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Kazakhstan: Rearranging Chairs on the Ship Astana

Dariga Nazarbayeva, the Kazakh president’s eldest daughter, speaks at a government meeting in August 2016. Her appointment to the Senate this week sparked talk of her being primed to take over the reins in the event of her father being unable to fulfill his duties. (Photo: Press Service of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan)

The latest shakeup of the government by Kazakhstan’s president looks seismic at first appearance, but closer scrutiny suggests this is only a cosmetic rearrangement.
 
Perhaps the most striking innovations to come out of the Cabinet announcements on September 13 were the creation of new government departments: a ministry of religion, to be headed by a former foreign affairs adviser to President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and an anticorruption agency.
 
Elsewhere, Dariga Nazarbayeva, the Kazakh president’s eldest daughter, was removed as deputy prime minister and plopped into the Senate, sparking talk of her being primed to take over the reins. Succession talk comes around periodically in Kazakhstan and has been reignited by recent demise of Uzbekistan’s President Islam, who at the age of 78 was only two years older than Nazarbayev is now.
 

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Aktan Rysaliev is a pseudonym for a journalist based in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan: Rearranging Chairs on the Ship Astana

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