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Modern Kazakhstan

Image and Realities

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Edited By Aydar Amrebaev, Hans-Georg Heinrich, Ludmilla Lobova and Valikhan Tuleshov

Against the backdrop of its mineral wealth, Kazakhstan has been touted a Central Asian tiger state. In contrast to most other Central Asian countries, it was able to evade civil war and large-scale bloodshed and to assume a leadership position which won international recognition and respect. At the same time, the country could not evade the global financial crisis and its human rights record is far from being immaculate. This volume analyses the economic, political and social dynamic of modern Kazakhstan as seen by insiders and Western experts. Their opinions converge on the assumption that there are hard times ahead but that Kazakhstan has the potential to weather the storm.

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Preface

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20 years ago we were largely ignorant about the Soviet republics which today constitute the map of Central Asia. We were familiar with some places from space flights, we had heard about oil wells, but that was ba- sically it. The world has changed in many respects, but here we can see clearly that we live through an era of change. I also believe that our im- age of Kazakhstan is too primitive. To reduce Kazakhstan to oil would be simplistic; and we have to add that we still know very little. This is why this volume is important. We need updated and enriched knowledge in order to realize our European responsibility. We should not forget that Ka-zakhstan and the other central Asian states belong to the European regional organization of the UN, are members of the OSCE and are more and more turning into a region where European business is represented as a matter of course. Any contribution aiming at deep- ening our knowledge and intensifying contacts can only be welcomed. I would like to express my gratitude to all those who joined their efforts to work towards these ends. Erhard Busek Vienna, Fall 2012 The editors would like to thank Kerstin Steiner and Lisa Hessenberger for translating and Karin Zambra for formatting this volume. 6

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