«We need to look into the past in order to understand the present and foresee the future»
N.A.Nazarbayev

Charles Sullivan: to understand politics of Kazakhstan, you need to understand the significance of President

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Charles Sullivan: to understand politics of Kazakhstan, you need to understand the significance of President
Charles Sullivan, assistant professor of Nazarbayev University expressed his opinion about the role of President in building the statehood of republic.

Kazakhstan has been independent for one generation and to understand politics of Kazakhstan you need to understand the significance of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He is the main political actor in your political system and he established all the necessary institutions to make power flow in a predictable manner. Naturally what politics is all about, how power is contested and how it is exercised. 

 Really what I think Nazarbayev has established a very predictable political system over the course of past twenty-five years. In terms of foreign policy, it is demonstration of independence by being able to maintain culture of family relations with every single state in the national system. 

 My presentation is not focused on what you have achieved, but what is coming next in the future, what challenges the government will face. I will discuss three issues in particular, the first is modernization. So, your President has put forward Strategy-2050. But in the course of next thirty-five years, the Government seeks to transform Kazakhstan at the top-30 countries of the world. This is achievable, but realize what you are undergoing is modernization. Modernization economically has political implications. What is going to happen in future in this country is multiplicity of interests thrive. So, your political institutions have to be able to accommodate these interests. It is not a problem, it is a challenge. I believe, your government is capable facing this challenge unless it is coming. 

 The second challenge is multi-vector nature. It is a beautiful form of policy, but it is predicated on maintaining friendly relations with all of great powers, the United States, Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China, European Union, Turkey and others. The problem is, if great power cooperation gives into great power competition. It is much more difficult to maintain this model.

 The third challenge is something that Kazakhstan has not looked at it much. We talk about field states. These states are unofficially providing social services to population, such as health care, education, security, infrastructure. And the concern is can you develop economically? Can you remain stable if neighboring countries are potentially going to fall apart?