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A Kazakh drama

On the oil-rich steppes of Kazakhstan the return of Stalinist show trials is destroying central Asia's most promising country

By Anthony Robinson   December 2002

The struggle for control of the 21st century’s oil resources underlies, in part, both the bloody Russian war against Chechen separatism and the possible war with Saddam Hussein. It also underlies a struggle less violent but, in its own way, just as significant in Kazakhstan, the biggest new oil province since Alaska opened up 30 years ago.

The main players of the Kazakh drama are Nursultan Nazarbayev, the autocratic president, and Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, a former supporter who is now the imprisoned leader of the most serious opposition movement in post-Soviet central Asia. Zhakiyanov used to be the governor of Pavlodar,…

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