CrisisWatch Kazakhstan

Unchanged Situation

Kazakhs voted overwhelmingly in support of constitutional amendments in referendum, which offer greater parliamentary powers. Following nationwide protests in Jan that left 232 dead, Kazakhs 5 June voted in referendum on President Tokayev’s proposed constitutional amendments, seen by some observers as attempt by Tokayev to prevent former President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his relatives’ return to political sphere; referendum proposed 56 amendments, including limits to presidential powers, ban on Nazarbayev’s relatives from holding govt positions and more parliamentary powers. Central Election Commission chairman 6 June said 77.18% voted in favour of changes. Some activists and human rights campaigners said changes included “very few limits to presidential power”, given that president will “retain the right to appoint the prime minister, to appoint key ministers in the cabinet, to veto laws and all the other powers that the president has enjoyed”. During 19th EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council held 20 June, EU welcomed referendum results but highlighted need for independent investigation into Jan unrest. Meanwhile, in 17 June plenary session with Russian President Putin, Tokayev rejected Putin’s claim that former Soviet Union was “historical Russia”; also rejected recognition of so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in Ukraine’s east as independent states, despite Russia declaring them independent countries in Feb (see Ukraine).

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In The News

7 Jan 2022
For Russia, if things do settle down [in Kazakhstan], it will be a substantial win, demonstrating how critical it remains, and also tethering Kazakhstan to it that much m... Reuters

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
30 Nov 2017
The new Kazakh military doctrine is a clear reference to Ukraine. The Kazakh doctrine is very similar to the doctrine Belarus adopted in 2016, but Minsk was more explicit... EurasiaNet
Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan

Former Project Director, Central Asia

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