Archive of Casey Michel

Casey Michel is a former Peace Corps Kazakhstan Volunteer and current graduate student at Columbia University's Harriman Institute, focused on Russian, East Europe, and Eurasian affairs. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, Sports Illustrated, and Talking Points Memo, among others. You can follow him on Twitter at @cjcmichel.

Casey has written 26 articles at Registan.


A New Eurasian Epoch, But No One Really Noticed

by Casey_Michel

Unless you’ve been watching the post-Soviet space with a keen eye, you likely missed the world’s-biggest-round-table signing last week. The meeting, held in Astana, heralded what Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed as a new “epoch” – the official founding of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), set to come into force on Jan. 1, 2015. But [...]

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One of Ours

by Casey_Michel

I barely knew Alex Petersen. I didn’t know him nearly as well as his colleagues, or his coworkers, or those fortunate enough to witness him at work, parsing the traits and trends and tinted world of Eurasia. I knew him far less than, I imagine, the predominance of Registan’s writer- and readership. His name, however, [...]

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Checking in on Eurasian Union Struggles

by Casey_Michel

In late October, while meeting with other heads involved in the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Minsk, Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev turned to the topic of the forthcoming Eurasian Union. There had been hints and drops of Kazakhstani discontent with the EAU’s formulation – talk of business concerns, rumblings of ethno-based discontent. Nazarbayev decided to focus [...]

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New Report Slams Kazakhstan’s Autocratic Slide, But Does Anyone Still Care?

by Casey_Michel

c While many around Central Asia this week were downing toasts to China’s recent economic injections, the International Crisis Group released a report that, for those watching the region, is something of a long-time coming. The document describes the marked political backslide surrounding Astana following the country’s 2010 OSCE chairmanship. Since convincing – since blinkering [...]

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With Two Kazakhs Arrested After Boston, Eyes Now Turn, Unfortunately, to Kazakhstan

by Casey_Michel

On Tuesday morning, just before Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov were set to learn the charges they would face stemming from their actions surrounding the Boston bombings, The Economist published a pair of graphs summarizing the Pew Research Center’s survey on the overlap of religion and law within Muslim-majority nations. The entire survey, of course, [...]

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About the Central Asian Link to those Boston Bombers

by Casey_Michel

  This might be a bit redundant, seeing as the readership at Registan – unlike, say, those who work in front of the camera at CNN – are among those able to differentiate between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, but I thought it might be worth a quick run-down of how a substantial Chechen population came to [...]

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Nuclear Retention and Moral High Ground

by Casey_Michel
Thumbnail image for Nuclear Retention and Moral High Ground

While the rest of the United Nations was debating Palestinian statehood late last week, one high-ranking UN official dropped a piece of nuclear intrigue that went relatively unnoticed. According to RIA Novosti, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, former Kazakhstani foreign minister and current director-general of the UN office in Geneva, called attention to an as-yet unknown piece of [...]

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Court Decisions

by Casey_Michel

It’s not often that Kazakhstan’s backyard politicking come to the fore. It’s rarer yet when such sniping is aired in English, made available to that much larger of an audience. It’s political gossip at its finest – open and sharp, with accusations anted and points countered with language as colorful as the content is heavy. [...]

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All In A Name

by Casey_Michel

It’s a good thing, I suppose, that Kazakhstan has such lengthy history with the renaming process. As Kazakh nationalism swept two decades ago — as Russified names across the now-defunct USSR began to fall — the nascent nation began to turn its sights on stamping kazakhsha on the country’s commercial centers. Ust-Kamenogorsk became Oskemen. Petropavlovsk became [...]

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One More Down

by Casey_Michel

It’s now been 10 months since the riots of Zhanaozen and Shetpe seared Kazakhstan’s Mangystau province, presenting the largest and most debilitating unrest the nation’s seen in 20 years of independence. We’ve seen authorities tried and jailed. We’ve seen governors ousted and resurrected. We’ve seen persecutions of both workers present and leaders abroad, and we’ve seen any nascent opposition to Nazarbayev cowed and imprisoned. [...]

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