Russia–Kazakhstan Relations and the Tokayev–Nazarbayev Tandem

Isaacs, Rico (2020) Russia–Kazakhstan Relations and the Tokayev–Nazarbayev Tandem. Russian Analytical Digest (248). pp. 2-5. ISSN 1863-0421

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After nearly 30 years in power, Nursultan Nazarbayev’s decision to stand down on the 19th March 2019 as
president of Kazakhstan took many observers by surprise. The former prime minister and speaker of the
Kazakh Senate, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, took up the post of acting president as constitutionally designated, and then won an extraordinary presidential election in June 2019, which was marred by opposition
protest demanding fairer elections and political reform. But the transition is one in which little has changed
in the short to medium-term. Nazarbayev still holds power through a series of extra-constitutional and constitutional positions and his informal power and influence is all encompassing. Moreover, Tokayev is committed to maintaining Nazarbayev’s policies, especially as they pertain to Kazakh–Russian relations and
the broader foreign policy agenda of ‘multi-vectorism’. Within that agenda, however, there remain significant tensions in Kazakh–Russian relations, especially as they relate to questions of security and Russian
soft-power. One important legacy of the Kazakh model of presidential transition is the extent to which it
represents an exemplar for other post-Soviet authoritarian leaders to follow whereby they give up the office
of president, but not power.

Keywords:Kazakhstan, Russia, Authoritarianism
Subjects:L Social studies > L250 International Relations
L Social studies > L200 Politics
L Social studies > L260 Comparative Politics
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:40191
Deposited On:08 Apr 2020 10:51

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