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Majlis Podcast: Protests And Palace Intrigue In Kazakhstan


Kazakh law enforcement officers detain participants at an opposition rally in Almaty on September 21.

Kazakhstan’s domestic political scene has been significantly more active since first President Nursultan Nazarbaev stepped down from office in March this year and installed Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev as his successor.

Small protests, sometimes just a single person, have been frequent and continue to draw clumsy responses from officials. The October 26 anti-Chinese protests were a good example, as police were out in force across major cities, dragging people, sometimes innocent passersby, to buses to be taken to police stations.

And although most already considered Nazarbaev, who enjoys broad powers under Kazakhstan’s constitution both as first president and in his current position as head of the Security Council, to still be in charge in Kazakhstan, for some reason it was necessary to publish on October 22 a presidential decree adopted but not made public on October 9, essentially confirming Nazarbaev’s central role in governing the country.

On this week's podcast, RFE/RL's Media-Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderated a discussion on the latest events in Kazakhstan.

Participating from Almaty was Joanna Lillis, a veteran reporter on Central Asia and author of the book Dark Shadows: Inside The Secret World Of Kazakhstan. From Washington D.C., William Courtney, former U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan and currently an adjunct senior fellow at the Rand Corporation, took part in the discussion. And from Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana), Kazakhstan, Aliya Izbassarova, the co-founder of the Qaharman human rights initiative, joined the podcast. As usual, I had a few things to say.

Majlis Podcast: Protests And Palace Intrigue In Kazakhstan
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Bruce Pannier
Bruce Pannier

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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