With Russia bogged down in its war in Ukraine, speculation has increased that its influence may be waning in Kazakhstan and other former Soviet states in Central Asia. Russia retains a significant cultural, political, and security role in Kazakhstan, while the country’s other great power neighbor, China, has taken an increasingly large economic role. Kazakhstan has ably managed potential ethnic tensions since the fall of the Soviet Union by maintaining a multiethnic national identity and protecting the rights of its sizable Russian minority. How can the United States best engage with Kazakhstan without upsetting these delicate balances? A new QI brief from research fellow Suzanne Loftus addresses this question. To discuss these issues and the recommendations in her brief, Suzanne will be joined by Nargis Kassenova, Senior Fellow and Director of the Program on Central Asia at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University; and Nurseit Niyazbekov, Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at KIMEP University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Nargis Kassenova is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Program on Central Asia at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies (Harvard University) and Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations and Regional Studies of KIMEP University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Kassenova holds a PhD in International Cooperation Studies from the Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University (Japan). Her research focuses on Central Asian politics and security, Eurasian geopolitics, China’s Belt and Road Initiative and governance in Central Asia, and history of state-making in Central Asia.
Nurseit Niyazbekov is Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at KIMEP University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He conducts research and consulting for various international media and think tanks in the areas of post-communist transitions, democratization, Central Asian state-building and protest mobilization. He was a visiting research fellow at the University of Michigan and Sciences PO. Niyazbekov obtained his PhD and MSc degrees in Politics and Sociology from the University of Oxford.
Suzanne Loftus is Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute’s Eurasia Program. She specializes in Russian foreign and domestic policy, nationalism and identity, and strategic competition between the great powers. Prior to arriving at the Quincy Institute, Suzanne worked for the Department of Defense as Professor of National Security at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany. Suzanne obtained her PhD in International Studies from the University of Miami, where she also taught classes in international relations and security studies.