The risk of a color revolution in the Republic of Kazakhstan
Material posted: Publication date: 14-12-2019

In this study, the analysis of the potential emergence of a "color revolution" in Kazakhstan at the moment, in the medium and long term. Also analyzed potential risks to the security of the Russian Federation in the case of destabilization of the political situation in Kazakhstan.

The appearance of a color revolution in any country is dictated by a number of objective reasons, in the absence of any external efforts to destabilize the political situation in the country will be fruitless. There are two causes that can serve as the impetus for the creation of a revolutionary situation in a particular country:
  1. external (interest key power in the region in destabilizing the situation in the country, such as in Ukraine, the US interests in the region and in relation to a particular country for the production or transit of hydrocarbons, the arms trade, the establishment of military bases, the creation of a zone of tensions on Russia's borders, trade wars, etc.);
  2. internal (loss of confidence in the government among the wider population, long-term de-legitimisation of the Institute of political power, the long pendency of the worsening economic and social problems, the struggle for political and oligarchic clans, the rapid deterioration of the quality of life of the population, the stagnation of the economy, a betrayal of the security agencies and army against the current government, the authorities ' indecision, etc.).
The experience of successful implementation and attempted color revolutions in the former Soviet Union, Middle East, Latin America and China suggests that if in one country the level of support the current government at a high enough level, Institute of political authority is not discredited and the majority of the population have confidence in the government, in the short and medium term carry out a color revolution and its success tends to zero. However, continuous deterioration of the socio-economic situation of the population, corruption scandals in the higher echelons of power, the lack of feedback in the communication lines between the people and the state, - all this creates fertile ground for the creation of conditions and implementation of the color revolution in the long run.
Kazakhstan is the second largest state in the CIS countries, the largest country in Central Asia. Due to its geographical location Kazakhstan plays a significant role in the Central Asian region as well as in the chain of trade relations between Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Kazakhstan actively develops relationships with key actors in the Eurasian space: Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, the European Union, and transatlantic partners as the United States. Through active development of China and its commercial projects such as the New silk road, Kazakhstan is rightly able to take the place of a large logistics centre and transport hub. Rich reserves of natural resources, including hydrocarbons, uranium, makes Kazakhstan attractive for Chinese, American and European investors, from the point of view of field development and building the global system of energy trade.
Since gaining independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has been pursuing the so-called "multi-vector foreign policy", aiming equally to maintain good relations with its two large neighbours, Russia and China, as well as with the United States and the Western world. Kazakhstan is a member of major international organizations:
  1. CIS
  2. Free trade zone of the Commonwealth of independent States
  3. The Eurasian economic Union, Unified economic space, Customs Union
  4. CSTO
  5. SCO
  6. OSCE
  7. UN.
Through participation in these international organizations, Kazakhstan retains the relative balance between the major centers of power, seeking to act as a mediator and platform for talks on the conflict in the middle East, and Europe, offering a platform for talks on the conflict in the South-East of Ukraine.
The authorities of Kazakhstan, as any other country pursue national interests of their country, so in the so-called multi-vector foreign policy continue, the traditional balancing act among major regional and global players.
In relations with Russia Kazakhstan is the key partner in the Customs Union, SCO, CSTO, etc. to Actively develop trade and economic, political relations is offset by the contradictions. Each party clearly understands the importance of a stable good-neighbourly relations.
Kazakhstan actively develops relations with another major neighbor - China. In 2013, China launched the initiative "One belt and one road", where Kazakhstan plays an important role as a transit node.
In recent years a noticeable progress of Chinese projects in Kazakhstan. In the energy industry, their share grew, while the share of Western companies was reduced. This trend will continue, as China has a well-known strategy of building a transport corridor to the West and have the money to invest in infrastructure and energy sectors of neighbouring countries.
With regard to relations with the United States, the interest in Kazakhstan is that it is the largest in spatial relation to the country and the most prosperous in economic terms. Kazakhstan is the only country of the five Central Asian States, which has a long border with Russia and in virtue of this fact, and other more closely linked with Russia. In addition, Kazakhstan has always advocated the initiator and organizer of the integration processes in the former Soviet Union, sought to consolidate the former Soviet republics, at the site of at least the CIS, to ensure their own and regional security. Taught by bitter experience of neighboring Central Asian republics torn by inter-clan wars and into the bondage of loans the U.S. and China, the Kazakh authorities are striving to get the most out of those connections that were created still in the Soviet Union. Since the task of the United States with all the presidents was to prevent closer integration of former Soviet Union republics with Russia and to revive a semblance of the USSR, Kazakhstan to USA is the same high interest, as well as Ukraine. Central Asia is the soft underbelly of Russia, so for US it is just a state of chaos in the region. In turn Russia and China as neighbors, an important political and economic stability in the region to develop their own economic and foreign policy projects.
Regularly promoted as a priority of Russia's strategic vector, Astana's independence is actively cooperating with Turkey in various fields. So, the translation of the Kazakh language from Cyrillic to Latin is dictated by the desire of Kazakhstan to occupy its niche and its influence on the Turkic peoples, but also to get closer with Turkey as an influential player in the region.
Kazakhstan is actively developing trade-ecopolices relations with Iran. Iran, for example, buys Kazakhstan engineering products: buses, parts for drilling and sinking machinery, gear. The free trade agreement will increase the volumes of these products and will expand Kazakhstan's export opportunities.
In General, foreign policy and economic situation in Kazakhstan is favorable. As of 2019, foreign investors have placed in Kazakhstan for a total of $ 320 billion According to the US State Department, Kazakhstan is considered the owner of the best investment climate in the region.
Investment policy review the OECD for the 2017 notes that were taken "big steps" to open up opportunities for foreign investors and to improve the policy of attracting foreign direct investment. This means that Kazakhstan has all chances to gain significant momentum in the economy, increase the number of jobs and thus to increase the welfare of its citizens.
From the point of view of foreign policy and the economic conditions of violent change of power in Kazakhstan in the short and medium term, such a possibility is minimal, because at the moment most of the major players in the stable Eurasian continent Kazakhstan is more attractive than the chaos-ridden.
From the point of view of the internal political prerequisites for the emergence of a revolutionary situation and create the ground for the implementation of the change of government, even the American researchers of authoritarian regimes from Denver University[1] believe that at the moment, there are no significant grounds for the occurrence of such processes. There are a number of reasons.
First, in the late 90-ies Nursultan Nazarbayev eliminated from the political space of Kazakhstan of its most ardent political opponents. He also squeezed out from the territory of Kazakhstan opposition, which could be a threat to his personal power. Dealt with it and then seemed all-powerful clans, which threatened political stability in the country. During the years of his presidency, President Nursultan Nazarbayev managed to create quite a peaceful political system, and to gain almost absolute support of the population, which undoubtedly provides significant benefits today and his party and his successor, Kasim-Zhomart Tokaev, Kemelevich.
Immediately after the inauguration, held on 12 June, in his first official speech on the post of the elected President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, among other things, announced the decision to establish a national Council of public confidence. "Our citizens are much concerned about the development of dialogue between the authorities and society. Such dialogue should be based on the recognition of the pluralism of opinions. Different opinions, but one nation. This is the main landmark. So I decided to create the national Council of public confidence. The Council will consist of representatives of the entire society, including young people. The first meeting of the National Council of public trust will be held in August this year", – said the head of Kazakhstan. A month later, he signed a decree on the situation and composition of the National Council of public confidence.
The political leadership of Kazakhstan feels the mood of its population, so that is why the new head of Kazakhstan started its work at the head of the state from the creation of a new civil-political institution, which aims to find common ground between the different forces in Kazakhstan society, and also to understand and to solve the existing contradictions in society. If this plan is implemented exactly as intended, it can give a good jolt to the formation of civil society in Kazakhstan and to build a direct communication between the authorities and various social groups.
According to some experts, the crisis of trust between society and the government resulted in demonstrations and protests. In the current period of power required, if not support, then at least the absence of widespread protests. In fact, it is a question of sustainability of the transit of power and further development of the country.
However, the discontent before the emergence of a revolutionary situation – a huge distance. In Kazakhstan there is no fatigue from power, and there is paternalism, there is no split of the elites, the regime is strong and sometimes too.
In Kazakhstan today there are no political forces capable of deliberately "shake up" the situation and bring hundreds of thousands of people into the streets, realizing the model of "color revolution". In addition there is no prospective leader of the protest movement. Among today's opposition and nationalist forces of Kazakhstan is rather an internecine war for the right to lead the opposition.
In the former Soviet Union are consolidating and ultra-nationalist forces. This ultra-liberal forces who hold Pro-Western views, and the nationalists who hold not only anti-Russian position, but in General the exaltation of its titular nationality. The government of Kazakhstan is trying to achieve some balance in this issue. There are also separate groups that exist outside of public dialogue - community migrants, various criminal and semi-criminal groups, various informal Kazakhs living in other countries. But they are not so much influence on domestic policy, such as the Ukrainian Diaspora in the United States and Canada influence the policy of Ukraine.
While the opposition in the face of Pro-Western liberals and nationalists are fighting each other, the government is implementing the progressive steps to building a dialogue with society and improve people's welfare. And this from the Kazakh authorities, there is a substantial safety cushion in the form of huge savings from the National wealth Fund, accumulated during the period of high world oil prices. Announced social initiatives of the President will require to 2019 – 2021 2.3 trillion tenge from the national Fund. They can be extracted from the national NatureServe and aims to support socially vulnerable layers of population and creation of new jobs. Which further adds points to the current government and smooth out the political transit.
In addition, the political space is completely controlled by the AK Horde, the oligarchs are insulated from participation in political processes, and the few non-governmental organizations financed by the West, have no influence, no fame nor reputation.
As for political challenges, and an ardent desire to bring people to the streets at any cost, it is inherent in the style of Mukhtar Ablyazov – the fugitive oligarch, an outspoken opponent of Nazarbayev, is wanted on charges of fraud not only by the authorities of Kazakhstan, but also Ukraine and Russia. Everything connected with the name of Mukhtar Ablyazov, is perceived as an attempt to destabilize public-political situation by extremist organizations. However, at the moment his aspirations do not find a significant response from the public.
Also the experience of Russia, Kazakhstan introduced a tax monitoring of foreign funding of political activities in the country. According to the law "On payments and payment systems", organizations financed from abroad are obliged to take ad hoc reports to the state revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance from 11 October 2016. Kazakhstan also borrowed the idea of the grant of the operator and the new system of NGO funding. Foundation to support civil initiatives have already started to work and gave grants to NGOs and facilitated the process of registration and reporting for grants. This provides an excellent basis for the development of civil society in the country.
If we consider the issue of the struggle of clans, then Tokayev, to a lesser extent linked to be painful for Kazakhstan topic as "tribal feuds". In Kazakhstan in the nineties this was a hot issue. According to the coordinate system belongs to the so-called senior zuzu, though not to his most gentle part. At the same time, Tokayev in these tribal conflicts is not a prominent figure, and distant from them because of their own biography, and that is a factor in his favor. Tokayev is a compromise figure for Kazakhstan ancestral nobility, which could, if it came together a few circumstances, claim the definition of the future President of Kazakhstan, experts say.
Analyzing the above it can be concluded that in the short and medium term risk of a color revolution in Kazakhstan if the authorities will continue decisive steps on welfare and would find a compromise with all public and political forces.
However, in the long term we can predict the other ways of development of the political situation in Kazakhstan. The first option is leaving the Russian orbit of Kazakhstan towards greater foreign policy autonomy, on the background including language reform and the growth of nationalist vector of development of the social situation in Kazakhstan. Despite the fact that the inside of the Kazakhstan foreign NGOs do not show such activity, both in Ukraine and in Georgia, working with youth and Kazakh NGOs is beyond – in the Czech Republic Fund Prague civil society centre, which works with all republics of the former USSR, teaches young and creative with an active civil position of the people of these countries are creative, using modern technology and marketing techniques to combat the "authoritarian regimes" in their countries. No one can guarantee that in two or three generations the minds of young Kazakhs are not "pereproshit" towards liberal democratic values.
The second variant of development of the situation in Kazakhstan is Venezuelan and Turkish script, which can take place in case of death of Nazarbayev, who no doubt all Kazakhs considered the Father of the nation. Sooner or later the opposition in Kazakhstan will be replenished with young blood and will gain weight in case of misfires successors to Nazarbayev, failures in the economic sphere, the growth of social problems. Then, counting on the fact that Russia will host the active phase of the political transit after leaving the political arena, Vladimir Putin and the Russian authorities will fail to Kazakhstan, a number of Pro-Western forces might try to destabilize Kazakhstan, including in the fight against China, Turkey and Iran. But it is necessary to prepare at least one generation with a new, liberal-democratic and nationalist thinking, based on the thesis that Kazakhstan has historically been a colony of Russia and Russia has always suppressed Kazakhstan. This trend is already taking place.
The third scenario – Kazakhstan will remain politically stable, but from the point of view of the economy largely fall into dependence on China. How is it good or bad for Kazakhstan is dependent on a significant number of conventions. Since in the future Russia and China will remain close allies, for Russia, this scenario does not assume significant risks.
Summing up, it should be noted that at the current moment, threats the emergence of a color revolution in Kazakhstan, the opportunity to spend there are always those concerned, as, for example, in the case of Libya. So now you need to take active measures to eliminate any potential of creating a revolutionary situation in the country, as well as to actively work with young people, because they will build a country in 10-20-30 years.
[1] How Kazakhstan's transition is playing out. URL:

Tags: Russia , geopolitics , threat , Kazakhstan