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Kazakhstan: Astana Expo: Initial Assessment

With much fanfare, on 9 June President Nursultan Nazarbayev opened the long-awaited Astana Expo 2017, which features the theme of “future energy.” The international exposition is the 25-year-old country’s most important public event, and arguably Nazarbayev’s as well. Kazakhstan has previously hosted large events, like the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit

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Kazakhstan: Looking Ahead to the Expo: Astana Unveils Kazakh Invest

The Kazakh government is intent on publicly showing that it is improving the country’s investment climate ahead of the Astana Expo 2017 that will begin in June. According to Horizon contacts, the upsurge in initiatives on this front across all key ministries is also connected to the forthcoming decision to invite Kazakhstan as a full

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Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev’s Succession Planning: Delays and Asset Transfers

In recent days, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been basking in domestic and international praise on the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence. In Taldykorgan, the administrative center of the Almaty region, the local governor opened a statue to Nazarbayev with a public celebration. Kazakh academics claimed that they found evidence that Nazarbayev is a direct descendent

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Kazakhstan: Astana’s High Expectations for Expo 2017

On 10 June next year, Kazakhstan will host the three-month-long Expo 2017 in Astana. With the government on a tight schedule to complete its final preparations, on 29 September recently appointed Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev held a State Commission meeting with regional governors and the mayors of Astana and Almaty on the planning for the

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Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev’s High-Profile Reshuffles: Tightening Regional Security and Showcasing Astana

On 21 June President Nursultan Nazarbayev made a series of major reshuffles in the executive branch. The former head of the Akorda (presidential administration), Nurlan Nigmatulin, is the new head of the Mazhilis (the lower house of parliament). Former Minister of Investments and Development Aset Isekeshev was appointed as the mayor of Astana, while his

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Kazakhstan: Astana Plans for Future Offshore Financial Center

In late October, senior Kazakh officials unveiled details of an offshore financial center in Astana that they plan will be opened in 2018. The government envisages creating a tax-free zone for international corporations for 50 years in the luxury office buildings that are now being prepared for the Astana Expo 2017. Employees of these corporations

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Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev Appoints Protégé as Almaty Mayor

In an unexpected reshuffle earlier this month, President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s nephew and longtime Almaty Mayor Akhmetzhan Yesimov was effectively demoted to head the Astana Expo 2017 initative, with 41-year-old Nazarbayev loyalist Bauyrzhan Baibek appointed as his replacement. According to Horizon contacts, Nazarbayev has long been wary of his nephew’s perceived incompetence and the multiple problems