By Dmitry Shlapentokh (the 08/01/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Kazakhstan is a member of the Russian-sponsored Custom Union, and intends to join the Eurasian Union. Yet, Kazakhstan’s foreign policy indicates that it regards Russia as just one among several partners, with which it cooperates in some areas but also competes against in others. The transportation of oil and natural gas has increasingly become a bone of contention, whereas China has emerged as a viable alternative. China has provided Kazakhstan with alternative transportation routes such as railroads, along with considerable investment, providing alternatives to Russia as well as the West. Neither the Russian-led Eurasian Union, nor any Western economic or geopolitical construction, is likely to monopolize Astana's attention.
By Richard Weitz (the 11/12/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The Western Europe-Western China International Transit Corridor aims to improve the efficiency and safety of the main roads between China and Europe that pass through Kazakhstan. Despite the international focus on promoting rail traffic through Eurasia, it is also important to build better roads since Central Asian countries can more easily input their goods through them than through railways. The roads also promote short-distance trading within and among Central Asian countries. Otherwise, extra-regional actors will simply see and treat Central Asia as a transit zone for their transcontinental railways, which would not provide additional incentives to invest in Central Asian economies.
By Georgiy Voloshin (the 11/12/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
After the violent riots of oil industry workers rocked in Kazakhstan’s Zhanaozen in December 2011, marring the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the country’s independence, Kazakhstani authorities have been at pains to stabilize the situation there. According to official figures presented this September, the government has since January 2012 allocated some US$ 90 million for socioeconomic needs in the Mangistau region, where riot police killed at least 14 people and wounded over 100 others during the Zhanaozen protests. Most of the funds have been directed to the creation of new jobs and the implementation of social support programs, for instance in establishing the necessary infrastructure.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.