Monday, August 28, 2023

Regional Leaders in Kazakhstan Increasingly Drawn from Their Native Areas, Makhanov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 26 – Under Vladimir Putin, leaders of the various federal subjects are drawn not from the populations they supervise but from outsiders who come either from Moscow or from other regions, an arrangement universally acknowledged to give the Kremlin the whip hand in regional affairs.

            But in Kazakhstan, also a large and diverse country, the situation is very different. According to QMonitor journalist Bauyrzhan Makhanov, over the last 10 years, the share of local politicians in top regional jobs has risen as has their average age and the share with any experience in the capital has fallen (

            In 2013, only seven of the 16 governors came from the regions they led; now, 13 of the 20 do, the journalist says. They are older, and they are less likely to have had any experience in the central government of Kazakhstan.

            On the one hand, that means that they know local conditions better than was the case a decade ago; but on the other, it may mean that they are more likely to defend their regions against the center instead of imposing the will of the center on their regions, a pattern that could make the emergence of regional challenges to the central authorities more likely in the future.


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