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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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Gregor Legeland, Kazakhstan and the European Union – Challenges and Prospects for a CloseCollaboration

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115 Gregor Legeland, Kazakhstan and the European Union – Challenges and Prospects for a Close Collaboration This article highlights the current status of Kazakh-European relations in the light of present security issues in Greater Central Asia and Europe’s continuously growing energy security concerns. Additionally, special at- tention from the Kazakh perspective will be paid to the recent turbulent events in Kazakhstan and the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East from the Kazakh perspective. Moreover, core risks and prospects of the ambivalent relationship between both, Kazakhstan and the EU will be elaborated in the context of mutual security matters as well as in terms of political and economic cooperation. Introduction Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s economic powerhouse, is emerging as a player in the global arena. After 20 years of independence from the So- viet Union, president Nazarbaev still rules the country in an authoritarian manner. As a result of the richly gushing petrodollars, the overall eco- nomic performance of Kazakhstan over the last decade was extraordi- nary. With its seemingly inexhaustible natural resources, situated in the middle of the Eurasian landmass on the crossroads between Europe, Russia and China, the country provokes international attention. Indeed, it appears as if the Kazakh regime knows how to deal with this attractive situation in a self-confident manner. Due to a variety of reasons, one part of Kazakhstan’s outspoken multi- vector foreign policy is its “Path to Europe” component51. Europe is by far the biggest foreign investor in the country and its the major trade...

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