A Tale of Two Kazakhstans: Sources of Political Cleavage and Conflict in the Post-Soviet Period

Document Type



Pitzer College, Organizational Studies (Pitzer)

Publication Date



Kazakhstan, Political Cleavage, Conflict, Post-Soviet Period


Departing from some prominent scholarship on Kazakhstani politics, the author argues that competition between financial–industrial groups over scarce economic and political resources—rather than inter-clan or center–periphery rivalries—largely determines who gets what, when and how. While clan politics and regional grievances may still influence struggles over the distribution of power and wealth, their importance has diminished in recent years. Instead, observable political conflict has centered around competing financial–industrial groups, which represent the diverse, and at times clashing, interests of Kazakhstan's business and political elites.

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© 2010 Europe Asia Studies