Avoiding Kazakhstan's Ethnic Model

My latest for The Moscow Times pushes back at recent commentary - namely, this - that called for Ukraine to turn to Kazakhstan for guidance:

This rhetoric — the combination of a lack of statehood and a fabricated threat to a persecuted Russian population — mirrors the Kremlin's language on Ukraine. It doesn't matter that Kazakhstan has accommodated its ethnic Russian population more than any other non-Russian post-Soviet state. It doesn't matter that the actual threat to ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan is as nonexistent as the neo-Nazi shadow swirling around Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

But it's one more reason why those calling for Ukraine to turn toward Kazakhstan would be best served by rethinking their entire line of logic. Kazakhstan has seen its civil space desiccated and its political opposition drained — and its apparent ethnic balance stands both hollow and threatened.