Archive of Casey Michel

Casey Michel is a current graduate student at Columbia University's Harriman Institute, focused on Russian, East Europe, and Eurasian political development, and a former Peace Corps Kazakhstan Volunteer. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, RFE/RL, Al Jazeera, The Moscow Times, The Diplomat, and Slate. You can follow him on Twitter at @cjcmichel.

Casey has written 27 articles at Registan.


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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Kazakshtan’s Mass Murders and the Questions that Remain

by Casey_Michel

A few months back, I wrote up a brief post on Registan examining a mass murder along Kazakhstan’s southern slope. A bizarre one-off, I figured. Something unfortunate. Something sad. A couple weeks later, though, a second slaughter took place in a nearby locale. And while such spates of killing in Kazakhstan are, thankfully, rare, it [...]

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A Wealth of Blame for Zhanaozen

by Casey_Michel

Last October, Zhanar Saktaganova was strolling a sidewalk in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan. It was dark, late. Zhanar, only 29, had just come from sitting with the nearby oil workers, the ones striking for the previous five months, and, after a stopover in a nearby shop, was leaving with her friend. As two walked out of the magazin, Zhanar [...]

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Religious Repression and a Sudden Crack

by Casey_Michel

I know writings on Xinjiang aren’t exactly Registan’s raison d’etre — we’re all about post-Soviet space, y’all — but I thought I’d be remiss to not toss a link up to a bit of post-hijack analysis. I hoped to shine some light on Uyghurs via The Tuqay, and I trust our intelligent audience will be [...]

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‘The First Political Trial in Kazakhstan’

by Casey_Michel

Ten months later, the events of Zhanaozen still cloud the politics of Kazakhstan. There’s been, for better and often worse, little respite for the Nazarbayev regime — little let-up from dissident circles, little staunch in the demands from international councils for a proper examination of the events surrounding the riots of Kazakhstan’s 20th anniversary. Despite [...]

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A Meeting of Minds

by Casey_Michel

I attempted, over at the Central Eurasia Standard, to read the tea-leaves of Nazarbayev’s recent (and first) visit to Bishkek. I trust you guys’ll let me know if it was anywhere near adequate: … Kazakhstan, meanwhile, is a swelling economic power — some economists stake Astana with the third-fastest-growing economy over the past decade, behind only Qatar and China [...]

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A Hardening, a Blurring, and a Slow Sink

by Casey_Michel

Now that all the Pussy Riot-ing’s settled — and now that women’s rights orgs have been rerouted to more legitimate, more pressing issues — it may be worth a step back to frame all of the claims that have been knocked back and forth over the past few weeks. None of this squabbling exists in [...]

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A Position to Envy

by Casey_Michel
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There aren’t many who’d cop to envying Tajikistan. Dam enthusiasts, perhaps. Those who follow the remnants of Farsi’s linguistic tendrils, or anyone who enjoys their dictators with eyebrows like Vlad Țepeș. The tally’s few. Most know Tajikistan simply as a nation as hollowed and diffuse as anything this side of the North Caucuses, and surmise there’s little [...]

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Xinjiang’s Crutch

by Casey_Michel

Bin Laden’s goons used box-cutters. The Black Panthers opted for an attache case. Uighurs, meanwhile, are content dealing with … crutches? So dictate the latest reports floating out of Xinjiang, offering an odd, somewhat facile account of broken crutches and a hijacking gone awry: Chinese news organizations have quoted police officers and witnesses as saying [...]

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The Warming of the Caspian Cold War

by Casey_Michel
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The Caspian Sea first crept into the world’s cognizance sometime in 1873. Utilizing machinery constructed in nearby Bibi-Heybat Bay, jutting to the south of Baku, oil workers installed the world’s first offshore and machine-drilled wells, setting their engineering skills on the viscous black gold roiling underneath the Absheron peninsula. Gas-lit lamps and foreign nationals soon [...]

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