Kazakhstan's Parliamentary Elections: What Next?

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Kazakhstan will hold parliamentary and local elections on the 10th January. There is little intrigue as to the results given that opposition parties were not allowed to participate. New regulations that restrict election observers have further enhanced state control over the voting process. These developments disappointed many Kazakhstani citizens, who previously had hoped President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s promises of political reform would prove more forthcoming.

Nargis Kassenova is a Senior Fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies of Harvard University, and Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations and Regional Studies of KIMEP University. Her areas of research include Central Asian politics and security, Eurasian geopolitics, Kazakhstan’s foreign policy, religion and politics in Central Asia, and history of state-building in Central Asia. 

Yevgeniy Zhovtis is a prominent human rights lawyer and the current director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, as well as a member of the OSCE/ODIHR Panel of Experts on Freedom of Assembly and the board of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute. Zhovtis has been the recipient of numerous human rights awards, including the EU and U.S. Democracy and Civil Society Award in 1999, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Human Rights Award in 2007, and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Andrey Sakharov Freedom Award in 2010.   

Torokul Doorov has been the Director of RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service since July 2014. He started his career with RFE/RL as a Moscow-based correspondent in 2002. Later he worked as the Kyrgyz Service’s Azattyk Plus youth program editor for several years in Bishkek. Born in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan, he graduated from the Journalism Faculty of Moscow State University.   

Marlene Laruelle, Ph.D., is Director and Research Professor at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), GW. Dr. Laruelle is also a Co-Director of PONARS (Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia) and Director of GW’s Central Asia Program. Her research explores the transformations of nationalist and conservative ideologies in Russia and nationhood construction in Central Asia, as well as the development of Russia’s Arctic regions. Two of her books will be out in late 2020: Is Russia Fascist? Unraveling Propaganda East and West (Cornell University Press) and Memory Politics and the Russian Civil War. Red versus Whites (Bloomsbury).


Nargis Kassenova, Senior Fellow, Program on Central Asia, Davis Center
Yevgeniy Zhovtis, Lawyer and Director, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law   
Torokul Doorov, Director, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service   
Moderator: Marlene Laruelle, Director and Research Professor, Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), The George Washington University

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