Kazakhstan's oil and gas reserves are among the largest in the world. At the outset of independence 10 years ago, Kazakhstan's leaders promised that the country's rich natural resources would soon bring economic prosperity, and it appeared that democracy was beginning to take hold in this newly independent state. A decade later, economic reform is mired in widespread corruption. A regime that flirted with democracy is now laying the foundation for family-based, authoritarian rule. The first thorough examination of the development of this ethnically diverse and strategically vital nation, Kazakhstan: Unfulfilled Promise is a valuable resource for policymakers, scholars, and students concerned with the process of transition from communism to independent statehood in the former Soviet Union.
Martha Brill Olcott is a senior associate with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment. She specializes in the problems of transitions in Central Asia and the Caucasus as well as the security challenges in the Caspian region.
Introducing Kazakhstan; reluctantly accepting independence; the challenge of creating Kazakhstanis; trying pluralism and abandoning it; economic development or stealing the state?; a divided society; can Kazakhstan regain its promise?.