Oil Slump, Russian Revanchism Put the Squeeze on Kazakhstan

My first piece with World Politics Review takes a look at Kazakhstan's battered economic and geopolitical outlook:

A year ago, the notion of Russia infiltrating and annexing northern Kazakhstan—a region that luminaries such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn considered part of Russia proper—would have seemed laughable. But in his speech calling for reunification with Crimea, Putin justified such action by noting that the Kremlin retained the right to protect ethnic Russians and “compatriots” wherever they may be. Then, in late August, while attending a youth forum, Putin was asked about the potential for a perceived surge in anti-Russian sentiments in Kazakhstan to damage ties with Moscow, and the possibility of “a Ukrainian scenario upon Nazarbayev’s departure.” Putin didn’t push back. Instead, he pointed out that Kazakhs had never enjoyed statehood prior to 1991 and had never had anyone but Nazarbayev at the helm.