The Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan: A Case Study in Economic Liberalization, Intra-Elite Cleavage and Political Opposition

Document Type



Pitzer College, Organizational Studies (Pitzer)

Publication Date



Central Asia, elites, intraelite cleavage, Kazakhstan, neopatrimonialism, political change


This article departs from recent scholarship on Central Asia, which emphasizes the role of clans and regional identity in driving political outcomes. In Kazakhstan, elite cleavages based on rival economic interests (as opposed to clan or other traditional divisions) are the most significant sources of pressure for democratic political reform. Using the Democratic Choice opposition movement as a case study, the authors discuss the relationship between economic liberalization and elite cleavages and the role of elite cleavages in generating democratic challenges to authoritarian rule.

Rights Information

© 2005 Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization