Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 106

On October 3, Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev issued a decree amending the country’s citizenship law, and harmonizing it with the new constitution which does not provide for dual citizenship. The amended citizenship law stipulates that "Kazakhstan does not recognize the citizenship granted by another state to a Kazakhstani citizen residing on Kazakhstan’s territory." By the same token a Kazakhstani citizen may be deprived of citizenship if he serves in the armed forces or security services of another country. On the other hand the amended law opens the door to individual naturalization by presidential decree for nonresident ex-Soviet citizens if they come to join first-degree relatives in Kazakhstan. (13)

Nazarbayev has all along resisted concentric pressures, from Moscow and from Russian groups in his country, to institute dual citizenship which he, in common with other leaders of CIS countries, sees as incompatible with state independence. Kazakhstan’s particular problem stems from the 37 percent share of ethnic Russians settled in the country. Nevertheless, non-native residents have enjoyed unrestricted eligibility for Kazakhstan’s citizenship. As a practical matter, the amendment are designed to firmly discourage Russians in Kazakhstan from unilaterally acquiring Russian citizenship.

Foreign Ministers Show Meager Results.