Marat Yermukanov

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Articles by Marat Yermukanov

AIR CRASH LAYS BARE FAILURES OF KAZAKH MILITARY REFORM

Kazakhstan’s military has been plagued by financial mismanagement, corruption and bribery, a lack of professionalism, and poor housing conditions for military officers. The recent Kazakh air force fighter jet crash

ASTANA OPTS FOR “GOVERNABLE” DEMOCRACY

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has invited Turkmenistan’s newly elected President Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov to visit Kazakhstan. While the new Turkmen leader undoubtedly could learn a great deal from Astana in terms

ASTANA PLAYS IT SAFE IN DEVELOPING TIES WITH TEHRAN

Given the tense international atmosphere surrounding Iran, Astana has prudently declined to publicize its expanding ties with Tehran and depicts bilateral relations almost exclusively in economic terms. For example, official

BISHKEK COURTS ASTANA FOR BIG INVESTMENT

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev paid an official visit to Astana, Kazakhstan, July 4-5 at the invitation of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Bakiyev was given an exceptionally warm, brotherly welcome, and

KAZAKH OFFICIALS HUSH UP MOUNTING RUSSIAN NATIONALISM

Unlike Kazakhstan's Russian-language papers, the Kazakh-language media are full of frightening stories of frequent attacks by Russian extremists in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other locales. The complacent attitude of the

AMID PUBLIC ANXIETIES, BEIJING AND ASTANA BOOST TIES

Kazakh Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev traveled to Beijing April 11-13 for a wide range of talks with top Chinese officials on energy, transportation, communications, trade, and trans-border rivers issues, a

KAZAKH-UZBEK RELATIONS SHOW SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's March 19 visit to Uzbekistan was one of his first foreign trips after his reelection as president in December. This priority stresses the political importance of

NAZARBAYEV PLACES PRIORITY ON TIES WITH MOSCOW

The inauguration ceremony in Astana on January 11 for Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was a widely trumpeted political event conceived to attract international attention and world leaders to Kazakhstan. Yet

CHINESE NEED RUSSIAN OIL TO FILL PIPELINE FROM KAZAKHSTAN

Mesmerized by the huge hydrocarbon export opportunities offered by China's rapidly developing Xinjiang province, last year Kazakhstan began building the Atasu-Alashankou oil pipeline to connect western China with oilfields in

NAZARBAYEV LEADING PRE-ELECTION POLLS IN KAZAKHSTAN

With less than a month remaining before election day, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his advisors are certainly following the November 6 parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. While separated geographically by

RUSSIAN LUKOIL PLANS TO DIG DEEP FOR KAZAKH OIL

After two fruitless years exploring the Tyub Karagan deposits, Russia's Lukoil refuses to remain a bystander while major Western and Chinese companies battle for Kazakhstan's oilfields. The most persuasive indication

NAZARBAYEV EXPECTED TO EASILY WIN ANOTHER TERM

On September 7 the lower house of Kazakhstan's parliament put an end to months of speculation and scheduled presidential elections for December 4. Members of parliament and the Constitutional Court

KREMLIN SHADOW LOOMS OVER KAZAKH-UKRAINIAN TALKS

Despite considerable public interest, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's first visit to Kazakhstan was rather anti-climactic. Official media sources in Kazakhstan did not go beyond the set pattern for covering state

BAKU AND ASTANA PLAY IT SAFE IN CASPIAN OIL BATTLE

Until Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev made a landmark trip to Baku on May 25, marking Kazakhstan's decisive move towards joining the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline project, bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan

ASTANA’S SLAVIC HONEYMOON NEARS ITS END

The meeting between Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Chelyabinsk on May 17, and the subsequent arrival of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenka for a two-day

ASTANA FACES POLITICAL DILEMMAS AFTER UZBEK UPRISING

While there seems to be no connection between Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev's unusually extensive tours to southern and western Kazakhstan in recent days and the riots in Andijan of Uzbekistan,

KAZAKHSTAN AND TURKEY SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND

In the early 1990s, many policymakers in Kazakhstan and in Turkey were euphoric about the prospects of intense cooperation between ethnically related nations that had for decades been divided by

BUSINESS AS USUAL: ASTANA AND BISHKEK RESTORE OLD TIES

Kyrgyzstan's acting president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, visited Almaty on April 22. Despite the ceremonial pleasantries, Bakiyev's reception was not nearly as pompous and cordial as the one given to Kyrgyzstan's toppled

KAZAKHSTAN’S GOVERNMENT COURTS THE MEDIA

Around 500 policymakers and journalists from across the globe gathered in Almaty on April 21 for the Eurasian Media Forum. Kazakhstan's state officials tout the annual event as a unique

ASTANA PLEDGES STRATEGIC ALLIANCE WITH RUSSIA

On January 12 Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Almaty for a two-day official visit, his first foreign trip of the new year. Abandoning the usual practice of announcing upcoming

KAZAKHSTAN PLANS TO BECOME MAJOR FINANCIAL HUB

On October 27 Kazakhstan officials announced plans to turn Almaty into an international financial center. The proclamation came as no surprise to anyone familiar with the decision-making process within the

ETHNIC POLICY IN KAZAKHSTAN FEEDS NATIONALISM

Almaty, Kazakhstan's former capital city, has been drawn into the bitter debates between Kazakh nationalists and the Russian-speaking community. Recently a resident of Almaty sued the popular Russian newspaper Argumenty

KAZAKH GAS ATTRACTS RUSSIAN, CHINESE INTEREST

Recent developments clearly indicate that China and Russia are stepping up their efforts to claim a larger share of Kazakhstan's energy sector. The growing appetite of Kazakhstan's giant neighbors comes

KAZAKHSTAN SEEKS BALTIC ROUTE TO EUROPE

The government of Kazakhstan is targeting the three Baltic states as possible avenues for closer relations with the European Union. In the first years of Baltic-Kazakhstan relations, the Kazakh side

CHINESE PIPE DREAMS COME TRUE IN KAZAKHSTAN

Last week Kazakhstan began construction of a 962-km oil pipeline from the Atasu settlement in Karagandy region of Kazakhstan to Chinese Alashankou. Although Kazakhstan's huge oil and gas reserves have

KAZAKHSTAN TIGHTENS BORDER CONTROL

As part of their efforts to increase security in the aftermath of the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Russia, Kazakhstan's law enforcement and border authorities have cracked down on

Political Goals Driving Kazakh-slavic Integration

Since the Eurasian Economic Community emerged in October 2000, Kazakhstan has earned an ambiguous reputation as a force driving CIS integration. Speaking at the September 15 mini-summit of the Single

Nazarbaev Warns Of Threats To Political Stability

Speaking at a joint session of parliament on September 1, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev recognized the looming threat of terrorism for his country. He expressed a serious concern over the

Kazakhstan’s Rough Road To Wto Accession

The Secretary-General of the World Trade Organization, Supachai Panitchpakdi, made a landmark visit to Kazakhstan on August 25. Panitchpakdi hailed Kazakhstan's efforts to join the WTO and positively evaluated the

Kazakhstan Set To Increase Grain Exports

With its vast arable land, Kazakhstan sees grain production as more than a matter of food security. It is also increasingly becoming an effective tool in shaping its economic and

Kazakhstan Strives To Explore Space With Russia’s Help

On August 11, a Russian RS-18 (Stiletto) inter-continental ballistic missile was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kyzylorda region, symbolizing the expanding Russian-Kazakh cooperation in space exploration. In recent years

Independent Journalist Killed In Kazakhstan

The flurry of speculations around the July 20 death of well-known journalist Askhat Sharipzhanov does not seem likely to subside in the coming weeks. Sharipzhanov, the 40-year old editor of

Kazakhstan: Between Pan-turkism And Globalization

On July 14 cultural ministers from 12 Turkic countries gathered at the Okan Intercontinental hotel in Astana for the 21st session of Turksoy, the international organization of Turkic-language nations set

Hizb-ut-tahrir Members Get Prison Terms In Kazakhstan

On July 2 two members of the Islamic extremist organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir (Islamic Party of Liberation) were given two-year prison terms by authorities in Pavlodar, Northern Kazakhstan. Security forces had detained

A Thorny Road To Sino-kazakh Partnership

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Chaosin made his first official visit to Kazakhstan in April 2003. The success of his meetings with Kazakh officials prompted Kazakh Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev to

More Threats To Press Freedom In Kazakhstan

Journalists in Kazakhstan had little reason to celebrate during this year's national "Journalism Day" on June 28. Traditionally a joyous event, this year the festivities were spoiled by recent attempts

Strategic Pipeline Accord Masks Tension In Other Areas

Squeezed uncomfortably between China and Russia, Kazakhstan has always stressed the importance of the so-called "multi-vector" in its relations with its large neighbors. This approach allows Kazakhstan to strike the

Kazakhs Disillusioned With Post-soviet Development

After more than a decade of independence, the majority of Kazakhs feel deeply disillusioned with post-Soviet development of their country. Many are tormented with gnawing doubts whether Kazakhstan has really