Abstract

Much of the succession debate in Kazakhstan emphasizes who will succeed President Nazarbayev and how a new president will shape regime consolidation. While this debate sheds light on Kazakhstan’s authoritarian trajectory, the focus should turn away from regime consolidation and instead toward network dynamics to help explain how leadership transition will affect patron-client relations and the informal networks that rely on state resources. Building on our understanding of patronal politics, this paper examines those who will fail to win in Kazakhstan’s succession battle and how they will retain access to patronage networks and state resource wealth.

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