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Multiple Goals, Different Diffusion? The Transfer of NGO-Related Restrictions from Russia to Kazakhstan

Qualitative
NGOs
Political Regime
Policy-Making
Adele Del Sordi
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
Adele Del Sordi
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU

Abstract

In the last decade, post-Soviet countries have imposed increasing restrictions on the activities of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Russia is widely believed to be leading this process, not only pioneering the adoption of restrictions but also promoting them in its neighbourhood as effective measures against instability. Focusing not on Russia but on a “receiving” country, this paper will examine how, and to what extent, the leadership of post-Soviet Kazakhstan is influenced by Russia when adopting restrictive legislation on NGOs. Through a comparative analysis of legislation texts, and by reconstructing the timeline of adoption by the Parliament, the study traces the transfer of restrictive policies from the Russian political system to Kazakhstan. Moreover, the paper aims to demonstrate that Kazakhstan does not just “copy” measures, but consistently adapts the provisions to its own “softer” style of leadership and better economic opportunities. Finally, it will be shown that the implementation of restrictions is consistently balanced against another of the country’s stability needs, that of maintaining a positive international image in the eyes of the West.