UNFULFILLED PROMISE OF KAZAKHSTAN: THE ROLE OF PROTEST MOBILIZATION

By Nurseit Niyazbekov
KIMEP University

THURSDAY, 2 OCTOBER
17:30–18.30 / HALL #2
NEW BUILDING / KIMEP

In her seminal work, Kazakhstan: unfulfilled promise, Martha Brill Olcott argues that from being a post-communist country promising great hopes for democratization in early 1990s, Kazakh leadership soon took controversial policies in country’s political reforms thus jeopardizing its post-independence promises. While the role of structural and institutional factors in the decline of democratic performance has received some scholarly attention, the role of popular masses has been somewhat overlooked.

The present talk tries to address the gap in the literature by examining the role of popular protest mobilization in Kazakhstan’s early democratization and its immediate breakdown. We will see if public radicalism is facilitative or destructive to democratic transition. Moreover, we will shed light on why and how did post-communist incumbents decide when to give in and when to give up on public’s demands. Original research findings are used to emphasize the facilitative function of protest mobilization and to claim that democratization stalled due to decline of protest in the mid-1990s.

Nurseit Niyazbekov is Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Administration, KIMEP University. He received his PhD in Politics from the University of Oxford in 2013. His main research interests are democratization, social movements, civil society and political culture.