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US to jockey for influence over Kazakhstan after Nazarbayev’s resignation, says expert

NEW YORK, March 20. /TASS/. Washington will take political and economic measures to expand its influence in Kazakhstan in light of Nursultan Nazarbayev announcing his resignation as the country’s President, Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Middle Tennessee State University Andrei Korobkov told TASS on Tuesday.

As the professor pointed put, speaking about the general public, very few people in the US know that Kazakhstan is one of the largest and most resource-rich countries in the world. At the same time, Korobkov emphasized that the Americans "who are in charge of serious and real planning understand the meaning of Kazakhstan and, as a consequence, its location in Central Asia and between Russia and China, two key players, as well." The professor elaborated that Washington is very well aware of the country’s natural resource deposits, as well as of how important Kazakhstan is for Russia as one of the key members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

"Therefore, they (the US - TASS) will certainly try to influence this process and somehow promote their own people, but it will be hard to accomplish this since the US presence in Kazakhstan is relatively insignificant. Furthermore, the Americans are, of course, concerned about Russia’s presence and influence over the country, but also China potentially expanding its clout in the country. That is why, no matter what they state on the official level, America’s policy will focus on this particular issue," Korobkov highlighted.

The expert clarified that the matter at hand is about Washington’s attempts to "bolster its own influence and counter China’s quickly expanding clout."


Deals and overtures


Speaking about the specific measures the US may take to achieve these goals, the expert pointed out that "they can start actively praising Kazakhstan and personally Nazarbayev, as well as the new President for their attempts to foster the democratic process, comparing them to the current political atmosphere in Russia". He also added that the Americans will possibly "hold keen negotiations with the government, as well as with some opposition figures." "Kazakhstan will be presented with some favorable economic deals, the US will make overtures to the country, politically speaking," Korobkov noted.

According to the expert, no matter what the US announces officially, Washington’s primary objective will be above all to thwart Chinese attempts to expand its clout in the country. At the same time, the US may very well issue countless warnings to Russia not to hamper Kazakhstan’s democratic developments and alike."

He also pointed out that firstly it is important for US officials to fully understand in what direction the situation in Kazakhstan is unfolding. The expert pointed out that today "Nazarbayev is still the chairman of the ruling party, he is the Commander-in-Chief in effect and will be awarded the title of leader in perpetuity." Further US steps will largely depend on whether there will be a true transitional period in Kazakhstan.

On Tuesday, Nursultan Nazarbayev announced that he was stepping down as the head of state. At the same time, he will remain chairman of the Kazakhstan Security Council, chairman of the Nur Otan Democratic People’s Party and a member of the Constitutional Council. The president’s powers will be transferred over to Senate Speaker Kassym-Jomart Tokayev after he takes the oath of office on Wednesday.