Friday, December 02, 2005

Kazakhstan: The Next Color Revolution?

Kazakhstan is electing a president Sunday amid little doubt that longtime leader Nursultan Nazarbayev will win - and dark speculation about what will happen thereafter.

In recent weeks, authorities have repeatedly accused the pro-democracy opposition of planning demonstrations modeled on the protests that drove President Askar Akayev of neighboring Kyrgyzstan out of the country in March.

Last week, Kazakhstan closed its border with Kyrgyzstan, either fearing an influx of troublemakers or trying to create the impression that an uprising was being plotted.

Nazarbayev's main challenger, Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, leaves the question open. He maintains the opposition won't mount any demonstrations that violate Kazakhstan's restrictive laws, but tells reporters that "if authorities provoke a standoff with people, civil unrest, we will stand by the people."

Read the rest here.

If Kazakhstan falls to a color revolution, it's a huge black eye for Russia. It'd be interesting to see if the Russians let it fall.

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