Free Article
Although Moscow is keen to maintain some degree of influence over Kazakhstan, there are strong indications that Astana is repositioning its foreign policy focus. A careful balancing between East and West has been replaced by a marked shift towards anti-Russian defiance – seen in alternative foreign ties, internal social and cultural policies, and reshuffles of the political elite.
Although the life expectancy of Kazakh opposition parties is usually brief, rising social discontent is changing the equation. Disaffection with political governance is no longer limited to the grassroots, but increasingly resounding within the middle and business classes, and within elements of the ruling elite itself. This is feeding a resurgent opposition; but will change be orderly or chaotic.
With the 2018 presidential elections looming and the electoral campaign about to start, Russia’s political elite find themselves in disarray. The rumblings inside the Kremlin have it that the position of prime minister might soon become vacant – but who are the front runners, and what do they bring to the party?
With the presidential elections in less than a year, all domestic developments in Russia should be interpreted through the prism of the ongoing electoral campaign. While Putin’s re-election is not questioned, evolving international, economic and social context pose new challenges to his campaign, and intensify elite infighting.
Despite EuroMaidan and the promises of reform, Ukraine is struggling to attract foreign investment. Are the questionable ties that exist between business and politics self-sustaining in the country?
As the new president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev has inherited the problematic legacy of Islam Karimov. Over the past couple of months, Mirziyoyev has brought back his own allies, individuals once outlawed by his predecessor.
Free Article
Although 2016 was a successful year for Russia, to tackle recurrent domestic issues and to ensure a smooth transition in 2018 the Kremlin must capitalise on the favourable status-quo.
The fossil-fuelled character of the Azerbaijani economy experienced serious problems in 2016 on the back of low oil prices. It is anticipated that this crisis will deepen in 2017.
Being squeezed by a variety of political, economic and regional challenges, Ukraine experienced a dynamic period but managed to survive it in political and economic terms. The task for the upcoming year is to reform the system to maintain the political stability.
Free Article
The recent death of Islam Karimov, who ruled Uzbekistan for 27 years, has raised the issue of his succession earlier than expected. No known successor has been identified, which could pose a threat to the country’s stability by way of popular dissatisfaction and an intra-elite power struggle. The initial outlook is not optimistic: in periods of transition within autocratic regimes, such as Uzbekistan, mechanisms of elite instinct take control in order to avoid complete regime breakdown.
The most recent decision of Nazarbayev to reshuffle the Cabinet responsible for overseeing the country’s security apparatus, while keeping the rest of the Cabinet intact, should be viewed as a penultimate step towards consolidating and tightening how power rests in Kazakhstan in the lead up to any future political transition.
Foreign entities who currently or have previously invested in Russia in the past are aware of the various challenges they face, such as corruption, arbitrary enforcement of laws, and state bureaucratic procedures. While many of these issues remain a concern – and show few signs of abating – operating under the new era of sanctions have led to new challenges.
  • 1 (current)
  • 2