Leadership transition in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan implications for policy and stability in Central Asia
Smith, Shane A.
Johnson, Thomas H.
Russell, James A.
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After September 11, 2001, Central Asia leapt into the vernacular of international politics. This forgotten region, where the "Great Game" was played, received new emphasis in the Global War on Terrorism. Analysts found a region brimming with both promise and concern. This thesis focuses on the future succession of two regional presidents, Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan) and Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan), who are the only post-Soviet leaders their countries have known. These are also the only two Central Asian states not to experience a leadership transition since independence. These impending successions are potentially watershed events for Central Asia. Succession outcomes in these states will not only have ramifications throughout the region given its interconnectedness, but also have foreign policy and economic implications for the global powers. This thesis studies the neopatrimonial nature of the regimes, the clan politics permeating the societies, and trajectories literature to examine the succession issue in these states. Conclusions reveal the conservative status quo tendencies presently embedded in these areas. This indicates that regime stability in the same vein as Turkmenistan at Saparmurat Niyazov's death is a more likely outcome for the states in question than are events such as the Tajik Civil War or Kyrgyz Tulip Revolution.
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