IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Ethnicity and Elections under Authoritarianism: The Case of Kazakhstan


  • Oka, Natsuko


Despite the ethnicisation of power since independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has managed tomaintain political stability without experiencing large-scale mobilisation to oppose Kazakhdomination. This paper examines government strategy to avoid ethnic voting in an attempt toexplain why ethnic divisions were rarely reflected in the struggle for power in the republic.While the arbitrary use of legal provisions considerably limited participation in elections byethnic leaders, powerful pro-president parties that exhibited a cross-ethnic character were createdto curtail ethnically based movements. The control strategy in elections aimed not simply atethnicising the parliament in favour of Kazakhs, but at having loyal Russians and otherminorities represented in the legislature through nomination by the president and catch-allpro-regime parties, or through the presidential consultative body—Assembly of the People ofKazakhstan. This well-controlled representation of minorities served not only to placatenon-Kazakhs but also to provide legitimacy for the Kazakh-dominated leadership by projectingthe image of cross-ethnic support for the president and some degree of power-sharing.

Suggested Citation

  • Oka, Natsuko, 2009. "Ethnicity and Elections under Authoritarianism: The Case of Kazakhstan," IDE Discussion Papers 194, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  • Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper194

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2009
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Yang Yao & Nancy Qia & Monica Martinez Bravo & Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2011. "Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China," Working Papers id:3931, eSocialSciences.
    2. repec:eee:pubeco:v:152:y:2017:i:c:p:119-132 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Koenig, Christoph, 2015. "Competence vs. Loyalty: Political survival and electoral fraud in Russia’s regions 2000–2012," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1080, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Oka, Natsuko, 2011. "Neither exit nor voice : loyalty as a survival strategy for the Uzbeks in Kazakhstan," IDE Discussion Papers 286, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    5. Carlitz, Ruth D., 2017. "Money Flows, Water Trickles: Understanding Patterns of Decentralized Water Provision in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 16-30.
    6. Jäger, Kai, 2016. "The Role of Regime Type in the Political Economy of Foreign Reserve Accumulation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 79-96.
    7. Michael Rochlitz, 2016. "Political Loyalty Vs Economic Performance: Evidence from Machine Politics in Russia’S Regions," HSE Working papers WP BRP 34/PS/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    8. González, Felipe & Prem, Mounu, 2018. "Can television bring down a dictator? Evidence from Chile’s “No” campaign," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 349-361.
    9. Miquel Pellicer & Eva Wegner & Lindsay Benstead & Harold Kincaid & Ellen Lust & Juanita Vasquez, 2014. "The demand side of clientelism: The role of client's perceptions and values," SALDRU Working Papers 140, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    10. Inken von Borzyskowski, 2016. "Resisting democracy assistance: Who seeks and receives technical election assistance?," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 247-282, June.

    More about this item


    Ethnic minority; Election; Kazakhstan; Minority Ethnic group; Politics;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper194. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Minami Tosa). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.