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In Search for New Legitimacy: Past and Future Transformations of Social Contract in Modern Kazakhstan.

Civil Society
Democratisation
Elites
Comparative Perspective
Nygmet Ibadildin
KIMEP
Dinara Pisareva
Australian National University
Dinara Pisareva
Australian National University
Nygmet Ibadildin
KIMEP

Abstract

The paper looks at transformations of social contract in Central Asia on the example of Kazakhstan from its liberalization period of 1990s to the state of consolidated authoritarianism established since early 2000s. At the same time, there are signs that two fundamental narratives of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s social contract strong economic performance and political stability are no longer perceived as legitimate so the question is what are the possible transition models of the post-Nazarbayev period and how they will impact existing rentier social contract between elites and population. In authors’ view, the choice is between managed transition model (following example of Russia in 1999) when Nazarbayev himself picks and introduces a successor and ‘Kyrgyz’ model that implies re-distribution of power from presidential rule to parliamentary institutions. Neighboring Russia also has a potential of becoming an influential external factor during the transition in Kazakhstan if it believes Russian interests are under the threat from nationalist-oriented elite groups.