JRL NEWSWATCH: “China, Russia Stand to Gain From Kazakhstan’s Political Transition; New president aims to maintain nation’s security ties to Moscow, economic links to Beijing” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons, Thomas Grove

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

“A smooth political transition after the unexpected resignation of Kazakhstan’s longtime leader serves the interests of neighboring Russia and China …. [S]ince the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has shouldered the region’s military burden, while China has provided the impulse for economic growth, a system Kazakhstan has embraced ….

Nursultan Nazarbayev file photo

On Tuesday, Nursultan Nazarbayev, a 78-year-old autocrat who has ruled Kazakhstan since the fall of the Soviet Union, said he would step down and that Senate Chairman Kassym-Jomart Tokayev would take over until presidential elections are held. Without snap elections, the next poll will be in 2020. … * * *  Russia and Central Asia’s defense ties largely depend on relations established under the Soviet Union, including the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a mutual defense treaty that combines Russia with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan …. Kazakhstan has been a model client state for Russia and China in Central Asia. … Nazarbayev ruled Kazakhstan as an autocrat with little taste for dissent. …”

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Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs