The government of Kazakhstan has been described as market-oriented authoritarianism. The old Soviet-era Communist Party apparatus and bureaucracy remains in place. Democracy doesn't exist except in highly watered-down forms.

Government type: republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch. Capital: Astana. Independence: The recognized date of independence is December 16, 1991, when the Republic of Kazakhstan split from the Soviet Union.

Constitution: previous 1937, 1978 (preindependence); latest adopted on January 28, 1993, approved by referendum on August 30, 1995, effective on September 5. 1995; amended in 1998, 2007, 2011 (2012). [Source: CIA World Factbook =]

Kazakhstan has been ruled by one person, Nursultan Nazarbayev, since before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. During that time, governance has been destabilized by the dismissal of several governments, a series of referenda that changed governmental practice, periods of rule by presidential decree, and the establishment of two new constitutions. These events have concentrated power in the presidency, severely limiting the power of the legislature and the ministries. Nazarbayev has acted to discourage opposition, although some opposition parties exist. Government corruption has been a major issue. In 2005 the corruption index of Transparency International rated Kazakhstan 111 out of 163 countries. At the same time, Kazakhstan’s international prestige has improved because of its oil and gas resources and its geographic importance in antiterrorism operations. [Source: Library of Congress, December, 2006 **]

Names, Flags and Symbols of Kazakhstan

Formal Name: Republic of Kazakhstan (Qazaqstan Respublikasy). Short Form: Kazakhstan (Qazaqstan). Former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. Term for Citizen(s): Kazakhstani(s). Kazakh technically refers to the Kazakh ethnic group although it can also refer to Kazakhstan citizens, which are officially called Kazakhstanis although the term is not that widely used — at least in the Western press anyway. [Source: Library of Congress, December, 2006]

The Kazakhstan flag has a sky-blue field with a golden sun and eagle in the center and a vertical golden ornamental strip on the left side. A gold sun with 32 rays is situated above a soaring golden steppe eagle, both centered on a sky blue background. The hoist side displays a national ornamental pattern "koshkar-muiz" (the horns of the ram) in gold. The the blue color is of religious significance to the Turkic peoples of the country, and so symbolizes cultural and ethnic unity. It also represents the endless sky as well as water. The sun, a source of life and energy, exemplifies wealth and plenitude. The sun's rays are shaped like grain, which is the basis of abundance and prosperity. The eagle has appeared on the flags of Kazakh tribes for centuries and represents freedom, power, and the flight to the future. [Source: CIA World Factbook =]

National anthem: name: "Menin Qazaqstanim" (My Kazakhstan) adopted 2006. Lyrics by Zhumeken Nazhimedenov and Nursultan Nazarbayev; music by Shamshi Kaldayakov National symbol: golden eagle. Blue and yellow are the national colors. Agolden eagle is on the flag. Since independence in 1991 it has been the official national symbol.

Kazakh Leader Pens Lyrics for New National Anthem

President Nursultan Nazarbayev played a role in revising the lyrics to the Kazakhstan national anthem. Reuters reported: “After 16 years of humming the same tune on state occasions, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has decided to change the music and add some lyrics of his own ahead of his inauguration for a new term...Parliament has voted to ditch the central Asian state's old national anthem in favour of My Kazakhstan, a song written in 1956 and adapted by Mr Nazarbayev."The text should reflect the heroic centuries-long struggle of our ancestors for independence," Mr Nazarbayev wrote in a letter to parliamentarians, explaining his changes. [Source: Reuters, January 6, 2006]

“His lines, roughly translated by Reuters, include: "Look at my country - the legend of courage / In hoary antiquity / Our glory was born / My Kazakh people is proud and strong." Until now Kazakhs had sung a Soviet-era national anthem, although its words were changed in 1996. Mr Nazarbayev, a 65-year-old who started his career as a steelworker, usually appears stern in public but reveals a poetic side on his website, penning two other songs: My Country and My Land. Last month he won a new seven-year term in office with 91 per cent of the vote, though international election observers said the poll was flawed, citing ballot box stuffing and the intimidation of opposition campaigners.

Some other lyrics of the Kazakh National Anthem go: “Jaralgan namystan kaharman khalykpyz,/ Azattyk jolynda jalyndap janyppyz/ Tagdyrdyng tezinen, tozaktyng ozinen/ Aman sau kalyppyz, aman sau kalyppyz,” meaning “We are valiant people, children of honour, /On the way to freedom donated all that is needed. /From vice of fate’s trial, from infernal fires /We perfectly survived, we perfectly survived.”

Governments in Central Asia

To varying degrees all the governments of Central Asia are authoritarian, with a strong president who possesses dictatorial powers and a largely rubber-stamp parliament. Many of these government are based on the Singapore or Pinochet model in which a strong economy is built with authoritarian leadership. With the exception of Kyrgyzstan democracy doesn't exist.

When independence was declared in 1991, none of the five republics had experienced an independence movement or had a corps of leaders who had considered how such a change might be managed. Five years after independence, in four of the states political leadership remained in the hands of the same individual as in the last years of the Soviet Union: Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakstan, Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan, Saparmyrat Niyazov in Turkmenistan, and Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan. President Imomali Rahmonov of Tajikistan was not president in 1991, but, like his cohorts, his roots were in his republic's pre-1992 political world. Political power in all five republics is based on clan and regional groupings that make national coalitions risky and fragile. Clan rivalries have played a particular role in the civil war of Tajikistan and in Akayev's difficulties in unifying Kyrgyzstan behind a reform program.* [Source: Glenn E. Curtis, Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

Although all the republics had adopted new constitutions by 1995, the three government branches prescribed by those documents are severely imbalanced in favor of the executive. In all five cases, the political opposition of the early 1990s has been virtually extinguished in the name of preserving stability and preventing the putative onset of Islamic politicization. Although the new constitutions of the republics specify independent judicial branches, the concept of due process has not been established consistently anywhere.*

Lack of Democracy in Central Asia

Rulers in Central Asia have generally clung to power until they died or were forced out. There is not much of a tradition of democracy or democratic practices.

The Central Asian nations all have elections, legislatures, courts, laws and constitutions. Often they exist in name only. Decisions are made from the top, elections are rigged, courts and legislatures are filled with loyalists. KGB-like secret police continue to thrive.

One diplomat told the Washington Post that their goal in Central Asia was to teach that the presidents there that “winning the election with 60 percent of the vote is just as good as winning with 100 percent of the vote” but “they just can't internalize the point. They are complete control freaks.”

Constitution of Kazakhstan

Constitution: previous 1937, 1978 (preindependence); latest adopted 28 January 1993, approved by referendum 30 August 1995, effective 5 September 1995; amended 1998, 2007, 2011 (2012). The new constitution adopted through a rigged referendum in 1995 gave the president almost unlimited power that among other things gave him the power to veto any legislation passed by parliament. [Source: CIA World Factbook, Library of Congress]

In May 1995, Nazarbayev convened a council of experts to draw up a new constitution under his guidance. The resulting constitution was adopted in August 1995 by a popular referendum. The official participation figure, 90 percent, and the fairness of this vote were contested by opposition groups. [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

The constitution guarantees equal rights to all nationalities and prescribes both Kazakh and Russian as "official" state languages, suitable for use in government documents and education. The president and the legislature, the Supreme Kenges (Supreme Soviet), are to be elected by universal adult suffrage for five-year terms. The president is head of state. The second component of the executive branch is the Council of Ministers, key members of which are presidential appointees. The prime minister, as head of the Council of Ministers, appoints the other ministers. *

Strong Presidency and Lack of Democracy in Kazakhstan

Independence was supposed to give way to democracy. Instead it has given way one man rule. According to CNN: Although Nazarbayev “has declared that he supports democracy in principle, he has warned that implementing it too swiftly could result in dangerous instability. What that means in practice is that power is concentrated almost exclusively in the hands of Nazarbayev and his ruling Otan party, with opposition parties suffering from suppression and intimidation (independent observers found serious flaws in the presidential elections of December 2005, which returned Nazarbayev for another seven year term with 90 percent of the vote). Nazarbayev's daughter, Dariga, is head of the official state news agency, and is widely expected to replace her father when he eventually hands over the reins of power.” [Source: CNN, October 31, 2006]

According to the U.S. Department of State: “ The Republic of Kazakhstan has a government system dominated by President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the ruling Nur Otan Party. The constitution concentrates power in the presidency. The president controls the legislature and the judiciary as well as regional and local governments. Changes or amendments to the constitution require presidential consent. The 2012 national elections for the Mazhilis (lower house of parliament) fell short of international standards, as did the 2011 presidential election, in which President Nazarbayev received 95 percent of the vote. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces. [Source: “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014: Kazakhstan,” Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State *]

The strong presidential system is prescribed in the 1993 constitution and was reinforced by dismissal of parliament . The new constitution, approved in the August 1995 referendum, mandates bicameral parliament and increases presidential power. Parliamentary election for both houses were held December 1995. Kazakhstan’s provinces and main cities are run by executives appointed by the national president. [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

Structure of Government

Government type: Kazakhstan is a secular state and presidential republic with an authoritarian president. There are three branches: 1) the executive branch under the control of the president; 2) a legislative branch with a two-house parliament. largely is under the president's control; and 3) a judicial branch with courts also largely under the president.

The postindependence government was structured by the 1993 constitution with a strong executive branch, a parliament, and a judicial branch. In practice, the administration of Nursultan Nazarbayev dominated governance sufficiently to impel the writing of a new constitution providing justification for the one-man rule that developed in the early 1990s. [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

In 1995 Kazakhstan passed through a period of political turmoil that fundamentally changed the shape of the republic's government and political forces. The republic came under direct presidential rule in March 1995, and a new constitution adopted shortly thereafter strengthened the power of the executive. Presidential elections, originally scheduled for sometime in 1996, were postponed until December 2000 after a 1995 referendum provided the basis for such an extension. *

Head of Government of Kazakhstan

Chief of state: President Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev (chairman of the Supreme Soviet from February 22, 1990, elected president 1 December 1991). Head of government: Prime Minister Karim Masimov (since 2 April 2014); First Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev (since 16 January 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Berdibek Saparbayev (since November 2014). Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president. [Source: CIA World Factbook =]

Presidential elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held on April 26, 2015 (next to be held in 2020). The prime minister and deputy prime ministers are appointed by the president, with Mazhilis approval. Constitutional amendments of May 2007 shortened the presidential term from seven years to five years and established a two-consecutive-term limit. Nazarbayev has official status as the "First President of Kazakhstan" and is allowed unlimited terms. Constitutional amendments of February 2011 moved election date from 2012 to April 2011 but kept five-year term; the subsequent election due to take place in 2016 was moved up to April 2015. Election results: Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev reelected president with 97.7 percent of vote. =

According to original constitution, the president was to be elected to a five year term and could serve a maximum of two terms. In 1995, Nazarbayev introduced a rigged referendum that extended the presidential term to seven years (and his presidential term to 2000) that allowed him to avert an election in 1996.

The president has almost unlimited power. Among other things he can veto any legislation passed by parliament. The President directs the prime minister’s actions. According to the Constitution when the prime minister resigns the whole cabinet must resign. The Prime Minister, typically a Nazarbayev loyalist, is appointed by the President and approved by the Parliament. The vice president is elected along with the prime minister. Technically executive and administration power is in the hands of the Councils of Ministers. Real power is in the hands of Nazarbayev, his family and a handful of close advisors.

Nazarbayev, an indecisive administrator whose regime has been plagued by corruption, has survived by balancing competing factions. His daughter and son-in-law have assumed influential positions in politics and the media, fueling controversy about a potential dynastic succession. In a case labeled “Kazakhgate,” Nazarbayev has survived longstanding accusations of taking bribes from a U.S. oil executive. Nazarbayev was reelected in December 2005 by an overwhelming majority. [Source: Library of Congress, December, 2006 **]

Executive Branch in Kazakhstan

The constitutions of 1993 and 1995 have given increased powers to the president, and subsequent referenda have made key changes such as the abolition of the two-term limit for that office. Officially, the prime minister, one deputy, and the 17 ministers that compose the government implement policy; the president determines policy. Nazarbayev has dissolved several governments in instances when a prime minister threatened his position as sole policy maker. Between 1992 and 2004, four prime ministers were dismissed or forced to resign.[Source: Library of Congress, December, 2006 **]

Only the president can introduce constitutional amendments. He or she has the power to appoint and dismiss the government, dissolve parliament, call for referenda, and appoint administrative heads of regions. Major foreign investment and foreign policy issues are handled by the president’s office. The president appoints the members of the Committee for National Security, which plays a major role in law enforcement through its responsibilities for national security, intelligence, and counterintelligence. **

The constitution formalizes the increased power that President Nazarbayev assumed upon the invalidation of parliament in early 1995. It continues the previous constitutional definition of Kazakhstan as a unitary state with a presidential form of government. The president is the highest state officer, responsible for naming the government — subject to parliamentary approval — and all other republic officials. The 1995 constitution expands the president's power in introducing and vetoing legislation. The government that the president appoints consists of the Council of Ministers, headed by a prime minister, and several state committees. In early 1996, after Nazarbayev had reshuffled the government in October 1995, the Council of Ministers included the heads of twenty-one ministries and nine state committees; the prime minister was Akezhan Kazhegeldin. In the October 1995 shift, Nazarbayev himself assumed the portfolio of the Ministry of National Security. [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

The new constitution does not provide for the position of vice president, although it permitted the incumbent vice president, Yerik Asanbayev, to remain in office until 1996. The president has the power to declare states of emergency during which the constitution can be suspended. The president is the sponsor of legislation and the guarantor of the constitution and of the proper functioning of government, with the power to override the decisions and actions of local authorities and councils. The only grounds on which a president can be removed are infirmity and treason, either of which must be confirmed by a majority of the joint upper and lower houses of the new parliament. In the event of such a removal from power, the prime minister would become the temporary president. *

Legislature of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan has a bicameral Parliament consisting of : 1) the Senate (47 seats; 32 members indirectly elected by majority two-round vote by the oblast-level assemblies and 15 members appointed by the president; members serve 6-year terms, with one-half of the membership renewed every 3 years); and 2) the Mazhilis (107 seats; 98 members directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms and 9 indirectly elected by the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, a 350-member, presidentially appointed advisory body designed to represent the country's ethnic minorities). [Source: CIA World Factbook =]

President Nazarbayev controls the parliament. The parliament is weak and is dominated by parties loyal to Nazarbayev. It generally does what Nazarbayev tells it do and for all intents and purposes is a rubber stamp body.

Legislative elections: Senate - (indirect) last held in 2014 (next to be held in 2017); Mazhilis - last held on January 15, 2012 (next to be held by November 2016). Election results: Senate - seats by party - Nur Otan 16; Mazhilis - percent of vote by party - Nur-Otan 81 percent, Ak Zhol 7.5 percent, Communist People's Party 7.2 percent, other 4.3 percent; seats by party - Nur-Otan 83, Ak Zhol 8, Communist People's Party 7. =

In the 1999 Majlis elections, only four of 67 successful candidates represented opposition parties. In the 2004 Majlis elections, Otan (Fatherland), the presidential party, once again won a decisive majority of seats. Otan also held a majority in the Senate before and after the indirect elections of 2005. In 2006 two women had seats in the Senate, and eight women had seats in the Majlis. [Source: Library of Congress, December 2006]

The 107-seat Majlis is a parliament-style lower house. The 47-seat Senate is the upper house. The Majlis used to have 177 seats, then 77 seats. The Senate originally had 47 seats then switched to 37 seats before switching back to 47 seats. Since 1995, members of the Majlis have been elected in rigged general elections. Forty members of the Senate are elected by regional assembles. The president appoints the remaining seven members.

Legislative Branch in Kazakhstan

The Majlis, according to the constitution, is responsible for drafting legislation, appointing government officials and making decision about expenditures and the budget. The appointment of some officials also has to be approved by the Senate. Legislation passed by the parliament can be vetoed by the president.

In the post-Soviet era, Kazakhstan has had four parliamentary structures. Since 1998 the bicameral parliament has consisted of the Senate and Majlis. The president appoints seven senators; every three years, half of the remaining senators are elected by the governing councils of their respective provinces. Senators serve six-year terms; two are elected from each of 14 provinces and the cities of Almaty and Astana. Majlis members serve five-year terms. Ten Majlis members are elected from the winning party’s lists, and the remainder are elected from single-seat districts. [Source: Library of Congress, December, 2006 **]

Legislation normally is introduced and pushed through parliament by the president or government members, although members of parliament also have the right to introduce legislation. The legislature has no power to appropriate state funds or to lower taxes without approval from the executive branch. The Majlis can dismiss the president by a three-quarters vote only in case of treason or gross incompetence. **

The initiative for most legislative actions originates with the president. If parliament passes a law that the president vetoes, a two-thirds vote of both houses is required to override the veto. A similar margin is needed to express no confidence in a prime minister, an action that requires the president to name a new prime minister and Council of Ministers. [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

Development of the Legislative Branch in Kazakhstan

The 1993 constitution created a unicameral parliament, which was to replace the 350-seat Supreme Soviet when the mandates of that body's deputies expired in 1995. Composed overwhelmingly of career communists, the 1990 parliament had been a balky and turgid partner for the task of economic and political reform. Although he probably lacked the legal authority to do so, Nazarbayev pressured this parliament into a "voluntary" early dissolution in December 1993 in order to allow the seating of a smaller and presumably more pliant "professional parliament." [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

Under the 1995 constitution, the parliament consists of two houses, the Senate and the Majlis, both operating in continuous session. Each of Kazakhstan's nineteen provinces and the city of Almaty, which has province status, have two senators. These are chosen for four-year terms by joint sessions of the provinces' legislative bodies. An additional seven senators are appointed directly by the president. In addition, ex-presidents automatically receive the status of senators-for-life. *

In the mid 1990s, the Majlis had 67 representatives, including one from each of fifty-five districts drawn to have roughly equal populations, and the Senate has forty seats. Direct elections for half the seats are held every two years. In the first election under the new parliamentary structure, all seats in both houses of parliament were contested in December 1995; runoff elections filled twenty-three seats in the Majlis for which the initial vote was inconclusive. International observers reported procedural violations in the Majlis voting. The new parliament, which was seated in January 1996, included sixty-eight Kazakh and thirty-one Russian deputies; only ten deputies were women. *

Judicial Branch in Kazakhstan

The highest court in Kazakhstan is the 44-member Supreme Court, whose members are nominated by the president and approved by the Senate. The Supreme Court is the appeals court for decisions taken at lower (district and province) court levels. Although nominally Supreme Court judges are appointed for life, in fact they retire at the mandatory federal retirement age of 65. Under the 1995 constitution, the Constitutional Court that had been established in 1991 was replaced by the Constitutional Council. The council rules on all constitutional matters, but its decisions are subject to a presidential right of veto. The council is composed of seven members: three appointed by the president and four appointed by the legislature. Citizens have no right of appeal on council decisions. [Source: Library of Congress, December, 2006 **]

Judicial branch of Kazakhstan: highest courts): Supreme Court of the Republic (consists of 44 members); Constitutional Council (consists of 7 members). Judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges proposed by the president of the republic on recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, and confirmed by the Senate. Constitutional Council: the president of the republic, the Senate chairperson, the Majilis chairperson each appoints 1 member for a 3-year term and each appoints 1 member for a 6-year term. The chairperson of the Constitutional Council appointed by the president of the republic for a 6-year term. [Source: CIA World Factbook =]

The judicial system is the least developed of Kazakhstan's three branches of government. In the early 1990s, although Minister of Justice Nagashibay Shaykenov objected strenuously, the constitution retains the practice of presidential appointment of all judges in the republic. The 1993 constitution specified terms of service for judges, but the 1995 document makes no mention of length of service, suggesting that judges will serve at the president's pleasure. [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

Under the 1993 constitution, lines of judicial authority were poorly defined, in part because the republic had three "highest courts" — the Supreme Court, the State Arbitrage Court, and the Constitutional Court — which among them employed a total of sixty-six senior judges. Many of these senior judges, as well as numerous judges in lower courts, had been retained from the Soviet era, when the judicial branch was entirely under the control of the central government. The 1995 constitution makes no provision for the State Abritrage Court, which had heard economic disputes among enterprises and between enterprises and government agencies. Provisions for the new judiciary clearly subordinate all other courts to the Supreme Court, which also has a consultative role in appointing senior judges. *

Civil Unrest in Kazakhstan

According to the OSAC: “ Civil unrest and protests are rare. There have been a few clashes between foreign construction workers and their Kazakhstani counterparts in a few cities. In these cases, Kazakhstani construction workers publicly complained that their wages were less than those paid to the foreign workers. In December 2011, there were riots in the Mangistau Region in the west, where there was rampant destruction, and protestors were shot and killed by authorities. [Source: “Kazakhstan 2016 Crime and Safety Report,” Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State]

In order to hold a demonstration, organizers must file a petition with the city and receive a permit. In general, most demonstrations involve usually less than 20 participants. Occasionally, groups organize demonstrations without permits; police generally disperse the participants quickly and peacefully. The best practice is to avoid demonstrations. If you see a demonstration, go in the opposite direction and report it up your chain-of-command so other people can avoid it. If the demonstrations turn into riots, stay inside and away from windows until the violence has died down.

Occasional clashes have erupted among ethnic Kazakhs, Chechens, and Uighurs in rural villages outside of Almaty, resulting from tensions over local issues and corruption.In 2011, Kazakhstan experienced a spike in terrorist-related activity during a six-month period, with the government as the primary target.

Kazakhstan Government and Relations Between Russians and Kazakhs

Sebastien Peyrouse of the Woodrow Wilson Institute wrote: “ Kazakhstan’s declaration of sovereignty, adopted October 25, 1990, affirmed Kazakhs as the “constituent nation of the state,” thus placing other peoples in an ambiguous, “second-class” status. The country’s second constitution, adopted in 1995, also took two positions on the national issue by simultaneously defining Kazakhstan as the state of Kazakhstanis and of ethnic Kazakhs. [Source: Sebastien Peyrouse, “Russian Minority in Central Asia: Migration, Politics, and Language”, Woodrow Wilson Institute, 2007 ^^]

“As of the 1994 parliamentary elections, Kazakhs dominated politics, a trend confirmed by the 1999 elections. Of 29 candidates up for reelection to the Senate, five Russians ran but none won. The same year, the new National Assembly counted 55 Kazakhs and 19 Russians, that is to say, proportions of 74 percent and 26 percent. In certain important ministries, such as Justice, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Defense, and Finance, the proportion of non-Kazakhs is now estimated at less than 10 percent. Several sectors, such as the police and special forces, have been Kazakhized since the first years of independence, even since perestroika. The Ministry of Education, strategic in terms of state building, was one of the first affected. The proportion of Russians in the ministry dropped sharply, from 43 percent in 1989 to 14 percent in 1992. Out of 14 regional governors in 2002, only 2 were Russians, those of East Kazakhstan and Kokchetau. The Russians deal particularly poorly with the Kazakhization of the administration in regions where they still constitute the majority. Though spared in the early 1990s, the north of the country thereafter experienced a situation almost identical to that of mainly Kazakh regions.^^

“In Kazakhstan, the Assembly of the Peoples became the principal consultative body for nationality policy decisions in the state. Presided over by Nursultan Nazarbayev, the institution does not hide its close ties to the authorities. It depends directly on the Ministries of Culture, Information, and Social Harmony, and, in practice, the presidential apparatus itself. Its autonomy is therefore extremely restricted. The alleged democratic role of this institution is ambiguous because no elections are involved, that is to say, the authorities appoint its members. They intend to represent all the cultural centers of the minorities of Kazakhstan, as well as the principal religions, namely Islam and the Russian Orthodox Church. ^^

“Other confessional groups, in particular Catholics and Protestants, are excluded. Only half of the members of the Assembly of the Peoples actually work in minority cultural centers; the rest are civil servants responsible for nationality issues. The assembly also has the capacity to smother the “Russian problem,” which was particularly severe in Kazakhstan during the first years of independence. It gives priority to the “little nationalities” of the country, thus allowing to avoid polarization between Russians and Kazakhs. According to official statements of the assembly, the Kazakhstani state should be neither mononational nor binational, but multinational. Thus, the institution blends the “Russian problem” into a broader concept of nationality issues by avoiding Russian-Kazakh polarization such as that experienced in the 1990s.” ^^

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated April 2016

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