As a popular uprising ousted Nursultan Nazarbayev, a thirty-year strongman ruler-turned eminence gris, Kazakhstan stood on the precipice of revolution. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s decision to solicit the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)’s help to quell the unrest—a seeming contradiction of Kazakhstan’s long-established “multi-vector” approach for balancing great powers—seems to have resuscitated his rule. Despite Russian troops’ choreographed exit after decisively quashing the revolution, the episode has undoubtedly brought Kazakhstan further into Russia’s orbit. In energy, the primary loser may be China.
By intervening in Kazakhstan, Russia strengthens its hand in China’s energy market (Paddy Ryan, Atlantic Council)