Political process

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Nursultan Nazarbayev, the longtime leader of Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s richest country, has always had a rather particular sense of humor. Back in 1998 he moved the country’s capital from the cozy, sunny city of Almaty to a place called Akmola on the windswept northern steppe.

Kassym Jomart TokayevAnd can it be a model for other countries in the region to follow, namely Russia?

Dariga Nazarbayeva pic

The Moscow-educated opera singer is primed to be the country’s first female leader

This week, his prophecy began to take shape. Mr Nazarbayev, 78, unexpectedly announced he would resign from office after almost three decades in charge, and appointed his eldest daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva as Speaker of the country’s Senate, a role that occupies second place in the line of succession.

Vladimir Putin, right, with Nursultan Nazarbayev. Photographer: Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

An aging leader steps down as president but keeps a firm grip on the reins of power. For many in the Kremlin, the choreographed events unfolding in neighboring Kazakhstan are a model for Russian President Vladimir Putin to consider.

Kazakhstan's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, seen in Brussels on Oct. 19, 2018. (Olivier Matthys/AP)

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Tuesday that he was stepping down, touching off a potentially perilous period of transition in one of the world’s most geopolitically fragile regions.

Nazarbayev has ruled Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest country, since it became an independent state with the collapse of the Soviet Union. On Tuesday, he said in a nationally televised address that after nearly 30 years in power, it was time to leave the presidency.

Nursultan-Nazarbayev.jpgKazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev will turn 79 in July, and talk of an impending succession has significantly intensified since the end of last year. Numerous local experts noted the harsh criticism that the president leveled at domestic utilities companies during a November 2018 session of the Security Council.

Aktau panoramaAkberdi’s husband was jailed for three years on similar charges.

Location of UzbekistanPresident Donald Trump met with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan on 16 May, an important breakthrough after the isolationism of the Karimov regime.

sergeimagnitsky graveIt’s a grubby business but these companies have no qualms about picking up the fat


Central AsiaTwo post-Soviet Caspian Sea sub-regions – Central Asia and the South Caucasus – have experienced different conflict scenarios.