Chinese foreign policy in Central Asia. The Chinese designed the SCO to
concentrate predominantly on security issues surrounding Uygur separatists in the Xinjiang
Uygur Autonomous Region. China developed a dual approach through the SCO to deal with
their Uygur minority: cooperation between China and the bordering Central Asian states to
combat Uygur separatists combined with the development of the border region to promote
stability (Cooley 2012). The latter has led to greater Chinese economic cooperation in
Central Asia as whole. The SCO has also become a Chinese-led alternative to Western-
dominated multilateral organizations, Cooley writes:
...repeatedly underscore that it respects its members sovereignty and rejects interference in their domestic affairs. This can be contrasted with the economic conditionality imposed by Western donors (World Bank, IMF), the human rights criteria or political conditions of Western-led security organizations (NATO, OSCE human dimension), and the growth of the responsibility to protect norm, used to justify NATOs military actions in Kosovo and Libya, which sanctions external intervention on humanitarian grounds. Second, the organizations official documents are littered with references to rejecting unilateral military solutions, a clear reference to the United States... (Cooley 2012).
For Central Asian governments, all of which operate with some level of authoritarianism, this
partnership is ideal. It has led to greater economic cooperation in energy, infrastructure, and
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Chinese loans in Central Asia. The rise of Chinese influence is especially evident in Kazakhstan.
Chinas growth over the last 20 years fueled a demand for new energy sources from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. In an effort to break into the Kazakhstani oil market, the PRC built new pipelines to deliver oil and gas directly to China while circumventing traditional Russian routes. China now directly controls approximately 20 percent of Kazakhstans oil production (Hart 2016), and some analysts claim the number reaches 50 percent when considering joint ventures with Kazakhstani consortiums (Cooley 2012). In cooperation with Kazakhstani oil companies, China completed the Atasu-Alashankou pipeline in 2008 and now directly pumps 10 million tons of oil into the Xinjiang region of China (Kazakhstan-China 2017). Turkmen gas has also become a vital part of Chinese energy security, which flows from Turkmenistan through a large portion of Kazakhstan via the Central Asia-China gas pipeline. Although the pipeline expansion has seen numerous delays in recent years, the PRC continued pursuit of bilateral energy agreements in Central Asia could see China importing up to 50 percent of the regions oil and gas by 2020 according to the International Energy Agency (Hart 2016). Chinese investment now reaches beyond the energy sectors.
The PRC has expanded investment and infrastructure projects in Central Asia and Kazakhstan through the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative. China designed the initiative to open trade routes for Chinese goods to a number of markets, including the European Union. On top of the $30 billion the Chinese have already invested in Kazakhstans mining, oil, transport, and agricultural sectors, the Silk Road Economic Belt aims to make the Khorgos region that borders eastern Kazakhstan the regional hub for the new transportation network
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(Frolovskiy 2016). Projects like these have catapulted the Chinese past Russia as the leader in foreign direct investment (FDI) and as the primary lender in Kazakhstan (Guschin 2015). Though China has surpassed Russia as the chief economic partner in Central Asia and Kazakhstan, China has been careful not to intrude upon Russian security interests.
The economic relationship between China and Central Asian states like Kazakhstan will only increase. The SCO, originally created to address border security issues, is being reshaped as an economic bloc (Pantucci and Petersen 2011). China is pursuing the formation of a Chinese-led development bank within the SCO as well as a common market. Russia, under significant economic distress, cannot compete with Chinese investment. Chinas relentless pursuit of energy security will continue to prioritize investment in oil, gas, and the pipelines that deliver energy directly to Chinese markets. However, as Chinese economic influence grows, Russian influence has become increasingly focused on its military presence.
C. The Russian Shift Toward Security
Moscow has sought a special role in Central Asia. In a major foreign policy speech in 2008, then President Dimitri Medvedev characterized former Soviet republics as spheres of privileged interests (Kramer 2008). In the 1990s and early 2000s, this mantra was a reality in Central Asia, as the new states continued to be reliant on Russian economic and military power. As shown, the introduction of American military power into Central Asia amplified Russian security concerns in the region and Chinese investment has shifted Central Asia economically to the East. In response, Russia proposed a series of regional economic and security schemes to reassert its privileged interests in Central Asia.
Russian integration efforts followed a relative decline in their economic influence in Central Asia. While Russian economic investment in the region rose steadily in the early
49


2000s, the 2008 financial crisis significantly curbed this trend. Central Asian states relied on Russian transit routes to export energy following independence but the rise of resource nationalism and the entrance of multinational partners, particularly China, created new transit routes. Although Russia opposed the construction of energy pipelines that bypassed Russia, numerous pipelines were built, including the Caspian Pipeline Consortium and the Atasu-Alashankou pipeline that export oil out of Kazakhstan. To reestablish economic influence in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, Russia turned to further integration to solidify its position. Originally viewed by the West as a competing organization to the European Union, scholars now regard the Eurasian Economic Union as a response to Chinese economic expansion (Cooley and Laruelle 2013).
Russian attempts at economic integration with Kazakhstan have resulted in increasing tensions. In 2015, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Russia created the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) based on the European Union concept of a common market. The agreement expanded existing economic integration schemes like the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Community. The founders designed the organization to facilitate free trade within the bloc, yet Kazakhstan and Belarus have experienced increasing trade disputes, rising unemployment, and falling currencies because of their economic integration with a struggling Russia. To combat these problems, President Nazarbayev has advocated for closer EEU integration with both Chinas Silk Road Economic Belt and the European Union; however, Russia has rebuffed these efforts (Is Kazakhstan Getting 2016). On the other hand, Nazarbayev has resisted calls for closer political integration in the EEU advocated by Putin. In both instances, the EEU has so far served to raise tensions among member states rather than bring them closer together as the continuing economic recession in Russia hinders
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Moscows ability to increase its influence through the EEU or other mechanisms. Because
Russian economic power is in significant decline relative to Chinas rise, Russia has turned
to the military to ensure its privileged security interests in Central Asia.
Just as the EEU is a watered-down version of the European Union, the Collective
Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is Russias version of an Eastern NATO (Cooley
2012). Organized in 2002, the organization encompasses Russia, Armenia, Belarus,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The purpose of the organization is
vague, but it seems to have been a reaction to U.S. involvement in Central Asia following
9/11. CSTO allows Russia to deepen its security ties in the region, establish new airbases
and garrisons in Central Asian countries, and gives the perception that Moscow is the head of
a formidable military alliance in Central Asia (Cooley 2012). Central Asian states receive
Russian arms at reduced prices, training and logistical support, and potential military
protection for regimes facing violent domestic opposition.
Russia further bolstered CSTO after the Russo-Georgian war. In 2009 under Russian
leadership, CSTO created the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (CRRF). The 16,000-man
CRRF is composed of 8,000 Russian troops and a collection of forces from other Central
Asian states, including 4,000 Kazakhstanis. Uzbekistan refused to contribute to the CRRF
citing the potential for the force to intervene in domestic affairs in Central Asia:
The CRRF should only be used to repulse foreign threats and challenges to security.. .Uzbekistan is proceeding from the fact that each CSTO member state is able to resolve its domestic conflicts and problems with its own forces without involving armed forces from abroad. (Uzbekistan 2009)
In 2010, Russia declined to intervene with the CRRF in Kyrgyzstan to restore order and bring President Bakiyev back to power. Uzbekistans fears were realized a year later. In 2011,
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member states empowered the CRRF to restore the constitutional system of a member state when needed (Cooley 2012).
Russias efforts to solidify its privileged role in Central Asia have had mixed results. Member states in the EEU have yet to extract benefits from the common market and Russias recession has spilled over into their respective economies. Increasingly, Central Asian states look toward China for investment and markets for gas and oil. In the security realm, Russia has been more successful with the establishment of CSTO. It has allowed for the basing of Russian troops in Kyrgyzstan and the creation of the CRRF whose mandate permits intervention should a democratic revolution arise. Whether the inverse trend of security and economics will lead to a rise in tension in Central Asia may depend on the future of Russian-Chinese relations.
The new Great Game in Central Asia features a traditional, yet declining regional power in Russia, and an emerging, yet cautious regional power in China. With the U.S. as a uniting adversary, both countries have managed the relationship well, with China effectively ceding security concerns to Russia, and Moscow allowing for Chinese economic expansion. Declining powers rarely relinquish their positions without a struggle, and although open confrontation with China is highly unlikely, Russia possesses the hard power in Central Asia necessary to intervene in Central Asian states that bring anti-Kremlin leaders to power. Kazakhstan sits as the most influential and strategically important country in Asia. Regional power dynamics is a long-term trigger to potential Russian intervention in Kazakhstan, just like Ukraines 20-year flirtation with the West. Chinese encroachment into Central Asia has yet to be fully realized but the presence of another great power in the region increases the likely hood that Russia may act if it loses its grip on Kazakhstan.
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CHAPTER VI
CONCLUSION
Russian foreign policy toward the near abroad has utilized the plight of Russian minorities in former Soviet republics to justify intervention in Ukraine and Georgia.
Although direct military action is a recent phenomenon under President Putin, exploiting ethnic Russians for use as strings of influence as advocated by Sergei Karaganov, has been a Russian concept since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Equally as old is nationalist rhetoric toward northern Kazakhstan. Immediately following independence, the Russian government challenged Kazakhstans northern territories and over 27 years, Soviet dissidents, Russian nationalists, and Vladimir Putin have made disparaging remarks about Kazakhstans sovereignty.
However, the over three million ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan have historically shown little signs of harboring separatist sympathies. The ones who resent the Kazakhization of the country have chosen to emigrate or accepted their future in a Kazakh dominated society. Though this fact lowers the likelihood of Moscow subverting Kazakhstans Russian minority to serve the Kremlins goals, it may prove inconsequential in the overall potential for Russian intervention in northern Kazakhstan. Russias actions and rhetoric in Ukraine and Georgia was more likely the product of international triggering events than a concern over the perceived persecution of compatriots.
Turning to trigger events, it is apparent that the Russo-Kazakhstani special relationship is more fragile in both the short-term and long-term future than either country will readily admit. The succession of President Nazarbayev is the single most important transition of power in Central Asia since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Though
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Kazakhstanis have accepted the authoritarian nature of Nazarbayevs government, the lightning speed of revolutions in the former Soviet Union and the Arab Spring were as equally surprising as the annexation of Crimea. Even with the 50/50 odds of a succession free of violence, the new government will have to fill the shoes of a cult personality who has held the country together for over a quarter century. The Kremlin will be watching with interest.
Central Asian geopolitics are equally muddled. Russia and China have engaged in a relationship of convenience in opposition to U.S. influence; however, the American presence is dwindling. Kazakhstan is at the center of a struggle over oil, transit routes, and economic power. Though Russia has reluctantly allowed growing Chinese inroads in Central Asia, their patience may prove limited as Chinese influence shows no signs of slowing. If the Russian-Chinese relationship slips into open competition, Russia could increasingly view the SCO and the Silk Road Economic Belt in the same terms as NATO or the European Union i.e., as direct threats to Russias immediate security. The perfect storm may be ascension of nationalist Kazakhstani president in the midst of worsening relations between Russia and China. In these circumstances, it is not difficult to see Russia trading Ukrainian fascists for Basmachi savages in order to annex northern Kazakhstan or enact regime change in Astana.
Kazakhstan does not face any immediate threat of Russian intervention. Russia is still feeling the economic and diplomatic costs of the Ukrainian intervention and it is unlikely Moscow would pursue the same course in Kazakhstan even if conditions permitted. Despite the low likelihood, Kazakhstan is perhaps the most vulnerable among the former Soviet republics. Not only does it have a large ethnic Russian population, but more importantly, it
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has an increasingly ambiguous future in the Russian World. Sergi Karaganov might yet be proven right.
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Full Text

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WILL THE KARAGANOV DOCTRINE TURN SOUTH? THE POTENTIAL FOR RUSSIAN INTERVENTION IN NORTHERN KAZAKHSTAN by KEVIN R. MOORE B. S., University of Central Missouri, 2009 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of C olorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Science Social Sciences Program 2017

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ii This thesis for the Master of Social Science degree by Kevin R. Moore has been approved for the Social Sciences Program Greg Whitesides Chair Lucy McGuffey Christoph Stefes July 29 2017

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iii Moore, Kevin R., (M.S., Social Sciences Program ) Will the K araganov Doctrine Turn South? The Potential for a Russian Intervention in Northern Kazakhstan Thesis directed by Ass ist ant Professor Greg Whitesides ABSTRACT Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has pursued an interventionist stance toward protecting ethnic Russians living in the border regions of Abkhazia, Crimea, and the Donetsk region of Ukraine. When considering reg ions potentially vulnerable to future Russian intervention, the presence of nearly four million ethnic Russians in the border oblasts of northern Kazakhstan constitutes a conceivable crisis for Kazakhstan and the international community. In order to asses s the potential of Russian intervention or annexation of political and ethnic considerations in northern Kazakhstan, the unclear succession process of longtime P r esident Nazarbayev, and the emergence of China as a regional power rival in Central Asia. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Greg Whitesides

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODU 1 II THE KARAGANOV DOCTRINE ... 3 A. O rigins of Unofficial Policy and Rhetoric ... 3 B. The Putin Turn: Operationalization of the Karaganov Doctrine 10 III. HISTORY AND DEMOGRAPHICS OF NORTHERN KAZAKHSTAN .13 A. ... 13 B. C. D. IV. TRIGGERING EVENTS AND COLOR REVOLUTION: TH E PROBLEM OF NAZARBAYEV 8 A. Nazarbayev the N B. Nazarbayev the Peacemake 34 C. V. GREAT GAME, DIFFERENT PLAYERS: CHINA AS AN EMERGING POWER 44 A. B. The Rise of Chin e s e Influence C. The Russian Shift Toward ...

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION In the wake of the Ukrainian indepe ndence movement in the summer of 1991, President Yeltsin authorized his spokesperson, Pavel Voshchanov, to pen a largely forgotten press statement concerning the millions of ethnic Russians who would be stra nded in the event of Ukrainian and Kazakhstani independence: people to self determination. There exists, however, the problem of borders, the non settlement of which is possible and admissible only on the condition of allied relations secured by an appropriate treaty. In the event of their termination, the RSFSR reserves the right to raise the questio n of the revision of boundaries (Soviet Turmoil 1991). The statemen t did not name the republics with which Russia might have territorial disputes, but when reporters asked Voshchanov which countries Yeltsin had in mind, he responded by naming Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Voshchanov added, but if they go, we must take care of the population that lives there and not forget that these l ands were settled by Russians. Russia will hardly agree to give away these territories just like Soviet Turmoil 1991). Vos h chanov recalled later that the contested areas included territories that had earlier belon ged to Russia: the Crimea and the Donetsk region of Ukraine, Abkhazia in Georgia, and northern territories of Kazakhstan (Plokhy, 2014). The framewor k of what would later become the Karaganov Doctrine, the Russian right to intervene to p rotect ethnic Russians in the is evident in the Voshchanov statement. It is now somewhat prophetic as Russia has acted militarily, overtly and otherwise, to regain control of three of the four regions laid out by Voshchanov:

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2 Abkhazia (2008), and Crim ea and Donetsk (2014). The only region that has not returned to ontrol is northern Kazakhstan. However, a s recently as January 2017, the sentiment of the Voshchanov statement appeared in remarks given by a deputy with the ultra right Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Pavel Shperov, at a Duma roundtable concerning et hnic Russians living overseas. voy in the State Council of Crimea currently under sanctions by the United States, reportedly called for the return of what he said were, not eternal...the Leonid Slutsky quickly Russia Wobbles 2017). This was not the first time an LDPR party member or other Russian nationalists have expressed little regard for Kazakhstani ter ritorial integrity. The statements, a few among many since the annexation of Crimea and the subs equent war in the Donbass, show that northern Kazakhstan has not left the consciousness of many Russians. Among them are prominent media executives, politicians, and even P resident Putin. The majority of academic and analytical intrigue into the potential of future Russian irredentism focuses on the Baltic States, in eastern Ukraine, Transnistria, Nagorno Karabakh, and the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia. There is a body of work however, that raises the question of potential Russian intervention in northern Kazakhstan ( Grigas 2016; Diener 2014; Brletich 2 015; Laruelle 2016; Eltsov and Larres 2014; Goble 2014; Kucera 2014; Lourie 2014; Morozov 2015; Zevelev 2014; Casey 2016 ). Some work concludes that Russian intervention

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3 in Kazakhstan is overhyped ( Diener 2014; Brletich 2015; Laruelle 2016 ) while a minority concludes there is significant risk (Grigas 2016). In this paper, I will show the continuity of interventionist turn u nder Vladimir Putin. I will then reconsider the potential of Russian intervention in Kazakhstan by updating the state of political and ethnic considerations in northern Kazakhstan Finally, I will introduce two variables that could serve as potential tri ggering events : the unclear succession process o f longtime President Nazarbayev and the entrance of China as a regional power rival in Central Asia.

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4 CHAPTER I I THE KARAGANOV DOCTRINE A Origins of Unofficial Policy and Rhetoric Alt hough events in Ukraine signify an aggressive turn in Russian foreign policy, the strategy of protecting ethnic Russians and leveraging Russian minorities in the near abroad 1 dates back to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Karaganov Doctrine repre sents a continuity if not unofficial Russian policy, toward the near abroad in recent years. 2 are only the latest manifestation of rhetoric inspired by the Karaganov doctrine. They also represen t a r enewed focus on Kazakhstan, a country long thought to be safe from Russian intervention but featured 3 While Kazakhstan has never been held in the same regard as Ukraine or Belarus in the minds of Russians, it has its own history linked with the Karag a nov Doctrine. Many prominent Russian intellectuals, diplomats, and politicians have professed unique positions in regard to the Russia n diaspora in the post Soviet era. With the looming collapse of the Soviet Union, a famous Soviet dissident first put forth the notion that northern Kazak Nobel Laurette Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose reputation was built on revealing the atrocities of the Gulag system ( The Gulag Archi pelago 1973 ), authored a contro versial article in 1990 called Rebuilding Russia 1 Term popularized by Russian foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev in 1992 that refers to the newly independent republics which emerged after the dissolution of the Soviet Union 2 Russian Foreign Ministry sp okesman Maria Zakharova an era of democratic trends 3 See Grigas (2016) for a collapse of the Soviet Union.

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5 northern Kazakhstan. His opening line in Rebuilding Russia : it is the great hi Solzhenitsyn abhorred th e Soviet domination of the non S lav populations and was staunchly anti imperialist. Despite this, he viewed northern Kazakhstan, with its large ethnic Russian population as a part of greater Russia. From Solzhenitsyn historical viewpoint : p to 19 36 Kazakhstan was considered an autonomous republic inside t he Russian Federation; later it became a federal one. It was composed of South Siberia, the South Urals, and central desert regions that were transfo rmed and built by Russians, zeks (gulag prisoners), and deported peoples ( Solzhenitsyn 1990). Solzhenitsyn was considered a nation al hero in both Russia 4 and the W est, and was one of the first prominent thinkers to extend an umbrella of Russian nationa lism over ethnic Russians in the near abroad to the one used artfully by Russia to lay claim to Crimea. 5 While Russian intellectuals do not embrace this narrative as a whole it has been upheld by a group of prominent nationalists I n April 201 4 the president the Republic of Khakassia (Southeastern Russia) Vladimir Shtygashev, echoed Solzhenitsyn argued that Russia gave several districts of the Ishim r eg ion to Kazakhstan when it gained Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) status in 1936 : Rudnyi Altai (In Eastern Kazakhstan) has always been part of Russia. Kazakhstan had few territories and the decision was taken to give it the Ishim district (part of the R ussian Omsk region) They gave it and made it the Karaganda region. It wa s in 1936, not a long time ago. All together we gave five regions to Kazakhstan...these territories were exchanged as if they were just money ( Speaker 2014). 4 Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, but returned to Russia in 1994. Vladimir Putin and then President Medvedev a ttended his funeral in 2008. 5 See Laurelle (2016) for how Russia used a similar narrative to claim rightful ownership of Crimea. In her title W region in southern Ukraine and Crimea that pro Russian separatists and Putin himself have used to justi fied annexation of Crimea.

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6 I t is not inconc eivable that this idea could be advanced at an opportune moment if it becomes useful to Moscow decision makers Before he died in 2010, Solzhenitsyn offered admiration The admiration was mutual : Putin said that tune with what Solzhenitsyn has 201 Russians cut off from their homeland became a primary variable within the Karaganov doctrine. The Karaganov doctrine materialized during the collapse of the Soviet Union. I n 1992 searching for a post Soviet foreign policy, Sergey Karaganov, a senior foreign policy advisor for both President Y eltsin and later P resi dent Putin, advocated the use of Russian foreign policy objectives (Grigas 2016) Karaganov encouraged this approach as a middle ground between complete withdrawal of i nfluence from the near abroad and the total reintegration of the Soviet Union He theorized that Russian minorities abroad could become In some instances, it would be n ecessary for Russia to use military force to protect Russian minorities though a clear mandate of a humanitarian mission would need to be established to legitimize military action (McKinnon 2014 ; K a r a g a n o v 1 9 9 2 ) The Kremlin never sanctioned the Karaganov doctrine, cepts and predictions have nevertheless proven influential over a 20 year span. As head of the influential Council on Foreign and Defense Policy Karaganov was the only Russian considered among the top one hundred public intellectuals by Foreign Policy in 2005 He

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7 commentators claim that Karaganov often speaks for Putin Following the Crimea c risis in March 2014, a journalist asked Karaganov why his ideas were again at the cent er of Rus sian foreign policy discussions : Because almost everything I have said, happened (McKinnon 2014). Indeed, t he Yeltsin era in the 1990 s saw Russian interventions in Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia under the auspices of humanitari an and peace keeping missions, but the collapse of the Russian economy prevented the Karaganov doctrine from being fully implem ented in Nonetheless, in the opening years of the Yeltsin presidency the Karaganov doctrine established t he language and narrative that would influence Russian foreign policy under Putin. The language of Russian of Russian speakers abroad, became a political tool of the Yeltsin administration when negotiating within t h e Commonwealth of Independent S tates (CIS) and when deflecting criticism from Russian nationalists on the right. The narrative th at former S oviet republics were persecuting Russian minorities cr ept in to Russian diplomacy The Karaganov doctrine surfaced in Russian domestic politics as well pushing the concept of compatriot s into the political mainstream. Running for president in opposition to Yeltsin in 1993, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, founder of the ultranationalist LDPR, gained significant traction by push ing the plight of Russians in the near abroad into the campaign. Yeltsin responded to the attacks from the right by mimicking compatriots. He pressed an unsuccessful attempt to grant spe cial status to Russians abroad as well as dual citizenship for ethnic Russians. The initiative failed under protest from Ukraine

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8 and Kazakhstan (Erlanger 1993) In November of 1993, Kazakhstani p resident Nursultan Nazarbayev made his apprehensions clear: Whenever one starts talking about the protection of Russians in Kazakhstan, not start feeling deep anxiety for Russians who live outside Russia. Really, they did not ask to be defended, did they? They are citizens of Kazakhstan ( Grigas 2016 ). Within two weeks, Nazarbayev responded in a more diplomatic fashion, recognizing the future of Kazakhstan relied o n good relations with Russia and noting that Constitution o f Kazakhstan does not provide for such things (Erlanger 1993). Still, i t was evident that Russian nationalism was a real threat t o an independent Kazakhstan and Nazarbayev moved to consolidate power and weaken the Russian elite in Kazakhstan. Only two f ormer Soviet republ ics agreed to dual citizenship: Turkmenistan (1993, withdrew from agreement 2003) and Tajikistan ( 1995 ) Compatriots were never a high priority for Yeltsin, yet his presidency was the starting point for compatriot rhetoric that Preside nt Putin formalized and expanded The Karaganov doctrine, the concept of compatriots, and nationalist rhetoric concerning northern Kazakhstan has continued into the Putin administration. Zhirinovsky stil l leads the LDPR 20 years later and routinely rem arks about the falsehood of Kazakhstani sovereignty, most recently in 2014 when he called for the whole of Central Asia to reintegrate with Russia under the old Soviet capital city of Verny 6 (now Almaty) (Voloshin 2014) While he is viewed as somewhat rad ical and clownish, some pundits claim Zhirinovsky and his party act as a sound ing board 7 for testing nationalist ideas within the greater Russian political scene (Osborn 2016) Zhirinovs 6 Zhirinovsky was born and grew up in Verny (Almaty). He was declared persona non grata by Kazakhstan in 2005 for claiming Kazakhstani territory belonged to Russia. 7 Zhirinovsky repeatedly said Americans should vote for Don ald Trump in the 2016 US election (Osborn 2016). Vladimir Putin never made such statements but U.S. intelligence agencies acknowledge that he worked to undermine the American election.

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9 8 political thinkers led by Aleksandr Dugin who advocate the creation of a supranational union integrating all the CIS countries, including Kazakhstan (Diener 2015). Rumer (2002) claims inner circle but is care ful to embrace them : he does not give grounds to accuse him of irredentism. However, to judge from the opinion widespread in political circles his entourage supports the Eu rasianists and is inclined to incorporate these ideas into the governmen (Rumer 2002). There is conjecture ( Schmidt 2015; Clover 2016; Morozov 2016) about how much influence Eurasianists like Aleksandr Dugin 9 hold with Vlad imir Putin Shortly after be ing introduced to Dugin in the a utumn of 2000, Vladimir Putin made his first trip to Kazakhstan where he On the surface, these comments concern the economic int egration of Russia with Kazakhstan and the rest of Central Asia. To Aleksandr Dugin, they were a call for the extension of Russia into a great admission, which, in gen eral, changes Vladimir Putin does not publicly profess nationalist or radical Eurasianist sentiments, but the intellectuals that surround him suggest he is sympathetic to their ideas. H e has employed Sergey Karaganov 10 as a presidential advisor, met with Aleksandr Dugin on numerous occasions, admired Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as an intellectual influence, and has 8 See Morozova (2009) or Schmidt (2015) for a history and contemporary study of Eurasianism in Russian p olitical thought and how it might affect foreign policy under Vladimir Putin. 9 See Shlapentokh 10 Karaganov is not a self identified Eurasianist b ut routinely writes for the Council on Foreign Defense Policy in their terms. Some of his most recent articles include From East to West, or Greater Eurasia (October 2016 ) A turn to Asia: the history of the political idea (January 2016), and Eurasian Way Out of the European Crisis (June 2015).

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10 looked the other way as Zhirinovsky and his LDPR deputies made repeated claims to Kazakhstan northern territories. Zhirinovsky represents ultra nationalism and the re imperialization of the Soviet sphere, Karaganov the pragmatic diplomat, and Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet dissident. All three men embody significantly different political views, but they symbolize a contin uity in Russian nationalist thought about Russians in the near abroad that is alive and well in the Putin era Additionally, they show that fears of Russian intervention in Kazakhstan among the media and Kazakhstani leaders are not alarmist, but instead h av e circulated for decades. Their opinions have become increasingly re examined under the context of Russian intervention in Ukraine, and their voices noticed by pundits war y of the B. The Putin Turn: Formalizati on of the Karaganov Doctrine In the Yeltsin era, the Karaganov doctrine was relatively passive, incorporating compatriot language into rhetoric and creating policy toward ethnic Russians abroad that could not possibly be carried out under Russi reduced c ircumstances. Emboldened by oil and gas wealth, and perhaps a nationalist longing f or the days of the Soviet Unio n 11 the Karaganov doctrine has taken an active turn under President Putin earning him the title among many Russians as the ne ussian land 12 and a spot on a new commemorative coin celebrating the Crimea annexation Succeeding Yeltsin in 2000, President Putin has codified elements of the Karaganov doctrine in Russian law and policy and operationalized it through several inter ventions in former Soviet r epublics 11 N ostalgia for the Soviet Union is often attributed to this Putin (2005) quote: Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century 12 ussian state. Recently it has become a popular term used by Putin supporters to refer to the current Russian president. The state minted Comme morative coins bearing an i mage of Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Russian factory to mark the Kremlin's t akeover of Crimea (Special Putin Coins 2014).

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11 Under President Putin, form al Russian policy on ethnic Russian s abroad has been defined and expanded (Grigas 2016) In the first year of his presidency, Putin continued ational security c oncept which strat egically referenced protecting rights and interests of Russian citizens abroad, by taking politica l, economic, and other measures (National 2000). The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation in 2000 formally adopted the term in to Russian foreign policy which until then was only a rhetorical device Passed in 2001, the Concept of Support to Compatriots Abroad by the Russian Fe deration in the Current Period greatly expanded the traditional notions of a compatriot The definition allowed Russian policy to encompass anyone who is : constantly living abroad, but having historical, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and spiritual ties with Russia, trying to preserve their Russian authenticity and having a need to maintain conta cts and cooperation with Russia (Grigas 2016). This expanded characterization of compatriots provided legal pretext for Russia to intervene in Georgia on behalf of the Abkhazian and South Ossetian minorities, who are not ethnic Russians. changes that Moscow expanded and reinforced 13 over the roughly 17 years Putin has been in pow er They have been the basis for p r o j e c t i n g hard a n d s o f t power in t he near abroad. Under the pretext of this new formal policy, Russia intervened militarily in Georgia, annexed Crimea, and supported pro Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Former Soviet republics with large Russian minorities have watched these acti ons with growing concern. Political scientist Daniel Treisman (2016) summed up the arguments for Russian motivation in Foreign Affairs : (1) holds that the Crimea annexation was a response 13 See Grigas (2016) for a consolidated list and analysis of formal policy concerning ethnic Russians aboard under both Yeltsi n and Putin.

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12 to (Mearsheimer 2015 ; Walt 2015 ); (2) conquest of the former Soviet Union territories (Barbashin and Thoburn 201 4 ; Grigas 2016 ) ; (3) argues the Crimea annexation was a hastily pr epared response to the political crisis in Ukraine (Weiss 2015 ; Tierney 2014 ). T h o u g h a r g u m e n t s d i f f e r o n R u s s i a n m o t i v a t i o n s i t is evident the Karaganov doctrine has gone from being a passive tool under Yeltsin to overt intervention and possible annexation under Vladimir Putin. In the following chapter, I will give a brief history of the Russian minority in Kazakhstan, and update the current political and demographic considerations that offer insight to potential of a Kazakhstani separatist movement in northern Kazakhstan.

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13 CHAPTER III HISTORY AND DEMOGRAPHICS OF NORTHERN KAZAKHSTAN A. Early Soviet History The first Russian immigration n step pe began well before the Soviet era Cossacks entered Central Asia in the eighteenth century and opened Kazakhstan fo r Rus sian settlers and former se rfs to settle in Kazakh grazing lands. Russians gradually colonized Kazakhstan and Central Asia over the next two centuries, but not without significant rebellions against Imperial Russia in the 1770s, 1830s, and most i n f a m o u s l y w i t h t h e B a s m a c h i r e v o l t i n 1916 (Peyrou se 2007). I nitia lly governed from Turkestan, Kazakhstan became a separate administrative state in 1925 as the Kazakh ASSR; i n 1936, the USSR delineated K and incorporated it as a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). For many Russian nationalists like Solzhenitsyn, t his recent creation of Kazakhstan illustrates its artificial nationality at the expense of traditionally Russian territory. The Soviet era saw an increase of Russian immigration to Kazakhstan that systematically changed the e thnic makeup of the region. S uccessive famines (1922, 1932 1934) dramatically reduced the Kazakh population and the mass deportations of 1944) (Russian, Koreans, Germans, Chechens, Ingush Crimean Tatars, Poles, Kalm yks, Karachays, and Balkars) diversified the region, particularly in the north (Kekilbayev 1998). The Virgin Lands P rogram in the 1950 Kazakhstan through collectivization, industrialization, and an intense Russification of language and cultu re. Soviet settlers acting as the vanguard s of the Virgin Lands Program settled in the northern oblasts and established new communities while maintaining ties to the

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14 Russian homeland. At their peak in 1979, Russians represented 40 percent of the Kazakhst 1991, Kazakh s were a minority in their own country, constituting only 39 percent of the population, with a substantial Russian minority concentrated in the northern oblasts. B. The Russian Question The breakup of the Soviet Union dra matically changed the political landscape throughout Eurasia Calling for the incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation in March of 2014, President Putin identified the collapse of th e Soviet Union and the from the Russian point of view: becoming ethnic minorities in former Union republics, while the Russian nation became one of the biggest, if not the biggest ethnic group in the world to be divided For the new ly independent republics, the Russian minorities were a major impediment to ethno nationalism that promoted the titular (ethnic) identity of t he new states (Surucu, 2002). Rogers Brubaker 14 a premier scholar on post Soviet nationalization, notes: many settings, but the large scale Soviet era migration of Russ ians and others into peripheral republics made this issue especially salient in the post Soviet context, particularly in Estonia, Latvia and Kazakhstan. How could these states be the states of and for their eponymous nations when titular s comprised, accor ding to the last Sov iet census in 1989, just 40 per cent of the population in Kazakhstan, a bare majority in Latvia and just over 60 per cent in Estonia? In nationalist discourse, the very surv ival of the nation was at stake (Brubaker 2011). The situat ion was not lost on President Nazarbayev either, who immediately recognized it as problematic: 14 See Brubaker (1994, 1996, 2011) for an authority on the nationalizing of post Soviet states.

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15 ne should stir up Kazakhstan on ethnic grounds. It would be far The demographic makeup of Kaza khstan in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet Union name Kazakhstan was the only independent republic in which the titular nationality (Kazakhs) was a minority (Peyrous e 2007). The Russian question was very much alive in post Soviet Kazakhstan. In 1991, o ver six million Russians lived in Kazakhstan, constituting 37.8 percent of the population, the largest percentage in any former Soviet republic. Counting Russians with othe r significant European (Germans, Ukrainians, Belarussians) and Asian (Uzbeks, Uighurs Koreans) minorities, Kazakhs only accounted for 39 percent of the total population in 1991. Of the ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan, 66 percent had been born there, the hig hest percentages among the newly independent states. To make the situation more complicated, 70 80 percent of the Russian population lived in seven northern regions: Akmolinsk, Karaganda, Kokchetau, Kustanay, East Kazakhstan, North Kazakhstan, and Pavlod ar (Peyrouse 2007). The majority of ethnic Kazakhs lived in the south along with the original capital Almaty, splitting ethnic groups along geographic and political lines. Despite the initial ethnic makeup, Russian emigration and Kazakh repatriation reve rsed demographic trends i policies. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, nearly all the post Soviet republics embraced ethno nationalism as the founding doctrine of the new states ( Surucu, 2002). In the promotion of Kazakh language and culture; a shift in the balance of political power to Kazakhs; and the economic empowerment of Kazakhs (Peyro use 2007; Smagulova 2 008 ; Brubaker 2011 ;

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16 Olcott 2010 ). While Russian emigration from Kazakhstan began in the 1980s, the end of the Soviet Union and the proceeding Kazakhization intensified the exodus of ethnic Russians (Table 1) Between 1989 and 1999, an average of 150,000 Russians left Kazakhstan annually. With economic turmoil consuming the country and Kazakhization becoming more apparent, a peak of 300,000 Russian s emigrated in 1994 (Peyrouse 2008). Emigration slowed after 2000 a efforts to retain the highly skilled Russian work force. Additionally, the assumption that the f persecution (Peyrouse 2007) As ethnic Russian s left Kazakhstan, President Nazarbayev actively promoted repatriation of Kaza khs abroa d to shift the ethnic balance in favor of Kazakhs, particularly in the northern border regions Since 1992, 90 percent of the individuals who have received citizenship are Kazakhs (Tureb ekova 2016). Repatriated Kazakhs now constitute 5.5 percent of the total population and 3.3 million still live abroad and are eligible for return ( Repatriated Kazakhs 2014). The Kazakhstani government streamlined Kazakh repatriation policies just month s after the annexation of Crimea, leading some to speculate that the government is still trying to alter demographics in the north in favor of Kazakhs (Goble 2014). In April 2014, President Nazarbayev reduced the seven year requirement to obtain Kazakhsta ni citizenship for returning Kazakhs to one year ( Repatriated Kazakhs 2014). Kazakhstani government officials downplayed the significance of the policy change stating it was based on earlier recommendations However, the roll out of new policy came tw o months after Russian intervention in Crimea and controversial statements by Eduard

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17 Ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan have diminished in numbers and influence since 1991. Twent y six years of Russian emigration and Kazakh repatriation reduced the percentage of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan from 37.8 percent in 1989 to 23.7 percent in 2009 (Table 1 ). Russian emigration continues today at a much slower pace than in the tumultuous 1990s. Around 19,000 Russians left Kazakhstan in the first nine months of 2015, a slight uptick from the previous year (Pannier 2016). The Kazakhstani government provided context for the numbers and suggested they are in line with previous trends; howeve r, some Kazakhstani experts speculate they reveal an underlying attitude about a new decline in ethnic relations (Casey 2016b ). Despite emigration of the Russian minority, the remaining ethnic Russians continue to be concentrated in the northern oblasts The physical division of the Rus sian minority (Figure 2) and their near maj ority in several regions (Table 2) are reminiscent of the situation in Crimea and much of eastern Ukraine A further breakdown of the Russian minority shows they differ from the ethnic Russian Ukrainians, in that they are largely non homogenous, depoliticized, and skeptical of separatist sentiment. A simple comparison of the numbers and geographic location of the Russian minority in Kazakhstan woul d suggest striking similarities w ith Ukraine. political and expansionist ambitions in the former Soviet Union. The model contains three circumstances evident in the Ukraine case that might suggest potential Russian annexa tion in Kazakhstan, two of which involve (1) deep historical and social links between Russia and the neighboring territory; (2) a population willing to submit to annexation (Brletich 2015). With th ese circumstances in mind the following section will discuss the political power and influence of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan and the current

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18 prospects for either an organic, or Russian directed separatist movement in northern Kazakhstan. T ABLE 1. National Composition of Kazakhstan 1989, 1999, 2009. d some of the population data from 1989 to 1999. F I G U R E 1 Ethnic Russian in the former Soviet republics (2009) Source : Data collected from the CIA World Factbook. C reated by the Washington Post. Nationalities 1989 1999 2009 Count % Count % Count % Kazakhs 6,534,616 39.7 7 985,039 53.4 10,096,763 63.1 Russians 6,227,549 37.8 4,479,620 30.0 3793,7 64 23.7 Other 3,702,299 22.5 2,488,467 16.6 2,119,070 13.2 Total 16,464,464 100.0 14,953,126 100.0 16,009,597 100.0

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19 FIGURE 2. Ethnic distribution per Oblast S ource: Diener (2015) Data from Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan Committee on Statistics 2009. TABLE 2. Regions, 2015 (In percentage of the population) Russians Ukrainians Belorussians North Kazakhstan 49.90 4.44 1.03 Kostanay 41.89 8.75 1.56 East Kazakhstan 37.56 0.36 0.10 Karaganda 36.98 3.21 0.85 Pavlodar 36.90 4.72 0.64 Akmola 34.14 4.65 1.44 Almaty City 28.47 0.66 0.10 West Kazakhs tan 20.63 1.60 0.31 Astana City 15.64 1.63 0.46 Almaty 14.60 0.24 0.03 Aktobe 12.30 2.82 0.15 Zhambyl 10.50 0.34 0.04 Magystau 6.36 0.33 0.04 Atyrau 5.80 0.14 0.04 South Kazakhstan 4.72 0.16 0.02 Kzyl Orda 2.03 0.04 0.01 Kazakhstan 21.05 1.70 0.3 4 Source: Laruelle (2016)

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20 C. Russian Political P ower and Separatism an ethnic split Russian nationalists have experienced declining power and influence in Kazakhstan According to Peyrouse, t he ineffectiveness of t he Ru ssian minority to mobilize was due to the non homogeneous nature of Russians in Kazakhstan, the development of non ethnic allegiances, and the difficulties the Russian leaders in choosing between the defense of the political rights and the cultural right s of Russians (Peyrouse 2007). Following the annexation of Crimea, one might expect a rise in Russian grass root activity yet Russian political activism in Kazakhstan has remained muted ( Laruelle 2016). Russians have fared poorly in mobilizing politica l power before and after the Crimea crisis largely due to the authoritarian policies of President Nazarbayev that have reduced the democratic means in which Russians could organize In the early 1990s, the Kazakhstani government implemented a series of p olicies restricting Russian participation in the political process Early attempts to form Russian or Co ssacks political parties faced strict registration procedures firmly controlled by President Nazarbayev. In 1994, u nder the guise of ethnic harmony, t he government banned political parties based on religion and ethnicity. This action deprived the Russian minority of two fundamental organizing tools: ethnic Russian heritage and Christian orthodoxy. The March 1994 Parliamentary elections further separ ated ethnic Russians from political power. f the candidates participating, 566 were Kazakh a nd 128 were Russian, even though voting age Russians outnumbe red Kazakhs (Kaiser and Chinn 1995 ). Although many Russian organizations such as Lad and several Cossack organizations identified with other registered opposition parties, the increasing autho ritarian nature of the state mad e this association trivial

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21 (Peyrouse 2007) The proportion o f Russians in the Ministry dropped sharply, from 43 percent 1989 to 14 percent in 1992. By 2002, only two out of 14 regional governors were ethnic Russians: East Kazakhstan and Kokc hutau regions (Peyrouse 2008 ). In 1998, Nazarbayev moved the capital to Astana in the north. The Kazakhstani government identified earthquakes in Almaty as the reason for the move, but scholars view the new capital as a symbolic action to promote the sovereignty of Kazakhstan over a region that is predominately non Kazakh (Wo lfel 2010; Koch 2012). Nazarbayev controlled or redirect ed Russian nationalism through two means: using the police arm of the state to suppress any hints of agitation, and funneling Russian political power into political parties that support ed his admi nistration. The creation of the Assembly of Pe oples to defend minority rights offered the Russian minority an outlet for political participation bu t the organization was symbolic and over representative of other smaller minorities. Nazarbayev forced Russ ians leaders who expected to benefit from the Russian political influence was largely broken after independence though Russian nationalist groups like Lad and the Kame nogorsk Cossack organization often spoke about separating from Kazakhstan and rejoining Ru ssia during the 1990s (Peyrouse 2007 ) The Kazakhstani government arrested many leaders of these organizations as symbolic acts of authority culminating in the suppr ession of the so called in 1999. the Kazakhstani authorities exploited the rebellion to se nd a clear message that political mobilization by th e Russian minority was futile. R eporting of the rebellion was vague, and its leaders and the local

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22 authorities dispute d the ultimate goal of the conspirators (Commercio 2004). What is clear is that the of the separatist attempt greatly benefit ed the Kazakhstani government to the detriment of Russian political organizations. Kamenogorsk region of e astern Kazakhstan L ocal police autho rities arrested 22 conspirators (13 Russians) for plotting a violent seizure of power to create an autonomous Russian republic in East Kazakhstan. The leader of the Kamenogorsk group, Vikt or Vladimirovich Kazimirchuk, called himself Pugachev after Emelian Pu gachev, the Don Cossack who led the upris ing against the Tsarist regime in 1773 (Commercio 2004). Kazimirchuk s however was not a rebellion, but rather a handful of discontents with wild aspirations. With the arrest of Kazimi rchuk and his followers (many of whom were unemployed and desperate), Kazakhstani authorities seized two hunting rifles, gun cartridges, a grenade, and a few billy clubs. With this arsenal, Kazakhsta ni authorities claimed preparing the seizure of buildings housing the oblast governor administration, the Department of State National Security, and the Department of Internal Affairs. The main goal was the organization of a rebellion in order to separate the region from Kaza khs At the time of the arrest of the gro up in the insurance office, the scenario of a coup was being played out Commercio 2004). It is easy to cite the eparatism in northern Kazakhstan, however a deeper academic analysis by Commercio (2004) shows the rebellion was badly conceived and merely a symbolic act that had no potential for success. Even the symbolism of the rebellion was questionable. In a surve y conducted in 2000, only 20 percent of Russian residents of attempt to seize power and over 46 percent considered it an attempt by conspirators to gain notoriety (Commercio 2014). Kazim irchuk made wild claims that he enjoyed the support of

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23 local Russia ns and the leadership in Moscow. While Russia requested extradition of the conspirators and offered minimal legal aid they declined to support Kazimirchuk and his men any further (Pannier and Karabek 2014) The Puga c h ev Rebellion was the only attempt of armed Russian opposition to the Kazakhstani government and authorities subsequently exaggerated events to quell separatist sentiment. In the 1990s, the Russian minority la cked significant political power, but still maintained an activist element that pushed back against Kazakhization and fought for political and cul tural rights. After 2000, the Kazakhstani government effectively silenced the activist elem ent within the Rus sian minority through a demonstration of power The suppression stood as an example to the Russian minority of the seriousness of the Kazakhstani authorities. In the wake of the Ukrainian crisis the state began a renewed effo rt to silence dissent and make an example of those who express separatist sympathies. D. Crackdown Government arrests after 2000 largely concentrated on Islamic fundamentalists and ant i government activists ; however, a crackdown on Russian separatism emerged after the Crimea crisis. A few days after the Russ ian intervention in Crimea in February 2014, Vladimir Zhirinovsky remarked Limonov claimed northern Kazakhstan i o blasts were Russian, calling for their return to Russia through annexation. I n April, the president of the Republic of Khakassia Vladimir Shtygashev added to the chorus by making his declaration that the 1936 delineation had transferred historically Rus sian territory to Kazakhstan Remarks by Kazakhstani senators to TengriNews show that separatism was on the minds of Kazakhstani

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24 senators when they passed Article 180 to the penal code (Tashkinbayev 201 4). The article strengthened the penal code by autho rizing up to seven years in prison for ( Punishment for Separatism 2014) In addition, s enators added an article that allowed the g overnment to block internet sites or cell phones without a warrant and streamlined the repat riation process for Kazakhs. Kazakhstani authorities use d the new laws to punish separatist sentiment. In March of 2015 the police arrested Tatyana Shevtsova Valova for internet posts calling for Russia to occupy Kazakhstan ; P ro Russian separatis for posting an online poll about northern Kazakhstan joining Russia ; and Yermek Tachibekov fo ethnic Mirovalev 2015 ; Kazakh Court 2015 ). Nor w ere these arrests isolated case s : t he state arrested e thnic Rus sian Igor Chuprina after calling for northern Kazakhstan to break away and reintegrate with Russia, a s well as Serikzhan Mambetalin and Yermek nd dignity of the Kazakh nation ( Kazakhstan Con viction 2016; Alkhabayev 2015). Kazakhstan has also pursued citizens who have fought alongside pro Russian separatists in Ukraine. In December 2015, Yevgeny Vdovenko was jailed for fighting with Russian separatists in Ukraine ( Kazakh Citizen 2015) Kazakhstan has hunted Nurlan Igenov since 2014 and Maksim Yermolov since 2016; both have eluded capture but authorities accuse them of fighting with Russian separatists (Casey 2014; Kazakhstan Hunts 2016 ). These cases have been highly covered by t he Kazakhstani media D espite most the arrests including little more than blog posts or Facebook musings, these cases clearly show the Kazakhstani authorities are concerned about the growth of Russian separatism. None

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25 represented a significant thr eat to the state, but their prosecution serves to warn the Russian minority in Kazakhstan that the government does not tolerate separatist sentiment. Yet there is little evidence of significant discord among the Russian minority that could lead to an armed rebellion. Capturing the attitude and sympathies of the Russian minority is a difficult task. Public polling is rare in Kazakhstan and the authoritarian makeup of the government will hardly allow questions asking for opinions concerning Russian separati sm or ethnic conflict. Despite the lack of official surveys and polling, informal canvasing by reporters for Reuters (2016) The Guardian (2016), and Al Jazeera (2014) offer Focusing primarily on the northern Kazakhstani cities of Petropavlovsk and Kostanay following the Crimea c risis, the commentary shows a heighten ed awareness of the potential of Russian intervention among the cit residents. Despite this trend, none professes overt separatist sentiments and few deem the prospects of Russian intervention as likely. While many ethnic Russians support stronger economic and political ties to Russia, this is far from a call to arms but rather a natural tendency to favor their former homeland Additionally, Reuters reporting suggests, There is a broad consensus among the city's Russians (an estimated 70 percent of the population) that the land historically belongs to Kazakhs, and they praise the country's current leadership for its efforts to maintain Russia ns' 4). Reuters interviewed the head of the Cossack Association in Kazakhstan, Yuri Zakharov. Cossack organizations have been leaders in separatist movements in Ukraine, but Zakharov offered praise for Nazarbay ev and stressed coo peration

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26 Both Kazakhs and Russians are tolerant, calm. Although resentment of the language and cultural policies of Kazakhization persist among ethnic Russians, t hi s resentment seems manageable. In his assessment of the Russian minority in Kazakhstan, Diener characterizes the sit uation as such: The Russian speaking populations of Kazakhstan, and specifically the ethnic Russians of the northern oblasts, have had 25 years to either migrate or agitate for separatism/irredentism. As suggested above, the vast majority of those c urrently living in the north have done neither. Most regard the prospect of Russian intervention as a safeguard against potential Kazakh nationalist extremism in the conditions w am 2015) Brletich (2015) Russian minority in Kazakhstan. No potential s hort term threat of an organic separatist movement in northern Kazakhstan exists, nor is there evidence the Russian minority would be re ceptive to Russian intervention However, t he situ ation of the Russian minority in pre crisis Ukraine follow ed a simila r line of assessment L ike Kazakhstan, Ukraine avoided armed ethnic conflict before 2013 despite its well known ethnic and political division. Ukraine embarked on its own nationalization process that created similar resentment among ethnic Russians yet moderation prevailed Kuzio (2015) notes the various Uk rainian and Russian nationalist groups co existed uneasily but largely peacefully until the 2013 2014 Euromaidan protests Various polls and interviews conducted before and after the start of th e Crimea crisis show little support for separatism among citizens in eastern and southern Ukraine ( Balzer 2015 ; Chaisty and Whitefield 2015 ; Katchanovski 2014 ; Knott 2015 ). Two political trigger events were essential in widening the ethnic split in Ukrain e and prompting Russian intervention.

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27 T he Euromaidan revolution in late 2013 westward movement toward NATO and the European Union escalated the Crimea c risis. with NATO and European Union membership threatene d to alter regional power dynamics in a country deemed strategically important to Russian national security (Mearsheimer 2014 ). The Euromaidan protests beginning in November of 2013 magnified this long term problem and led to a more pressing short term tr igger: the ouster of pro Russian President Viktor Yanukovych as Putin made the decision to intervene in Crimea the day afte r Yanukovych fled the capital ( Putin reveals 2015). To return to the Voshchanov statement in 1991, both the west and the Euromaidan revolution D espite initial observations short term a nd long term future of Kazakhstan.

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28 C H A P T E R IV TRIGGERING EVENTS AND COLOR REVOLUTION: THE PROBL EM OF NAZARBAYEV Kazakhstan emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union ethnically divided and in economic turmoil. President Nursultan Naza rbayev is perh aps the most successful of the C entral Asian leaders in managing the transition and implementing a nation building program resulting in relative economic and political stability for Kazakhstan (Ambrosio 2014). Through increasingly authoritar ian means and deft political maneuvering, Nazarbayev also negotiated a fine line between promoting the Kazakh identity of the new state and mitigating potential Russian agitation in northern Kazakhstan. He was instrument al in implementing what he calls a policy, which satisfied the need for international partners, while still maintaining necessary ties to Russia. His importance to the development of Kazakhstan cannot be understated and nor can the urgency for a clear succession proc ess for the 76 year old president. The significance of Nazarbayev to the development of Kazakhstan is not l ost on Vladimir Putin. At t h e Seli ger S tudent Forum in 2014, a student asked the Russian p resident a question pertaining to the future of Kazakhstan While overstating the threat of Kazakh nationalism, the student also suggested President Nazarbayev remained the only restraining The Russian government often plants questions to President Putin so it is worth mentioning the question in its entirety:

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29 However, we are concerned about a different situation, namely the growth of nationalistic sentiments in Kazakhstan, in the south of that c ountry in particular. In our view the acting p resident, Mr. Nazarbayev is the main restraining factor here. Our question is should we expect developments in Kazakhstan to follow the Ukrainian scenario should Mr. Nazarbayev leave his post? Is there any s trategy designed to prevent this? What are Not only but also su ggested Nazarbayev was the only reason the country had held together: First, President Nazarbayev is alive and well, and, thank god, has no intention of resigning; however, being the wise and experienced leader that he is, he is always concerned about t he future of his country.. I already said that he has performed a unique feat: he has created a state on a territory where there has never been a state. The Kazakhs never had a state o f their own, and he created it. In this sense, he is a unique person on the post The comments received diplomatic inquiries from the Kazakhstani government, and ordinary Kazakhs called for people to send textbooks to Vladimir Putin to refresh his memory about Kazakh history ( Putin Downplays 2015) President Nazarbayev arranged the c elebration of the 550 th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate; a clear rebuke to ers i n Kazakhstan accept it or not. Before Russian colonization, Kazakhstan was never a state in the traditional sense of the word. Nazarbayev reluctantly admitted this much, ates It may not have been a state in the modern understanding of this term, in the current borders. it is important that the foundation was laid then Kazakh statehood 2014 ). The development of Kazakhstan as a modern state has transpired under President Nazarbayev which has required that he maintain cordial relations with Russia The fall of the pro Russian government in Ukraine triggered Russian action in Crimea.

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30 When considering possible trigger events in Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev succession is perhaps the most important. This chapter will explore Nazarb and the crisis that might emerge in his absence. T he same Cossack leader Yuri Zakharov who praised Nazarbayev for his leadership ng as he (Nazarbayev) is president, ut if, God forbid, something happens to him, there is no guarantee. Nazarbayev has His Soviet roots and Kazakh ethnic identity are significant to understanding why Nazarbayev has been an effective voice of moderation in Kazakhstan development. A. Nazarbayev the Nation Builder First Nurs ultan Nazarbayev is the only president the country has ever known and goes by the official title (Issacs 2010) S on of a nomadic Kazakh, Nazarbayev was a steel worker who rose through the ranks of the communist apparatus His stron g affiliation with the communist party made him an unlikely c andidate to lead a post Soviet r epublic. Nazarbayev became p rime minister of the Kazakhstan ASSR in 1984 and then president in 1990. He gained prominence as a moderating figure when Mikhail Gor bachev selected Nazarbaye v to replace Gennady Kolbin, an ethnic Ru ssian, after Kazakh nationalist protest s of his appointment led to bloodshed (Olcott 2010) C o nsidered by Mikhail Gorbachev for first Vice President of the Soviet Union, Nazarbayev turned d own the offer. He negotiated for the preservation of the Soviet Union in one form or another and a s a result, Kazakhstan became the last republic to leave the USSR As president of the newly independent Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev fac ed two daunting challeng es to building a nation :

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31 preventing the fracture of Kazakhstan along ethnic lines and reversing the economic turmoil that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. The first challenge for President Nazarbayev was to build a viable state amid politic al and economic turmoil in post Soviet Kazakhstan Although Kazakhstan is widely recognized as the most successful of the republics in Central Asia in terms of stability and economic growth, this success was not a forgone conclusion. Kazakhstan began ind ependence as the largest former Soviet republic, yet little semblance of an administration to build upon existed Its near 40 percent Russian minority constituted a potential source of ethnic strife and Russian irredentism. Government institutions were w eak at best and Kazakhstan suffered severely from the economic collapse that followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 1989, 5 percent of Kazakhstanis lived below the poverty line; by 1990 that figure was over 50 percent (Peyrouse 2007). President Nazarbayev negotiated the transition to inde pendence through charisma soft authoritarianism, and compromise (Isaacs 2010) In doing so, he created an irreplaceable father figure and an increasingly authoritarian government that has no obvious or stated plan of succession. Though Kazakhization is a continuous project, the nationalization process has so far avoided the ethnic entanglements other Central Asian states have experienced. Rogers s recognition of its ethnic minorities and the passive implementation of Kazakhization Although the Baltic States and other former Soviet republics pursued aggressive ethnic nationalism in language, citizenship, and political participation that often isolated ethnic Russians Kazakhstan slowly introduced Kazakhization policies using the rhetoric of ethnic harmony (Brubaker 2011). Nazarbayev was quick to embrace the Soviet legacy of cultural plurality to suppress Russian and Kazakh

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32 nationalists while concurrently enacting pol icies that would slowly reverse R ussification. this strategy avoided explicit nationalizing policies while quietly promot ing the advancement of ethnic Kazakhs in economic and political life The careful implementation of Kazakhization is attributable to President Nazarbayev, as is the strategic ambiguity between civic and ethno nationalism (Beachain and Kevlihan 2013) With one foot in the Soviet past and the other firmly in the future, Naz arbayev celebrated the cultural diversity of Kazakhstan in speeches and through the Assembly of Peoples, while passive ly enacting Kazakhization The simultaneous promotion of civic and ethno nationalism may seem contradictory, but has provided ethnic harm ony and has improved the long term prospects of a Kazakh centered state. The most obvious example is the promotion of Ka zakh as the official language. The government led by Nazarbayev, passed a variety of laws that establish ed knowledge of Kazakh as a requirement for government jobs, higher education and the presidency (Fierman 2009; Peyrouse 2009; Brubaker 2011). Representatives also passed legislation to change from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet by 2025. Since the beginning of the 1990s, t he g overnment has rarely enforced these and the policy changes are largely symbolic. Russian is still widely spoken, and those ethnic Russians who see the change in language policies as detrimental to their future prospects in Kazakhstan have already emigrate d. Still, the Kazakh language has increased in usage and prestige and many Russian s who remain recognize the need to assimilate to the new reality. While not altering the day to day life of the average ethnic Russian or Kazakh, Nazarbayev established K azakh as the future language of the state.

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33 ed ethnic harmony in the nationalization of language but also political life and economics (Beachain and Kevlihan 2013; Brubaker 20 11). As previously shown, his authoritarian regime has de politicized the Russian minority in Kazakhstan and few ethnic Russians feel persecuted in Kazakhstani society. Although rapid privatization and nepotism transferred major industries and natural re sources to Kazakhs since independence, enough oil money and quality jobs are available to ethnic Russians to quell any resentment. Russian emigration and high Kazakh birthrates furthered the demographic shift, and Kazakhization, though not com plete, has b een reasonably successful. Nazar bayev, as the primary power holder and decision maker in Kazakhstan since its birth, is responsible for the negative aspects of his authoritarian regime but also the relative stability and economic success of the nation buil ding process T he chairman of the national bank, Daniyar Akishev framed it this way, independence are inextricably linked to the first president of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nurs Note to self ). His leadership style is a representation of his Soviet roots but also his ethnic Kazakh identity. The authoritarian nature of his government is often forgiven by Kazakhstanis as a necessity and the majority stated sentiment (Loktev 2010) When President Nazarbayev leaves office, the moderating figure in the nationalization process of Kazakhstan will leave as well. Another component of Kazakhstan stable development its multi vector foreign policy and Kazakhstan relationship with Russia, are also attributable to President Nazarbayev.

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34 B. Nazarbayev the Peacemaker Positioned in Central Asia as a Eurasian bridge between east and west, Kazakhstan an d President Nazarbayev pursued w hat he calls a balancing geopolitical relationships between Russia, China, and the United States In actuality, Kazakhstan has a much deeper relationship with Russia, owing to its econo mic integration, history and security concerns over its large Russian minority. Nazarbayev has maintained this special relationship with Russia, while simultaneously pursuing other economic partnerships and successfully positioned Kazakhstan as a responsible arbitrator in the international co mmunity. The slow movement of Ukraine toward NATO and the European Union and away from the Russian orbit contributed t o the escalation of the Crimea c risis. has been a m ainstay of President Nazarbay ev and his departure could signal a similar change in direction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many former Soviet republics faced a choice in the direction of their foreign policy. The Baltic States immediately chose economic and s ecurity integration with the W est, while others like Belarus and Kazakhstan moved toward reintegration with Russia and a broader Eurasian concept position and economic dependence on Russian left Nazarbayev with little choice but i ntegration: dence, Russia became more than just a neighboring state. It is time to accept the simple fact that partnership with Russia will be one of the critical ( Na zarba y ev 1999). For Nazarbayev, the push for reintegration and partnership with Russia was born of economic and strategic realities. Kazakhstan faced economic collapse as much of its industry

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35 and manufacturing was heavily reliant on integration with the Soviet Union In this context, Nazarbayev championed economic Eurasianism and proposed several extensive integration projects ( Vinokurov 2010). Kazakhstan joined the Commonwealth of Independent States five day s after declaring independence The CIS began bilateral integration efforts between Kazakhstan and Russia and led to negotiations of the Customs Union between Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan in 1994. Nazarbayev was also the first to introduce the concept of the Eurasian Union in the early 1 990s, an economic bloc of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan th Nazarbayev has pursued economy. Recognizing the need for technical ex pertise in exploiting oil reserves President Nazarbayev sought out new partners for investment outside of Russia through : countries to Kazakhstan and its ro le as a world supplier of fuel. I n th is context, investments in our oil and gas i ndustry will come from the Unit ed States, Ru ssia, China, Japan and Western European cou ntries, v, 1997). These partnerships have proved invaluable in providing foreign direct investme nt to Kazakhstan. American and Kazakh consortiums were, and will continue to be, fundamental industry and the Silk Road Economic B elt. China has passed Russia as Kazak primary trading partner, receiving 20 percent of its exports and providing 18 percent of Naz arbayev views economic relationships with China, Russia, and the West as essential to integration with the world e conomy, a theme he regularly promotes (Ambrosio and Lange 2014).

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36 The president has also sought l imited military and security agreements outside of Russia Kazakhstan cooperated with the American war effort in Afghanistan by allowing for the transit of A merican troops and equipment, hosted former Guantanamo bay p risoners, and received Iranian u ranium as part of the Iran Nuclear deal ( Standish 2016 ) Kazakhstan has developed security agreements with China regarding terrorism and cooperated with extraditin relationships mean Russia is a str ategic alliance but not its sole international partner (Vinokurov 2010). Nazarbayev has also cultivated a reputation as mediator in the internation al community, while keeping his important relationship with Russia intact. broker in conflict resolution as evidence by Kazakhstan ascendency to numerous important positions In 2010, Kazakhstan was the first former Soviet coun try to chair the OSCE and in 2016 won a non permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Upon independence, Kazakhstan renounced th e fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world and h as since been a l eader in nuclear nonproliferation (Standish 2016). The W orld Assembly of Turkic Peoples n ominated Naza r bayev for the Nobel Peace P rize in 2010 for his leadership, and he has received prai se from American experts in nonproliferation such as Richard Lugar and former President Obama ( Remarks by 2012 ) This is an image Nazarbayev has carefully constructed since the beginning of independence to solidify Kazakhstani sove reignty and legitimize his regime within the international community. N a zarbayev acts as a mediator for countries seeking rapprochement with Vladimir Putin and Moscow. For example Nazarbayev mediated between Tur key and Russia over the

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37 downed j et in Syria, between Ukraine and Russia in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, and hosted Syrian peace talks in Astana between Russia, Iran, and Turkey ( Barnard and Saad 2017 ) During the Crimea c risis arbitrator bec ame increasingly difficult Nazarbayev s action in Ukraine: national minorities in Ukraine, and also the interest s of its security, with und (Lillis 2014 ) and advocated for the : peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine on the basis of the preservation of sovereignty in line with the norms of international law (Lillis 2014 ). e special relationship with Russia and its own independent voice is clear in these statements. Despite t he growth of lateral relationships, Russian remains central in Despite the leadership changes in China and Russia year rule foreign policy in Kazakhstan has remained r emarkably consistent. In an analysis of speeches between 1997 and 2014, Nazarbayev has focused on geopolitical situation and position as a crossroads in Central Asia ; the multi vector foreign policy with a heighten ed respect for the special relationship with Russia ; and the need for Kazakhstan to integrate into the global economy (Ambrosio and Lange 2014). Russia has minority because Russia has always had a loyal partner to work with in President N azarbayev. Yet w s a strategic Russian partner is not guaranteed.

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38 C. Nazarbayev the Elder Nazarbayev is the last holdover of the communis t era remain ing in power in the post S oviet states As a leader, n effective peace ersonalist depen dent ent irely on his leadership and v oid of a clear succession plan (Ambrosio 2015) The political transition of the 76 y ear old Nazarbayev has been a source c and international politics. Russia has a keen interest in who runs Kazakhstan as a geostrategic partner in Central Asia, as shown Seliger Student Forum (See Page 28). Wh en considering possible trigger events to Russian intervention in Kazakhstan, it is im portant to consider the history of authoritarian succession in post Soviet states, the potential threat of a color revolution in Kazakhstan, and the current ambiguity of Naz The way in which authoritarian regimes organize power is a critical factor in succession processes. Geddes (1999) categorizes authoritarian regimes by the three ways in which the state arranges authorit y: (1) personalist regimes are centered on an individual and power is based upon relations with that indi vidual; (2) single party systems have an organized political party that concentrates power ; and (3) military governments maintain power through their armed forces (Ambrosio 2015). The Kazakhstani military plays only a d although the p resident s party Nur Otan is the only significant political party in Kazakhstan, it exists only as a necessary bureaucracy President on his

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39 charisma and p opularity. The personalist nature ment has only grown with time museums, songs, statues, and banknotes are dedicated to his leadership (Lillis 2012). Astana shares the same birthday as Nazarbayev and there is a movement to rename the capital after President Nazarbayev (Sorbello 2016). In the most recent presidential election in August of 2015 in which no political opposition existed Nazarbayev won 98 percent of the vote, for which he apologized: democratic states such figures are unacceptable. But I could do nothing. (Nurshayeva and Solovyov 2015) Personalis t regimes have had the least success in transitioning authority and for a president Authoritarian governments have a mixed record of transferring power peacefully When considering regime transitions of the 340 autho ritarian leadership transitions between 1946 and 2009, 47 percent resulted in the fall of the regime (Ezrow and Frantz 2011). The successes of regime transitions in post Soviet states are equally mixed. In his assessment of leadership transitions in post were neither free nor fair Russia, Armenia Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia) Ambrosio (2015) concludes that only Russia and Armenia can be considered successful. In the three that were not (Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia) experienced color revolutions and ethnic strife that significantly alte red their relations with Russia and led to intervention on some level.

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40 Dem ocratic revolutions have swept many pro Russian leaders fro m power and replaced them with W estern leaning reformer s prompting a Russian response. The Rose (Georgia), Orange (Ukraine), and Tulip ( Kyrgyzstan ) R evolutions are associated with their W este orientation aimed at promoting democracy and developing closer relations hip s with W estern institutions like NATO or the EU President Putin has presented them as threats to traditional Russian spheres of influence: In the modern world extremism is be ing used as a geopolitical instrument and for remaking spheres of influence. We see what tragic consequences the wave of so called color revolutions led to Korsunskaya 2014). The Rose R ev olution in Georgia brought pro W esterner Mikhail Saakashvili to power and he immediately began pushing for membership with NATO and the European Union. n o verwhelmi ng Russian military response. a similar pro W estern movement and is seen as a precursor to the Euromaidan Revolution in 2013 that ultimately led to the annexation of Crimea. W hile not precipitating a Russian military intervention t he Tulip R evolution in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 led to the election of reformer P resident Bakiyev who eventually fled the country in 2010 a fter riots and protests that commentators frequently attribute to Russian influence (Go recki 2010; Shuster 2010 ; Cooley 2012 ) Recognizing the threat of revolutions to his hold on power President Nazarbayev has been an outspoken critic of democratic movements and has made a concerted effort to suppress any sign of them in Kazakhstan Nazarbayev is personally popular, but his presidency has b een associated with the kind of corruption, nepotism and authoritarianism that triggered revolutions in other former

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41 Soviet states. In June of 2016, Nazarba yev warned of growing signs of revolution in Kazakhstan: o use a variety of different m ethods and begin with contrived rallies, murder and the desire to seize power. These methods have manifested themselves in our country. In countries where these revolutions succeeded, there is no longer a working state and stability, only rampant poverty and banditry that create conditions for the emergen ce of extremists and terrorists (Putz 2016). His remarks came in reaction to demonstrations criticizing the privatization of Kazakhstani farmland (Auyezov 2016b ). Nazarbayev proceeded to lump the pro tests in with a series of g the state Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev Although Kazakhstan has avoided major ethnic clashes like those that led to the turnover of power in K yrgyzstan, occasional incidents like a Kazakh Chechen clash outside Almaty in 2007 or ethnic Tajiks Kazakh clashes in 2015 do exist ( Lillis 2015). of ethnic conflict and revolution in Kazakhstan are exaggerated ; however the uncertai nty concerning his succession and the makeup of his regime amplify these variables. in the political life of Kazakhstan ports surfaced that a German hospital treated him for prostate cancer in 2011 (Brauer 2011 ; Kilner 2011 ). Speculation is also fueled by and his to ensure no one person accum ulates too much power within his vast patronage system (Auyezov 2016c ; Kazakhstan: A Cabinet Ambrosio 2015 ). The reshuffling even ex In 2007, President in law Rakhat Aliyev criticized the p resident for changing the constitution to allow him to become president for life. Shortly after, the government accused Aliyev of

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42 corruption and murder and he fled to Austria where he eventually died of apparent suicide (Lyman 2015) has only recently emerged from the scandal having served as deputy prime minister and h a v i n g been appointed to the senate. Nazarbayev has several options to hand over power o successor from outside his inner circle or altering the Nur Otan party so Kazakhstan operates more like a single party system (Ambrosio 2015) There is some recent evidence that Nazarbayev is contemplating empowering Nur Otan In J anuary 2017, Nazarbayev announced he would delegate some of his sweeping powers to parliament and allow them to form a cabinet. Nazarbayev proclaimed: The point of the proposed reform is in a serious redistribution of powers and democratization of the po liti 2017 ). Evidence for a hereditary handover also exists. Dariga Nazarbayev a daughter, has made political comeback in parliament after falling out of favor in 2007 and the media speculates she is Nazarb chosen successor ( Gizitdinov 2016) The successful power transition in Turkmenistan in 2007 as well as the more recent handover of power offers hope that the process could be replicated in Kaz akhstan. Without a clear and stated plan however, a cloud will co ntinue to hover over Kazakhstan with the Kremlin taking a key interest in the outcome. Power transitions in post Soviet states are delicate matter. Russia for example, has intervened in U kraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan when pro W estern governments came to power. In Kazakhstan, the ambiguity of the transition represents a short term trigger event that could drastically alter the Russian Kazakh relationship. ru le has been stability which is undermined by his clinging to t h e p r e s i d e n c y Russia,

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43 utilizing the Karaganov doctrine has intervened to protect its interests in the near abroad and it is not difficult to see it happening in Kazakhstan if the conditions permit. With the changing geopolitical landscape in Central Asia and the rise of China as a regional power Kazakhstan also faces long term prospects of an international triggering event.

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44 CHAPTER V G REAT GAME DIFFERENT PLAYERS : CHINA A S AN EMERGING POWER The decline of American military presence in Central Asia, the rise of Chinese economic power, and the increasingly security oriented Russian foreign policy threaten to a and Kazakhstan. Perhaps the most used metaphor to describe regional power dynamics in Central Asia is the refers to the struggle between Great Britain and Imperial Russia over control of strategically important Central Asi a in the 19 th century Central to the confrontation was the threat of an expansionist Russian Empire reaching British India. To prevent Russian access to India, the British waged several disastrous military campaigns to create a buffer state among the va rious tribes in Afghanistan. The American war in Afghanistan introduced the United States as a new player in the region and conjured up the 19 th century lexicon once more. The comparison proved fleeting as American involvement and influence in C entral Asia steadily declined alongside the war effort. The rise of China in the 21 st century and its entrance into Central Asia has once again brought the term Great Game back into popularity among scholars of Eurasia (Freire and Kanet 2010; Fingar, 2016 ; Cooley 2012; Laruel le, Huche t, Peyrouse, and Balci 2010 ). R egional power dynamics that have long been dominated by Russia now face an uncertain future. Although Central Asian specialists emphasize traditional power politics, the new for mer Soviet republics are now players as well. According to Cooley (2012) they have conflate internal and external security threats to further their regime survival, they use state office for private gain ; and they act as brokers between their political clients

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45 No place is this dynamic more apparent than with Kaza khstan, the most important state in Central Asia. It contains the largest oil reserves in Ce ntral Asia and massive quantities of uranium and other minerals President Nazarbayev has stressed the need for regional and global integration and has led Kazakhstan toward establishing the most liberalized economy in Central Asia. v ector foreign policy is the backbone of this movement ; however, the decline of American power in Central Asia leaves Kazakhstan with fewer options. A. American Decline Central Asia featured low on the priority list for American foreign policy following the c ollapse of the Soviet Union Investment opportunities in Central Asian energy sectors, particularly in Kazakhstan, made the region important for American business. After 9/11, the region became increasingly vital as a transit route for American troops an d equipment as well as basing rights for coalition forces carrying out airstrikes in Afghanistan. Initial small scale cooperation between Central Asian states and the U.S. eventually blossomed into large scale basing rights to the Karshi Khanabad airbase in Uzbekistan and the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan. Both agreements where achieved through substantial economic and military contributions to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. U.S. military and economic assistance to Uzbekist an increased fourfold with t he completion of the basing agreements in 2002, topping out at $300 million (Cooley 2012). In Kyrgyzstan, the basing agreements led to $100 million in American investment in the country by 2009 and over $2 billion in fuel procurement (Cooley 2012). Altho ugh initially approved by Russia and tacitly condoned by China, the U.S. bases and their matching economic aid packages b ecame increasingly viewed as military encirclement by both China and Russia. In the context of color revolutions in former

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46 Soviet r epu blics the U.S. presence in Central Asia served to unite Chinese and Russian priorities. Chinese and Russian interest a ligned briefly in the mid 2000s i n opposing U.S. military installations in Central Asia and opposing the democratic revolutions The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) acted as a mutual platform in which Russia and China pur sued stability and security in areas vulnerable to revolution. The PRC concerned over separatists in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous R egion rception that American intrigue was behind revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan (Cooley 2012 ; Kim 2014 ). In cooperation with Russia, China pressured Uzbekistan to close Karshi Khanabad (K2) military airbase in 2005 and eventually expel the Unit ed States from Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 (Kim 2014) This brief alignment of priorities faded as more U.S. bases closed and the American withdrawal from Afghanistan accelerated. Russian and Chinese interests have since diverged, with each stak ing out new economic and security spheres of influence in Central Asia Increasingly, Central Asian states have turned to China as an economic alternative While the surge of American power in Central Asia posed a temporary threat to Russian interests, C hinese economic development in the region represents a sustained challenge to Russian influence. B. The Rise of Chinese Influence Central Asian states seeking new investment partners and economic development are increasingly looking to China. The emergence of China as a regional power in Central Asia corresponds with its general ascension among developing nations as an alternative to the

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47 U.S. led global economic system. Though governments in the region view Chinese inroads into Central Asia cautiously Chin a has promoted economic expansion into the region to the point where it is now the largest trading partner in Kazakhstan and in Central Asia. T hree primary issues explain Chinese expansion: the security and development of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Re gion ; securing access to oil, gas, and uranium in Kazakhstan ; and the tr ansit of Turkmen gas to China. Originally established as the successor to Shanghai Five ( China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan ) in 2001 t he Shanghai Cooperation Organiz ation (SCO) is the primary driver of Chinese foreign policy in Central Asia. The Chinese designed the SCO to concentrate predominantly on security issues surrounding Uygur separatists in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region China developed a dual approa ch through the SCO to deal with their Uygur minority : cooperation between China and the bordering Central Asian states to combat Uygur sep aratists combined with the development of the bor der region to promote stability (Cooley 2012). The latter has led to greater Chinese economic cooperation in Centra l Asia as whole T he SCO has also become a Chinese led alternative to W estern dominated multilateral organizations, Cooley writes : repeatedly underscor sovereignty and rejects interferen ce in their domestic affairs. This can be contrasted with the economic conditionality imposed by Western donors (World Bank, IMF), the human rights criteria or political conditions of Western led security organizations (NATO, OSCE human dimensi int ervention on humanitarian grounds. are littered with refere For Central Asian governments, all of which operate with some level of authoritarianism, this partnership is ideal. It has led to greater economic cooperation in energy, infrastructure, and

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48 Chinese loans in Central Asia. The rise of Chinese influence is especially evident in Kazakhstan. 20 years fueled a demand for new energy sources from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan In an effort to break into the Kazakhstani oil market, the PRC built new pipelines to deliver oil and gas directly to China while circumventing traditional Russian routes. China now directly controls approximately 20 percent of oil production (Hart 2016) and some analysts claim the number reaches 50 percent when considering joint ventures with Kazakhst ani consortiums (Cooley 2012). In cooperation with Kazakhstani oil companies, China completed the Atasu Alashankou pipeline in 2008 and now di rectly pumps 10 million tons of oil into the Xinjiang region of Kazakhstan China energy security which flows from Turkmenistan through a large portion of Kazakhs tan via the Central Asia China gas p ipeline. Although the pipeline expansion has seen numerous delays in recent years, the PRC continued pursuit of bilateral energy agreements in Central Asia could see China importing up to 50 percent accordin g to the International Energy Agency (Hart 2016). Chinese investment now reach es beyond the energy sectors. The PRC has expanded investment and infrastructure projects in Central Asia and Kazakhstan t hrough the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative China designed the initiative to open trade routes for Chinese goods to a number of markets, including the European Union. On top of the $30 billion the Chinese have already mining, oil, tran sport, and agricultural sectors, the Silk Road Economic Belt aims to make the Khorgos region that borders eastern Kazakhstan the regional hub for the new transportation network

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49 ( Frolovskiy 2016). Projects like these have catapulted the Chinese past Russia as the leader in foreign direct investmen t (FDI) and as the primary lender in Kazakhstan ( Guschin 2015). Though China has surpassed Russia as the chief economic partner in Central Asia and Kazakhstan, China ha s been careful not to intrude upon Russian security interests. The economic relation ship between China and Central Asian states like Kazakhstan will only increase. The SCO, originally c r e a t e d to address border security issues is being reshaped as an economic bloc (Pantucci and Petersen 2011) China is pur suing the formation of a Chinese led deve lopment bank within the SCO as well as a common market. Russia, under significant economic distress cannot compete with Chinese investment. relentless pursuit of energy security will continue to prioritize investment in oil, gas and the pipelin es that deliver energy directly to Chinese markets However, as Chinese economic influence grows Russian influence has beco me increasingly focused on its military presence. C. The Russian Shift Toward Security Moscow has sought a special role in Central Asia. In a major foreign policy speech sphere s Kramer 2008). In the 1990s and early 2000s this mantra was a reality in Central Asia, as the new states continued to be reliant on Russian economic and military power. As shown, the introduction of American military power into Central Asia amplified Russian security concerns in the region and Chinese investment has shifted Central Asia economically to the E ast. In response, Russia proposed a series of regional economic and security schemes to reassert Russian integration efforts followed a relative decline in their economic influence in Central As ia. While Russia n economic investment in the region r ose steadily in the early

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50 2000s, the 2008 financial crisis si gnificantly curbed this trend. Central Asian states relied on Russian transit routes to export energy following independence but the rise of resource nationalism and the entrance of multinational partners, particularly China, created new transit routes Although Russia opposed the construction of energy pipelines that bypassed Russia, numerous pipelines were built, including the C aspian Pipel ine Consortium and the Atasu Alashankou pipeline that export oil out of Kazakhstan. To reestablish economic influence in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, Russia turned to further integration to solidify its position. Originally viewed by the W est as a compet ing organization to the European Union, scholars now regard the Eurasian Economic Union as a response to Chinese economic expansion ( Cooley and Laruelle 2013). Russia n attempts at economic integration with Kazakhstan have resulted in increasing tension s. In 2015, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Russia created the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) b ased on the European U nion concept of a common market The agreement expanded existing economic integration schemes like the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Co mmunity. T he founders designed the organization to facilitate free trade within the bloc, yet Kazakhstan and Belarus have experienced increasing trade disputes rising unemployment, and falling currencies because of their economic integration with a strug gling Russia. To combat these problems, President Nazarbayev has advocated for closer EEU ; however Russia has rebuffed Is Kazakhstan Getting On the othe r hand, Nazarbayev has resisted calls for closer p olitical integration in the EEU advocated by Putin In both instances, the EEU has so far served to raise tensions among member states rather than bring them closer together as t he continuing economic rece ssion in Russia hinders

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51 its influence through the EEU or other mechanisms. Because to the military to ensure its pr ivileged security interests in C entral Asia. Just as the EEU is a watered down version of the European Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization E astern NATO (Cooley 2012). Organized in 2002, the organization encompasses Russ ia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan The purpose of the organization is vague, but it seems to have been a reaction to U.S. involvement in Central Asia following 9/11. CSTO allows Russia to deepen its security ties in the region establish new airbases and garrisons in Central Asian countries, and gives the perception that Moscow is the head of a formidable military alliance in Central Asia (Cooley 2012). Central Asian states receive Russian arms at reduced prices, tr aining and logistical support, and potential military protection for regimes facing violent domestic opposition. Russia further bolstered CSTO after the Russo Georgian war. In 2009 under Russian leadership, CSTO created the Collective Rapid Reaction For ce (CRRF) The 16,000 man CRRF is composed of 8,000 Russian troops and a collection of forces from other Central Asian states, including 4,000 Kazakhstanis. Uzbekistan refused to contribute to the CRRF citing the potential for the force to intervene in d o mestic affairs in Central Asia: should only be used to repulse foreign threats and challenges to security Uzbekistan is proceeding from the fact that each CSTO member state is able to resolve its domestic conflicts and problems with its own for ces without invo In 201 0 Russia declined to intervene with the CRRF in Kyrgyzstan to restore order and bring President Bakiyev back to power fears were realized a year later I n 2011,

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52 mem ber states empowered the CRRF to the member state when needed (Cooley 2012). have had mixed results. Member states in the EEU have yet to extract benef its from the common market recession has spilled over into their respective economies. Increasingly, Central Asian states look toward China for investment and markets for gas and oil. In the security realm, Ru ssia has been more successful wi th the establishment of CSTO. It has allowed for the basing of Russian troops in Kyrgyzst an and the creation of the CRRF whose mandate permits intervention should a democratic revolution arise Whether the inverse trend of security and economics w ill lead to a rise in tension in Central Asia may depend on the future of Russian Chinese relations. The new Great G ame in Central Asia features a traditional, yet declining regional power in Russia, and an emerging yet cautious regional power in China With the U.S. as a uniting adversary both countries have managed the relationship well, with China effectively ceding security concerns to Russia, and Moscow allowing for Chinese economic expansion. Declining powers rarely relinquish their positions w ithout a struggle, and although open confrontation with China is highly unlikely, Russia p ossesses the hard power in Central Asia necessary to intervene in Central Asia n states that bring anti Kremlin leaders to power. Kazakhstan sits as the most influent ial and strategically important country in Asia. Regional power dynamics is a long term trigger to potential Russian intervention in Kazakhstan, just 20 year flirtation with the West. Chinese encroachment into Central Asia has yet to be fu lly realized but the presence of another great power in the region increases the likely hood that Russia m a y act if it loses its grip on Kazakhstan.

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53 C HAPTER VI CONCLUSION Russian foreign policy toward the near abroad has utilized the plight o f Russian minorities in former S oviet republics to justify intervention in Ukraine and Georgia. Although direct military action is a recent phenomenon under President Putin, exploit ing strings of Karaganov has been a Russian concept since the dissol ution of the Soviet Union. Equally as old is n ationalist rhetoric toward northern Kazakhstan Immediately following independence, the Russian government challenged K and over 27 years, S oviet dissidents, Russian nationalists, and Vladimir Putin have made disparaging remarks about However, the over three million ethnic Russian s in Kazakhstan have historically shown little signs of harboring separatist sympathies. The ones who resent the Kazakhization of the country have chosen to e migrate or accepted their future in a Kazakh dominated society. Though this fact lowers the likelihood of Moscow subverting Kazak Russian minority goals it may prove in consequential in the over all potential for Russian intervention in northern Kazakhstan ic in Ukraine and Georgia was more likely the product of international triggering events than a concern over the perceived persecution of compatriots. Turning to trigger events, it is apparent that the Russo Kazakhstani special relationship is more fragile in both the short term and long term future than either country wil l readily admit. The succession of President Na zarbayev is the single most important transition of power in Central Asia since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Though

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54 lightning speed of revolutions in the former Soviet Union and the Arab Spring were as equally surprising as the annexation of Crimea. Even with the 50/50 odds of a succession free of violence, the new government will have to fill the shoes of a cult persona lity who has held the country together for over a quarter century The Kremlin will be watching with interest. Central Asian geopolitics are equally muddled. Russia and China have engaged in a relationship of convenience in opposition to U.S. influence ; however the American presence is dwindling. Kazakhstan is at the center of a struggle over oil, transit routes, and economic power Though Russia has reluctantly allowed growing Chinese inroads in Central Asia, their patience may prove limited as Chines e influence shows no signs of slowing. If the Russian Chinese relationship slips into open competi tion, Russia could increasingly view the SCO and the Silk Road Economic Belt in the same term s as NATO or the European Union i.e. as direct threats to Russi The perfect storm may be ascension of nationalist Kazakhstani president in the midst of worsening relations between Russia and Ukrainian Basm achi Astana. Kazakhstan does not face any immediate threat of Russian intervention. Russia is still feeling the economic and diplomatic costs of the Ukrainian intervention and it is unlikely Moscow would pursue the same course in Kazakhstan even if conditions permitted. Despite the low likelihood, Kazakhstan is perhaps the most vulnerable among the former Soviet republics. Not only does it have a large ethnic Russian populati on, but more importantly, it

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55 has an increasingly ambiguous future in the Russian World. Sergi Kara ganov might yet be proven right.

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