Kazakhstan at odds with homegrown terrorism

by Mathieu BOULEGUE

  In June, Kazakhstan fell victim to homegrown terrorism. On June 5, a group of about 20 unknown armed assailants stormed two gun supply shops and a National Guard base in Aktobe (Northwestern Kazakhstan) in a vaguely coordinated assault that initially left 4 gunmen, a police officer, and 2 civilians killed. The gunmen started with […]

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Russian Strategy – WTF?

by Nathan Barrick

Is Russian Strategy warlike – true or false? Russia’s strategic deployment and bombing campaign in Syria appears to have surprised and shocked many observers, including Russia watchers.  It shouldn’t have. The uproar is all about Russian aggression and expansionism.  Pundits decry Putin’s alleged attempt to re-create the Soviet Union.  The descriptors of Putin and Russia […]

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Are Russian Military Exercises a Threat? How to Interpret Russia’s Military Maneuvers in 2015

by Nathan Barrick

In a 12 April interview, Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves claimed insufficient NATO forces were located in Estonia to prevent a Russian invasion, which he said would be over in about four hours. A year ago, the press was afire with wild predictions on who Russia’s next target after Crimea would be – this Ukrainian […]

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“Rumors of My Death”

by Nathan Barrick

Where is President Putin?  Will he show up on Monday the 16th to meet Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev in Saint Petersburg, or will that meeting be canceled too? Quite a bit of speculation abounds as to the whereabouts of Russia President Vladimir Putin.  The serious questions began to be posed after President Putin suddenly canceled […]

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Are We Witnessing The Demise of Kazakhstan’s Multi-Vectored Foreign Policy?

by Reid Standish
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Despite the slow progression and many obstacles, it appears that the Eurasian Union (Eurasian Economic Union/ EEC) is on course to come into existence. But even with general agreement among the Customs Union’s big three (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan), there are some unresolved issues that could plague the union’s future and alter the region’s political […]

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Understanding the Implications of the Ukraine Crisis

by Nathan Barrick

I’m disturbed by the short-sightedness of media analysis of the events in Ukraine, even as they begin to explore deeper – they are trapped by their own previous reporting and I hope they feel guilty enough about it to start getting it right…not likely. I am also annoyed at the U.S. government’s public analysis and […]

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Nazarbaev and Kazakh Yeli

by Michael Hancock-Parmer

-Біздің еліміздің атауында Орталық Азияның басқа да елдеріндегі сияқты “стан” деген жалғау бар. Сонымен бір мезгілде, шетелдіктер халқының саны небәрі екі миллионды құрайтын Моңғолияға қызығушылық танытады, бірақ оның атауында “стан” жалғауы жоқ. Сірә, еліміздің атауын уақыт өте келе “Қазақ елі” деп өзгерту мәселесін қарастыру керек шығар, бірақ алдымен міндетті түрде халықтың талқысына салған жөн, – […]

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Repost: Fish Are Finally Returning To The Shrunken Aral Sea

by Reid Standish
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This article was originally published by VICE on January 14, 2014. Click here to view the original.  We’d been driving for nearly an hour before we finally stopped. The off-road journey was rough, but it helped to put the surroundings in perspective. Magzhan Tursinbayev, an ecologist and my ride for the day, stepped out of […]

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Kazakhstan’s New Digs: A look at development and fashion on the Steppe

by Reid Standish
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When you first enter Fashion Week from the outside, its clear that you’ve entered a different part of Kazakhstan. The sights and smells of Almaty’s congested streets are gone and replaced by perfume, cigarettes and gleaming diamond necklaces. A quick scan across the lobby reveals a major disconnect with the rest of the city. Next […]

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Influence: The Bogeyman of Simplified Strategic Understanding

by Nathan Barrick

Many times I have been asked to assess whether one nation or another is “increasing influence,” usually to categorize as “good” or “bad” developing events for someone with little time or understanding of the situation. Frequently, the right answer – “It depends…” – has to be discarded due to an enforced sense of urgency that […]

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