Though widely discussed, Islamic insurgency, labor strikes and Arab Spring-type popular mobilization are not immediate threats to President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s grip on power. The more immediate and serious threat comes from elites who are engaged in a power struggle over who will succeed Nazarbayev, including feuding members of the presidential family.
European leaders, therefore, should join those who insist that President Nazarbayev appoint a successor while still in good health and in power. In addition to this, liberal-minded figures among political and business elites should be encouraged and supported, while educational and exchange opportunities for youth expanded.
Regarding Zhanaozen, it is recommended that European policy makers join European Parliament in calling for an international investigation into police violence during the riots and strengthen calls for better working conditions at national and foreign-owned companies. Activists and journalists arrested during and after the conflict should be released and all charges against them dropped.