The Christian Science Monitor's Monitoring Global Outlook gathered my thoughts about Kazakhstan's geopolitical positioning, including looks at recent Russian commentary and potential Chinese response:
MGO: At a recent youth forum in Russia, President Vladimir Putin addressed a question about growing Kazakh nationalism. How do you read his response?
... [The episode] was relatively out of the blue, certainly unexpected, and presented an opportunity for the kind of beginnings of a similar narrative [in Russia] as we’ve seen play out in Ukraine. And that’s twofold: One is that there is an anti-Russian sentiment that’s bubbling up [in Kazakhstan], and, two, that there is a lack of historical statehood in this region for this people. It is concerning. ...
Could growing ties with Beijing actually help prevent too much Russian adventurism in the future?
Just as the succession question in Kazakhstan is a huge question, I’d say this is the second major question facing the region: At what point does China begin to step up its security apparatus, and does it do it bilaterally, and does it do it through something like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization? It is possible if Russia does step in during some transition period in Kazakhstan, that China could A) step in to protect its assets, or B) step in to offer some form of stability during the transition period.