The Politics of Reform in Kazakhstan

Central Asia and Caucasus Seminar
Event Format

In 2019, Kazakhstan’s new president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pledged large-scale political and economic reforms. The new government in Nur-Sultan promised to open up political space, enhance dialogue between state and society, and initiate a series of social and economic reforms to enhance services and improve the country’s business climate. Eighteen months into the Tokayev presidency, what has happened to that reform agenda? What push and pull factors can we discern? What is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic both on the perception of the necessity of reforms and the government’s will and capacity to carry them out? What can be expected from the upcoming parliamentary and local elections planned for January 2021, and can they serve as an opening for more systemic reform? Our event will address these questions, aiming to account for the complexity of political, social and economic processes unfolding in today’s Kazakhstan.


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or in advance of your participation or visit.

Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.