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When Nazarbayev was re-elected last April, many assumed the President would select a successor whom he would groom to take his place. Indeed, succession remains pertinent; however, before a successor becomes obvious, the next year will witness manoeuvrings between the elite as they pursue political protections and commercial assurances.
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If 2015 was the year the West placed high hopes in Ukraine, then 2016 may very well be the year of disillusionment. Although government officials and international donors can point to the myriad of achievements Kyiv has reached over the past year, what is fundamentally lacking is the political will that would turn top-level reforms into sustainable, measurable results.
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In many ways, Russia’s 2016 outlook will be a continuation of the previous year. With the price of oil hovering around $40 p/bbl (Russia needs $110 p/bbl to sustain its budget) and no end of economic sanctions in sight, the Kremlin’s objective will focus on cushioning the effects of its faltering economy and in turn, any challenge to its political rule.