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Washington Post: In Kazakhstan, fears of becoming the next Ukraine

ASTANA, Kazakhstan —A volatile mix building in Kazakhstan contains the same ingredients that ignited in Ukraine: a Russian minority that says it fears being under siege, rising anti-Russian nationalist sentiment and pressure on the Russian language.

Last year, Russia used that explosive combination as a pretext to annex Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Now, many here in this city on the steppe fear that Kazakhstan’s presidential election last Sunday may have been the last peaceful one the former Soviet republic will have and that the country may be next in Moscow’s cross hairs. President Nursultan Nazarbayev won 98 percent of Sunday’s vote, but the 74-year-old leader has done little to prepare for a successor amid widespread speculation that this term will be his final one. Kazakhs and Russians alike worry about strife when he leaves office.

About a quarter of Kazakhstan’s citizens are ethnic Russians, and many have the same grievances as their compatriots in Ukraine. Some say they feel pressured to speak Kazakh, the use of which has spread in recent years. Few Russians are represented in state leadership positions.

WNU Editor: When a minority population is discriminated by the majority .... regardless of the country .... the possibility of unrest will only expand with time. Kazakhstan fits that scenario to a tee .... but nothing is going to happen until after Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has left office.

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