Friday, March 04, 2016

Ukraine War Spurs Concerns Over Sepratism in Kazakhstan

The Ukraine experience has made the Kazakh authorities highly sensitive to any signs of disloyalty by ethnic Russians. Ethnically based political parties are banned.
Last year, a court in eastern Kazakhstan sentenced a user of Vkontakte, a Russian-based social network, to five years in prison for posting a poll which asked people whether they would support the idea of that region, which also has a big ethnic Russian population, becoming part of Russia.
"Their bodies are in Kazakhstan but their minds are in Russia," said political analyst Dosym Satpayev, talking about what he described as the significant portion of the Kazakh population influenced by Russian media.
"There are signs that (the authorities) in Kazakhstan are beginning to realize it also faces a separatist threat," said Satpayev, who runs the Risk Assessment Group, a think tank.

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